Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Vitamin B12 Levels?
Are you a social drinker? Or are you a person who likes to finish your day with a small drink? You might be under the impression that you are safe as long as you consume only small quantities of alcohol but you are unaware of the potential risks you are subjecting your body to. Absorption of B12 vitamins is connected to the consumption of alcohol and vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to health conditions. Knowing how alcohol affects B12 absorption might help you make an informed decision about your drinking habit.
Importance of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is essential for the body to function properly since it helps with processes like red blood cell production, DNA synthesis, short-term memory, and more. Vitamin B12 is abundant in most animal products like meat and dairy. If there is a deficiency of Vitamin B12, then it could lead to the accumulation of a compound called homocysteine. This build-up can lead to severe megaloblastic anemia and some other health conditions.
Do Alcohol Affect B12 Levels?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Consumption of alcohol (of any kind) affects the level of B12 absorption in the body even if taken in moderate amounts. Studies show that even a little amount of alcohol can decrease vitamin B12 absorption by about 5-6%.
- Alcohol affects B12 absorption in the body in many ways.
- Large amounts of alcohol irritate the mucosal linings in the stomach and intestines leading to a condition called gastritis which further leads to reduced absorption of B12 levels in the body.
- According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol consumption also prevents the body from fully utilizing the absorbed nutrients by altering their transport and storage.
- Gastritis reduces the production of hydrochloric acid which leads to the growth of intestinal bacteria. These bacteria use the B12 vitamins in the body thus leading to lesser amounts available for your use.
- Though small amounts of alcohol are believed to be appetite stimulants, excessive amounts can stop you from following a healthy diet which leads to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Alcohol and Vitamin B12 Deficiency Effects
Vitamin B12 is soluble in water and is stored in the body for timely use. When there is reduced consumption of B12 vitamins along with its depletion due to alcohol, it can lead to various health conditions.
- Vitamin B12 is mostly stored in the liver and thus its deficiency can lead to an increased risk of liver disease and inflammation which is referred to as cirrhosis.
- Vitamin B12 helps in the manufacture of red blood cells. Lack of vitamin B12 in the body often leads to anemia wherein the patient feels weak and tired most of the time.
- Vitamin B12 helps in the production of brain chemicals and also helps with some crucial brain functions. Reduced levels of B12 vitamin can induce mood changes. This is the reason why vitamin B12 injections are administered with MIC injections for weight loss. Vitamin B12 can improve your mood during weight loss programs.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is also commonly linked with depression. To make matters worse, for alcoholics suffering from depression, it also leads to poor response to antidepressant medication.
The deficiency of vitamin B12 is also known to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes many skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, acne, eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo and can lead to hair problems.
Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in the body can take years to show up and sometimes is misdiagnosed as folate deficiency. Some of the signs of lower B12 levels in your body include:
- Pale or yellow-tinged skin
- Weakness and fatigue
- Balance and coordination are affected
- A sensation of pins and needles
- Mouth ulcers
- Blurred or disturbed vision
- On rare occasions, high temperature
- Mood changes
Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency often includes dietary changes, B12 shots, or supplements. If you are suffering from B12 deficiency and require acne scar treatment or pigmentation treatment, then we are here to help. Rani MD is a skin care clinic in San Jose and we offer a variety of aesthetic treatments starting from PRP treatment to MIC injections. To know more about the services offered, visit us at https://ranimd.com/services.html
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