From the Desk of Dr. Tanya Gurvich

B-complex and Vitamin C in the Management of a Hangover

People who drink alcohol excessively often develop vitamin deficiencies.  Vitamin supplementation has been one of the components of alcohol treatment programs for decades.  Established and more recent research points to the benefit of vitamin supplementation.  Treating acutely intoxicated patients with a cocktail of vitamins may not only correct these deficiencies and increase recovery rates, but antioxidants like vitamin C, may help prevent tissue damage from the free radicals produced from the metabolism of alcohol.  Certain vitamin B deficiencies in people who drink alcohol can lead to serious, but reversible neurological damage which can really impair daily function.

A research study out of Russia showed that Vitamin B 6 or Pyridoxine increases the rate of alcohol degradation, lowering the level of intoxication.

Another study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine looked at the connection between B Complex Vitamins deficiency and neurological conditions.  Thiamine (also known as B1) deficiency is very common in patients who drink heavily and often has to be replaced in alcoholics undergoing detoxification.

An article in the International Journal of Nutrition points out that Vitamin C deficiency is possible in heavy drinkers as well.  In that particular study 96% of study participants were deficient in Vitamin C.

Both Vitamin C and Vitamin B complex are water soluble vitamins.  That means that they do not stay in our bodies for long periods of time.  Dietary supplementation of these vitamins is important to insure that we maintain adequate levels of those vitamins.  Because Vitamin C and B complex are easily cleared from our bodies, they can be taken daily without any safety concerns.


  1. Li et al. Vitamin Deficiencies in Acutely Intoxicated Patients in the ED. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2007.10.003. pg 793 -795
  2. Shpilenya et al. Metadoxine in Acute Alcohol Intoxication: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Alcohol Clinical and Experimental Research. Vol 26, No 3, 2002 pp340-346.
  3. Johnson Jeremy. Last Call: Ethanol Metabolism and the implications for Emergency Department Clinicians Managing Patients with Extreme Ethanol Intoxication. Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal Vol 31, no 3, pp 221-227
  4. Majumdar et al. Vitamin C utilization status in Chronic Alcoholic Patients after short Term Intravenous Therapy. Int J of Vitam Nutr 1983; 53(3). 27


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