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The question was whether to add vitamins to alcoholic beverages, vitamins that alcohol (C2H5OH) depletes, magnesium, zinc and vitamin B1 being the most prevalent.

(C2H5OH) depletes magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B1 being the most prevalent. A decision in 1979 opened the door for the current COVID-19 epidemic in a way few would imagine.

In 1979 researcher Brian Centerwall and Michael Criqui published a study in The New England Journal of Medicine arguing for vitamin fortification of alcoholic beverages with thiamine (vitamin B1). Every dollar invested in B1 fortification was predicted to save $7 in nursing home costs.

The beverage industry was on board. During the 1930s Seagram & Sons, Anheuser-Busch and the California Wine Institute found vitamin B1 to be stable in whiskey, wine and beer and fortification would prevent the horrific loss of memory and muscle control among over-imbibers, what is now called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.

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The road to hell can be paved with good intentions.

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