Health Conditions & Chronic Disease

Alcoholism Treatment: Why Do I Need Vitamins To Become Well?

Alcoholism is not a personality defect. It is not a bad habit that needs to be broken. It is a devastating physical disease that damages both the mind and the body. Recovery is not just possible but proven here at Tully Hill Hospital. The results speaks for themselves: more than 80 percent of those treated at Tully Hill have broken their addiction to alcohol and drugs, maintained their sobriety, and regained their health at one year after treatment.

Too often alcoholics consider themselves failures and see their disease as a character flaw, rather than the illness it really is. Unfortunately, this attitude is all too common in our society. This adds to the pain the alcoholics must endure when they realize that family members, friends, and even health professionals hold them responsible for their disease. The purpose of this booklet is to help you understand the biochemical disorders and changes that contribute to alcoholism, as you or your loved one proceeds through the treatment program at Tully Hill.

As a youth my father hired me to cut the lawn. Before I began he instructed myself to raise the settings on the lawn mower to prevent cutting the grass to low and burning the lawn. In my haste I cut the lawn and went out to play. The sun came out very hot that day and burned the lawn brown. Needless to say my father was not pleased when he came home from work, and I neither was I. Alcohol burns the micro-villi down over time, thereby preventing the sweeping action and preventing foods from being absorbed properly.

Dr. Charles Gant & the Tully Hill staff have spent several years testing & fine tuning the combined treatment approach with hundreds of drug and alcohol addicts. Traditional treatment methods have only a 15 to 25 percent recovery rate.

The Tully Hill protocol combines micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, essential oils and amino acids) with a sound diet that is designed to help you stop drinking and detoxify your body. It will help you put a permanent end to your craving for alcohol, rebuild your physical and emotional health, and end the depression that so often accompanies alcoholism and drug addiction.

The program itself is based on solid scientific research that has demonstrated that alcoholism is a physical disease, that is activated by the effects of alcohol on the biochemistry of the brain and the body.

Alcohol destroys vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and amino acids) that control mental function, preventing depression, and maintaining physical health. All the damage done by alcohol may be undone by supplying nutrients in high dosages to correct the imbalances.

As you or your loved one begins using the program you will notice a difference in the way you feel almost immediately. Patients are surprised and delighted in how easily it is to stop drinking with the aid of the micro-nutrient formula that blocks the cravings for alcohol.


Research follow-up has found that alcoholics treated in the traditional approach of counseling or counseling and pharmacological intervention (drug treatment) continue to battle depression and crave alcohol, never regaining lost territory in their personal lives and careers. Alcoholism literally casts a long dark shadow on their lives for years after they quit drinking. 


The Tully Hill biochemical repair program is built around the two premises:

1. Addressing the substances that must be kept out of the alcoholic’s body (including alcohol and other drugs, such as nicotine, caffeine, and refined sugars).
2. Addressing the substances that must be restored (brain and body chemicals depleted by alcohol).

It is important to realize why you and or your loved ones avoid caffeine, nicotine, and refined sugar in addition to alcohol and/or drugs. Caffeine is a drug, and can complicate or retard recovery from alcoholism. Caffeine causes high levels of adrenaline to enter the bloodstream. This does provide a temporary boost in energy but at the cost of breaking down glycogen (stored blood sugar from the liver and the skeletal muscles) into the bloodstream.

The sudden release of blood sugar into the bloodstream triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas. This rush of sugar and insulin is little help for the alcoholic who is attempting to stabilize their glucose metabolism and reduce overall cravings.

Foods containing refined sugars are also off-limits because they increase the symptoms of hypoglycemia, that include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Impaired cognitive thinking
  • Poor memory
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Shakiness
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Mood Swings

Once the symptoms are recognized as a hypoglycemic response appropriate measures are implemented by Dr. Gant and the Tully Hill staff. The vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients help to control blood sugar swings that lead to cravings for alcohol, cigarettes and foods high in sugar.

Alcohol causes extensive damage to the lining of the stomach and especially the small intestine where the bulk of foods are absorbed by the body. The tiny hairlike structures (called the micro-villi) sweep the food particles along enabling the small intestinal lining to transport food molecules into the bloodstream to travel to the liver and then to the body. Alcohol damages these hairlike structures or burns them if you will, in a similar fashion to cutting your lawn early on a summer day that turns out to be a scorcher.

Researchers have found that early in the recovery process, alcoholics excrete through their urine most of a B vitamin (pantothenic acid) they took in a supplement form. This was found to occur even when deficiencies existed of this B vitamin as well as other nutrients.

The only way to overcome this malabsorption problem is to temporarily supply mega-doses of the nutrients needed. The therapeutic levels of the nutrients given in the Micro-nutrient protocol enable your body to pick up vital nutrients despite your damaged ability to absorb


AA cofounder Bill Wilson found a link between alcoholism and hypoglycemia which he discussed in the late 1960’s in his papers to AA physicians. Dozens of researchers have concluded that as many as 95% of all alcoholics are hypoglycemic. Furthermore, it has been concluded that even “recovered’ alcoholics who have been sober for many years continue to suffer the effects of hypoglycemia if they were never treated for this disorder with proper diet and vitamin therapy.

In order for treatment to be effective for you or your loved one it is important to realize that the treatment of alcoholism centers essentially around the control of hypoglycemia, and the avoidance of easily absorbed carbohydrates (soda, candy ,cakes, etc.).


In order to understand how the above mentioned physical symptoms develop it is important that you understand a little about glucose metabolism in the body. Our bodies immediately convert foods high in refined sugar, white flour or starch to blood sugar or glucose. As the blood sugar levels rises above normal levels, the pancreas pumps out extra insulin to meet the overload and to clear the excess of blood sugar.

An alcoholic that is also hypoglycemic has an over sensitized pancreas, which stimulates an over production of insulin. This causes an excessive removal of blood sugar, driving down blood sugar levels below normal. It is at this time that physical symptoms result as described throughout this discussion. Over time this physical stress affects the adrenal glands as they to pump out excessive amounts of epinephrine (a hormone) in an effort to prevent further insulin shock.. This results in increased severity of the symptoms of hypoglycemia, resulting in increased to cravings for sugar (alcohol, refined flour, candy, etc.).

Now a true “catch 22” has been put into motion. Unless the alcoholic/hypoglycemic patient uses the micro-nutrients to reduce the cravings for alcohol, they will likely return to drinking for the temporary boosts in blood sugar, and the relief of symptoms that accompany hypoglycemia.


You will not recover from hypoglycemia overnight, but by using the micro-nutrient protocol you can begin to feel better in a few days. You can end the symptoms and correct the underlying metabolic errors just as hundreds of patients have at Tully Hill and around the country by:

  • Changing to a healthy new diet. Taking the correct nutritional vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • Giving up caffeine and cigarettes to enjoy complete recovery

Dr. Gant and the staff have corrected your diet and given you many nutrients that are designed to take away your cravings for sweets. These include glutamine (amino acid), vitamin C, magnesium, and pantothenic acid for sugar cravings. A description of the ingredients are listed below to help you better understand what you are taking and why:

L-tyrosine Critical Dopamine Precursor: Helps to combat depression

Dl-phenylanine Critical Dopamine/PEA Precursor: Helps manage certain types of depression

B1(Thiamin): Critical for Alcoholic Brain damage recovery deficiencies trigger depression, and cause cardiac disorders among alcoholics

Folic Acid: Critical vitamin

Dopamine synthesis B2(Riboflavin): Important for vitamin B6 activation as deficiencies cause depression

B3(Niacin) Critical Serotonergic nutrient: Feel good hormone because deficiencies causes depression, and anxiety

B6(Pyroxidine HCL Critical Serotonergic nutrient(2) deficiencies cause neuro-transmitters disruption

Pyroxidal 5 Phosphate B12(Cyanocobalmin): Neurological normalizer

Vitamin C: Antioxidant as Adrenal function deficiencies cause depression, fatigue

Chromium Important Insulin action (serotonin)

Magnesium Sulfate Electrolyte: Deficiencies cause, confusion, weakness, insomnia, headaches

Zinc: Critical neuronutrient as deficiencies cause, lack of appetite and lethargy

Taurine: Anabolic action on muscle tissue; stops alcohol-withdrawal tremors

Beta Carotene antioxidant: neural repair

Vitamin E antioxidant: neural repair

Pantothenic acid: Critical vitamin, adrenal support, reduces stress, deficiencies cause fatigue, chronic stress, and depression

Biotin Synergist with B1 & pantothenic acid PABA antioxidant: Adrenal support.

Manganese: Necessary coenzyme. Antioxidant, stabilizes blood sugar, prevents hypoglycemic mood swings.

Selenium: Necessary coenzyme. Antioxidant, glutamine.

Vital GABA Precursor: (alcoholism) Important in repairing small intestine health, and restoration of lean body mass, improves memory, reduces cravings for alcohol

Vitamin D Neuroendocrine tonic Choline Vital GABA precursor: Important in maintaining normal Inositol psychological functioning.

Phospho-glyco-lipids found in matrix of all cells. Critical in nerve & brain cell repair.

Arginine Aids in ammonia clearance Stimulates the immune response, increases production of T cells.

Ornithine Aids in ammonia clearance. Promotes fat metabolism N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine Pantethine Stimulates growth of healthy bacteria, and improved micro- villa integrity. Stimulates release of Acetylco-enzyme A, thereby reducing cholesterol & triglyceride levels in blood. FATTY ACIDS Gamma Linolenic Acid 1 series prostaglandin’s which have a lipolytic (fat mobilizing effect).

This enhances energy economy from fatty acid metabolism. Linoleic Acid Essential fatty acid, deficiency is linked to degenerative disease Oleic Acid Monosaturated fatty acid Omega 3 Fatty Acids 3 series prostaglandin’s production which inhibit the production of 2 series prostaglandin’s responsible for inflammation of joints.
References: 1-8: Werbach, M,MD Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, Third Line Press, 1991.


Stress As a result of the physical and psychological load that your body has had to endure, you can be literally “stressed out”. Pantothenic acid has been found to reduce stress and depression. This is accomplished by the fact that this vital nutrient targets repair for the adrenal glands that have been working over-time to produce the hormone epinephrine to combat the insulin fluctuations. Other stress fighters include glutamine, which rids the body of ammonia that builds up a result of the protein destruction brought on by stress.

The amino acid Phenylalanine is converted into adrenaline (another hormone) to replenish supplies exhausted by stress. Tyrosine is used in the production of the thyroid hormone, (thyroxine) which lessens stress by stabilizing your metabolic rate. The B vitamins are used to soothe your nerves and boost your energy. Memory Loss & Insomnia Problems with short term memory? Alcohol is probably responsible. Alcohol blocks the absorption of B vitamins especially thiamin, causing memory loss, central-nervous system damage, and poor concentration. Vitamin B-6 is responsible for our dream sleep, as well as vitamin C.


If you have been battling depression you are not alone. It is estimated that at least 40% of alcoholics in the United States are affected. Many experts blame depression in alcoholics on the events that occurred, such as loss of job, martial problems, etc. Depression has bio-chemical roots and can be readily corrected by micro-nutrients. The B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional health.

They cannot be stored in the body, and we depend entirely upon our daily diet to meet the requirements for B-vitamins. B- vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine. Many times these are the substances that an alcoholic consume daily to the exclusion of everything else, and why so much emphasis is placed on removing these toxins from the body at Tully Hill.

No amount of counseling can help people who suffer from bio-chemical depression. The combination of counseling through the 12 Step Program, diet and the addition of the micro-nutrient protocol has proven to be the key ingredients for complete recovery.

Author: By: Mark J. Occhipinti, M.S., Ph.D., N.D.



These Studies Discuss Essential Fatty Acids in reducing cravings for alcohol among alcoholics.



1. Essential Fatty Acids and Immunity in Mental Health, Dr. Charles Bates American College of Advancement in Medicine Conference, Washington DC, May, 1990

2. The Major Psychoses and Neuroses as Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency Syndrome: Substrate Pellagra D. Rudin. Biological Psychiatry, vol. 16, No. 9. 1981

3. Glenn I. et al. Possible pharmacological approaches to the prevention and treatment of alcohol-related CNS impairment: Results of a double blind trial of essential fatty acids in G Edwards, J. Littleton, Eds. Pharmacological Treatments for Alcoholism, London, pp. 331- 350.,1884.

4. Horrobin,DF, A biochemical basis for alcoholism and alcohol-induced damage including the fetal alcohol syndrome and cirrhosis: Interference with Essential Fatty Acid and Prostaglandin Metabolism. Med.Hypotheses 6:929-42, 1980.

5. Horrobin,DF, Prostaglandin’s and Essential Fatty Acids: A New Approach to the Understanding and Treatment of Alcoholism. Psychiatry in Practice, pp. 19-21.,August, 1984.

6. Seganick DJ, et al. Gamma Linolenic acid inhibits the development of the ethanol-induced fatty liver. Prostaglandin’s Leukotrienes Med., 17:277-82, 1985.

7. Essential Fatty Acids Increase Prostaglandin Production and Decrease Withdrawal Syndrome

8. Wilson, D. et al. Clinical Research 1973; 21:289.

9. Rotroeen J. et al. Life Science. 1980;26: 1867-76.

10. Lee,T.H. et al. Effect of Dietary Enrichment with Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids on In Vitro Neutrophil and Monocyte Leukotriene Generation and Neutrophil Function, N. Engl.J. Med., 312, pp.1217-1224, 1985.

11. Fehily, A.M., et al. The Effect of Fatty Acids on Plasma Lipid and Lipoprotein Concentrations Am J. Clin. Nutr., 38, pp. 349- 351.,1983.

12. Fats that Heal, Fats that kill, Section Six: New Research-New Fats Fat Finding Missions, Breakthroughs, Applications, Udo Erasmus, 1993.

These studies discuss GLUTAMINE in reducing cravings in alcohol among alcoholics.

13. GLUTAMINE: Physiology, Biochemistry and Nutrition in Critical Illness, Wiley W. Souba, R.G. Landes Company Austin, 1992.

14. Neuro-Nutrition as an Adjunct to Therapy for Addictive Diseases, J. M. Larson,Ph.D. Health Media of America, June, 1989.

15. A Primer on Neurotransmitters and Cocaine, J. of Psychoactive Drugs, Jul.-Sept., 1988.

16. Strategic Precursor and Co-Factor Loading for Neurotransmitters Depleted by Cocaine Abuse

17. Rogers LL, et al. Quart. J. Studies on Alcohol, 18(4):581-7, 1957

18. Rogers LL. et al. Voluntary alcohol consumption by rats following administration of L-glutamine. J. Biol. Chem. 220(1):321-3, 1956.

19. Werbach,M. MD, Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, A source book of clinical research. 1991.

20. Kappus H. et al. Lipid peroxidation induced by ethanol and halogenated hydrocarbons in vivo as measured by ethane exhalation, in H Sies & A Wendel Eds. Functions of Glutathione in Liver and Kidney. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 1978.

21. Volkow, N. et al. et al. Changes in Brain Glucose metabolism in Cocaine Dependence and Withdrawal, Am. J. Psychiatry, 148:5, May 1991.

22. These studies discuss PANTETHINE interaction with acetaldehyde (the primary metabolite of alcohol) among alcoholics.

23. Myer RD. Tetr-hydro-isoquinolines in the brain: The basis of an animal model of addiction. Alcohol Clinical Exp. Res. 2:145, 1978.

24. Cohen al. Alkaloids from catecholamines in adrenal tissue: Possible role in alcoholism. Science 167:1749-51, 1970.

25. Davis VE, et al. Alcohol, amines and alkaloids: a possible biochemical basis for alcohol addiction. Science 167:1005-7, 1970.

26. Watanabe A. et al. Lowering of blood acetaldehyde but not ethanol concentrations by pantethine following alcohol ingestion: Different effects of flushing and nonflushing subjects. Alcoholism (NY) 9(3): 272-76, 1985.

27. Smimuzu et al. A Biochemical Study of Pantethine. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 13(2), 1965.

28. Pantethine, Treatment of Hyper-lipidemia, Clin. Ther., 8:537, 1986.

These Studies Discuss AMINO ACIDS in reducing cravings in alcoholic’s.

29. Blum K. et al. Enkephalinase Inhibition and Precursor Amino Acid Loading Improves Inpatient Treatment of Alcohol and Polydrug Abusers: double-blind Placebo-Controlled Study of Nutritional Adjunctive Therapy. Alcohol. Vol. 5, pp. 481-493. 1989 (article contains 99 additional references on micro-nutrient therapy in the treatment of alcohol and polydrug abuse).

30. Effects of Taurine on Alcohol Withdrawal, The Lancet, Sept. 1977.

31. Jaffe, R. MD, et al. The Biochemical-Immunology Window: A Molecular view of Psychiatric Case Management, J. Appl. Nutr. Vol. 44(2), 1992.

32. Tyrosine for the Treatment of Depression. Am J. Psychiatry 137:5, May, 1980.

33. Phenylalanine in Affective Disorders. Ad. Biol. Psych. vol. 10. pp. 137-147, 1983.

34. GIBSON C, et al. Tyrosine for the Treatment of Depression. Ad. Bio.Psychiat.10:148-154, 1983.

35. Watanabe, A. et al. Lowering of liver acetaldehyde but not ethanol concentrations by pretreatment with taurine in ethanol-loaded rates. Experientia 41(11): 1421-22, 1985.

36. Ikeda H. Effects of taurine on alcohol withdrawal. Lancet 2:509, 1977.

37. Nasrallah SM, et al. Amino acid therapy of alcoholic hepatitis. Lancet 2:126-7, 1980.

38. These studies discuss VITAMINS in reducing cravings in alcoholics.




39. Baines M. Detection and incidence of B and C vitamin deficiency in alcohol-related illness. Ann. Clin. Biochem. 15:307-12, 1978.

40. Blocker DE et al.. Alcohol reduces folate absorption, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 46:503, 1987.

41. Cleary JP. Niacinamide and addictions. J. Nutr. Med. 1:83-84, 1990.

42. Lumeng L. The role of acetaldehyde in mediating the deleterious effect of ethanol on pyridoxal 5-phosphate metabolism. J. Clin. Invest. 62:286-93, 1978.

43. Majumdar SK The influence of ethanol on intestinal absorption and utilization of nutrients. Clin. Gastro- enterol. 10(2):263-93, 1981.

44. Sikic BI. et al. Effects of Dietary Ascorbic Acid Supplementation on Hepatic -Metabolizing Enzymes in the Guinea Pig, Bio Pharm. 26:2037-41.,1977.

45. Leo MA, Interaction of ethanol with vitamin A Alcoholism: Clin. Exp. 7:15, 1983.

46. Hoffer, A. Niacin therapy in Psychiatry, Charles Thomas, Springfield, Ill. 1962.

47. Wilson, Bill, The Vitamin B-3 Therapy, A Second Communication to AA Physicians, February, 1968.(containing 55 references world-wide regarding human clinical studies using vitamin therapy in reducing cravings for alcohol).

48. Brown JR., et al. Neurodynamics of Relapse Prevention: A Neuronutrient Approach to Outpatient DUI Offenders. J. Psych. Drugs, vol. 22(2) April-June, 1990.(85 references citing intervention of micro-nutrients in reducing cravings of alcohol among alcoholics.

49. Susick RL et al. Effect of ascorbic acid on the consequences of acute alcohol consumption in humans. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 41(5):502-09, 1987.

50. These Studies Discuss Minerals Ability to Reduce Cravings in Alcoholics.

51. O’Brien CC. Experimental evidence in the treatment of alcoholism by intensive calcium therapy. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 51(8):393-94,428, 1952.

52. Flink EB, Magnesium deficiency in alcoholism. Alcoholism (NY) 10(6): 590-94,1986.

53. Pall HS, et al. Hypo-magnesemia causing myopathy and hypocalcemia in an alcoholic. Postgrad Med. J. 63:665-67, 1987.

54. . McClain CJ, et al. Zinc deficiency in the alcoholic: A review Alcoholism: Clin. Exp. 7:5, 1983.

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