Essential fatty acids are major structural components of the brain and through their effects on membrane properties are essential for the proper actions of neurotransmitters and nerve conduction. Ethanol has three main known actions on EFA and PG metabolism: it reduces blood LA levels and induces or exaggerates EFA deficiency states; it blocks metabolism of LA to EFA metabolites, which are known to be important in brain structure; and it enhances conversion of DGLA to PGE-| (Horrobin 1987).

Small clinical studies have found EPO somewhat beneficial in the treatment of alcoholism. In a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial EPO significantly reduced the severity of the withdrawal syndrome and improved liver function during the early weeks of withdrawal from alcohol. Relapse rates over 6 and 12 months did not improve, but in those who did not relapse certain parameters of cerebral function improved significantly (Horrobin 1990).

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