is a small collection of resources, including links to research on
nutritional deficiencies prevalent in the sickest of alcoholic patients.
Alcohol and Nutrition
Alcohol and Nutrition is an interesting, brief piece that reflects
approach of our National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The Director of the NIAA offers this tepid commentary in publication: "Renewed
research attention to the nutritional aspects of alcohol leaves open
the possibility that a role for nutritional therapy in alcoholism treatment
may yet be defined."
Community Addiction Recovery Association
Located in Sacramento, California, the Community Addiction Recovery
Association was brought to my attention by the terrific editors of
the Townsend Letter. The program is
a model, adding acupuncture, targeted nutritional supplements, training
in healthy meal preparation, and
mind-body integration techniques to area programs helping chemically
dependent people repair their brains. The director of the program,
Carolyn Reuben, wrote in detail about
the program, in the January 2007 issue (Also online at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISW/is_282/ai_n19187189/print).
Half of the article's content is devoted to a useful list of
resources. I do have my qualms: I don't endorse the consumption
of whey powder. (See my column on the dangers of dairy: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISW/is_257/ai_n7638034/pg_1,
including the book, The China Study.)
I don't expect to change anyone's mind there on this matter (because
I know people have
strong opinions). Still, I look for the "holy grail," apparently,
of programs that integrate nutrition that wasn't processed in
a factory (or factory farm). That caveat noted, I'd encourage
you to learn from CARA's successes and integrate them into the
facilities in your community!
Differential Depletion of Carotenoids and Tocopherol
in Liver Disease
(Dec. 2007: Link does not work)
Meanwhile, "Patients with alcoholic cirrhosis (n = 11) had 20-
and 25-fold decreases of levels of lycopene (p <0.001) and carotene
(p <0.005), respectively."
Blood Plasma Potassium, Sodium, and Magnesium Levels in Chronic Alcoholism
During Alcohol Withdrawal
link, two lines of it.)
"Blood plasma potassium, sodium, and magnesium levels were studied in
114 chronic alcoholic patients (pts) during alcohol withdrawal. They
were abnormal in 88.6% cases."
Hypokalaemia in Alcoholic Patients
"We conclude that hypokalaemia (low potassium) is a relatively common
electrolyte abnormality observed in alcoholic patients owing to various
The Role of Thiamine Deficiency in Alcoholic
An informative paper from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism recommends administering thiamine at pharmacological levels
to improve cognitive function.
Twinkie Deconstructed [book]
Yes, this may sound like an odd reference to include in this column!
But this book by Steve Ettlinger is fabulous, including chapters on
vitamins and minerals. In essence, the book describes how almost every
ingredient of a Twinkie is made, including the "enriched" part
of enriched flour. Take note of the petrochemical sources of many of
these vitamins. (Who knew?) I certainly didn't know that thiamine
starts out as coal tar. Perhaps our treatment programs should consider
implementing nutrition programs that use food as the foundation for
improving nutrient levels – not oxidized, reacted, crystallized,
and reacted-some-more petrochemical. The largest producer of thiamine,
the author notes, is a plant located a few hours north of Beijing,
Susceptibility to Hangovers
"The most obvious source of headaches due to hangovers is dehydration."
In searching for a link between exercise in substance-abuse treatment
programs, most of the web resources I found focused on the effect of
alcohol on exercise. I did find one study that linked talk-therapy
to improvements in both exercise and reduced alcohol consumption. The
Florida, Project SPORT study found that "a brief one-on-one consultation
(less than 15 minutes) may increase exercise and decrease alcohol and
cigarette use among adolescents for up to three months after the intervention,
with some positive effects still seen one year later."
The Role of a Physical Fitness Program in the
Treatment of Alcoholism
The Effect of Jogging on Physical Fitness and Self-Concept in Hospitalized
These studies specifically address exercise in treating alcoholics.
Unfortunately, this sort of research is typically only available as
a paid service. Even the abstracts seem to be hard to get, unless you
have a subscription.
Physical Exercise to Help with Addiction
Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor John Hendrix recommends
exercise for all that ails, including alcoholism.
Finally, I have some questions for you, our readers:
1. Do you know
of good alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs that implement
nutrition and exercise as core elements of their programs?
2. What's a good approach for transitioning traditional treatment
programs towards nutrition and exercise as core approaches?
3. What would the budget look like for making this transition? What
are some specific line items in the budget? Shared seating areas
for eating? Kitchen equipment such as cutting boards and salad spinners?
Part-time custodial help for cleaning up after food demos? Sprouting
for inpatient programs? Sneakers?
4. What research supports, or diminishes, the finding that a nutritional
and exercise approach will help clients?
5. Do you know of specific web resources that could be used by providers?
I look forward to your answers and will
include those of interest in a future column. I'd love, in
particular, to include two sample budgets for bringing nutrition
and exercise approaches to treatment
programs. I see a gaping hole in most substance-abuse treatment programs
where nutrition and exercise belong. I look forward to learning more
from our readers about how to effect change in this arena.
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