he co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to offer a support group
for those addicted to alcohol, Bill Wilson made the first major
advance in addressing alcoholism.
fact which is less well-known is that Bill Wilson also made the
second major advance when he became aware of, and later promoted
the use of niacin vitamin B3 as a treatment for chronic drinkers.
Medicine and alcoholism.
as Alcoholics Anonymous slowly expanded, many of Bill Wilson's personal
and financial problems lingered, especially his depression.
biochemist Dr. Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., a psychiatrist and physician,
writes: "I met Bill in New York in 1960. Humphry Osmond and
I introduced him to the concept of megavitamin therapy. Bill was
very curious about it and began to take niacin, 3,000 mg
daily. Within a few weeks fatigue and depression which
had plagued him for years were gone.
Hoffer, in his foreword to the book "Alcoholism: The Cause
and The Cure", describes how he and Bill Wilson investigated
together the effect of Niacin vitamin B3 on alcoholics.
Hoffer writes: “Bill understood it first hand, for even though
he had been abstinent for many years, he was still unwell. He suffered
from immense anxiety, tension, and fatigue, but was able to function
in spite of what might have been disabling. After taking 3 grams
of niacin daily for two weeks, his symptoms vanished and he remained
free of addiction. This was a peak experience that he never forgot.
He became determined to give as many AA members as possible the
benefit of the same healing vitamin,”.
Hoffer further writes: “Without telling me that he was doing
so, Bill conducted a trial of niacin on 30 friends and colleagues
in New York. Most of them were very productive and sober members
of AA, but they all suffered from the common mind and mood afflictions
that people formerly addicted to alcohol experience, even when they
are not drinking. After three months he showed me his data. After
one month, ten of the subjects were well. After the second month
another ten had recovered, and the remaining one-third had shown
no improvement after the third month. By this time I had also treated
a number of people addicted to alcohol and had seen similar recoveries.”
1960 and his death in 1971, Bill Wilson shared this information
with physician members of AA in a series of 3 brochures, Communications
to Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill’s findings were unfortunately
dismissed by the AA’s International Board, because he was
not an "M.D." and the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous is
a social support structure, not a medical treatment provider.
- It's all about brain chemicals.
my brain is producing feel-good neurotransmitters naturally at the
correct time and in the correct amounts, I will feel good naturally,
with or without an alcoholic drink. There is no craving for alcohol,
no desire to drink.
I were to have a drink, it would not provide critically-needed relief
from psychological or nagging physical symptoms because the root
cause of the symptoms - the brain’s inability to produce sufficient
amounts of feel-good neurotransmitters - has been corrected.
Abram Hoffer and AA co-founder Bill Wilson recommend 3,000 mgs of
niacin daily to arrest the disease of alcoholism. There are other
nutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids which can be useful
in helping the brain produce those all-important happy-brain chemicals
and help one conquer alcoholism nutritionally:
C may be taken to the point of daily saturation, which
is just below the amount causing diarrhea. Vitamin C improves
the metabolism of the toxic by-products of alcohol and, in
large quantities, it is a powerful antitoxin. Vitamin C has
also been shown to be effective against hepatitis. (1)
B-COMPLEX (50 milligrams, 6 times daily). Beverage alcohol
(ethanol, C2 H5 OH) is like liquid sugar, it is a simple carbohydrate
supplying lots of energy and no nutrition. Alcohol depletes
the body of B vitamins, especially vitamin B1. It is safest
and easiest to take the whole B-vitamin team together.
L-GLUTAMINE (2 to 3 grams daily). This amino acid has been
shown to improve brain
function in alcoholics, resulting in improved
sleep, decreased anxiety and a reduced craving for alcohol.
Many whey protein brands include L-Glutamine in their preparation.
LECITHIN (2 to 5 tablespoons daily). Lecithin provides choline,
which your body can make into the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Lecithin is reported to play a role in helping to prevent
neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and multiple
sclerosis. Lecithin is an emulsifier of fat. The fatty liver
condition so prevalent with alcoholics is likely to improve
with lecithin supplementation.
1- Smith, L. H., ed. Clinical Guide To The Use of Vitamin
C, Life Sciences Press, Tacoma, WA, 1988
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