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Does Alcohol Deplete Amino Acids?

Alcohol use can lead to numerous health problems. Consuming alcohol is known to deplete the body of essential nutrients, decrease serotonin and dopamine levels, and disrupt how well both the nervous system and digestive system operate.

The damage doesn’t stop there, though. Alcohol impacts the body’s ability to utilize and absorb amino acids, too. How does alcohol deplete amino acids? What are the effects of alcohol on amino acids? And why are amino acids important in the first place? 

Your body needs the support of amino acids to function at its best, and an amino acid deficiency will only exacerbate the other medical issues brought on by drinking alcohol. 

Understanding Amino Acids

Hundreds of amino acids exist in food, plants, and nature, but the body only requires the use of about 20 different amino acids. 

What is an Amino Acid?

Amino acids are a type of molecule that come together to form proteins. Your body contains different kinds of proteins, each made up of different types of amino acids arranged in a specific sequence. Amino acids are often described as the building blocks of proteins. Each protein consists of a chain of amino acids, and that chain is arranged in a particular order.

The Cleveland Clinic uses a clever analogy to describe the connection between amino acids and proteins: “You can think of amino acids like the letters of the alphabet. When you combine letters in various ways, you make different words. The same goes for amino acids — when you combine them in various ways, you make different proteins.”

The Purpose of Proteins

Every protein has a unique role and purpose, which means each type of amino acid does as well. Amino acids work to:

  • Build neurotransmitters
  • Support your immune system
  • Fix and repair body tissue
  • Stimulate muscle growth
  • Generate growth hormones
  • Produce hormones and enzymes
  • Absorb vitamins and minerals
  • Create energy
  • Break down food 
  • Sustain normal digestion
  • Regulate sleep
  • Nourish hair, skin, and nails

Some amino acids even aid in the production of other kinds of amino acids. Undoubtedly, amino acids play an integral role in your overall health and wellbeing. So when alcohol use depletes your amino acids, you will feel the widespread effects of alcohol on amino acids.

How Does Alcohol Deplete Amino Acids

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism answers the question – “Does alcohol deplete amino acids?”:

“Research indicates that alcohol affects protein nutrition by causing impaired digestion of proteins to amino acids, impaired processing of amino acids by the small intestine and liver, impaired synthesis of proteins from amino acids, and impaired protein secretion by the liver.”

The National Library of Medicine further explains:

“Marked alterations in amino acid metabolism in the liver and other organs are observed in human alcoholics. These result in changes in plasma and tissue levels of amino acids and may explain or contribute to hepatic encephalopathy by altering levels of intermediate products such as catecholamines and neurotransmitters … Amino acid requirements in the diet may be altered in the alcoholic along with lowered protein tolerance.”

The Effects of Alcohol on Amino Acids

What symptoms or medical conditions can develop if alcohol depletes your amino acids? Since each amino acid carries a certain name and responsibility, there are numerous effects of alcohol on amino acids and other chemicals your body relies on to function. 

Catecholamines

A deficient level of catecholamines (such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine) can lead to decreased energy, headaches, inability to concentrate, and depression. 

GABA

Low GABA levels can lead to mood disorders, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. 

L-Tryptophan

A deficiency in L-Tryptophan can lead to lack of impulse control, anxiety, poor concentration, depression, and sleep disturbances. 

L-Glutamine

Low levels of L-Glutamine can affect your gut health, metabolism, immune function, blood sugar, and energy. 

L-Tyrosine

Low L-Tyrosine levels can cause depression and lead to irregular blood sugar, body temperature, and blood pressure. 

Why Amino Acids are Important in Alcohol Detox

It is important to know how alcohol harms your body, so you know how to help your body during an alcohol detox. Consuming alcohol depletes amino acids, and your body needs amino acids to function. 

To detox from alcohol, you have to work to reverse the effects of alcohol on amino acids. One way to accomplish this is by replenishing the body of essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to amino acids. 

BioRebalance Restore contains amino acids, plus other key ingredients that work to correct a variety of nutrient deficiencies. 

When you give your body back what was depleted by alcohol use, you begin to heal all parts of the body that alcohol damaged, such as the:

  • Immune system
  • Nervous system
  • Digestive system
  • Organs
  • Brain

This is exactly how BioRebalance Restore works. 

Does alcohol deplete amino acids? Yes, and if you are looking for a dietary supplement to restore what was lost due to alcohol use, BioRebalance Restore is the solution. 

Check out our FAQ page to learn more.  

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Dr. Rebeca Eriksen, PhD MSc BSc (Hons) RD, is the Co-Founder at BioRebalance. She has a PhD in Nutritional Genetics from Imperial College London, and over ten years of clinical experience designing custom nutritional repair regimens for patients recovering from alcohol addiction and other disorders.

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