- Publisher: Basic Health Publications; Author edition (April 22, 2009)
- ASIN: B00HTKBZ5S
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By Andrew W. Saul - Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism How to Prevent Against and Fight Alcoholism Using Nutrition and Vitamin Supplementation by Saul, Andrew W. ( Author ) ON May-22-2009, Paperback (4/22/09) Paperback – April 22, 2009
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If you are a heavy drinker and can't stop, this might work for you. I think the best way to guess whether it will or not is to figure out what kind of a drunk you are, based on chapter 4 of the book "Seven Weeks to Sobriety". I am, without a doubt, a "endorphin high" drunk. Drinking makes me feel great, I do certain tasks better when mildly drunk, I can remember the first time I got drunk, and so on. And over the years, I've gotten habituated to alcohol, and now I need alcohol.
If that sounds like you, read on. (There are many other types of alcoholics, and I don't know if this will work for those other types.)
What that means is that I drink to manipulate the neurotransmitters in my brain. And after years of doing that, hey, guess what, the neurotransmitter systems in my brain are all out of whack. No surprise there. And so, now my brain craves alcohol, because that gives it temporary relief from those screwed-up neurotransmitter levels. So what used to be an occasional vice is now a steady and unbreakable habit.
Sound familiar? Then keep reading.
The vitamin cure is all about providing excess niacin (vitamin B3) and a handful of other nutrients. As near as I can tell, having that excess allows your body to produce substantially more neurotransmitters, in particular, serotonin and dopamine. And the result is that, over time, you end up re-balancing the neurotransmitter systems in the brain. And you no longer crave alcohol to do that for you. (This is not the explanation given in the book, but it is what makes sense to me, based on a bit of research.)
For me, the impact was immediate: The very first day I dosed myself as directed by this book, I was able to able to stay sober. I was kind of cranky the first week, and had a few beers to settle that out. But, completely unlike the past, a few beers was adequate. I only needed a small dose of alcohol, not a huge one. And now, four weeks into it, eh, I can drink a few beers or not. Drinking is nice, it's fun -- I still enjoy getting drunk -- but in no sense is it necessary. And it takes a vastly smaller dose to make me feel good. I am staying well below the four-drinks-per-day 14-drinks-per-week boundary, below which drinking does not appear to hurt your health.
After decades of alcohol abuse, and after trying pretty much everything to quit (including Naltrexone, the Sinclair method), this is a fundamental change, and it occurred immediately. I have no doubt this is real, not a placebo effect. As a bonus, the longer I do it, the easier it seems to be. I don't feel like I might snap and go back to my old ways. After one month, I feel like this is the new normal.
So let me finish this by telling you why I think this is working. AA and other abstinence-based approaches keep you sober, but the imbalance in the brain is still there, and the craving is still there. Sure, you're sober, but you don't exactly feel great. You are always at risk for giving in to that craving. Naltrexone (Sinclair method) is more-or-less the same thing -- that blocks opioid receptors in the brain, so that drinking doesn't make you feel good. Presumably, if you do that long enough, your brain learns that it can't get that good feeling from drinking any more. And maybe if you are lucky, that stops the craving. Didn't work for me. I still craved being drunk, and that eventually leads to falling off the wagon.
With this, all I can say is, a little alcohol makes me feel fine. Emphasis on little. And I don't even need that every day. And so I'm not a T-totaller. And I'm not an out-of-control drunk. I am now, for want of a better term, a normal social drinker. I'll have a couple of beers, some nights, to get a little buzz on -- and that's it. I'm ... normal. For the first time in decades.
I have noticed a few side effects. Sometimes the vitamins,by themselves, give me irritated bloodshot eyes. And if I do drink, I definitely end up with bloodshot eyes. I have to assume that's related niacin's ability to dilate your capillaries (the "niacin flush"). And Primrose Oil (for some type of fatty acid) gave me the trots, so I skip that.
FWIW, I don't follow this book slavishly. The gist of it is mega-vitamin therapy, which really just means taking so much of these vitamins that your body always has excess available. I'm at the point where I take "one of each" once a day. That's a gram of C, half a gram of B3 (as niacinamide -- the "flush" type niacin was too much for me), a balanced-B-complex, plus chromium, zinc, and so on. Not rocket science, just enough to make sure I have an excess in my system.
So I swallow a handful of (mostly) harmless vitamin and mineral pills with lunch, and I'm good to go. Cheap, effective, and no significant side effects. I could not ask for anything more.
This is working for me, full stop. If my story sounds like yours, I suggest you try it and see if it will work for you.
Everyone has a different niacin reaction. I started gradually....By now I am up to 1000mg first thing in the morning. Taken with 4oz hot or cold water. This produces more of a flush than when taken with food. The classic Abram Hoffer (niacin guru who lived to 91) advice is to take niacin after meals. I take a few more 500mg capsules during the day so I take about 2500mg daily. To get over the hump you need to spread out your niacin. You want to maintain high niacin levels in your body throughout the day. So divided doses of niacin.
I know that if I took zero niacin for a week then took 500mg with hot water, that I will get a strong flush. I have done this. This is what scares off niacin newbies. Once you start daily niacin and take it a few times during the course of a day, the flush gets diminished.
Niacin is the core but get this book for the full story. Such as take a good B-50 complex a few times a day. This is a common supplement and contains 50mg of all the B vitamins. Take Thiamin (B1) (preferably the benfotiamine variety of B1) for brain health and repair. Yes, the B50 complex contains niacin and thiamin but you need more of those two. Also take vitamin C. The easiest C to take for me is the magnesium ascorbate powder and I take a total of 3 half teaspoons each day in divided doses. This equals about 3 grams of C. Magnesium ascorbate is a buffered C.
Eating a more plant based diet will help you. Take chromium picolinate which helps glucose metabolism. Read the book- "Lifting Depression: The Chromium Connection". He advocates 1000 mcg chromium picolinate daily. Many are in mild or severe depression caused by long term alcohol overuse. You might be a functional alcoholic who still does well at your job. Your life is not a mess but you have mild depression. Good for you! You have been strong so far. Intelligent use of niacin + B vitamins will lift this curtain of unhappiness.
Why all the B vitamins? Because high alcohol intake over years has put you into B vitamin deficiency. Why? Because alcohol functions much like sugar in your body and in the process of being metabolized it has been using up any store of B vitamins you have. When you start a high intake of niacin and the other B vitamins your sugar and glucose metabolism is returned to normal. So you will have reduced desire for alcohol due to hypoglycemic cravings. Cut it out totally perhaps.
You will find more information at co-author Andrew W Saul's website. Getting on an exercise program will help your alcohol situation. Will give you a daily improvement you can feel good about, that will help lift you out of the alcohol pit. Last but not least, get God back into your life if you are so inclined. Prayer can help.
On the second night, I awoke with horrible nausea, and had violent vomiting through the night. Still felt terrible all day the next day -- worse than any hangover, even though I had not drunk any alcohol. After a little investigation, I realized that the niacin capsules I purchased -- and most of what you'll find these days -- were TIMED RELEASE capsules. These do not burn through your system between meals. Instead, they linger in your body, slowly trickling out the niacin while you continue to stack more and more on top of it, until your liver is forced to deal with a large quantity of niacin all at once. The result is acute liver toxicity. Some people have even ended up with liver transplants after a mere 3 days of attempting to do high quantities of niacin, but using the timed release capsules because they didn't know any better.
While the authors talk a little about flushing in the book and elevated liver enzyme levels, nowhere in the book to they point out that you can seriously injure yourself in a very short period using the most common form of timed release niacin that you'll find at your local grocery. BE CAREFUL!