Trying To Put Down The Bottle?
Millions of Americans enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink in a social setting or with a meal, but for some individuals, excess alcohol use can lead to more severe consequences. More than 10% of the population will develop alcohol use disorder (AUD), a potentially dangerous disease. AUD can cause severe health, social, and financial problems and is a leading cause of death in the country. Saying no to alcohol is a great goal, but some people seeking sobriety will struggle with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Finding ways to cope with these symptoms, such as using certain vitamins, can help create an easier path to recovery.
The risks of alcohol withdrawal
When a person decides to stop drinking, there can be signs of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol is a drug that can chemically alter the brain over time, leading to dependency. When the drug is removed or lessened, the body and brain can experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS), a range of unpleasant symptoms. Immediate symptoms can include headaches, nausea, sweating, vomiting, and anxiety. Heavy drinkers can soon experience more severe symptoms like confusion, fever, and rapid heartbeat. In extreme cases, alcohol withdrawal can lead to delirium tremens (DT), a potentially fatal condition. Any individual with moderate to severe AUD should start the road to sobriety under medical supervision. However, in some cases, supplements can help reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
The power of B vitamins
People with AUD typically have vitamin deficiencies due to poor diets and reduced absorption from ethanol. For many people, using effective supplements can lessen the symptoms typical of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Doctors may recommend B vitamins to patients with alcohol use disorder. B vitamins are essential for nerve health, brain health, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) function, and more. Studies show that thiamine, or vitamin B1, can help with alcohol dependence. Vitamin B3, or niacin, can help with the detoxification process, while B12 can reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Vitamin C and D for AWS
Additional options for addressing alcohol withdrawal include vitamins C and D. While vitamin C is excellent for immune health, people with AWS can also benefit. Vitamin C reduces inflammation, which is excellent for symptoms like anxiety, headaches, and other signs of vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin D helps skin, bone, and muscle health. Additionally, sufficient vitamin D can help prevent alcohol cravings.
Zinc and magnesium
Minerals are essential compounds the body requires in trace amounts. Some, like zinc and magnesium, can help with the road to sobriety. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in hundreds of processes, but excess alcohol use may lead to a deficiency. Supplementing may help reduce anxiety, headaches, and confusion. Magnesium can also lower blood pressure (BP) and help improve sleep. Zinc is another excellent mineral to help reduce inflammation and reduce anxiety and depression. Like magnesium, zinc absorption can be blocked by excess alcohol use. Increasing zinc via supplementation may help people struggling with detox symptoms.
Omega-3s for the brain
While omega-3s do not directly treat alcohol withdrawal, this essential supplement can provide multiple brain benefits. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the damage caused by long-term alcohol use. The antioxidant properties of omega-3s also help reduce oxidative stress and restore function. These factors also help reduce the symptoms typical of alcohol withdrawal.
Sobriety is possible
Supplements have fantastic benefits for overall health and may even help some individuals with alcohol withdrawal. However, people suffering from AWS must not depend on vitamins and minerals alone. Alcohol use disorder is a severe condition that requires time and medical expertise to reach sobriety. These professionals can provide the additional support and medication necessary to help with the physical and psychological effects of quitting alcohol. In the meantime, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and including the right vitamins and minerals can make recovery easier.