There are a couple of main reasons to take supplements during an alcohol detox. Firstly, vitamins, minerals and supplements help make alcohol detox go smoother and reduce withdrawal symptoms. The second reason is that alcohol misuse also often leads to nutrient deficiencies and supplementing with vitamins help restore these deficiencies. Booze strips the body of many essential nutrients that we need to function properly. Supplements have far-reaching reparation effects for ongoing health.
If you receive in-patient alcohol treatment in a clinic or hospital, the medical team will usually prescribe everything you need and these institutions (should) also provide balanced meals.
If you are medically detoxing from alcohol at home, your prescriber will give everything you need. However, some supplements that are helpful aren’t classed as medications – and people normally get them many of them from diet – so you may not receive all the vitamins and minerals that are helpful from the medical professional. This is when taking additional supplements can be helpful.
If you are undertaking a home alcohol detox without any medical help – going cold turkey as such – we urge you to seek medical support. If you are determined to detox without medications, then the following might also support the detox process and help ongoing recovery.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements for Alcohol Detoxification
Vitamins to help detox
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
This is essential for energy production and carbohydrate metabolism. Alcohol misuse depletes thiamine levels leading to excessive shaking, anxiety and ultimately leads to a very serious neurological condition called Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome. Taking vitamin B1 supplements during alcohol detoxification might help to prevent this condition and other neurological problems.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Niacin is important for energy production and metabolism. It also plays a role in liver detoxification. Taking niacin supplements during alcohol detoxification supports liver function and reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
This is involved in a variety of metabolic processes, including the production of blood cells and neurotransmitters. Alcohol abuse also depletes vitamin B6 levels, which may lead to anaemia, depression, and other health problems. Taking vitamin B6 supplements during alcohol detoxification often helps to replenish vitamin B6 levels and reduce the risk of these complications.
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
Another essential vitamin and used for the production of red blood cells and the function of the nervous system. Alcohol problems can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12 which may lead to anaemia and neurological problems. Taking vitamin B12 supplements during alcohol detoxification can help to replenish vitamin B12 levels and prevent these complications.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the liver from damage caused by alcohol abuse. It also plays a role in the production of glutathione, a detoxifying enzyme. Taking vitamin C supplements during alcohol detox can help to support liver function and reduce the risk of liver damage.
Minerals for alcohol recovery
This is essential for many bodily functions, including muscle relaxation, nerve function and energy production. Alcohol misuse can deplete magnesium levels which can lead to anxiety, insomnia and muscle cramps. Taking magnesium supplements during alcohol detoxification helps replenish magnesium levels and reduce the severity of symptoms.
This is involved in many metabolic processes including the immune system and wound healing. Alcohol depletes zinc levels which weakens the immune system and slows down wound healing. Zinc supplements during alcohol detox help to replenish these levels and support overall health.
Supplements to support alcohol detox
This is an amino acid that is essential for the production of glutathione, which is a detoxifying enzyme. L-glutamine supplements taken during alcohol detoxification help to support liver function and reduces the risks of liver damage.
- N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
This amino acid is converted into glutathione in the body. NAC supplements are used to increase glutathione levels and support liver function during alcohol detoxification.
- Milk thistle
This herb has been researched and proven to protect the liver from damage. Milk thistle supplements can be used to support liver function during alcohol detoxification.
Recommended dosages and guidelines
The following are some common, recommended dosages and guidelines for using the above supplements.
- Vitamin B1: 100-200 mg per day
- Vitamin B3: 50-100 mg per day
- Vitamin B6: 50-100 mg per day
- Vitamin B12: 1000-2000 mcg per day
- Vitamin C: 500-1000 mg per day
- Magnesium: 400-800 mg per day
- Zinc: 30-50 mg per day
- L-glutamine: 5-10 grams per day
- NAC: 600-1200 mg per day
- Milk thistle: 500-1000 mg per day
Naturally, it’s a good idea to seek your doctor’s advice or nutritionist if you are unsure about what supplements might interact with any medications you are taking.
Taking vitamins, minerals, and supplements during alcohol detoxification can offer a number of benefits including replenishing your nutrient stores, supporting your alcohol detox process, helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms and promoting overall health and well-being.
Replenishing nutrient stores
Alcohol abuse can deplete the body of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Taking vitamins, minerals, and supplements during alcohol detoxification can help to replenish these nutrient stores and support overall health.
Supporting the detoxification process
Some vitamins, minerals and supplements help to support the detoxification process by enhancing the activity of detoxifying enzymes and protecting the liver from damage.
Reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be harsh and debilitating. Taking vitamins, minerals and supplements during alcohol detox can help to reduce the intensity of symptoms and make the process more comfortable and safer