Orthomolecular Alcoholism Treatment

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  November 02 ,
| 4 Sources

Orthomolecular alcoholism treatment involves the practice of optimum nutrition in order to compensate for nutritional deficiencies caused by the disease of alcoholism. But orthomolecular medicine actually goes beyond that.

Through the use of vitamins and nutritional supplements, cravings for alcohol can be reduced and withdrawal symptoms can be reduced or alleviated altogether.

Orthomolecular medicine can help alleviate depression, as well, a common disorder occurring along with alcoholism. It improves overall health and strengthens of the immune system. Read a more detailed outline of Orthomolecular Treatments here.

Orthomolecular Alcoholism Treatment

Niacin, one of the B-vitamins, is one of the most important nutrients for orthomolecular alcoholism treatment, says orthomolecular expert Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. In proper doses, the nutrient provides relief from a variety of physical and mental disorders, including chronic depression. Dr. Hoffer notes that niacin is less effective when alcoholics are still drinking, but in some cases it helps people cut down on alcohol use.

The following supplements can be used in addition to niacin for the orthomolecular treatment of alcoholism. These nutrients have been shown to help treat alcohol abuse and dependence.

These supplements should be used along with a healthful diet in order to provide all of the nutrients a person needs. This orthomolecular alcoholism treatment should be followed only under the supervision of an orthomolecular medicine practitioner or other healthcare provider.

  • A good high-potency multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement is recommended. Look for one containing magnesium (400 mg) and the antioxidants carotene and d-alpha tocopherol.
  • Use a B-complex vitamin 6 times daily. Alcoholics are almost always deficient in B vitamins. In addition to restoring the body’s B vitamins, it can help with stress and depression.
  • You can take vitamin C to the point of saturation, which will be 10,000 to 20,000 mg per day or more. Take 1000 mg of vitamin C every hour until there is a single episode of diarrhea. That indicates that saturation has been achieved. Then you can reduce the dosage to 1000 mg every four hours.

    In high doses, vitamin C chemically neutralizes the toxic breakdown products of alcohol metabolism. Vitamin C also increases the liver's ability to reverse the fatty build-up so common in alcoholics.
  • Try chromium, anywhere from 200 to 400 mcg per day. Chromium greatly reduces poor carbohydrate metabolism, and greatly helps control blood sugar levels. Many, if not most, alcoholics are hypoglycemic.
  • Use 2000 to 3000 mg of L-Glutamine to help decrease physical cravings for alcohol. L-Glutamine will also help decrease sugar cravings.

    L- Glutamine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys. Since alcohol harms the kidneys and liver, supplementing with L-Glutamine is very important.

Good Nutrition

Orthomolecular alcoholism treatment will be most important if practiced along with a healthful diet in general. Many alcoholics neglect their health, including good nutrition. Ideally, treatment programs will include education about nutrition. Residential treatment programs should include carefully prepared meals designed to combat the malnutrition found in many alcoholics.

Fresh fruits and vegetables will provide many of the vitamins necessary for good health. Dairy products and protein foods (including meat, chicken, eggs, beans, etc.) will provide many of the minerals required. In addition, protein is necessary for healing, and the alcoholic often needs healing for organ damage caused by their disease.

Not many treatment centers currently provide orthomolecular medicine treatment for alcoholism, but this may change in the future. Good nutrition and nutritional counseling is a reasonable expectation of treatment programs, however.

Of course, you can also try the above protocol without the assistance of an alcohol treatment center. Before engaging in this or any nutrition therapy program, though, you should always seek the counsel of an orthomolecular medicine practitioner or other healthcare provider. 

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

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