The consumption of alcohol can hamper the nutritional status by displacing nutritious foods from the daily diet. The caloric content in alcohol is 7 calories per gram (cal/gm), which is far greater than either carbohydrate or protein (4cal/gm) and contains no minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can, although satisfy the requirements for calories but also causes anemia and malnutrition.
When alcohol metabolization occurs in the body, it utilizes thiamine, niacin, and other vitamins, suggesting that these vitamins are then not available and present for various other purposes required by our body.
Alcohol can also hamper the storage and absorption process of folacin, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Alcohol also can mediate the release of vitamin A in large doses into the blood that can result in night blindness.
Because alcohol is a diuretic that enhances urine output, it can also lead to the loss of water-soluble minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc. The status of zinc is especially affected by excess consumption of alcohol and can result in zinc deficiency, that is the ability to smell and taste, thus limiting dietary intake.
How Alcohol Causes Malnutrition
Alcohol consumption causes Malnutrition in many ways:
Reduction in the digestive enzyme secretion from the pancreas.
Nutritional absorption impairment by cellular damage of the intestine and stomach.
Affecting the gut microbiome.
Disabling the nutrients transport into the bloodstream
Alcoholics who suffer from malnutrition can cause the downregulation in the blood sugar levels, causing hypoglycemia.
Consumption of alcohol results in the deficiencies of various vitamins such as A, D, E, B, and K. This deficiency can further trigger night blindness, the slower wound healing process, bone softening, and neurological disorders.
Also, Malnutrition due to excess alcohol consumption results in different mineral deficiencies such as magnesium, calcium, and iron.