Vitamins play a major role in alcohol recovery in foods and supplements. Recovering alcoholics suffer from depleted nutrients from heavy drinking that can cause irregular eating habits. Alcoholics neglect healthy diets and often get their calories from fatty or sugary foods. Recovering alcoholics may confuse feelings of hunger for alcoholic cravings and need encouragement to return to normal dietary patterns. A healthy diet for recovery includes vitamin-rich protein, complex carbohydrate and high-fiber foods. Vitamin supplements aid in restoring proper nourishment.
Vitamin B Depletion
The most common deficiencies from alcoholism include thiamine, pyridoxine and folic acid, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Thiamine, a B vitamin found in meat, grains and yeast, helps metabolize carbohydrates. Fish, liver, cereals and yeast contain pyridoxine, or vitamin B-6. Green vegetables, fruit and liver contain folic acid, also a B vitamin. B vitamin foods also include poultry, nuts, brown rice and dairy products. Broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, bananas, apricots and figs contain B vitamins.
Deficiencies in the B vitamins can result in anemia or neurological problems. In the late stages of alcoholism, the deficiencies may lead to Korsakoff’s syndrome, also known as “wet brain,” which prevents the proper absorption of nutrients and causes serious mental impairment and brain disorders.
Doctors may prescribe supplements to replenish the deficiencies as the alcoholic begins a recovery diet. Alcoholics often have difficulty eating after they end long-term drinking. The supplements help return lost nutrients until regular eating habits return. Supplements during recovery may include minerals, such as selenium, magnesium and zinc.
Vitamin A Caution
Alcoholics may also have vitamin A deficiencies. However, excess amounts of vitamin A can damage the liver. Recovering alcoholics need to follow the advice of a doctor for dietary or supplemental intake of these vitamins. Dairy products, green and yellow vegetables, chicken, liver, mackerel and herring contain high amounts of vitamin A.
Research shows a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B-6 and niacin, a B vitamin, reduces anxiety for alcoholics in the early stages of recovery, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Anxiety often occurs for alcoholics after they quit drinking and increases the risk of relapse. Strawberries, oranges, broccoli and peas contain vitamin C. Vitamin E foods include mackerel, salmon, whole grains, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts and olive and corn oils.
While restoration of vitamins to the body helps alcoholics during recovery, they also benefit from counseling or support groups for help in continuing their sobriety. Doctors and other recovering alcoholics can provide advice on their feelings, including anxiety and point out the importance of a healthy diet.