Kudos to Kudzu

Many people have commented on how much alcohol they have consumed during lockdown. We asked Resident Nutritionist Dr Shane Thurlow his thoughts:

Clay and Parker (2020) have recently highlighted in The Lancet Public Health that “governments should give public health warnings about excessive alcohol consumption during isolation to protect vulnerable individuals”. This warning supports concerns raised in a recent survey which found that 50% of British drinkers reporting an increase in the number of days consuming alcohol each week during the Covid-19 crisis.

The NHS provide practical tips on cutting down on alcohol intake including securing the support from your family, taking each day at a time  and developing a plan. Combined with trying to reduce stress, staying hydrated, eating nutritious food and ensuring plenty of sleep should all help to reduce the desire for increased alcohol intake.

Though it may be sad for many to read, in excess, alcohol and its metabolite acetaldehyde are toxic and harmful to human beings. Helping reduce the impact of excessive alcohol consumption can take two forms. Medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants such as polyphenolic components, isoflavonids and vitamins which could scavenge free radicals and have a long history to reduce the symptoms of a hangover (Wang et al., 2016).

Another use of medicinal plants in is the potential reduction of alcohol intake (described as an aversion therapy for alcohol use disorder in the research). This is were Kudzu is of interest and use. Kudzu is a Chinese herbal root and has reported benefits in the treatment of diabetics, cardiovascular disease, headaches, chronic alcohol liver disease and in reducing alcohol drinking. Lukas and colleagues (2005) showed that consuming a two-gram Kudzu extract (compared to a placebo) 2.5 hours prior to a ninety minutes drinking session significantly reduced subsequent alcohol volume. Regular Kudzu supplementation has also shown benefit in reducing alcohol consumption over weeks and percent days abstinent and number of consecutive days of abstinence (Liu et al., 2019).

Importantly, Kudzu is the only natural medication regarded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to treat alcohol abuse disorder (Liang and Olsen 2014).

Another scope for Bigvits. Working with Planetary Herbals in California, Bigvits are able to bring to the UK specialist premium Kudzu extract products to support us on our health journey.

This blog series is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.