Alcohol and B12

After a couple or horrendous episodes last summer and problems for many years, my husband finally got his loading doses (they weren't plain sailing but have made a difference). He's still not out of the woods and had one more jab last Friday - we're hoping he'll get some more before going onto a maintenance regime... but this is a long story...complicated by his work at sea (4 weeks away, 4 weeks at home).

Anyhow to the point... since last July he has not drunk alcohol at all, not wishing to excarbate his symptoms (particularly in relation to fatigue, mood and balance). However, now there seems to finally be light at the end of the tunnel, he is starting to envisage the day when he can enjoy a beer again. What are others experience of alcohol? Will it deplete it him again? Do those of you who now have symptoms under control enjoy a drink? (I would say he does not quite have his fatigue in particular, under control yet).

10 Replies

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  • Alcohol eliminates the other B vitamins that B12 needs to do its job. For me it is like a 4 day hangover,

    I also became gluten intolerant about the time my B12 deficiency was diagnosed.

    Beer contains gluten so I'm not drinking it for that reason as well. Whiskey is out for the same reason.

    I've not missed any of them.

  • Interesting, thank you. I wonder if taking some b complex vitamins before/during/after alcohol might help....? He realises he may never drink again though.

  • That's probably a good idea if the other B vitamins get depleted. I only found out about the alcohol issue recently when I overdid the wine at a party. I gave myself an injection the following day when I felt bad, and felt fine afterwards. I sometimes have a small glass of wine with dinner, a beer in the pub, with no ill effects. I do take a Garden of Life b complex daily, and I swear by them. Also folate with the injection. But I have cut down!

  • Hi. Beer absolutely has gluten in but whisky doesn't. It's all in the distillation process apparently. 😊

  • I can't say I ever noticed a difference pre/post injections (age has had the greatest effect on how I react to alcohol). If your husband wants to know how he will feel maybe the best thing to do is to choose a particularly relaxed and demand-free time and have a small amount of weak drink (beer?).

    Is it feasible for him to self-inject? That way he could self-treat when he's away at work. Subcutaneous injections are dead easy.

  • We are probably going to explore self injecting. Thank you.

  • Moderate consumption of alcohol (i.e., not liver-damaging) will do nothing to B12 levels apart from slightly speeding up renal excretion due to its diuretic effect.

    It can affect absorption, but that's irrelevant with injections.

  • I carried on drinking wine (regularly but small amounts) after being diagnosed with PA as I had no noticeable side-effects and nobody said anything about it. Then, about five years in, a blood test showed I had enlarged red blood cells, which shouldn't have happened with my B12 levels, so the GP told me to give up alcohol for three months. This resolved the problem, and he told me to continue.

    I gave up for a year, but have now started drinking occasionally (a couple of glasses of wine once or twice a month). I'm also very gluten intolerant, so can't drink beer and find gluten grain alcohols give me a big dehydration hangover even if I only have a tiny amount, whatever they all say about distillation!

    These days I generally feel very much healthier than a few years back – mainly due to avoiding gluten, but minimising alcohol has probably helped.

  • I find that exercise has a much greater effect on me than alcohol. If I exercise frequently and vigorously -- which I try to do -- I definitely need the jabs more frequently. I do drink alcohol, and of course that can deplete energy for its own reasons, so I keep it light and try to avoid it on weeknights. But I haven't found that it increases my need for B12.

  • When on my serious weight loss regime I gave up alcohol for 5 days out of seven. After several weeks I began to suspect that my neuropathic pain was worse on those non-gin days, so I kept track of the severity.

    Sure enough, the pain was worse when I didn't have a drink in the evening. Now I take a single shot of vodka, with my lime juice, alongside my evening meal. And I have much less pain in the evenings.

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