On the road to recovery from an addiction? You probably have heard of key principles that will help you reach your goal. One element to not overlook in a complete rehab program is the role nutrition plays in getting you better. There are now many rehab programs that can help provide this information on natural ways on the journey of recovery. The reason for this focus? Whatever the substance of addiction, whether drugs or alcohol, vitamins are key to getting you better.
Substance addiction causes nutrition deficiencies
When an individual is addicted to alcohol or drugs, their normal appetite for food is curbed. Thus, they eat less of the foods that should be providing them with the bare minimum of vitamins and minerals the body needs to function on a normal level. Essentially, causing substance abusers to suffer from malnutrition.
Additionally, alcohol and drugs impact the way vitamins are used and stored within the body. For instance, alcohol inhibits the absorption of the vitamin B-12. When you are deficient in B-12, you may display any of the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath and fatigue
- tingling and numbness in the limbs
- loss of concentration and memory
A continued and prolonged B-12 deficiency could lead to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
This is just one vitamin deficiency affected by substance abuse. Other vitamins affected are vitamins D, A, E, and K. Substance abusers are also often low in calcium and iron.
Vitamins and nutrients as part of a substance abuse recovery plan
Substance dependency causes a change in the chemical make-up of the brain. So when the substance use stops, withdrawal symptoms occur that can range from mild to the more severe, depending on the length of addiction. First, there are nutritional supplements that you can take to help lessen withdrawal symptoms. For instance, evening primrose oil supports brain function. L-glutamine contributes to re-balancing blood sugar levels. A function often damaged in alcoholics. The list goes on. Here are some other vitamins and minerals that will help repair your organs, as well as handle withdrawal symptoms:
B vitamins. There are many B vitamins, all of which you need. Within the vitamin B family, each vitamin B type aids your body in a different way. Here is a quick rundown to show you which B does what and where to get it:
- Vitamin B-12 regulates the nervous system. It can be found in meats and dairy products.
- Vitamin B-6, B-1, and B-2 changes food and nutrients into energy. Find it in whole grains, dark green veg, spinach, liver, chickpeas, and tuna.
- Vitamin B-3 contributes to health appetite and digestion. Look for chicken, fish, and red meat.
- Vitamin B-9 aids in the growth of red blood cells. Found in green leafy veg, whole grains, beets, and fish.
Amino acid foods. Amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Which need repairing as part of substance abuse recovery. Foods rich in amino acids are red meats, seafood, and chicken. Eggs and some dairy are other great sources, as are beans, seeds, and tofu.
Magnesium. Rebuilding damaged organs is key to your full recovery. Magnesium is essential for the healthy function of your heart, kidneys, and muscles. It is found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, salmon tuna, avocado, and bananas.
Calcium. Calcium is a mineral stored in your bones, which your body draws from daily to stabilize blood pressure and keep your bones strong. If it is not replenished daily, you will create a calcium deficiency that can lead to weak bones and teeth. Calcium is found in dairy products, as well as dark leafy greens and fortified drinks and foods.
Make sure that your diet contributes to your recovery plan. Discuss with a health professional what key nutrients and vitamins you should be including in your diet to help speed your recovery.