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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Night blindness in alcoholics
Author: Fraser Trevor
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The Ancient Egyptians knew that feeding a patient liver (back, right) would help cure night blindness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) To h...
The Ancient Egyptians knew that feeding a pati...
The Ancient Egyptians knew that feeding a patient liver (back, right) would help cure night blindness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To help alcoholics recover, Dr Williams recommended education of 
alcoholics to eat nutritionally superior foods, and avoid not only alcohol, but also sugar and all 
refined foods. He recommended high potency nutritional supplements emphasizing B vitamins, 
zinc, and magnesium, known to be deficient in alcoholics, and also special supplements such as lglutamine, which reduces alcohol as well as sugar craving. 
A drinking alcoholic derives a large portion of his caloric intake from alcohol, which supplies only 
calories, no protein, vitamins or minerals. The average alcoholic consumes 120 - 140 grams (4 -
5 ounces) of alcohol per day, supplying about 1200 calories, half or more of the daily 
requirement. Even if the other half of the diet were excellent, which is unlikely, the alcoholic 
would not be able to meet protein vitamin and mineral needs. 
In addition, alcohol interferes with the absorption of several nutrients, including B1, B12, and 
folic acid. Over half of alcoholics have intestinal damage, or deficiency of the pancreatic enzymes 
needed to digest fats, essential fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E, and protein. In 
addition, liver damage impairs conversion of vitamins to their active forms. 
Deficiency of magnesium and B1 may be responsible for hangover symptoms, insomnia, and 
withdrawal symptoms such as tremors or shakes. Zinc deficiency causes low testosterone levels, 
with impotence and atrophy of male sex organs. This will often be restored to normal after 
several months of abstinence, and is a great incentive for some patients. Zinc is also required for 
conversion of vitamin A to the active form, retinol, in the eye. Night blindness results from 
deficiency of zinc or vitamin A, both lacking in alcoholics. Night blindness in alcoholics probably 
contributes to their high rate of highway crashes, since most alcohol-related crashes occur at 
night, even though there is less traffic. With impaired night vision and delayed adaptation to 
darkness, a driver is blinded for a much longer time by the headlights of a passing car. 
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