Vitamin deficiencies are rampant in people who abuse alcohol. This is because alcoholics tend to have poor diets and also because the drug depletes the body’s store of nutrients. Alcohol is high in calories, and many alcoholics get a high percentage their calories from this source. However, these are empty calories offering no nutrition at all. A healthy diet is important for anyone recovering from substance abuse, but it’s particularly important during alcohol detox and recovery. This article will discuss the question: What vitamins should i take while detoxing from alcohol?
There are a great number of possible symptoms of subclinical and outright nutritional deficiency, but some of the more common ones include:
- Bloating and digestive issues
- Dry skin and hair
- Swollen tongue, bleeding gums and tooth decay
- Bone and muscle loss
- Memory problems and mental clouding
- Menstrual problems
Abuse of alcohol directly depletes the B vitamins, particularly thiamine or vitamin B-1. The B vitamins are water-soluble and cannot normally be stored in the body. This means you must replace them daily. Vitamin B-12 can be especially hard to get in a poor diet or one devoid of animal-based foods. Vegans have no way to getting enough B-12 without supplementation, no matter what pro-vegan websites might tell you. B-12 is found mainly in meats and dairy products.
Before you decide on a vitamin protocol for alcohol detox, be sure you consult with a medical professional qualified to manage alcohol withdrawal. This isn’t the same as other kinds of withdrawal, like that of opioids or stimulants. Those are both highly unpleasant but rarely dangerous. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening because of the possibility of a condition called delerium tremens and also because of grand mal seizures. Understand that alcohol withdrawal can kill. This doesn’t necessarily mean confinement in a hospital or residential drug detox, but it can. Some cases of alcohol withdrawal can be safely done at home, but only a medical professional experienced in the adddiction field can determine what is safe for you. Vitamins and nutritional supplements may help you to recover faster and feel better and are unlikely to cause any harm, but always clear them with your managing case provider just to be sure.
A Healthy Diet
Most drug and alcohol rehabs take nutrition seriously. While a resident there, your diet will be carefully managed. In general, a healthy diet is low in refined sugar and processed foods. Limit or eliminate soda drinks and high-fructose corn syrup. Eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts and seeds. Fatty fish like salmon provides important fatty acids. Lean meat is good in moderation. Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt contain vitamins, minerals and probiotics to help with gut health. Fruits and veggies have substances called antioxidants that help to fight cell damage and prevent systemic inflammation. Proteins contain amino acids that provide the building blocks for certain critical brain chemicals, especially serotonin and dopamine. The depression so commonly seen in alcohol withdrawal may be caused by an imbalance of these brain chemicals.
Vitamins and Supplements for Alcohol Recovery
Niacin, thiamine and B vitamins
Sources for these include liver, eggs, milk, beef, leafy greens, oysters, mussels, clams, legumes, turkey, salmon and nutritional yeast. Try a delicious dip made from chickpeas called hummus.
This water-soluble vitamin is abundant in most fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits. In fact, in centuries past, British sailors were called limeys because they drank lime juice on long ocean voyages to prevent scurvy, a serious disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.
This is rich in foods like milk and yogurt, spinach and sardines.
Most people abusing alcohol have a deficiency in this important mineral. Magnesium is involved in countless body functions. Get it from nuts, seeds, avocado, bananas, salmon and tuna.
These form the proteins that build, maintain and repair our bodies. Meats and dairy products are excellent sources. Complete protein can also be found in some plant foods like soy, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat.
This herb may act as a detoxifier, important during the detox period.
Add a good multivitamin to your regimen, too.
For More Information
If you’d like to know more about nutritional support during alcohol detox, just call us anytime at 833-364-0736. We’re a group of trained drug counselors here to answer all your questions and guide you to the help you need.