Alcohol abuse and addiction, also referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is hard on the body. Many people who suffer from alcohol addiction may experience related health problems. Alcohol can prevent the body from absorbing or maintaining healthy levels of key vitamins and nutrients. People using alcohol may also have various nutritional deficiencies. While the liver is central to detoxing from alcohol, there are also alcohol detox supplements that may be taken to support optimal health during the process. Although these vitamins and minerals for detoxing from alcohol should not be viewed as a miracle cure or solution, they can help address nutritional deficiencies with alcohol abuse. What Is Alcohol Withdrawal? Alcohol withdrawal refers to the signs and symptoms that occur when an individual who drinks heavily and regularly either decreases their alcohol intake or stops it altogether. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the quantity of alcohol consumed and how often an individual drinks. It is estimated that about 50% of people who are dependent on alcohol will experience withdrawal symptoms upon stopping alcohol or reducing their intake. The probability of nutritional deficiencies is high in patients who withdraw from alcohol, so providing proper nutritional support, including the administration of vitamins and minerals, is important during this time. Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Alcohol impacts GABA, a neurotransmitter that slows nerve excitability. When a person stops drinking alcohol, there is an imbalance in GABA receptors that can lead to increased nerve excitability, which can result in muscle stiffness and other movement disorders. Different degrees of withdrawal symptoms can occur with AUD. Some of the more common symptoms can begin within hours of a reduction of alcohol consumption or stopping alcohol. These symptoms can last up to several days and include: Tremor Alcohol cravings Difficulty sleeping Strange dreams Nausea Vomiting Sweating Headache Loss of appetite Anxiety Agitation and irritability State of heightened alertness More severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal include: Hallucinosis — hallucinations that occur without other impairment of consciousness Seizures Delirium tremens — a condition involving abrupt and serious mental and nervous system changes characterized by: Body tremors Severe confusion Severe and rapid mood changes Sleepiness and fatigue Sleep that lasts for longer than a day Irritability Sensitivity to light, sound and touch Seizures Hallucinosis and seizures may occur within one to two days of stopping or reducing alcohol. Delirium tremens usually occurs within two to four days but can happen up to 10 days after a person’s last drink. What Vitamins Help With Alcohol Withdrawal? Patients in recovery from alcohol abuse and addiction usually have nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies are common in alcohol use disorder (AUD) from both a poor diet and alcohol-induced changes that lead to reduced absorption of nutrients into the blood. The administration of certain vitamins for detoxing from alcohol is essential to replenish any loss that has occurred in a patient. Doing so improves overall health, prevents certain diseases and supports recovery. The following are alcohol withdrawal vitamins and minerals that are important to incorporate while detoxing from alcohol. Vitamin A A deficiency in vitamin A causes dry skin and dry eyes. The latter can eventually lead to vision problems, including night blindness. Because vitamin A is metabolized and stored in the liver, it is very likely to be low in a person who is abusing alcohol. Restoring levels of vitamin A is critical for healthy vision and immunity. Vitamin B B vitamins, which include vitamins B1, 2, 3, 6 and 9, play an important role in energy production and are often lacking in people suffering from alcoholism. The two most important B vitamins with regard to alcohol withdrawal are vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B9 (folate). A deficiency in thiamine can cause a disease called Wernicke’s encephalopathy, a potentially fatal brain disorder. It is routine to administer thiamine to anyone withdrawing from alcohol to prevent this disease. Folate is required for the production of red blood cells, so a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to anemia. Vitamin C Vitamin C deficiency can result from low fruit and vegetable intake during alcohol addiction. Vitamin C deficiency is common in alcohol use disorders and can lead to additional health problems. Consuming vitamin C supplements may help protect against some of the toxic effects of alcohol because it is an antioxidant, and it may prevent inflammation throughout the body, including in the liver. Omega 3 & Amino Acids Cognitive impairment is a common complication of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Memory loss, language problems, learning problems and difficulty focusing are all possible side effects of alcohol abuse. Omega 3 fatty acids are nutrients that our bodies do not make. DHA, a type of omega 3, helps improve cognitive function and the ability to learn, so supplementing with omega 3s may help restore the cognitive abilities of someone with AUD. There is also early evidence that a specific formulation of amino acids may help protect the body from some of the harmful effects of alcohol by helping improve cell function and possibly prevent fatty liver disease, which is a common problem associated with alcohol abuse. Magnesium Extremely low levels of magnesium, or hypomagnesemia, are often found in patients with alcohol use disorder. Hypomagnesemia can result in serious effects, such as seizures, coma and abnormal heart rhythms. Since seizures are already a concern with chronic alcohol use, restoring an individual’s magnesium levels through supplementation should be considered. Calcium Alcohol can affect the balance of calcium in the body, which is critical for strong bones. In order to prevent osteoporosis, a disease that affects bone density and causes bones to become more fragile, an individual may supplement with calcium and vitamin D to prevent this. Vitamin D helps calcium to be more easily absorbed in the body. Zinc Alcohol abuse and addiction are related to low levels of zinc in the blood. During withdrawal from alcohol, low levels of zinc may contribute to the possibility of a seizure occurring. Therefore, zinc replenishment may be a logical treatment approach during detox. Multivitamins As you can see, there are many vitamins and minerals that can be depleted in the body as a result of chronic alcohol use. Restoring levels of all of these is a sensible response to prevent a host of potential problems and disorders. Rather than taking them individually, it may be more efficient to administer a multivitamin once daily to a patient who is detoxing from alcohol. It is essential, however, that at least 100 mg of vitamin B1 (thiamine) is present in the multivitamin; otherwise it would have to be administered separately. The administration of thiamine is a common protocol for those detoxing from alcohol, and there are instances when higher doses or IV or intramuscular administration may be required. You Might Be Interested In: What Foods to Eat During a Drug or Alcohol Detox Natural Remedies for Alcohol Detox There are a variety of supplements for detoxing from alcohol. Most natural supplements for alcohol detox are useful for rejuvenating healthy organ function and restoring blood levels to normal in cases where deficiency has occurred. These types of supplements can be accessed in health food stores and over the counter where other supplements are sold. Consultation with a medical professional and blood testing can ensure that you are accessing the right kinds of supplements for your individual health needs. Some popular natural remedies include: Milk thistle: The use of milk thistle with alcohol detox is beneficial for liver function. The amount of milk thistle to use largely depends on body size. Results will vary depending on the individual. Kudzu: Kudzu and alcohol detox can have additional benefits, including the decrease in consumption and increased elimination of alcohol from the system. Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms There is evidence-based treatment available, called medication-assisted treatment (MAT), for people suffering from alcohol use disorder. It consists of the administration of certain medications that prevent or ease symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. These medications can reduce cravings for alcohol and help an individual maintain sobriety. MAT also involves counseling and behavioral therapies, which provide a more holistic approach to the individual struggling with AUD. Alcohol Detox The safest way to detox from alcohol is under direct medical supervision. Medical personnel will monitor you for withdrawal symptoms and administer medications to minimize any discomfort. An individual has access to around-the-clock care should any serious symptoms arise. Supportive care is usually given during detox and may include alcohol detox supplements. Vitamins and minerals may be administered depending on blood levels and symptoms a patient is exhibiting, or they may be given as a preventative measure in those with severe alcohol withdrawal. The alcohol detox supplements should include thiamine, folate and magnesium. It is important to point out that in certain cases, IV thiamine or intramuscular thiamine may be required. How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol? The time it takes to detox from alcohol will vary among different people. Factors that influence detox time include: The amount an individual regularly drinks How often a person drinks The duration of time a person has been drinking The presence of any co-occurring mental or physical disorders Although most symptoms from withdrawal resolve within a few days, dangerous withdrawal effects, like seizures, may occur seven to ten days after the last drink; therefore, it is prudent that an individual is closely monitored during this time period. Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Florida Recovery from alcohol addiction often requires a long process of healing. The first step in that process often involves medical detox, and this can prove to be a difficult journey. The use of supplements and MAT therapy during recovery can be helpful as the body begins to heal. Following detox, an individual has a choice for inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization program or outpatient rehab. During this time, you will receive individual and group therapy and care for any co-occurring mental disorders. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol use, contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health to speak with a representative about how professional addiction treatment can help. You deserve a healthier, substance-free future. SourcesSaitz, Richard. “Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal.” Alcohol Health and Research World, 1998. Accessed September 6, 2022. 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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.