Alcoholic Pancreatitis: Who Gets Alcoholic Pancreatitis?
Alcoholic pancreatitis may not be caused simply by drinking to much alcohol for years like once thought. As I mentioned in a previous post about Alcoholic Pancreatitis and the need to quit drinking, there may be underlying factors, like a DNA variant, present in those who suffer from alcoholic pancreatitis. The important thing to understand no matter the reason for your case of pancreatitis, you must stop drinking.
Over 100,000 Americans (didn’t even think this many people had pancreatitis) suffer from chronic pancreatitis and many cases are caused by abuse of alcohol but gallstones, medical procedures, heredity, prescription drugs, viruses, autoimmune disease and trauma also cause pancreatitis.
Doctors seem to think that only alcoholics get pancreatitis which of course is ridiculous considering that gallstones cause more acute pancreatitis than alcohol yet …
It is true that alcoholic pancreatitis is most often seen in those who abuse alcohol for years but …
Research indicates it may also be due to genetics since only 3% of alcoholics develope chronic pancreatitis, suggesting a pancreas-specific risk factor.
In a study conducted over a 10 year period, involving over 2,000 patients all of whom underwent DNA testing researchers discovered that there was a common DNA variant on the X chromosome that is present in 26 percent of men without pancreatitis, but jumps to nearly 50 percent of men diagnosed with alcoholic pancreatitis. Women have two X chromosomes, so most women with the high-risk DNA variant on one X chromosome appear to be protected from alcoholic pancreatitis by the other X chromosome, if it is normal. Men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, so if they inherit a high-risk X chromosome, there is no protection.
I find this fascinating but then I am easily entertained when it comes to weird stuff that most other people could care less about. In any event …
IF you suffer from alcoholic pancreatitis it may not be just excessive drinking that is to blame. In fact according to the study one could have the DNA variant, be a causual drinker and end up with pancreatitis due to some other injury to the pancreas. Now …
If you find this information regarding alcoholic pancreatitis fascinating as well you can continue to read more about this DNA variant connection here: Genetic Link Between Pancreatitis and Alcohol Consumption. If it isn’t that interesting to you but you’ve been diagnosed with alcoholic pancreatitis yet you swear on a stack of Bibles that you truly are not an alcoholic just know that you may have the variant that predisposes you to alcoholic pancreatitis.
42 thoughts on “Alcoholic Pancreatitis: Who Gets Alcoholic Pancreatitis?”
Dear Sir I was diadnosed with CP due to alcohol abuse over the years and a fatty layer across my pancreas. Also have stones in pancreas and calcification. I am a 45 year old white female. Am on high protein low fat diet. Do you think if I follow your eating plan I can also live a long and healthy life esp. with the geape seed extract? Have written to you before on face book. My Faith is strong but am still worried because of the calcification and stones in pancreas. It’s only been since Jan 2014. Haven’t had pain since early March and I praise Jesus for that and for sticking to my eting plan. Kind regards. Heather from S.A.
Hi Heather – I can’t tell you what will happen in your life regarding longevity or health. Pancreatitis is extremely volatile. One wrong food choice can change everything. I can tell you I am quite sure that if you follow a regimen consisting of a low-fat diet, ZERO alcohol, and supplements (grape seed, curcumin, vit C) that you may have some good years left. I can also tell you that if it were ME who had pancreatic calcification I’d be looking into edta chelation. IV edta chelation isn’t cheap and insurance wouldn’t pay for it because it is not an approved protocol for pancreatic calcification but if you have a progressive ACAM doctor in your area. I’d be getting in touch to get his thoughts and recommendations. Now understand these guys use edta chelation to clear clogged arteries. Edta chelates calcium from the cardiovascular system so it MAY chelate calcium from the pancreas. I am only guessing. But again if it were me I’d be looking into chelation and trying it if I could find a doc to do it for me. IF I couldn’t find a doc for IV chelation I might try oral chelation. You can buy edta in capsule form. It’s cheap. But there are some things you really need to know before you embark on such a journey. So learn everything you can about chelation and see if you can locate a real ACAM doctor to chat with. And just remember that what I just said was only a “thought” of mine and I am not a doctor or a scientist or even a college graduate. I’m just a guy who reads a lot. 🙂
Thank you so much Mr Health Guy your response was very helpful that I immediately googled the Chelation Therapy site and came across a Dr who deals with homeopathy and Interative Medicine, i.e. Chelation Therapy. I eagerly await her response. I also googled the EDTA Chelation site and see it has a lot to do with the removal of calcium and other metals and improved the ratio of HDL and LDL cholestrol. Well it definitely does not hurt to try. Thank you so much for your input. I really do want to live a long and healthy life and prove the doctors wrong on these websites that say chronic pancreatitis patients only have a lifespan of approx. 7 years after diagnosis. After all, the Word says Humans say Seeing is Believing but Jesus says Beleiving is Seeing” (smiley face)! Thank you once again and have a Blessed Day
You’re welcome and good luck 🙂
Hi Healthy Guy
I have chronic pancreatitis and I’ve been on Amitriptyline for depression before the CP was diagnosed. I read the Amitriptyline leaflet but still want to ask you a couple of things as I didn’t find the answers in there.
Is it dangerous for someone with CP to take Amitriptyline?
Does grapefruit interact with Amitriptyline?
Is it true that Amitriptyline relieves the CP pain in some patients?
Hi Benjamin – I don’t know the answer to your questions. Here is a list of Amitriptyline Side Effects. For more info about what you asked you may want to call your local pharmacist. They can tell you more about possible side effects and whether or not grapefruit juice is a problem while taking the drug.
Had one acute attack of Pancreatitis 5 years ago. Was hospitalized due to excruciating pain. Treatment was no food, broth or anything for 5 days. Crushed ice and water by mouth was allowed. IV with the usual minerals 24hrs a day. I was told not to drink ever again. as at the time I was drinking 6 out of 7 days. Now I think I know better and on average drink vodka and diet coke 2 or 3 times a month. When I do go out however my average consumption is 6 to 10 drinks.
After a good hangover the day after drinking, I was very concerned about the risk I was taking, even though my drinking compared to 5 years ago was substantially reduced. After reading all of your articles. I have truly seen the light and will abstain totally.
I take the tranquilizer Klonopin 1mg three times a day. It lowers my fast heart rate and also in combination with my blood pressure pill, keeps my pressure nicely controlled. Relief of anxiety attacks, which are not that frequent, is another benefit of taking the Klonopin.
What are your feelings on Klonopin being a benefit in combating Pancreatitis, either acute or cronic?
Glad you are abstaining from alcohol James cuz it isn’t good. I can’t find anything from a quick bit o fchecking on Klonopin in regards to pancreatitis. I know there was supposedly 45 peopl who claimed it caused their chronic pancreatitis and reported it to the FDA but I wasn’t able to find anything to back up those claims. That doesn’t mean it is safe, it just means I couldn’t find any articles from the FDA or anywhere else to substaniate the 45 claims. Stay well 🙂
Hi Health Guy,
I just got my first Accute Pancreatitis attack this week. I was lucky they figured it out in the ER, put me on deluaded (sp?) got me a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis, and instantly put me on IV and ice chips only for 24 hours. However what ensued over the next three days was they insisted I was an alcoholic, had drug addiction counselors hound me and tried to get me to join their re-hab program.I am one of those that can and will swear on a stack of bibles I am not an alcoholic! I saw four doctors. two said I was in denial, one wasn’t so sure, but the fourth one said “it is irrresponsible to conclude that until we can get you an ultrasound to ensure it isn’t gall stones.” Either way drinking left my life this week.But the process was humiliating to not be believed and to try to have somebody hound me into a re-hab treatment I don’t need nor can afford. I have worked for industries where drinking for MONTHS was not in the cards. I would not call my self a binge drinker or a regular drinker. I grew up in a family of heavy drinkers and have avoided heavy drinking all my life because of this.
Thank you so much for your clarification above. My boyfriend is supportive and said to not take it personally we know what to do now and we do it.
Your website is a god send.
Hi Linda 🙂 – Sorry to hear you have joined our pancreatitis hall of pain and have also come to know what many of us have experienced from doctors. The good news is that they diagnosed you right away! That means that IF you have no underlying cause and your damage was minimal you could be among the 80% who evidently completely recover with no recurrence of acute pancreatits and no chronic inflammation (chronic pancreatitis). I’m glad to hear you have given up alcohol and it may be beneficial to completely abstain even if you completely heal, just to avoid any possibility of a replay. I have read your other two comments (haven’t responded yet) and I’m thinking with your family history it may be possible that you have a genetic variant that predisposes you to pancreatitis; IF they have found no other reason for your attack. People do NOT just get acute pancreatitis. There is always a reason. The pancreas simply doesn’t wake up one morning saying “I think I’m gonna be sick today.”
“Your website is a god send.” Funny you should say that because God did tell me to share what He taught me. Get well, stay well. 🙂
I have one question. Non-Alcoholic Wine? When I was a bar tender I got promoted to Sommelier in Training. I loved wine. So when I heard about Non-Alcoholic wine I got excited and bought some bottles. Bouquet was kind of sour but it had complexities of light strawberries and almond. I took a sip and my boyfriend said “Put that down!” So I did he showed me on the bottle a .5% alcohol by volume. 🙁 Well, shit man, Did I just by a couple of bottles of Cooking Wine?
Yep – Linda it doesn’t take much alcohol to cause problems. So watch things like vanilla extract, soy sauce, mouthwash, cold/flu remedies etc because alcohol hides in those products.
Homemade baguettes? 3 c flour, 3 c warm water, 1/4 tsp salt and yeast?
Linda those should be fine.
Hi my name is Jody I just got diagnosed with pancreatitis the doc said he thought its mild I did clear liquids for4 days now I’m eating fruits an veggies some chicken an fish I’m concerned cause my xrays showed calcifications in the area of the left kidney an says may be vascular an renal calculi cannot be excluded an suspected vascular calcifications are also noted in the pelvis doc says nothing to worry about I’m very scared should I get a second opinion I don’t know anything about about all this stuff please help if you can
Hi Jody – sorry to hear you are having difficulties. 2nd opinions are certainly not a bad thing. Did your doc say why he/she thought you had pancreatitis to begin with or is that what you are asking me if those calcifications could be a possible cause. If that is what you want to know I can’t say because I don’t know. Sorry I’m not any help. 🙁
My Lipase, CBC with differential, urinalysis microscopy and other blood work turned up abnormal an that’s why he said I have mild pancreatitis an I still dont know what the calcifications an stuff mean if you could tell me anything I sure would appreciate it thank you an god bless you
Hi Jody – Sorry I haven’t responded until now. Like I sais in my last comment answer I don’t see where calcification in the kidneys or arteries are connected to pancreatitis. I suppose anything is possible but it would seem to me that something else may be responsible. What I’d do if it were me would be to check with a chelation doctor in your area and see if edta chelation might be useful in eliminating the calcification.
Your info is brilliant I have chronic Pancreatsis not from alcoholism ive been on oxycodone and oxycontin for 6 years , 400mg a day ive cut myself down to 40mg slowly as like you have started, it masked pain, & I am sure it made me depressed now taking antinflammertory drugs and massive improvements!! Cheers your a legend ?? Lucy x
Hi Lucy – Thank you for the kind words. Glad to hear things are working out for you! It only gets better as your pancreas heals. Diet and supplements Lucy. Keeping getting well 🙂
Just got a call from my Mother today. My Great-Grandmother had gall stones and eventually died in the 1970s of Pancreatic Cancer (She was 82). My Grandfather (her son) had to have his gall bladder removed in his 50s. My Uncle (his son) had pancreatic problems (no one is sure of the diagnosis) until his 77th year when he died of a heart attack. He severely abused alcohol and drugs. My Mom is fine although a heavy drinker, but apparently I am the inheritor of this disease. I am hoping your advice here will keep me from further attacks and I will pass this life with this being the only one.
Thank you for your knowledge.
Linda you are welcome – try to find out why you had the acute attack. Make your docs dig if it isn’t blaringly evident (gallstones). I and the doctor who diagnosed me originally thought my attacks were the result of an injury I sustained while playing highschool football but as it turns out celiac disease is probably why I originally became sick with pancreatitis. There is ALWAYS a cause. IF you get a diagnosis of idiopathic pancreatitis don’t accept it. A diagnosis of idiopathic pancratitis – is well – idiotic. It simply means your doctor has no clue why you became sick and is too lazy to find out. Make him/her find out the cause and if they won’t find another doctor who will (if possible).
How much grape seed extract should a person take I read it somewhere in your posts but can’t find it now.Back when I wrote you they had diagnose me with pancreatis an said there was something in or on my pancreas that measured 2.2 by something an didn’t feel it necessary to have checked well now thanks to them idiots I have pancreatic cancer. I need to know how much grape seed cause I read an article where it said grape seed could kill off cancer cells
Ah crap Jody – That diagnosis definitely presents a challenge. Did they tell you what type of pancreatic cancer, endocrine or exocrine? Have they staged your cancer yet? Do they have an orthadox pancreatic cancer treatment plan figured out for you yet? The reason I ask is if they have caught it early they may be able to remove it successfully. Let’s hope for that 🙂
To answer your question there are several natural substances that kill cancer cells Resveratrol and OPC’s both of which are found in grape seed extract, turmeric the extract of which is called curcumin and vit C. None except the vitamin C has ever been proven in a clinical trial on humans with pancreatic cancer. Just in vitro (petri dish) and rats. The vitamin C was done in huge intravenous doses that can not be copied via oral doses. And the research I read is no longer available for some reason. Probably because vitamin C can’t be “patented” and so it’s probably very cheap even in an intravenous solution.
Curcumin has shown some possibilities with pancreatic cancer which just doesn’t want to die. Most conventional treatment, unless there is new research, is ineffective. The bad news is that even if it’s resected it often recurs even after the five year “clear” date for most other cancers. One thing you need to understand is pancreatic cancer treatment is WAY above my pay grade. I’m not a doctor and my knowledge is very limited. I don’t know what I’d do IF it were me. I suspect if curcumin, grape seed extract and vitamin C were to be of benefit it would take large doses. When I mean large doses I mean the types of doses that may likely produce side effects (nausea, vomiting) because they are extremely potent antioxidants and even though they are suppose to be non-toxic or non-lethal they may still make someone sick with the doses that would be necessary to see results with cancer.
The usage of those three natural alternatives in conjunction with orthadox medical treatment may help enhance the chances of recovery or at least remission. I’m sorry – There is very little promising research in regards to pancreatic cancer whether it be big pharma chemicals or natural alternatives. Now please do not take what I just said as gospel because I am not privy to the absolute newest research to which your onocologist will have access.
IF it were me I think I would start out with fairly large doses in all three. 250/300 mgs of grape seed extract 3 – 4 times per day, curcumin 500 mgs at 3X daily and vitamin C at 5,000 mgs daily and work up to 10,000 mgs. If you tolerate the grape seed extract and curcumin at those doses you can begin to “work up” until it isn’t a pleasant experience and then just back down a notch or keep going with that barely tolerated dose. Again, I have NO information I can show you that clearly states any of those actually kill pancreatic cancer in humans. Just in vitro and in rats.
I will pray for you Jody because what is impossible for humans is entirely possible for God. DO NOT give up. You can’t win without a fight. If you belong to God now is the time to bring your petitions before Him. He loves you unconditionally and will help you whether this storm. All you have to do is ask. There is a prayer page. You might consider posting a request so that others may pray for you as well. Don’t be a stranger. let me know how you are doing, please? 🙂
I am wondering for those people who do have Chronic Pancreatitis if you are able to still workout, lift weights, go snowboarding, jiu jitsu, hiking, running, climbing etc or if you essentially have to give all of that up? Anything you could relay would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Brian – if you feel well enough do it. I pumped iron, white water rafting was a fav, I skied and more. If you feel good enough go for it
So someone with CP doing intense activities will not harm the pancreas further? Thanks again for the info!
Brian – Hold on, not quite sure I said that. There is always the possibility of doing more harm but unless you are playing contact sports, fighting (MMA etc), where there is the possibility of pancreatic trauma you should be ok. I did a lot of stuff BUT that doesn’t mean it’s perfectly safe.
Thanks again for the info. So you think something like Jiu Jitsu would be out of the question? If you’re unfamiliar it is essentially wrestling.
Hey Brian – you should be ok. A hard punch or kick to the gut (street fight) may not be a good thing.
Hi Paul, I have some older posts that I wanted to follow up on, and didn’t want to bore you with my whole story again. I have some new developments and questions I would like to ask you. Will this comment link you to my old ones, cause I can’t seem to find them. Thanks!
Hey Sidney go ahead and ask I can find your other posts if I need them.
Ok sounds good. Well, I am still undiagnosed, but just seem to think CP is the only thing that fits my symptoms. I have had a brief break from your blog because one day I just decided to try something different, and I bought organic aloe vera gel to start drinking. Almost immediately, I noticed the pain seemed less. At first, I thought too good to be true. I continued using it and after a week I felt a dramatic difference. By the time two weeks had past I felt no pain at all, and was eating whatever I wanted! I couldn’t believe what was happening. This all started at the end of June 2015. I drank it periodically for maintenance, or if I felt a slight twinge of pain on the upper left I wouldn’t make sure to take some. This pain free period lasted until around January 20th of 2016. Now the pain is back! 🙁 I had completely ruled out pancreatitis of any kind because I thought there was no way something as simple as aloe vera had taken away all my pain while I ate whatever. Especially when I had been doing your diet and tons of grape seed and turmeric supplements for about 6 months and not much change had occurred. However, I will be the first to admit I wasn’t perfect at the diet, so totally my fault. I had my mishaps which could be the reason I saw no results. Anyway, I feel like I’m back at square one. I looked up aloe Vera to see if there were any forums talking about it working for pancreatitis, and sure enough I found well one….. Have you heard of this, tried it ever before yourself, or know of any others that have had positive results using it? It is highly anti-inflammatory I know that much. It definitely seemed like a miracle for awhile. Just saying it might be a cool experiment to see if anyone on here wants to try it lol. I just want an answer so bad, but have pretty much given up on going to anymore doctors. I also found out I was pregnant in August, so we are expecting our first in April! 🙂 Not sure how that is all playing into this as well. I’ve never been to the ER for an acute attack. Let me know if you have any questions, and as always thank you for reading and giving your thoughts and opinions!
Sidney – Ha! NOW I remember you 🙂 (the banana pancake girl!). I spaced buying and trying the WEDO GF banana flour and trying your recipe. I have to try that. It sounds really good. So I have made a note to myself to include WEDO in my next Amazon order. Anyway …
I did some research about aloe vera in regards to pancreatitis and could not find anything from a competent source. No scholar type publications, no case studies nothing really; however, i did find some info suggesting it may help IBD. The only personal experience I have with aloe vera is in regards to burns, cuts etc in which it does a fantastic job but to ingest it? I tried. It tastes like dung. Not for me lol. Formulations containing the latex can be highly toxic according to NIH. It also interacts with some drugs negatively, the most dangerous interaction seeming to be with digoxin. There was also one case (NIH) where aloe vera caused acute liver injury which was definitely due to aloe vera ingestion. So ingesting it may not be without risk.
I don’t know what to say about your experience with it, which seems to be good. Whether your symptoms are actually pancreas related I don’t know. I re-read your postings and nothing jumps out at me. Obviously something is going on because you are symptomatic. Just what I have no clue but then I am not a doctor either lol.
Congrats! on your new addition in April! God bless you and yours 🙂
Yes, you are correct sir! That was me with the banana pancakes. Glad you are going to try them. It’s worth it! The sites I found with people saying it helped their pancreatitis were definitely not reputable. Just people telling their experience. I am aware that if you overdo it with the aloe Vera there could be some mild risks. I take no medication, so I wasn’t worried about that. I just figured with all the comments you read and see from people everyday, there had to be someone else who had some sort of positive relief by trying this. However, I realize I don’t have a firm diagnosis, so it’s hard to say. Also, you said you tried into yourself at one point? May I ask for how long? The one I take really doesn’t taste that bad haha. The only thing that has changed with me lately is I am starting to feel some light pains on the right too now 🙁 that can’t be a good sign can it. My pain is so high up, epigastric and right under left breast (well and to the right also now). Otherwise, I might consider something like IBS I guess. Thanks for your insight! It really helps.
Sidney – now to really confuse you lol 🙂 Your pain could also be coming from your esophagus. People who have esophagus issues can have pain that can be quite severe from what I understand. It can mimic a heart attack. So you might want to have an endoscopy done if you haven’t yet. I wish I could be more help. Oh I tried aloe vera juice years ago. I guess I gave it a couple days. It was a “Forever Living” product. Tasted horrible so I didn’t try it for more than a couple days and chucked it 🙂
Yes, that’s me with the banana pancakes! I’m glad you are going to try them. It’s worth it, I promise.
I don’t know what to think about the aloe either. It’s so frustrating! I thought I was all better, and was chalking the whole thing up to gastritis or something. Now that it’s back, it’s devastating to say the least. I thought surely if this was CP, there was no way something as simple as aloe Vera would make me feel completely normal again, so I basically ruled that out. The random forum that I found were just some people that had acute attacks, maybe some with CP, can’t remember exactly, that swore by a combination of aloe Vera and papaya juice. Definitely not reputable studies like what I know you normally look for. You said you tried taking the aloe yourself? May I ask for how long, and did you see any improvement whatsoever? I just couldn’t believe how quickly it seemed to work for me. The one I take doesn’t taste too bad lol. One new recent development for my condition is that I now feel some slight pain starting on the right! I’m thinking that’s not good news. So now it’s upper left, below the breast, epigastric and some right, oh and can’t forget the back pain that joins as well on and off. 🙁 Thanks again for your insights! They really help.
Hey Sidney – I’m sorry to hear that whatever is causing you pain and symptoms is back. You need to find out what the problem really is. If the Aloe vera works for you then use it. MILLIONS of people swallow aloe vera juice and swear by it. I tried it, tastes like dung so I quit it. I didn’t notice any great things from it during the time I tried it but the time used wasn’t long. Like I said I did not like the taste. It is awesome for burns and cuts though 🙂
Hello The Health Guy ! First I’d like to thank you for your amazing website, and all the informations you share. I’m 22 years old and 10 days ago I’ve been diagnosed with an acute pancreatitis, with a little bit of necrosis, caused by alcohol. I stayed 2 days at the hospital, and since I left I don’t have any pain. I immediately started to eat a low fat vegan diet, and I’ll stop alcohol probably forever. I will also take the supplements you advise, and do some liver and gallbladder cleanses. I will exercise regularly. I won’t take medicines, no drugs, no smoke. My question is, do you think I can heal my pancreas completely ? I really think that every disease is treatable, including cancer, if we do and take the right natural things.
Hi Hugo – you’re welcome. Glad to hear you are quitting alcohol. Your question: “ My question is, do you think I can heal my pancreas completely ?” I think it is entirely possible to heal the pancreas. I can not say whether it will be completely or not. IF the damage is too extensive probably not but it sounds like you have a good shot if you do things right.
Hello Health Guy, thank you for posting all this information and your experience. I have not been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, but I believe it is ultimately what I am dealing with. In February I was diagnosed with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. I am currently 37 years old. I drank heavily from roughly the age of 28-35. Around 35, I cut back quite a bit and drank more what I considered moderate (2-4 drinks on days I did drink, 3-5 days a week). I went completely sober in October of 2021. Towards the end of November I started experiencing digestive issues that ultimately led to my diagnosis of EPI. Do you have any experience with people who are in a similar situation as me and how following this diet has helped them? Thank you in advance! Hope you are still doing well.
Hi Jon … there aren’t a lot of diseases that cause EPI. One is pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and celiac disease too. The EPI needs treating with enzymes (I’m not a doc) so if you have had the elastase test and were found low you are probably on CREON or something similar. Since I have both CP and celiac disease I need enzymes at times but not every day like I used to so my acinar cells must have regenerated meaning I produce my own again. Yes acinar cells regenerate as long as they aren’t being destroyed by inflammation and disease. I’m guessing diet and supplements to resolve the inflammation helped. I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head who has told me their fecal elastase test went up to normal after being on a good low fat diet etc. There are some EPI people in my support group.