Alcoholism is a chronic disease defined as a physiological and psychological addiction to alcohol, which occurs gradually from excessive, long-term use that changes brain chemistry.
Upon discontinuation of alcohol use, the body endures withdrawal symptoms such as depression and anxiety, sleeplessness, and fatigue. In severe cases, withdrawal can include hallucinations, irregular heart rate, and an increase in body temperature and seizures that can result in death.
Note: The primary method of managing withdrawal symptoms should be medical and psychological intervention. Vitamins and supplements can help in addition to professional medical care and should not be used as a substitute for physician-monitored treatment.
How Do Vitamins Help Cleanse Your System
Vitamins A and C
Deficiencies of vitamins A and C are prevalent among those who suffer from alcoholism. Vitamin A is essential for vision and central nervous system (CNS) health, and vitamin C helps support the immune system. During alcohol withdrawal syndrome, immune system health is compromised due to additional stress, which impairs normal CNS functioning.
The University of Michigan Health System recommends supplementing with vitamin C to help clear the body of alcohol during initial withdrawal. Also, many people with a vitamin C deficiency report feeling fatigued or depressed.
These feelings are precisely the opposite of what a person wants to experience while also encountering withdrawal symptoms. Research has shown that adding Vitamin C to the diet can help relieve these symptoms.
Vitamin A or beta-carotene supplements can help to correct deficiencies during withdrawal, but due to potential liver damage from alcoholism, should only be used under doctor supervision.
Vitamins B1 and B2
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) support cell health by processing nutrients and converting carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into usable energy. During alcohol withdrawal, vitamin B1 assists in lessening fatigue, sustaining mental clarity and reducing disorientation.
Vitamin B2 reduces the intensity of headaches and hand tremors related to alcohol withdrawal. Doses of vitamin B1 or B2 surpassing the daily recommended allowance of 1.2 mg are safe to use, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be treated with up to 25mg per day doses. However, consuming excess doses of vitamin B1 should only occur under medical supervision.
Vitamins B3, B6, and B9
Vitamin B3 (niacin) metabolizes alcohol out of the system and regulates part of the stress hormones of the adrenal glands. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) has a vital role in the production of the neurochemical serotonin, which promotes calmness during feelings of anxiety or depression. This vitamin also helps regulate the hormone melatonin, which induces sleep.
Vitamin B9 (folate) is essential to cellular and brain health. Using vitamins B3, B6 and B9 in excess doses lessens cravings for alcohol and eases tension, as well as insomnia and moodiness.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B3 is 14-16 mg with an upper limit of 35 mg. The recommended vitamin B6 daily intake is 1.4 mg with an upper limit of 100 mg, and vitamin B9 daily intake is 400 mg with a limit of 1,000 mg. Please consult a physician before exceeding the daily dose of these B vitamins for the management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 has been associated with a myriad of benefits from heart health to easing depression. These fats can be consumed by eating fish, but many people opt for fish oil supplements.
Look for a supplement that contains both EPA and DHA. However, consumption of more than 3 grams of fish oil per day is not advised, as excess can result in blood thinning.
Alcohol impedes the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which creates a problem for women in particular, who are at risk for osteoporosis after excessive drinking. Calcium supplements are the most effective when you’re also getting plenty of vitamin D, so either take this additionally or spend some time in the sun to help your body produce what it needs.
Using a multivitamin or B-complex vitamin during alcohol withdrawal can be beneficial for preventing malnourishment. Alcohol exhausts all soluble vitamins in the body, especially during early withdrawal. Multivitamins can help restore low levels of vitamins that the body desperately needs.
Moreover, vitamin deficiencies are partly responsible for much of the lethargy, memory loss and depression people encounter in the early stages of detox and recovery. A good multivitamin can help optimize the body’s functions and help those going through withdrawals to feel a little more “normal.”
Treatment for Alcoholism
As noted, alcohol withdrawal vitamins should not be used in place of a medical detox and professional treatment and support. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, and as such, all persons are urged to undergo medical supervision during this process.
Research has shown that the best outcomes are achieved when patients recovering from alcoholism participate in a comprehensive, long-term recovery program that includes evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.
Our center employs addiction professionals who deliver these services with care and expertise. We provide you the tools you need to achieve abstinence and sustain long-lasting sobriety and wellness.
We help people in recovery restore their sanity and relearn how to experience fulfilling lives – contact us as soon as possible to find out how!