Might your family’s ethnicity have anything to do with your craving for alcohol? Yes indeed! Those of us from Irish, Native or Scandinavian backgrounds, can often trace alcohol use disorder through our family tree. And depression! Joan Mathews Larson in Seven Weeks to Sobriety identifies a type of Alcohol Use Disorder, where just a little bit of alcohol is used to temporarily relieve life-time deep, dark depression. Alcohol use disorder then often gets triggered in susceptible people.  When we stop drinking, the deep, dark treatment-resistant depression may return with a vengeance.  

It turns out that we don’t do a good job converting omega 6 fatty acids from our food into a conditionally essential fatty acid called GLA (gamma linolenic acid). GLA makes a brain chemical called PGE1, which has anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory actions in the body. When this brain chemical is low, because of a deficiency in GLA, life-time depression may result. Alcohol temporarily potentiates PGE1 in the brain, thus temporarily relieving this depression. And it doesn’t take much alcohol either! So, what to do?

Well, GLA can be found in seeds from plants like Borage, Evening Primrose, and Black Currant. My favorite is Borage Oil. I personally find that daily taking 1-1000mg capsule of borage oil from my favorite company, which contains 240 mg of GLA, keeps the depression at bay, along with any alcohol cravings. It also may help moisturize dry skin, reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps, and relieve menopausal symptoms. Good stuff! Not everybody with Alcohol Use Disorder needs GLA, but for those of us for whom it relieves the symptoms of depression, it is a life-saver!

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