When you’ve decided you’re finally ready to throw out all your alcohol or quit using drugs – congratulations, you’ve made the first step to getting your life back on track. After deciding to get clean – detox comes next. Detoxification is the act of purging your mind and body of harmful substances to set yourself up for recovery and though detox is a necessary step in recovery – it can be a difficult one.
Detoxing causes withdrawal, which can present itself in several uncomfortable physical symptoms like body aches, fever, insomnia and more. Withdrawal can also cause psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety. Doctor-prescribed medication plays a vital role during the detox process, but several over-the-counter medications and supplements can also help lessen the pain of withdrawal. Let’s learn some naturally-occurring supplements and vitamins that can help smooth over detox and withdrawal.
8 Natural Supplements to Consider for Detox and Withdrawal
Note: You should always discuss vitamins and supplements with your primary care physician before starting any regimen.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
A lack of thiamine is what causes the dreaded Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, more popularly known as ‘wet brain.’ Lack of thiamine can cause severe neurological distress and can fully compromise someone’s mind if left untreated. It’s not uncommon to see thiamine used for detox in alcoholics. While thiamine is useful in treating alcoholic patients, it’s also useful for treating anxiety. Thiamine can calm the ‘jitters’ that comes with detox and may help aid in sleep.
Other B Vitamins
Many other B vitamins like B2 (riboflavin), B9 (folic acid), and B12(cobalamin), are helpful during the detox and early recovery process. B vitamins help regulate mood and other physiological processes, and recovering alcoholics and addicts unsurprisingly lack in their B vitamins. You can supplement a B-multivitamin into your diet, but also aim to get your B vitamins straight from the source in fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean protein like fish.
Valerian root has been used for centuries for its calming effects and is particularly useful for treating sleep problems. A detoxing brain is a panicked brain, making troubled sleep one of the most common symptoms of the detox process. You can buy valerian root at any major drugstore, or in sleep-inducing tea blends.
Vitamin C can help with lethargy and depressed mood that comes with detox. You can buy Vitamin C in pill form or other over-the-counter forms, but its best to get your vitamin C fresh. Try to at least three servings of fruit per day during detox for the Vitamin C and additional vitamins and nutrients like potassium and calcium that can aid in the detox process.
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin since your body synthesizes it when exposed to the ultraviolet light of the sun. Lack of Vitamin D may cause depression and other negative moods which can be exacerbated during the detox process. Vitamin D can also be found in supplements or vitamin-D fortified milk. Since exposure to sunlight and spending time outside can both aid in detox and recovery, try to spend at least an hour outside daily to get your Vitamin D boost the natural way.
You’ve probably heard about Omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, but they’re also useful in detox and recovery. The body can’t produce Omega-3s itself, so if you haven’t been eating the proper diet – you could be lacking. Omega-3s are great for your ticker, but they are also essential for mood regulation and can help combat the depression and anxiety that comes with detox and early recovery.
Electrolytes (Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium)
Most addicts and alcoholics don’t take the best care of themselves and that can result in an improper electrolyte balance. Electrolytes help many natural regulations and common occurrences in your body – having them is a must. Electrolytes like calcium, potassium, and magnesium can help ease the stress and anxiety that comes with detox and can aid the body repair itself. Electrolytes can also calm overactive nerves like twitching hands and tics that come with the detox process. You can get your electrolytes form leafy greens and fruit, or additional over-the-counter supplements or drinks.
While not technically a supplement, water is the most important part of the detox process. The more water you consume, the more your body is flushed of toxins. Water helps every physiological process your body goes through and a properly hydrated person will have a much easier time during the detox process. Aim for at least 8-12 8-oz glasses of water per day, depending on your body weight.
By eating a nutritious and balanced diet during the detox process, you can help secure many of the supplements and vitamins listed above naturally. However, we know that not everyone can eat their proper servings of fruits and vegetables daily, so consider purchasing the above supplements to aid during the detox process. There are many ways to attack addiction, but you can’t implement many of those strategies until you’ve gotten over the first few days of detox. Talk to your doctor and gets your vitamins and minerals for a more comfortable detox.