Role of Nutritional Therapy in Recovery From Alcohol Addiction

Overcoming an alcohol addiction is challenging. At times, even after taking professional care, people tend to relapse due to factors like severity of their addiction, biochemical imbalances and genetic factors that act as an impediment to the recovery. The process of aligning the brain with the body is known as biochemical repair and nutritional therapy forms an important part of this repair program. The role of nutrition in recovery from alcoholism is also supported by a growing body of literature. According to experts, if the brain is provided nutritional support to overcome genetic and biochemical deficiencies, an individual has a higher chance of committing to sobriety .

Alcohol addiction and nutritional deficiencies

People grappling with alcohol addiction often have deficiencies of certain vitamins, minerals and proteins. Many holistic addiction centers providing alcohol abuse support screen these patients for the deficiencies, put them on a multivitamin, and then fortify their treatment plans with essential nutrients. People who are heavy drinkers consume a lot of empty calories and lack several important nutrients. For example, such people have a major deficiency of zinc. This is because after poor consumption of dairy products, whole grains and meat, alcohol impedes the absorption of zinc by gut and a lot of it is also excreted through the urine.

The deficiency manifests in the form of a compromised sense of smell and taste, reduced night vision, etc. It also causes confusion and depression. The deficiency of zinc also causes the gut to become leaky where it fails to compartmentalize between the intestine and rest of the body because of which toxins can reach the liver and cause alcohol-related liver disorders. Similarly, deficiency of folate and vitamin B6 can slow down the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine responsible for managing cravings.

Steady blood sugar levels are essential to staying sober

It has been found that a majority of people with alcohol addiction have low and sometimes very low blood glucose levels. These low levels then prompt an individual to seek something which could boost energy. A person may then struggle with cravings and succumb to alcohol and sugar. Therefore, healthy eating habits are indispensable to keep the cravings at a bay. This is the reason why some alcohol addiction centers provide their patients with low glycemic index food and provide fats and proteins in meals to compensate for the carbs included in the diet. These centers also teach their patients about the art of cooking so that when the patients are on their own, their sobriety is not threatened. Since alcohol addiction also causes insomnia, intake of caffeinated and soda drinks is also discouraged.

Dopamine regulation is vital to managing cravings

People with alcohol addiction also struggle with dopamine dysregulation. People with alcoholism tend to reach out for sugar, as it helps in the release of dopamine and to get more of that rush, people start self-medicating with alcohol. However, prolonged use of alcohol decreases the number of dopamine receptors, thus, diminishing its effect. The problem exacerbates in people with poor eating habits, as they lack the essential amino acids which act as the building blocks for dopamine. One of the ways to rectify the problem is by introducing high protein foods in the diet – eggs, cheese, nuts, legumes, etc.

Alcohol addiction is treatable

Alcohol addiction can be conquered by fueling the body with healthy food rich in essential minerals and vitamins, getting involved in physical activity and managing stress levels. In addition, one should also seriously contemplate taking treatment from a professional organization to walk on the path of sobriety.

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