Safe Supplementation in Addiction Recovery: Nutrition
Supplementation can be a bit tricky for those going through addiction recovery. You may need it urgently. If you’ve been addicted to drugs or alcohol in particular, you will likely find that you will have experienced some form of malnutrition. This can be mild or severe, depending on your lifestyle and diet. Either way, however, you will have a deficiency of essential key micronutrients – vitamins and minerals.
This is where supplementation can help. Of course, nothing can beat a well-rounded, mixed diet. Try to eat as many different types of fruit and veg as possible. Try to take in plenty of lean, good quality animal products, like milk, lean meat, and oily fish.
Supplementation goes on top of this – it supplements it.
Talk to your doctor before taking any. They may be able to put you on a prescription, which should end up saving you a lot of money!
Supplements and addiction recovery
Supplementation during recovery isn’t just a case of missing out on essential nutrients. If it were, simply adopting a good diet now might be something of a fix.
However, addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is stressful on the body. It will overwork your detoxification systems. This uses vitamins and minerals, meaning that those few you do consume are used up before you get to use them to maintain your health. Recovery also taxes these same systems, placing a greater demand on your micronutrient intake.
Prolonged deficiencies can also lead to a great many health problems, many of them chronic. Think of liver disease and renal failure. Think of various mental health concerns. Osteoporosis is common, as is arthritis, and both are alleviated by a healthy vitamin and mineral intake. Many chronic conditions are.
So, as you go through recovery, you will likely find yourself suffering from micronutrient deficiency at a time when you need high levels the most. Thankfully, certain supplementation can help to rectify this is your addiction recovery.
Micronutrients and recovery
We can associate alcoholism with a couple of key deficiencies. The lifestyle that often goes with alcoholism can lead to more, of course, as you undereat, or make poor food choices whilst under the influence. Supplementation for addiction recovery where drink has been a concern therefore needs to cover certain bases.
Specifically, alcoholism generally goes hand in hand with a deficiency in vitamin B1, or thiamine. You would generally get this from good quality animal sources like beef and milk, or from plant-based options like wheat and cereals. Most people eat enough of these on a regular basis to take in adequate thiamine levels. In fact, many common breakfasts cereals are fortified with it – they have extra added in. This is less the case with those suffering with alcoholism, however.
Vitamin B1 is essential in maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. It allows for healthy digestion, too, as well as helping with electrolyte flow and processing.
Alcoholism often leads to subpar absorption of several other essential vitamins – vitamins we can only take in, that we cannot create ourselves. These include vitamin A, D, and E. A lack of vitamin A can damage your liver (which will already likely be in a poor state from alcoholism), whilst vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bone mass and density.
Your supplementation should take all of these into account as you go through your alcohol addiction recovery.
As above, micronutrients are key for detoxing. It is imperative we work to address deficiencies as we go through recovery. They will help the body to maintain its natural processes, processes that might have been impaired under the influence of long term alcohol abuse. In turn, this will help you to heal properly.
It is common for those suffering from alcoholism to get so many calories from alcohol that they undereat. This is a bad thing. The calories contained in alcohol are simple sugars and are basically nutritionally void. It is also common to neglect your diet, so the food you do eat may not be the healthiest, most nutritionally balanced or sound.
Digestion is also impacted by long term alcohol use. You may not have been absorbing nutrients properly as you went through your alcoholism. Heavy alcohol use particularly inhibits the absorption of vitamins B1 and B12, folic acid, and zinc.
Your path through recovery is your chance to change all of this. Get a good diet in place. Then put a good supplementation plan in place, geared towards addiction recovery as laid out above. You will be allowing your body to heal and become as healthy as possible.
Overcoming nutrient deficiency through alcohol withdrawal
The first step-in supplementation for alcohol addiction recovery is to stop depleting your reserves of vitamins and minerals and to begin replacing the deficit. This is easier said than done, however, unless you have a perfect, balanced diet (and even that may not be enough.)
Therefore, good quality supplements will be a good ally in recovering your health as you go through withdrawal and recovery. I would suggest a complete array of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc, though this is hardly an exhaustive list.
The B vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12 – all contribute to myriad vital processes within your body. These range in scope from energy generation, converting glucose to usable energy, to the formation and maintenance of healthy blood cells.
Some of these B vitamins can also support liver health. They may even be able to help you better deal with alcohol cravings. They have cleansing properties and so are perfect for detoxing with, when they will remove the harmful toxins produced.
Try a good, well-rounded B vitamin support as part of your supplementation plan through alcohol addiction recovery. Also make sure you eat plenty of good quality meat and eggs, plenty of fruit, and lots and lots of leafy greens. All of these are packed with B vitamins.
Vitamin C is one of the busiest micronutrients going. It is involved in lots and lots of different bodily processes. For instance, it contributes to a healthy immune system, healthy energy levels, clear skin, and improved mood.
Lacking it will, among other things, lead to a low mood, accompanied by lethargy. You might experience these as symptoms of alcohol use and withdrawal anyway, so you really don’t want to add to them when doing so is so easily avoided.
You will be able to get a lot of vitamin C from fruit, specifically from strawberries, kiwis, and oranges, as well as certain green vegetables like sprouts, kale, and broccoli. However, supplementation is always a good idea to ensure you’re getting enough.
Alcohol stops zinc from being absorbed and properly used by your body. Therefore, your supplementation as you go through addiction recovery will have some making up to do.
Zinc deficiency can be particularly unpleasant. It can lead to cognitive impairment, including poor memory and focus, depression, and impaired organ function. Getting plenty of zinc in your diet should contribute to normalising all of these.
Zinc supplementation will likely be crucial to your healthy recovery. Most dietary zinc will come from red meat and poultry, though beans, nuts, whole grains, dairy products and certain types of seafood will also give you some.
Magnesium supplementation can help to ease the symptoms of anxiety, levels of which will often be spiked by addiction recovery and withdrawal. It also aids in maintaining nerve, heart, muscle, and immune system health.
Avocado, bananas, spinach and beans all have plenty of magnesium, though supplementation is always a good idea.
Omega-3 fatty acids
I would recommend omega-3 supplements to anyone and everyone, regardless of their background. It is one of the most well-researched compounds in the health and fitness sphere and has been linked with plenty of health benefits. It is even more important as part of a well-rounded supplementation regime through alcohol addiction recovery.
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, especially around the joints, and can aid heart health. They promote healthy joint mobility, which is important as you recover if you are at risk of osteoporosis or arthritis. It can also help to reduce symptoms of depression, making it perfect as you go through recovery.
Eggs and oily fish contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids, as do some berries and avocado. However, few natural diets contain enough omega-3 to really benefit from it, so I would always suggest supplementation.
Micronutrient intake and recovery from drug addiction
It is very common for those addicted to drugs, or those recovering from drug addiction, to suffer from malnutrition. If you are overcoming any kind of drug addiction, there is a good chance that you will suffer from a deficiency of one vitamin B1, B5, B6, C, and E, as well as calcium, magnesium, and niacin. You may be deficient in one, some, or even all of them.
They are all important to your health and wellbeing. We have seen many of them above, in relation to alcohol addiction and withdrawal. Being deficient in any of them could result in any number of chronic conditions. It will also impair your recovery.
Overcoming nutrient deficiency through drug addiction recovery
You will want to plug these gaps with supplementation as you come through drug addiction recovery. Any good multivitamin will do a lot of the legwork, allowing you to cover plenty of bases with just one, cheap pill (you should be able to get a month’s supply for a couple of quid at any pharmacy).
However, there are some supplements that may be good on top of this.
Omega-3 fatty acids
It’s good for everyone, as above. However, it can be especially good for those going through difficult withdrawal as it has been shown to ease symptoms.
Again, you should look into B vitamins. As above, there are plenty of sources, though a good all-round supplement may be in order. They are particularly good in overcoming drug withdrawal as they can reduce cravings even as they contribute to healthy cognition and mental wellbeing.
You will be open to vitamin C deficiency as you go through drug addiction recovery, just as you would be going through an alcohol detox. The foods listed above are all good sources. However, as ever, I would strongly urge anyone going through drug withdrawal to use supplementation to boost their addiction recovery.
Vitamin D deficiency is common through long term drug abuse. It can lead to a loss of bone density, which can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering fractures and breakages. Daily supplements should help to solve your deficiencies.
Magnesium and zinc
Magnesium and zinc are also often under consumed and under absorbed by those abusing drugs long term. As with coming through alcohol addiction recovery, it will be a good idea for those overcoming drug addiction to get plenty of each.
Magnesium supplementation will reduce your risk of suffering complications from withdrawal. It will also diminish the severity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Meanwhile, zinc will be good for maintaining healthy mental wellbeing, energy, and positivity, all of which are crucial during recovery.
A final word of safe supplements in addiction recovery
We all know that repairing the body is only part of the battle against overcoming addiction. Much more important is to address the mindset, which has a profound effect on the mind, body and the spirit.
Supplements are no substitute for a healthy eating plan. However, this can take time and energy, something that you may not have especially during the early days of addiction recovery. Supplements, together with regular healthy meals can provided a much needed boost for the body and brain. Giving you the reassurance and time to focus on improving yourself and your life.
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- 9 supplements proven to help you overcome addiction withdrawal https://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/blog/9-nutrients-proven-to-help-you-overcome-addiction-and-withdrawal-nutrition-recovery-vitamins-minerals-amino-acid-symptoms-supplements-diet-substance-drug-abuse-syndrome-cravings-opiate-alcoholism-food