The recent article on alcohol related deaths in Arizona ("Arizona ranked in top five for alcohol-related deaths") brought attention to a serious health and social problem. Having worked with large numbers of alcoholics, drug addicts, ACOAs, and co-dependents in my psychology and counseling practice until I retired to Cottonwood 13 years ago, I was particularly interested in what was covered in the article. Some interesting perspectives were presented from an epidemiological view, a treatment view, and a public health view. CDC data were presented. Deni Carise said "there is no one cause" of alcoholism." Cory Nelson viewed alcoholism as a public health issue that might be prevented with the right kinds of programs targeting youth.
However, what was conspicuously absent in the article was any mention of the relationship between magnesium deficiency and alcoholism. In the 1980s and 1990s, E.B. Flink, MD, PhD wrote at least 12 published articles relating magnesium deficiency and alcoholism. Alcohol is a sugar and it needs magnesium to break it down and metabolize it. It is a well-established fact that alcohol intake depletes magnesium and contributes to a vicious cycle involving magnesium deficiency that affects blood sugar regulation and addictive cravings. Magnesium supplementation helps to support treatment and sobriety.
A related problem is that many young people in college today are taking stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall along with alcohol consumption. That combination accelerates the depletion of magnesium and feeds addictive cravings. Another new important factor is that high fructose corn syrup in so many foods and beverages today will further deplete magnesium. Educating young people about the relationship between stress, magnesium deficiency, and health problems - mental, physical, and addictions would be a big step in the right direction.
Rick Malter, Ph.D.