Heavy drinkers need:
Chronic alcoholics are typically deficient in vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin A.
Even in small amounts, drinking alcohol raises stomach acidity levels and reduces the ability to absorb nutrients through the stomach mucosa and small intestine.
Vitamin B Deficiency In Alcohol Dependence
Excessive alcohol intake results in inflammatory lesions on the stomach and small intestine walls, reducing the ability of mucosal cells to absorb nutrients, including vitamin B, from food.
Chronic alcoholics are particularly susceptible to deficiency of B vitamins.
Studies suggest that lower levels of Vitamin B1 in blood serum are both created and reinforced by alcohol consumption, and craving alcohol.
Sub-sections particularly at risk of developing Vitamin B deficiency include those with:
Signs & Symptoms Of Vitamin B Deficiency
Other Vitamin Deficiencies In Alcoholism
Long term drinkers with nutritional issues usually suffer from more deficiencies than vitamin B alone.
Chronic alcohol abuse lowers vitamin A levels present in the liver but increases it in other tissues.
Continued alcohol intake over long term periods causes continuing reduction of Vitamin A liver levels over time.
A common indicator of reduced vitamin A in alcoholics is impaired night vision (Nyctalopia).
Vitamin C deficiency in alcoholics can occur with:
One study demonstrated that alcohol increases vitamin C excretion in urine by 47%,  making it harder for alcoholics to retain it in the body.
Vitamin Deficiency Treatment In Heavy Drinkers
Vitamin B protects the liver from damage as a result of excess alcohol consumption and can help stabilise mood swings and cognitive function.
Evidence suggests that strong Vitamin B compound should be prescribed to alcoholics where:
Heavy drinkers may benefit from adding vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9 supplements as indicated by symptoms of deficiencies, and under professional medical guidance.
Vitamin B1 deficiency can be treated by ceasing alcohol consumption (with professional help), improving nutritional factors, and taking B1 supplements.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and Vitamin B9 (folate) have been found to have positive effects on comfort of detoxification from alcohol in a 2012 German study.
Evidence suggests that administering Niacin (vitamin B3) may help reduce risk of alcohol addiction as it appears to improve alcohol clearance from the body, and prevent the production of opiate-like by-products of alcohol biobreakdown in the body.
Some precautions are advised when taking B vitamins:
Mineral and Anti-Oxidant Supplementation In Alcoholism
Supplements with anti-oxidative properties may help to neutralise metabolites of alcohol which normally have damaging effects.
Glutamine is a naturally occurring essential amino acid which is underproduced in conditions of extreme stress or in ongoing heavy alcohol intake.
Alcohol intake suppresses Glutamine uptake at Glutamate receptors.
Supplementation with glutamine can additionally assist in attempts to reduce weight as it reduces the body's desire for sugar and carbohydrate.
Supplementation of magnesium 500mg to 1500mg a day may improve cognitive deficits related to chronic alcohol abuse by enhancing cerebral flow that is often reduced in chronic alcoholics.
Chronic alcohol abuse is commonly seen in patients with low systemic zinc levels, although only in those who are generally under-nourished.
Nutrition As A Natural Source Of Vitamins During Alcohol Abuse
Although chronic alcoholics are typically under 90% of the ideal body mass index, a 1997 study found only 18% were considered malnourished.
However, a substantial proportion of alcoholic patients in the study suffered from specific vitamin deficiencies correlating closely with increased alcohol intake.
At least half of a heavy drinkers calorie intake per day is from alcohol consumption. Compare this to just 4% of overall calories in the average non-alcoholic population (US).
Beyond effects on the stomach lining, high alcohol intake typically acts as an appetite suppressant, reducing vitamins and mineral intake from the general diet.
Increasing intake of nutrient dense foods can help to holistically recover lost or mal-absorbed vitamins in the body.