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Amino Acids reduce Alcohol Use, Intoxication and Withdrawal

Taking certain amino acids can help you reduce drinking and withdrawal

Amino acids reduce symptoms of alcohol abuse, intoxication and withdrawal

Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are often deficient in alcoholics because of chronic malnutrition and malabsorption. Research studies have investigated the benefits of amino acid supplementation for management of alcohol craving, intoxication and withdrawal. The amino acid taurine lowers the level of acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite of alcohol that can interfere with normal mental functioning. In one placebo-controlled study 60 patients hospitalized for acute alcohol withdrawal were randomized to receive taurine supplementation 1gm three times daily versus placebo for one week. Significantly fewer severe withdrawal symptoms including delirium and hallucinations were observed in the taurine group.

In one placebo-controlled study abstinent alcoholics treated with acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) 2gm/day for three months performed better on tests of memory, reasoning and language compared to a matched control group. Tyrosine may be a useful add-on treatment in cocaine abuse. Abnormal low serum levels of L-tryptophan are correlated with low serotonin in a sub-set of alcoholics who are at increased risk of developing early onset alcoholism associated with antisocial behavior. Findings of animal studies suggest that L-tryptophan may reduce alcohol craving in humans. Taking L-tryptophan before drinking may reduce the severity of cognitive impairment associated with alcohol use.

Check out my e-book "Alcohol and Drug Abuse: The Integrative Solution" to find out more about amino acids and other complementary and alternative approaches for reducing alcohol craving, cutting down on drinking and decreasing unpleasant symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

About the Author
James Lake, MD

James Lake, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, works to transform mental health care through the evidence-based uses of alternative therapies.

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