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The consumption of alcohol, like cigarettes, sugar, wheat, dairy and soya, is a very personal choice.

Too often we don’t realise our choices have consequences, and we have little or no control over these biological reactions. When we drink, even a little, the process of metabolizing alcohol requires vitamins and minerals; as the liver decreases its supply of these nutrients, the blood stream is called upon to replenish the supply. As a result, body cells are deprived of critical nutrients and normal body functions suffer.

There are many websites that go into details about which nutrients are depleted and what the symptoms of those deficiencies are, so I won’t itemise them here.

Suffice it to say that if you are a party animal, a steady social drinker or an alcoholic, you should supplement B vitamins and a mineral complex. The most difficult of the minerals is iron – taking an iron supplement when you have not been diagnosed anaemic is very hard (and dangerous) for your liver. And we’re talking about alcohol here, so your liver is already working overtime. Also, there are various forms of iron supplements, and not all of them are well tolerated or easily absorbed. Iron supplements can cause constipation, black stools and a ‘liverish’ feeling and still not solve the initial problem. Anaemia is also about B12, vitamin C and oxygen, so it gets a little complicated…

I say this often: the body is a complicated structure, made up of complicated organs and systems. Very seldom is there a single-bullet approach to the things that go wrong, and this is a classic example of that statement. A Good Solution would lie in a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, a powerful liver support and sufficient hydration to counteract the dehydration that results from alcohol consumption, especially in the heat of a South Coast summer.