Substance abuse often leads to nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues. As you are recovering from addiction, nourishing your body with healthy food and some carefully selected supplements can help you to start feeling healthier. This combination will help to correct the nutritional deficiencies, metabolic problems and chemical imbalances left by the addiction.
People recovering from alcohol or drug addiction are frequently deficient in essential minerals. This is due to poor dietary habits during the addiction, as well as decreased organ function that leads to subpar nutrient uptake. Common deficiencies include zinc, chromium, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and selenium. Supplementing with zinc improves liver, brain and immunity function, while chromium will help stabilize blood sugar levels. Calcium and magnesium help reduce irritability during recovery while restoring bone health and muscular and nerve function. Iron will help reduce the headaches, fatigue and depression, while potassium will help reduce muscle cramps and fatigue. Both potassium and selenium improve your blood pressure and heart function.
Vitamins for Vitality
Addiction also strips your body's ability to absorb vitamins effectively. According to MedlinePlus, supplementing with the B-vitamin complex, vitamin A and vitamin C will help you to recover more quickly. Most multivitamins will have appropriate doses of each of these. The B-complex will help your digestive system start to function more effectively again while helping to normalize appetite, vision, nerve function, skin regeneration and red blood cell development. Vitamin C will improve your cellular function, wound healing, immune function and iron uptake. Vitamin A supports healthy vision and organ function and can improve reproductive function.
Taking amino acids when you are in recovery might help to reconfigure your brain chemistry, so that you no longer experience the cravings for your old habit. According to the holistic-based Addiction Recovery Guide website, D-phenylalanine is used in the treatment of heroin, marijuana, alcohol, food and tobacco addictions, while L-phenylalanine or L-tyrosine is used for food, caffeine, crack, cocaine, methamphetamine, tobacco and alcohol addictions. L-tryptophan could help with recovery from alcohol, Ecstasy, marijuana, tobacco and certain food addictions, while gamma-aminobutyric acid is used in the treatment of Valium, marijuana, food and tobacco addictions. L-glutamine supports alcohol and food addiction recovery.
Probiotics for Digestion
Addiction can cause disruption to the delicate balance of your gut flora -- the millions of bacteria living in your digestive tract that have been associated with the regulation of everything from proper digestive function to heart health, mood and immunity. Taking a probiotics can help to boost your body's ability to extract nutrients from your food, to fortify your delicate immune system and to help manage anxiety, depression and mood swings. It can also help to improve your digestion and energy and to settle nausea.
- MedlinePlus: Diet and Substance Abuse Recovery
- Many Hands Sustainability Center: Nutrition in Addiction Recovery
- Colorado State University: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin A
- Addiction Recovery Guide: Nutrition
- Alcohol: Probiotics Restore Bowel Flora and Improve Liver Enzymes in Human Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury: A Pilot Study
- Scientific American: The Neuroscience of the Gut