Alcoholism is a common chronic disease that involves physical dependence on alcohol. Alcoholics lose control over their drinking and often develop relationship problems with co-workers and family members. Alcoholism is extremely hard on your body, and it can cause numerous nutritional deficiencies. Some nutritional supplements may be helpful in restoring your health before or after you stop drinking alcohol. Nutritional supplements should always be cleared with a licensed health care professional.
Alcoholism is a common health problem among Americans. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, approximately 18 million Americans abuse alcohol at any given time. Becoming addicted to alcohol is a slow process that occurs as alcohol consumption changes your brain chemistry. GABA and dopamine are two of the most significantly affected brain chemicals. Drinking by yourself or in secret, craving alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms are a few of the most common signs associated with alcoholism.
Appropriate Nutritional Supplements
Nutritional supplements may be an effective way of providing alcoholics with the nutrients their bodies need to recover from alcohol abuse. In his book "The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine," naturopathic physician Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr. states that several nutritional supplements may be most helpful for alcoholics, including zinc, vitamins A, C and E, selenium, zinc, cysteine, carnitine, amino acids, B vitamins, magnesium, essential fatty acids and glutamine. Further research studies may be required to determine their true effectiveness.
Highlighted Nutritional Supplement
B vitamins -- especially vitamins B-5 and B-1 -- may be among the most important nutritional supplements for those who have stopped drinking alcohol or for those who plan to. The vitamin B complex, notes certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A. Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," is an important supplement to help correct nutrient deficiencies in alcoholics. Vitamin B-5 aids your body in alcohol detoxification and helps combat stress. Vitamin B-1, or thiamine, supplementation is important because most alcoholics are deficient in this vitamin.
Alcohol addiction is a powerful addiction that can leave your body deficient in numerous nutrients. Nutritional supplements may be helpful in restoring your nutrient levels, but a well-rounded treatment approach -- including addiction counseling -- is essential in treating your alcoholism. If you are considering treatment for your alcoholism, meet with your doctor to review treatment strategies to help you beat your addiction. Your doctor can counsel you on the most effective nutritional supplements for this health purpose.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Alcoholism
- "The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine"; Joseph E. Pizzorno, Jr., N.D.; 2002
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2010