Wet Brain. Why Do We Add Vitamins to Bread, But Not Beer?

Nobody walks away from years of heavy drinking unscathed, it always takes its toll; but for some heavy drinkers, a multi decade party ends in tragedy, with Wernickes-Korsakoffs Syndrome…wet brain.

Wet Brain

Wet brain is a tragic and often fatal syndrome of brain damage caused by years of vitamin B1 deficiency. Most people get all the vitamin B1 they need through a normal diet. Alcoholics, who may eat poorly or have damaged and ill functioning gastro intestinal systems, often do not. And the syndrome is pretty sad, with symptoms of confusion, language deficits, an ill ability to concentrate and social withdrawal just a few of many – and it can and does kill tens of thousands of Americans each year.

A simple vitamin deficiency!

So anyway, I was talking with my mom about wet brain, and she asked me why they didn’t just fortify beer with vitamin B1. And I had no idea. Why didn’t they? There must be some reason though right? It just seems too obvious a solution to such tragedy.

So anyway, a quick peek online confirmed a couple of things. Firstly, that my mom is a pretty smart cookie, and secondly that the AMA has been recommending just such a fortification, and studies have shown that it would work. An Australian study, where researchers actually did fortify beer showed that alcoholics drinking this B1 beer showed cognitive improvements, couldn’t taste the difference, and that the vitamins could be added to beer for about 20 cents per 6000 bottles!

Currently, brewers cannot legally add vitamins to beer, and some have argued that by offering vitamin enriched alcohol, some people might assume that drinking was less dangerous than it is. But hey, legislation is changeable, especially when it makes sense – when it saves lives, and I don’t think adding vitamin fortification to the small print on a case of beer is gonna’ be convincing anyone to drink more than they do now.

But there has got to be something else, right? I mean it can’t be this easy can it…

So for now, if you drink too much, make sure you take a B12 supplement, it could save your life – and maybe one day, one day soon, that just won’t be necessary, and you’ll get all you need in a few "well balanced" beers a day.

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Nobody walks away from years of heavy drinking unscathed, it always takes its toll; but for some heavy drinkers, a multi decade party ends in tragedy, with Wernickes-Korsakoffs Syndrome…wet brain.

Wet Brain

Wet brain is a tragic and often fatal syndrome of brain damage caused by years of vitamin B1 deficiency. Most people get all the vitamin B1 they need through a normal diet. Alcoholics, who may eat poorly or have damaged and ill functioning gastro intestinal systems, often do not. And the syndrome is pretty sad, with symptoms of confusion, language deficits, an ill ability to concentrate and social withdrawal just a few of many – and it can and does kill tens of thousands of Americans each year.

A simple vitamin deficiency!

So anyway, I was talking with my mom about wet brain, and she asked me why they didn’t just fortify beer with vitamin B1. And I had no idea. Why didn’t they? There must be some reason though right? It just seems too obvious a solution to such tragedy.

So anyway, a quick peek online confirmed a couple of things. Firstly, that my mom is a pretty smart cookie, and secondly that the AMA has been recommending just such a fortification, and studies have shown that it would work. An Australian study, where researchers actually did fortify beer showed that alcoholics drinking this B1 beer showed cognitive improvements, couldn’t taste the difference, and that the vitamins could be added to beer for about 20 cents per 6000 bottles!

Currently, brewers cannot legally add vitamins to beer, and some have argued that by offering vitamin enriched alcohol, some people might assume that drinking was less dangerous than it is. But hey, legislation is changeable, especially when it makes sense – when it saves lives, and I don’t think adding vitamin fortification to the small print on a case of beer is gonna’ be convincing anyone to drink more than they do now.

But there has got to be something else, right? I mean it can’t be this easy can it…

So for now, if you drink too much, make sure you take a B12 supplement, it could save your life – and maybe one day, one day soon, that just won’t be necessary, and you’ll get all you need in a few "well balanced" beers a day.

5 thoughts on “Wet Brain. Why Do We Add Vitamins to Bread, But Not Beer?”

  1. I am an alcoholic and I must disagree with adding vitamens to alcohol. Firstly alcohol reduces the ability for the body to absobe nutrients so adding anything to the alcohol will not( and this has been shown in tests in America) be absobed into the body of a heavy drinker. Alcohol is a poison and is neurotoxic and should be treated as such. If you are a moderate drinker good luck to you. If you are an alcoholic like myself I would use the vitamen story as an excuse to drink more. Please do not encourage us to drink but rather try to get us into places of recovery. Spread the message of the damage alcohol does, do not try to justify drinking. If people are more aware of the dangers they may be more willing to try recovery than if they hear that alcohol now has vitamens. Most people do not understand the alcoholic mind but there are programmes run by alcoholics that work because we have 1st hand experiance. Thank you. Yours in sobriety.

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  2. Where are you located? My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with WK Syndrome and I immediately had the same question/thought…wonder if we could develop our own brew and market it aound the US? Alcoholics are going to drink one way or the other, might as well offer them something that could save their sanity! It is a horrible thing to do to your own body and not evern realize it – and I doubt less than 5% of alcoholics are aware of the brain damage they are causing.

    Looking forward to your reply…

    Kevin

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  3. Hi Kevin,

    for now we’re sticking to “cyberspace” as our official location… unless you get us in on a patent for vitamin beer, that is 🙂 Now, what would you want to call it anyways- “Trouble Beer”? 🙂 …most likely will be.

    Apparently, the Dallas-based brewery ‘Stampede Beer’ (http://www.stampedebeer.com/) released a vitamin beer in 2006.

    Here are some related articles:
    http://www.brookstonbeerbulletin.com/?p=69
    http://www.slashfood.com/2006/02/11/brewer-launches-vitamin-beer/

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  4. Not ten minutes after I read this post I found the Stampede website. I am impressed with what they have created, but they are marketing to health nuts (forgive the language choice) and they are in Texas and the middle gulf coast and up the mid-west into Wisconsin. There still seems to be plenty of room in the market. I don’t know anything about brewing beer, but am willing to do some research and give it a shot. I saw the founder of Stampede worked with the creator of “light beer” who has since passed away, but I am sure there must be others out there…

    As for names, I have thought of a few good ideas…

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  5. You would think that alcoholics need less marketing to than “health nuts” – when it comes to beer, anyways…

    Interesting. Good luck with your research! Keep us posted.

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