Recently, calcium was suggested to be an active component of acamprosate. We investigated plasma calcium concentration in relation to the severity of alcohol dependence and its interaction with regulatory mechanisms and alcohol craving in alcohol-dependent patients.
Forty-seven inpatient alcohol-dependent patients undergoing detoxification treatment were examined in the laboratory for calcium, sodium, liver enzymes, and serum concentrations of calcitonin, parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D, among others.
As the main results of the study, the authors mention:
(a) a negative correlation of plasma calcium concentrations with alcohol craving in different dimensions of OCDS;
(b) a negative correlation of plasma calcium concentrations with breath alcohol concentration;
(c) decreased calcitonin concentrations in the high-risk sample of alcoholics;
(d) decreased plasma concentrations of vitamin D in all alcohol-dependent subjects.
The study provides further support for decreased plasma calcitonin concentrations in patients with high alcohol use and, in particular, in patients with increased craving as a risk factor for relapse, the authors write. Lower calcitonin concentrations in the high-risk sample and lower vitamin D concentrations may mediate these effects.
Calcium supplementation could be a useful intervention to reduce craving and relapse in alcohol-dependent individuals, they conclude.