There is, I am told, a sure fire way of driving mice to drink.

If mice are fed on junk food and subsequently given the choice between drinking water or alcohol, the majority will choose alcohol.

If, on the other hand, mice are fed healthy, unprocessed food, they prefer water.

An interesting idea but one that is unlikely to find widespread favour among the human population.

In general, alcohol consumption is trivialised and social pressures to have drink can be overwhelming.

Alcohol in small amounts, if used infrequently, does not usually lead to immediate addiction.

Yet incidents of excess alcohol consumption, even among young women and children, are rising and have become a major cause of family breakdown, financial problems and crime.

Reason enough to re-examine our attitudes towards alcohol and to question the ingrained social habit of turning to drink at every available opportunity.

It is undeniable that alcohol is poison for the body. It causes cellular damage and inhibits our ability to absorb proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

Chronic abuse suppresses immunity, promotes stomach ulcers, brain damage, liver and heart disease. And as far as pregnancy is concerned, there is no safe level because alcohol is harmful to sperm, ova and the growing foetus.

Improvements in nutritional health can help reduce cravings for alcohol. Bloodsugar imbalances often underlie addiction so sufferers should avoid sugar and refined foods.

Eat little and often, combining complex carbohydrates with protein foods: brown rice with fish or fruit with almonds, for instance.

Ensure intake of essential nutrients by eating fresh produce wholefoods and poultry, fish or tofu daily.

Instead of caffeine containing drinks, choose filtered water, herb teas and dandelion-root coffee which supports the liver.

In addition to a good overall multivitamin and mineral supplement to treat nutritional deficiency, consider Bcomplex vitamins, antioxidants (A, C, E, selenium), zinc, magnesium and chromium.

Drugs such as antidepressants and Antabuse are commonly used in the treatment of alcoholism but these may suppress appetite and cause nausea or other adverse symptoms.

Essential fatty acid therapy has successfully been used to facilitate withdrawal from alcohol and reliable fish-oil and cold-pressed seed oils are available from health food stores.

Lesser known is the use of Kudzu root, used as a common cure for drunkenness in China for more than 1,300 years with no reported side effects.

Tests on rodents and monkeys in the US have confirmed that Kudzu reduces the animals desire to consume alcohol.

Scientists also noticed that Kudzu suppressed alcohols intoxicating effects after it entered the bloodstream and prevented the usual hangovers.

One theory is that Kudzu boosts neurotransmitters in the brain. People with low levels of these brain chemicals, which include serotonin and dopamine, seem more prone to alcohol addiction.

Kudzu is available by mail order from the Nutri Centre. Telephone 020 7436 5122 or email