If you’ve either recently joined the road to recovery or have been beating addiction for some time, I first want to say- I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.
Since you’ve found yourself on this article, you’re already moving in the right direction. Addiction recovery is no small feat.
Certainly, alcohol can beat up our bodies and leave some permanent damage. During recovery, key nutrients need to be replaced. There are particular recommended vitamins for a recovering alcoholic.
If you’re looking for the most necessary vitamins to include moving forward, this article is for you.
This article will outline the most essential vitamins for alcohol addiction recovery and food sources of these vitamins.
Now it’s time to put your best foot forward to walk toward a healthy lifestyle.
Alcoholism and Health
First, alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult battles. Not only is it a mental battle, but a physical one too. Being on the other side of addiction can turn things around.
Quality and quantity of alcohol are associated with mortality, morbidity, and chronic disease.
Increased alcohol can lead to heart issues, sleep disturbances, cancer, cirrhosis, dementia, diabetes, organ failure, and many other conditions.
Additionally, alcohol use can lead to cognitive impairment, mental health issues like depression, and ultimately, dependence.
Some studies also show that chronic alcohol intake can affect the gut and lead to digestive problems.
So yes, alcohol intake does harm the body. But, appropriate vitamins for recovering alcoholics are beneficial for the road to recovery.
The Role of Vitamins in the Body
We all know vitamins are good but does anyone know why?
Well, vitamins are essential to help the body function properly. They aid in blood flow, organ, cell, and nerve function, and fight infections. Vitamins can contribute toward proper metabolism, blood sugar, skin/wound healing, hormone regulation, DNA/RNA, bone health, plus enzyme function.
So, vitamins have countless roles. Let’s just say, they’re good for you and your health.
There are two different types of vitamins, fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the body while water soluble vitamins cannot. Dietary fat helps fat soluble vitamins absorb into the body.
Fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E, K
Water soluble vitamins: Vitamin C, B Vitamins
Alcohol and Nutrient Deficiency
While battling addiction, vitamins and nutrition are typically not prioritized. Not only that, drug and alcohol use can deplete necessary vitamin sources in our bodies. In other words, addiction can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Alcohol intake can slow down metabolism and lead to decreased intake. Minimal food intake can lead to malnutrition and vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.
Plus, there is a correlation between less nutritious food intake and alcohol intake.
Additionally, chronic alcohol use may cause issues with metabolism, utilization, and absorption of vitamins.
Drinking alcohol can inhibit fat absorption, this affects the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Alcohol intake can also affect vital organs which can lead to imbalances in the body.
Top Vitamins for a Recovering Alcoholic
Vitamins are crucial in recovery as they help with overall health. However, vitamins do not play a role in helping a person stay sober. Proper nutrition can help your body feel and function better.
As a dietitian, I like to promote “food first.” However, when our bodies are low on essential nutrients, the best way to replete those nutrients is with supplementation.
It’s recommended to consult with your doctor before beginning a new vitamin regimen to assure appropriate, personalized dosage and vitamins.
So, what vitamins are good for recovering alcoholics?
#1 Thiamine (B1)
Thiamine is the most important vitamin for anyone suffering or previously suffering from alcohol addiction.
Alcohol intake makes it difficult for the body to absorb thiamine through food. Alcoholism can cause thiamine deficiency.
Thiamine deficiency can lead to beriberi which can affect the heart or nervous system. This nutrient deficiency can also lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a memory disorder due to damage to the nerve cells.
- Role: Thiamine aids in nerve health and the function of cells.
- Food Sources: beef, pork, legumes, nuts, whole grains.
#2 Folic Acid (B9)
Folic acid is necessary for proper brain function and blood flow.
Alcohol abuse can lead to folic acid deficiency due to poor dietary intake, intestinal malabsorption, decreased hepatic uptake, and increased body excretion.
Deficiency can lead to anemia and neurological disorders. Alcoholic liver disease is associated with folate deficiency.
- Role: Folic acid makes DNA/RNA, helps the body make red blood cells, and aids in brain function.
- Food Sources: dark leafy greens, nuts, sunflower seeds, legumes, eggs.
#3 Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another common deficiency from alcohol abuse. Similar to folic acid, deficiency can be caused by inadequate intake and alcohol inhibiting storage and absorption.
Vitamin A is one of the fat soluble vitamins that the body struggles to absorb with excessive alcohol intake.
Loss of night vision and blindness are associated with vitamin A deficiency. This deficiency is prevalent in alcoholics.
- Role: Vitamin A aids in the function of the immune system, eyes, skin, and many other parts of the body.
- Food Sources: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, liver.
#4 Vitamin C
Vitamin C deficiency is also correlated with alcoholism.
Alcohol intake can inhibit vitamin C absorption. This deficiency can lead to scurvy.
Additionally, vitamin C deficiency can aggravate symptoms of alcoholic liver disease.
This micronutrient aids in immune support. It also has antioxidant effects.
- Role: Vitamin C helps protect and keep cells and tissue healthy.
- Food Sources: peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes.
Multivitamins can help prevent and treat vitamin and mineral deficiency.
Multivitamins typically contain adequate amounts of necessary vitamins and minerals for the day. These are recommended due to the decreased intake and absorption from chronic alcohol intake, putting alcohol drinkers at higher risk for deficiency.
Chronic alcohol intake can lead to diminished calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc levels. This may be due to decreased food intake or malabsorption. Vitamins can aid in the repletion of these levels.
Multivitamins can decrease risk of deficiency and boost health.
Support for Recovery
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, these services may help.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Recovery Centers of America
- American Addiction Centers: State-Funded Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Me
So, adding these vitamins can aid in your recovery and help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
An overall healthy diet and lifestyle can have beneficial effects.
Again, please consult with a doctor prior to beginning a new supplement routine to find the best fit for you!
Another important factor to improve health is adequate sleep.
Grab your FREE copy of my Better Sleep Bundle HERE.
Other Posts you may Enjoy:
- 13 Tips for Gaining Weight Safely
- Snacks to Improve Focus and Memory
- 13 Sleep Hacks for the Best Nights Sleep
- Mahjan L, Singh R. 4 Nutrition Diseases Associated with Alcoholism. Alcoholism: Causes, Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment. March 9, 2022.
*These are general recommendations and supplements may not be the best option for everyone. Consult a physician or medical profession for the most personalized recommendations.*