Many of your symptoms could actually be caused by alcohol intolerance, even if you don't drink!
Everyone produces small amounts of endogenous (produced inside the body) alcohol due to gut fermentation*. Typically, alcohol is produced and then rapidly removed from our systems through enzymatic activity via alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) and acetaldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH). These enzymes are not the same as the common over-the-counter digestive enzyme supplements. ADH and ALDH must be produced by the stomach lining and liver.
Some individuals may have poorly functioning enzyme systems due to illness or may be genetically predisposed to the intoxicating effects of alcohol due to inadequate production of ADH or ALDH enzymes.
It is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide suffer from alcohol intolerance—an inability to safely digest and metabolize alcohol. With 7.3 billion people in the world, that means one in every seven people have this problem. I would estimate 75% of chronically ill people have this problem and almost 100% of people with chronic Lyme disease have it.
Findings published January 10, 2016 in the online edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, suggest the possibility of treatment for those affected by the inactive enzyme. A new compound called Alda-1, may lead to treatments not only for alcohol intolerance but also to reduce the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately Alda-1 has only been tested on mice, and is not available yet and may not be for many years. This is why I have forged ahead to develop natural ways to do the same thing.
Alcohol intolerance can manifest in people who do not drink, due to alternate sources of alcohol and acetaldehyde. Many people with chronic illness complain of symptoms which are identical to the symptoms of a hangover or drunkenness.
Hangover symptoms are not directly due to the alcohol, but are due to acetaldehyde build up, which is the substance that alcohol breaks down into in the body. Acetaldehyde is 30 times more toxic than alcohol. A person with adequate amounts of ALDH2 enzyme can rapidly breakdown (metabolize) the acetaldehyde.
A person who does not produce enough of this enzyme, cannot breakdown the byproduct of alcohol, acetaldehyde, and therefore suffers all the same symptoms of someone who drinks heavily. They are indeed, to a small or large degree, in a perpetual state of being hungover! And the symptoms are much worse if these people try to drink alcohol.
How many of these symptoms of alcohol intolerance do you have?
How many of these symptoms of alcohol intolerance do you have?
• Fatigue and weakness
• Headaches and muscle aches
• Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
• Poor or decreased sleep
• Increased sensitivity to light and sound
• Dizziness or a sense of the room spinning
• Decreased ability to concentrate
• Mood disturbances, such as depression, anxiety and irritability
• Rapid heartbeat
• Asthma, wheezing
• Rashes, flushing
• Cognitive disturbances, brain fog
I have treated many chronically ill people who state that they cannot drink even one sip of wine or beer, without feeling like they drank a large amount. Many of these same people said they used to be able to drink alcohol with virtually no problems. This was my first indication that it might be worth my time to pursue ways to correct alcohol intolerance. If it was truly a genetic issue, then it is likely they would have never been able to consume alcohol without these problems.
My thought was if I could repair the specific cells and tissues that produce these enzymes then the person's condition would dramatically improve. The nice thing about it, is that alcohol intolerance is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not, so there would be no argument of the results.
Often people's symptoms have been blamed on infections, when they were really due to alcohol intolerance from enzyme imbalances. Of course, the infections could have damaged the cells responsible for making these enzymes, however just killing the infections would not necessarily correct the enzyme production problems.
What I found was that when the Alcohol Dehydrogenase and Aldehyde Dehydrogenase enzyme imbalances were corrected, as well as the Heme pathway in the body, which is responsible for making Cytochrome P450, another substance involved in completely metabolizing and detoxifying alcohol, that the symptoms and inability to drink normal amounts of alcohol or the ability to use alcohol-based remedies often improved dramatically.
The sensitivity to alcohol points to the fact that the tissues that produce the two primary enzymes necessary to properly metabolize alcohol, the stomach and the liver, have been damaged, possibly by medications. These include antibiotics, which are the dominant class of drug in this patient population, or other medications, not to mention damage and irritations to these tissues by environmental and microbial toxins.
Many theories have been presented as to why women** are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than men. The dominant theory used to be that body mass is greater in men, making them more tolerant to alcohol. Research has now shown this to be incorrect, and that the primary reason is women produce less of the enzymes Alcohol Dehydrogenase (ADH) and Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), which can lead to 30% higher blood alcohol levels for the same amount of alcohol consumed as men.
Nutrients for improving alcohol metabolism are Lipospheric Glutathione, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, (Use a high potency B-Complex), and vitamin C, and minerals such as Molybdenum, Zinc, and Magnesium. The herb, Milk Thistle has been shown to be beneficial in liver regeneration from alcohol damage. While these nutrients can help with alcohol metabolism, almost all of the people we see with chronic illness take these nutrients and still have issues with alcohol. This is because without the actual two necessary enzymes, you will still not be able to break down the alcohol and acetaldehyde. This is not to say the above nutrients are not crucial, they definitely are very important to take.
The exciting news is that the doctors at the Hansa Center have developed innovative tests to challenge the patient's body in order to help determine if they are indeed deficient in these two vital enzymes, and then our doctors can test to determine what unique combination of nutrients, homeopathic remedies, and/or botanicals that the body needs in order to cause it to once again start producing the enzymes necessary to correctly metabolize alcohol. Unfortunately, no one has identified a "one-size fits all" solution, however once an individual solution is achieved, in combination with these nutrients, the body can once more tolerate alcohol.
Correcting these enzyme problems can possibly save your life and may be a determining factor in the mortality of people with heart attacks. Alcohol triggers production of the ALDH2 enzyme, and during heart attacks, this same enzyme can neutralize toxins and lessen possible damage to heart tissue.
While still a recent innovation at the Hansa Center, this knowledge has led our doctors to develop new tests and natural treatments to target the body's ability to once again manufacture the enzymes. Although anecdotal, with more lab analysis needed to be performed to verify this improvement in enzyme production is occurring, the results for some of our patients seems to verify the suspicion. It is our desire to find a standardized formula or set of treatments that can be easily taught to healthcare professionals.
The following testimony is from one of our first Hansa patients to be tested and treated in this new way:
"While in college I was in a sorority, and I went out a lot and drank pretty heavily. I always seemed more affected by the alcohol than my friends. I would often get sick and the morning after partying was particularly hard with tons of hangover symptoms. After graduating from college and entering the workforce I would just drink socially, a few drinks a week, with the predictable buzz that one would expect.
In 2009 I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and coinfections and was put on several types of antibiotics. It felt like each of these about killed me, with a cascade of horrible symptoms. I began to feel like I was hungover all of the time and even one sip of beer or wine made my arms and legs feel super heavy, my brain fog would be awful, I would get flu-like symptoms, and a terrible headache. These were symptoms that I was experiencing all the time since starting the antibiotics, but with the alcohol they were dramatically worse.
It isn't that I wanted to drink and get drunk, but after years of suffering and being very restricted in life activities and diet, I just wanted to enjoy a drink once in awhile.
In 2010 I found the Hansa Center, after having to quit working and being essentially bedridden. Within the first two weeks of treatment I was 75% better in almost all my symptoms. I even came home and was able to start jogging again. I had lost all but 10 foods that I could eat, and after the next two trips to the Hansa Center I could eat anything I wanted. I could even eat seafood, which I was anaphylactic to since childhood! I have now eaten crab, shrimp, lobster, clams, and fish of all kinds with no problems.
The alcohol problems remained however until Dr. Jernigan tested me and gave me remedies to help my body start producing more of the enzymes my body needed to handle it. He asked me to go home and challenge the body to produce the enzymes by drinking a beer...something I definitely wanted to do, but I must admit, I was scared to do! The logic of pushing the body to do what we were asking it to do made some sense though, so I did it.
I went home and took a swallow of my favorite beer and waited a bit for the usual symptoms to show up. THEY DIDN'T! I drank a few more swallows and started crying...tears of relief!
I can now drink a beer and enjoy a glass of wine with no problems. Many of my "normal" symptoms, I now know were caused by problems from the alcohol my body produced from the action of yeast in my gut.
I can't thank Dr. Jernigan, and the doctors and the staff at the Hansa Center for constantly pushing the boundaries of healing science to help get people out of the prison their life has become. I highly recommend that if you have any type of illness that your doctors cannot figure out, that you give the Hansa Center a try!"
Other potential causes of alcohol symptoms:
• Red Wine is high in Histamine, and contains up to 200% more histamine than white wine, which can increase allergy symptoms, especially in people with Histamine Intolerance. (HIT) New "Low-Histamine" red wines are recently being introduced that promise fewer headaches and symptoms.
• Preexisting nut allergies can be aggravated by nut flavored drinks, such as Amaretto which uses almonds.
• Sulfur dioxide, and sulfites in wines and microbrew beer can increase asthma symptoms and cause headaches. Consider taking Molybdenum to increase production of sulfite oxidase from the liver to help breakdown sulfites. I am excited to be one of the first to announce a new product on the market. It is called Ullo, and is a unique filter that will remove all the sulfites from even the most expensive wines, without adding anything to the wine or taking any of the flavor or aroma out of the wine! I could not believe how much chemical taste there was in wine from the sulfites until I tried a before and after test the inventor had me try. Check it out at https://ullowine.com
• Wheat, rye, barley, and oats all contain gluten, which many people are allergic to. Often these are used in beer and malted drinks, like vodka, gin, whiskey, and bourbon.
An estimated 40 percent of people of East Asian descent, have a genetic mutation that produces an inactive form of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), which is responsible for breaking down the toxic alcohol, Acetaldehyde.
*Addressing yeast and mold overgrowth, if a factor, is necessary to help eliminate these sources of alcohol and acetaldehyde, not to mention the mycotoxins that damage the stomach lining and liver that produce the enzymes ADH and ALDH.
**An additional factor for women is hormone differences from men. Research suggests that the menstrual cycle and the use of any medication that affects the liver (because of the change in hormones) may intensify a woman’s response to alcohol. Women have been shown to develop their highest blood alcohol concentrations immediately before menstruating, and their lowest on the first day of menstruation.
For over 20 years the Hansa Center for Optimum Health, in Wichita, Kansas has specialized in the restoration of health for people with previously unresponsive and chronic illnesses of virtually all types. Over 85% of people come from other states and countries. If you have done everything you and your doctor know to do and are still struggling, contact our wonderful Patient Care Coordinator, Kara, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for information on the exciting new treatments we have developed at the Hansa Center for Optimum Health. For additional info, visit our website at www.HansaCenter.com.
This article is for educational purposes. Before implementing any supplements/remedies always consult with your healthcare professional. Due to the complexity of the human condition there remains the possibility of symptoms getting worse. Again, discuss the ideas presented here with your health care professional before beginning, and stop, or get support, if your condition worsens. This information is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, or mitigate any disease or illness, and has not been evaluated by the FDA. The Hansa Center does not treat named diseases, but seeks to restore the body's optimum structural and functional integrity so that the body can rapidly heal itself.
*Due to the exhaustive time spent per day with each patient, and poor repayment history of insurance companies, we unfortunately cannot accept insurance assignment. We do participate in Care Credit, and accept all major credit cards. We will gladly accept insurance when our elected officials revamp the health insurance industry to cover all results-based care. We encourage you to vote with this in mind. Please call 316-686-5900 ext. 1, for current pricing for our economically-priced, All-inclusive 2-3 weeks intensive packages of care.