Drinking too much alcohol interferes with your pancreas’ ability to absorb vitamin C
10/02/2018 // Carol Anderson // Views

It's been known that drinking too much alcohol causes a variety of illnesses. Its long-term effect damages different parts of the body which, most of the time, are irreversible. One of the worst conditions a person can develop due to too much alcohol consumption is acute pancreatitis and researchers have revealed one of the possible reasons why.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology, it appears that chronic drinking hinders the ability of the pancreas to absorb vitamin C which makes it vulnerable to developing pancreatic diseases.

Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it has a therapeutic effect on the pancreas, particularly because it helps lower the risk of oxidative stress. Aside from promoting the anti-oxidizing ability in acute pancreatitis patients, vitamin C also blocks lipid peroxidation in the plasma and improves cellular immune function.

To find out more about the correlation between the pancreas' inability to absorb vitamin C and too much alcohol consumption, a team of researchers from the University of California, Irvine conducted a study involving mouse subjects.

After identifying that the protein called sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 2 (SVCT-2) was responsible for bringing vitamin C into pancreatic cells, the researchers exposed the pancreatic cells of mice to alcohol levels similar to the blood alcohol levels of a person who is a chronic drinker. The subjects were also given a diet which contains 25 percent of alcohol in the overall calorie content.


The results showed that in both cases, the pancreatic cells directly exposed to alcohol and the ones fed with alcohol had a lower number of SVCT-2 traveling to the pancreas. It showed that the alcohol was blocking the cell's absorption of vitamin C. (Related: Fresh vegetable diet protects against pancreatitis and risk of pancreatic cancer.)

Lead author, Hamid Said, Ph.D., said that the reduction of vitamin C levels and other essential micronutrients in the body will interfere with normal cellular activities in the pancreas. He added, "This may sensitize the pancreas to a secondary insult, predisposing it to the development of pancreatitis and other pancreatic diseases."

Alcohol-related pancreatitis

Fred Gorelick, M.D., from Yale University said, it takes about 10 years of daily alcohol abuse for a person to develop alcohol-related pancreatitis. Furthermore, the risk of developing it also increases in conjunction with the increase in the amount of alcohol consumed.

Although previous research found that too much alcohol in the body weakens the defense system of the pancreas, thus, making it more vulnerable to injuries, only 10 percent of chronic drinkers develop pancreatitis. This means that while alcohol brings negative effects, there are still other contributing factors as to why this particular organ's health declines.

Meanwhile, acute pancreatitis can also be caused by:

  • Too much fat levels in the bloodstream
  • Too much calcium in the bloodstream
  • Injuries in the abdomen that damage the pancreas
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Strong medications such as steroids and estrogens
  • Viral infection
  • Genetic abnormalities of the pancreas

Taking care of the pancreas

Most health conditions involving the pancreas are hard to treat, which makes it so important to take care of it at the onset. One can prevent developing pancreatitis by doing the following:

  • Consume less alcohol
  • Go for a low-fat diet
  • Find time to regularly exercise and lose the extra weight
  • Avoid crash diets
  • Quit smoking

You may be damaging your body by lacking some essential nutrients. Make sure you give your body the right care it needs by visiting Prevention.news today.

Sources include:




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