As an adult on stay-at-home recommendations who also enjoys the occasional adult beverage, “quarantini” Posting on Twitter – a proposed cocktail of gin and Emergen-C, a bubbly vitamin supplement – definitely caught my eye. People of Emergen-C immediately responded to the tweet: “We do not recommend taking any of our products with alcohol.”
Yet, as dietitian, I was wondering if something like this could work as an immune-boosting concoction. Or can it be harmful? To answer these questions, I first had to review the nutritional composition of the cocktail ingredients.
What’s in quarantine
Alcoholic beverages consist mainly of water, pure alcohol, chemically known as ethanol and sugars or carbohydrates. And because the presence of protein, vitamins and minerals is negligible, cocktails are considered empty calories. But Emergency-C contains a massive amount of vitamin C along with other vitamins and minerals – folate, thiamin, niacin, magnesium and potassium.
So mark zero for the alcohol and one for the sparkling vitamin. Maybe mixing the goodness of one with the not so good of the other makes the end product good enough? Maybe. But that depends on your answer to this question: Will I settle for just one glass of this deliciously sweet and effervescent treat? Or will I be tempted to have another? If your answer is the latter, you can go from harmless to harmful very quickly.
A maximum, certainly not two
Why? As soon as you are beyond the daily limit for alcohol, you are likely weakening of your immune system. This more or less negates the benefits of the sparkling vitamin supplement. Also, you might experience extremely unpleasant side effects from an excessive amount of vitamins. For example, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps and other gastrointestinal disorders might happen with a high vitamin C intake.
A small packet of Emergen-C contains more than 1,000% of the daily value of vitamin C. And while the people of Emergen-C did not specify why they advised against mixing their product with alcohol, this may be because people will indeed drink more than one cocktail – and go beyond the recommended daily serving of the product.
My cautionary tale, that moderation is key, certainly sounds like a broken record. The word “moderation” is overused. Now, most people don’t know what that means: “Small fries, please.”
As for quarantines, moderation means enjoying them at your next virtual happy hour, if you like. But leave it at that. And if you really want to boost your immune system, eat plenty of produce, drink plenty of water, and get enough rest. Not as sexy as a quarantine night, but it’s safe, tried and true.
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