Publication Details

McLean, C., Tapsell, L., Grafenauer, S. & McMahon, A. (2020). Systematic review of nutritional interventions for people admitted to hospital for alcohol withdrawal. Nutrition and Dietetics, 77 (1), 76-89.


Aim: The aim of this review is to describe the nature of nutritional interventions for people admitted to hospital for alcohol withdrawal reported in the scientific literature and the health outcomes achieved. Methods: The review protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42017081884). The following databases were systematically searched following the PRISMA protocol: CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, Scopus and Web of Science. Eligible studies were those published in English, in a hospital inpatient setting with the primary reason for admission being alcohol withdrawal. Studies of patient populations with the diagnosis of pancreatitis or liver cirrhosis were excluded. Studies were screened for eligibility, and data were extracted and descriptively analysed. Identified articles were assessed using the Quality Criteria Checklist for Primary Research produced by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Results: Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Given the heterogeneity of studies, only a descriptive analysis of interventions could be achieved. Nutrition interventions included supplementation with thiamine, multivitamins, amino acids, antioxidant compounds, probiotics, magnesium or were educational interventions. Outcome measures included memory function, biochemical and anthropometrical indices, withdrawal symptoms, bowel flora levels and nutrition knowledge. However, the overall body of evidence was limited, particularly as there was a wide variation in participant age, study designs and duration of interventions. Conclusions: A wide range of nutrition interventions were identified, mostly involving nutrient supplements ameliorating inadequacies. Future research might also consider total dietary interventions as well as studies on the perspectives of people undergoing alcohol withdrawal.

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