Anyone who has had issues with drinking too much alcohol needs to carefully consider how to get their body back on track. Fortunately, there are many things you can do during alcohol detox to start feeling like yourself again. One of the most important changes you can make is to ensure you get proper vitamins and minerals. Not only will this help you feel better, but they even have the potential to minimize hangovers.
Why Alcoholics Need Vitamins
Everyone needs vitamins, but they’re absolutely crucial to alcoholics. Drinking regularly will rob your body of the ability to properly absorb vitamins, through either a gastrointestinal obstruction or the limitation of food intake. Either way, when your vitamin intake remains too low for too long, you’ll begin to develop a variety of symptoms, including:
- Bone Loss
- Chronic Fatigue
- Frequent Sickness
- Tooth Decay
Suffering from a lack of vitamins and minerals can also cause your withdrawal symptoms to worsen. It’s a vicious cycle that must be broken to help you heal.
Should You Take Vitamins While Detoxing?
Alcohol withdrawal disorder (AWD) can be very scary but getting to the other side of it is ultimately the best thing for you. The detoxification timeline points out how hard it can be to complete your detox.
- Six hours after your last drink – You may develop mild symptoms, including a headache, tremors, upset stomach, insomnia, or anxiety.
- Within 24 hours – You may feel, hear, and see things that aren’t really there.
- 24 to 48 hours – Some people will have a heightened risk of seizures.
- 48 to 72 hours – You may deal with agitation, confusion, or visual hallucinations. Some people may even experience delirium tremens.
For some people, the symptoms are over within three days, but it may take longer for others. Either way, taking vitamins can help you get through the most difficult stage of detoxification. You should focus on getting B vitamins, along with C and D3. In fact, most doctors seem to recommend taking these vitamins throughout the entire detox experience.
The Necessary Vitamins and Minerals to Cleanse and Restore Your Body During Detox
1. Multi-Nutrient Support Formulas
There are exciting new supplement blends that can be used to support alcohol recovery. In fact, it’ll work best if you use a multivitamin for alcoholics. However, take care not to choose weak herbal extracts and basic B-vitamins dressed up with fancy marketing. Ideally, the supplement blend you choose will have some of the following nutrients in it (especially the amino acids):
- B-Vitamins – Highly depleted by alcoholism and necessary for energy and cognition
- Vitamin C – Restores cellular health damaged by alcohol consumption
- Magnesium – Supports relaxation, sleep, and nervous system functioning
- Zinc – Restores the immune system and hormonal balance after alcoholism
- 5HTP – Amino acid that helps with relaxation and sleep
- DLPA – Amino acid that supports healthy endorphin levels
- L-Glutamine – Amino acid that stabilizes blood sugar, increases GABA, and repairs the gut
- Phosphatidylcholine – Natural compound that supports the liver and brain
Of course, there are other helpful nutrients for alcohol recovery, like organic omega-3 fish oil and N-Acetyl Cysteine. However, these nutrients taste pretty terrible, so they’re not often found in blends. They’re best taken separately from your multivitamin for alcohol withdrawal.
Multi-nutrient formulas can help if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You are trying to quit drinking
- You have just finished detoxing from alcohol
- You have already quit drinking and are struggling with post-acute withdrawal symptoms
You can learn more in my article on 3 of my favorite supplements.
To make a long story short, the B-vitamins are the quintessential alcohol withdrawal vitamins. The brain and nervous system cannot function properly without B-vitamins.
Some of the most important alcohol withdrawal vitamins are niacin (B3), thiamine (B1), pyridoxine (b6), and folic acid. You can also get them from a quality B-Complex supplement.
Symptoms of B-vitamin deficiencies include:
- Nervous exhaustion
- Loss of libido
As you can see, depletion of B-vitamins can have devastating consequences!
3. Vitamin C
Even at doses of up to 125 grams per dose (a lot!), vitamin C is nontoxic. One of the most important alcohol withdrawal vitamins, it helps to repair every cell in the human body.
I did not take vitamin C on its own when I had alcohol withdrawals, and this was a mistake. I have friends who swear by Ester-C, which is very well absorbed and contains 1,000 mg of vitamin C. If I were looking for alcohol withdrawal vitamins today, I would add an extra dose of vitamin C into my regimen.
Update: Since writing this article, I have tried liposomal vitamin C and was able to stomach 5 grams without any intestinal discomfort! Liposomal nutrients are very well-absorbed and bioavailable, and this is a great option for anyone with a sensitive stomach.
4. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is actually a steroid hormone used in a large number of bodily processes. It has been shown to be depleted severely in people with alcoholism. Supplementation with vitamin D3 relieves fatigue and stress, which are two huge symptoms of protracted alcohol withdrawal.
For alcoholics, vitamin D3 deficiency is often a root cause of depression that lingers for months or even years after acute withdrawal. This was the case for me!
Vitamin D3 was one of the most effective alcohol withdrawal vitamins I took. The sun did not trigger enough production of this vitamin because I always wore sunscreen, which blocks this natural process. A day after I began taking it, I had a brighter outlook and suddenly realized that my mood was no longer at the mercy of the weather.
5. Magnesium Citrate
This mineral is necessary for the activation of over 300 enzymes throughout the body. Because modern soil is depleted of magnesium, most people’s bodies are depleted as well. And because just one drink causes us to excrete 170% more magnesium than usual, alcoholics are extremely deficient in magnesium.
Supplementation with magnesium can repair nervous system functioning, support energy production, and alleviate anxiety and insomnia.
When I began taking Epsom salt baths and supplementing with magnesium, I felt more relaxed within 30 minutes and had the best sleep I’d had in years.
The type of magnesium that you take matters! Magnesium oxide, typically found in stores, is likely to pass through your system or even cause diarrhea. The most well-absorbed types are magnesium citrate, taurate, and gluconate.
Experts used to advise people to take magnesium with calcium, but recent research has indicated that calcium supplementation poses cardiovascular risks. (source)
No matter how difficult it may be to complete your alcohol detox, remember that it’s only temporary, but the rewards will last for the rest of your life. Taking each of the minerals and vitamins for alcohol detox listed above can make everything much easier on you, too. We recommend looking for alcohol detox multivitamins such as the style listed above. At FitRecovery, we believe that anyone can heal from alcoholism, and we don’t believe in guilt, shame, or blame to get you there. Instead, we know that your alcoholism isn’t your fault, and we’re here to help you recover! Using a multivitamin for alcoholics, along with the FitRecovery program, will help you start a new chapter in your life.