The Scottish Executive is considering adding vitamins to beer in an attempt to combat the high level of alcohol-related illness in Scotland.
A draught document has been drawn up which claims that adding the vitamin thiamin to beer could prevent some forms of alcohol-related brain damage, according to BBC Health Online. MSPs are now considering asking brewers to add the vitamin to their beers.
A spokeswoman for the executive stressed that ministers were in the early stages of looking into the possibility of adding thiamin, also known as vitamin B1. She confirmed that they are also considering putting extra information on the drinks labels outlining how many units were contained in the products.
"We have asked advisers to look at the scientific evidence of putting the vitamin into alcohol and to see what, if any, benefits it would bring," she said. "We will wait and see what evidence we receive before deciding what action to take."
The move has been outlined in an executive document entitled Plan for Action, and is designed in part to help heavy drinkers, who are more likely to suffer from a deficiency of thiamin because of long-term abuse.
The spokeswoman added: "If adding this vitamin can reduce the suffering of chronically ill people then the executive has a responsibility to consider doing all it can to help."
She said the plans were not meant as "anti-alcohol" legislation but could be one of the next steps taken by the executive to improve alcohol awareness in Scotland.
"We work with the drink and hospitality industry to reduce alcohol-related problems and this move would by no means signal an anti-alcohol stance by us."