Vitamins and Minerals Helpful to Alcoholics in Recovery

Contributed by: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, for Addiction Hope

Recovering from alcoholism is process that involves healing on multiple levels. One of the highest and immediate priorities of healing from alcoholism involves dealing with the medical complications and physical side effects that may be present.

Detoxing from alcohol and the process of becoming sober is a necessary part of recovering, but this phase of the healing journey can be physically difficult on the body. As the human body becomes reliant on alcohol to function, reversing this dependency requires persistent care and attention.

Several physical complications can arise in alcoholics as a result of nutritional deficiencies. When alcohol takes the place of food and a balanced diet, the body is deprived of the nutrition it needs to function adequately. As alcohol consumption becomes chronic and excessive, the body is continually depleted of the nutrients needed to carry about basic functions.

Working with a Professional Treatment Team

If you are recovering from alcoholism, it is crucial that you work with a professional treatment team who can analyze the extent of any medical complications and nutritional deficiencies.

Typically, during the early phases of treatment and while detoxing from alcohol, lab work will help measure how your body is responding to treatment and healing. A balanced diet will slowly be reintroduced to meet nutrient needs.

Even with a balanced diet that includes a variety of food, recovering alcoholics will often need additional supplementation to replenish the loss of nutrients from excessive alcohol intake.

Supplements to a Healthy Diet

Alcoholics may benefit from the following vitamins as a supplement to a healthy diet. Before considering any supplementation, be sure to discuss these options with your physician and/or registered dietitian.

  • Multivitamin: Because the body will take time to replenish vitamin stores, taking a multivitamin can help cover the basis of what is needed in a day. Multivitamins typically offer the daily amount needed but cannot replace a balanced and healthy diet.
  • Calcium: This important mineral is crucial for many functions in the body, including muscle function. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause the loss of calcium in the body through urine excretion. Supplementing with calcium in addition to eating calcium rich foods can help ensure the body is receiving adequate amounts of this mineral.
  • B-vitamins: These group of vitamins are important for many functions in the body, including nerve and blood cells. Alcohol consumption can interfere with b-vitamins the body and result in dangerous physical complications. A B-vitamin complex may be helpful in restoring normal levels of these vitamins in the body of a recovering alcoholic.

Restoring your health begins with a health and balanced diet. If you are concerned about possible vitamin or mineral deficiencies, be sure to discuss this with your professional treatment team. Always follow supplementation guidelines per your physician.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What is your experience with vitamin/mineral supplementation during recovery from alcoholism?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 27th, 2015
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