A Quick Clinical Tip of the day!
Thiamine, Magnesium, and Alcohol. We all have clients who over-consume alcohol. They don’t identify as alcoholics and don’t exhibit overtly dysfunctional or addictive behavior. However, regular alcohol intake (usually daily) can cause serious nutrient depletion in some people, *even if they aren’t consuming much at a time*. In particular, be on the lookout for B vitamin depletion due to alcohol, especially thiamine (Vitamin B1). B1 is required to detoxify alcohol, and alcohol also impairs its absorption. A double whammy. As an initial sign, one may wrestle with muscle cramps and tightness, especially in the calves. This is because thiamine is key for driving cellular metabolism (a key cofactor in pyruvate dehydrogenase) and preventing lactic acid build-up. Magnesium is also a critical cofactor for this process. A combination of B1 (typically within a good B-complex) and Magnesium (glycinate or malate) may give these clients dramatic relief while they are modifying their diet/habits.
In the FM world, we often think of insufficient magnesium being at the root of persistent muscle cramps, due to its master electrolyte function of increasing cellular potassium. And it often is! But if addressing these minerals alone doesn’t address the root cause, and regular intake of alcohol is at play, be sure to think of thiamine. Hydration is also key. And certainly other nutrient issues may be involved, but I have found this combination to be quite effective in a number of clients.
I hope this quick clinical tip serves you and your patients and clients. Follow-up questions are welcome!