The first days of active recovery are a grueling process for your body. When a person stops using drugs or alcohol after frequent use, the body goes through a period of withdrawal. For a few days, the body is expelling toxins and relearning how to function without the presence of the substance of use.
The physical toll of substance use
The physical toll of withdrawal is intense, and symptoms can include fatigue, muscle soreness, aches, trembling, loss of appetite, irritability, vomiting and more. In recovery, not only is the body depleted from the experience of withdrawal, but nutritional deficits linger from the days of substance use.
Many of those who abuse drugs or alcohol present with low levels of nutrients your body needs. Substance use requires particular organs to work overtime, like the liver and the heart. Drugs and alcohol also travel through the bloodstream, affecting every area of the body.
Furthermore, certain substances can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients that are consumed. Those who struggle with addiction may also lack vitamins and minerals because of the high consumption of empty calories (the calories in beer, for example).
The physical toll of substance use is severe, and rebounding from addiction requires detoxing your body and replenishing essential nutrients.
Nutrients your body needs in recovery
Tools for establishing a healthy and sustainable diet are included in most recovery programs. You may meet with a nutritionist as part of your inpatient rehab or take cooking classes as part of your stay at a sober living home.
Working with a nutritionist can give you the best information on the supplements, vitamins and minerals you need to detox your body, but here are a few that will likely be recommended:
An adult multivitamin
The best way to cover all your bases is to start off with a multivitamin to detox from drugs. A multivitamin generally includes well-known ingredients like vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Be sure to read labels though, as gummy multivitamins often include fewer vitamins and minerals than the pill form.
Heavy drinking and drug use inhibits the body’s ability to absorb B vitamins like B1, B2, B6 and B12. B vitamins are essential for a variety of bodily functions, such as converting carbohydrates and sugar into energy and transporting oxygen around the body.
A deficit of B vitamins is common in those who struggle with alcohol addiction, and taking a B vitamin or supplementing your diet with B vitamin-rich foods like broccoli, brussel sprouts or leafy greens is highly recommended to detox from alcohol.
Addiction weakens a person’s immune system, making a person more susceptible to disease and less able to fight off the effects. Taking vitamin C can undo the effects of drugs and alcohol on your immune system and give you the boost you need to fight off diseases and get sick less often.
Take a vitamin or consume foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, bell peppers and strawberries.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like fish, flax seed, walnuts and soybean oil. Omega-3 fats assist the body by helping to prevent heart disease and stroke. Because substance abuse takes a toll on the cardiac system and brain, it’s best to reverse the effects as you detox from drugs by upping your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is present in a few foods like salmon, egg yolks and mushrooms and is also a hormone our bodies make. Vitamin D serves many purposes in the body, such as boosting the immune system, supporting bone health and reducing inflammation.
The body produces vitamin D through the skin and exposure to sunlight is the best way to boost this nutrient in your body. Vitamin D has also been found to reduce depression symptoms, so making an effort to get more of this vitamin is a great way to enhance your recovery.
Ways you can help detox your body
Addiction treatment will help you take control of your life. You’ll benefit from mental clarity, more energy, fewer aches and pains, fewer illnesses and the freedom to choose what you want instead of being enslaved to getting the next fix.
When you detox from drugs, you can experience the perks of sobriety faster when you foster a diet that compliments your new lifestyle. Here’s how to take advantage of your new, healthier lifestyle.
Begin taking supplements like those listed above. Be sure to consult with your physician beforehand, especially if you are partaking in medication-assisted treatment or are currently taking a prescription.
Many vitamins and minerals can benefit the body through pill form, but the best way to ensure you’re fulfilling your nutritional needs is through a varied and balanced diet. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, fish and seeds contain these nutrients in pure form. Pills and gummies typically provide the same nutrients, but in synthetic forms.
Work with a dietician
A dietician or nutritionist can take the guesswork out of creating a diet. To ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs as you detox from alcohol or drugs, a trained professional will assess your current diet and help you make easy and sustainable changes that matter.
Start with treatment
Changing your diet alone is not enough to ensure sobriety. The best way to achieve recovery that lasts for the long term is through professional addiction treatment. Reach out to Bluff Augusta to start the services you need.