Whether you are an alcohol abuser or addict in recovery mode, chances are good that you frequently have cravings for alcohol and/or withdrawal symptoms.
Due to the addictive nature of alcohol and its effects on brain chemicals, there is no magic bullet to cure the effects of alcoholism. However, there are a few strategies you can use to reduce alcohol cravings and restore health to your mind and body during this process.
Alcoholics frequently suffer from vitamin B deficiencies, especially B1, or thiamine. This vitamin helps decrease symptoms of fatigue and mental fogginess. Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome, which presents with a kind of alcohol-induced dementia and memory loss. If left untreated, it often results in death.
To combat this deficiency, high doses of thiamine may be necessary to compensate for poor absorption. Also, Vitamin B3 (niacin)* and Vitamin B5 (panthothenic acid) can help with alcohol detox. Therefore, a B-complex vitamin is often useful to supplement these deficiencies.
To give you an idea of how important thiamine is to alcoholics, consider the following dosing recommendations from the Mayo Clinic:
- For alcohol withdrawal, 100 milligrams of thiamine injected into the muscle or vein.
- For alcohol liver disease, 100 milligrams of thiamine injected into the vein.
- For Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, 5-200 milligrams of thiamine injected into the muscle or vein, sometimes in divided doses for over two days.
Many standard B multivitamin supplements only have 1.5 mg of thiamine, which is the daily recommended allowance. Therefore, those with deficiencies may find greater benefit in a B1 supplement vitamin, which may contain 100-250 mg of thiamine.
Thiamine is not known to cause liver damage and is very difficult to overdose upon, so if you are going to indulge in any one supplement to treat alcoholism, this is the one.
Kudzu is an invasive herb which has shown by some studies to be beneficial in reducing alcohol cravings – moreover, it may reduce alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers when taken for several days. Researchers have reported that those who took kudzu also drank alcohol at a slower pace than when given a placebo.
According to WebMD, kudzu may provide these results for heavy drinkers, but not necessarily for chronic alcoholics. Kudzu extract can be found at many health stores and online.
Other Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino Acids
Across the board, alcoholism interferes with the absorption of key nutrients. Therefore, an alcoholic (or recovering alcoholic) may suffer from numerous deficiencies – these include Vitamin C, selenium, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. Supplementation of these nutrients can also help with alcohol cravings.
In general, an aggressive multi-vitamin and mineral supplementation regime can help ease cravings. High doses of vitamin C (up to 1,000 mg) taken up to 10 times a day may be useful when cravings occur.
In addition, the combination of amino acids carnitine, glutamine, and glutathion may reduce alcohol-related stress and ease blood sugar fluctuations.
Passion flower, dandelion, and kava kava* have all been shown in studies to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Milk thistle can help protect the liver from further damage.
What To Avoid
*Note: If you are currently drinking heavily or suffer from liver disease, taking high doses of Vitamin A, niacin, or kava kava is not advised, as they have the potential to increase liver damage. Please use caution and talk to your doctor.
Just Believe Recovery offer integrated, research-based approaches to addiction treatment in partial hospitalization and residential formats. We customize our programs to address the unique circumstances of those we treat to ensure that their needs and goals are met. We ensure that each person is provided with the tools and education they need to have the best chance for long-term success.
If you are motivated to break free from the chains of alcoholism, contact us today! We can help you reclaim your life and experience the happiness and wellness you deserve!