Alcoholism is characterized by a physiological and psychological addiction to the substance, which gradually occurs from chronic use changing brain chemistry. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that alcohol abuse and alcoholism impact nearly 18 million Americans in a given year 1. Upon cessation of alcohol use, the body undergoes withdrawal symptoms such as depression and anxiety, sleeplessness, and fatigue. In serious cases withdrawal includes seizures, hallucinations and an increase in body temperature. The primary method of managing withdrawal is medical and psychological intervention. Use of vitamins help as a supplement to medical care and should not replace physician-monitored treatment.
Vitamins A and C
Deficiencies of vitamins A and C are common in people with alcoholism. Vitamin A is important for vision and nervous system health and vitamin C helps maintain your immune system. During alcohol withdrawal, your immune system health is compromised due to added stress, which hinders normal nervous system functions. The University of Michigan Health System suggests supplementing vitamin C to rid the body of excess alcohol during the initial withdrawal. The upper limit for daily vitamin C is 2,000 mg, however, medically supervised dose increase is advised before taking vitamin C exceeding the daily recommendation of 90 mg. Vitamin A, or beta-carotene supplements help to correct deficiencies during withdrawal, but due to potential liver damage from alcoholism, should only be taken under physician supervision.
- Deficiencies of vitamins A and C are common in people with alcoholism.
- The University of Michigan Health System suggests supplementing vitamin C to rid the body of excess alcohol during the initial withdrawal.
Vitamins B1 and B2
The Toxicity of Plug-In Air Fresheners
Vitamin B1, or thiamin, and vitamin B2, or riboflavin, maintain cell health by processing nutrients from foods and converting carbohydrates, fats and proteins to usable energy. During alcohol withdrawal vitamin B1 aids in reducing fatigue, maintaining mental clarity and decreasing disorientation. Vitamin B2 reduces the severity of headaches and hand tremors associated with alcohol withdrawal. Doses of vitamin B1 or B2 exceeding the daily allowance of 1.2 mg are nontoxic and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are treated with doses up to 25 mg per day. However, taking excess doses of vitamin B1 should occur only under physician supervision.
- Vitamin B1, or thiamin, and vitamin B2, or riboflavin, maintain cell health by processing nutrients from foods and converting carbohydrates, fats and proteins to usable energy.
- Doses of vitamin B1 or B2 exceeding the daily allowance of 1.2 mg are nontoxic and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are treated with doses up to 25 mg per day.
Vitamins B3, B6 and B9
Vitamin B3 or niacin, metabolizes alcohol out of your body and regulates part of the stress-related hormones of the adrenal glands. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine is significant in the production of the chemical serotonin, which induces calm during anxiety or depressive states and this vitamin helps regulate melatonin levels to induce sleep. Vitamin B9, or folate is important in cellular and brain health. Using vitamins B3, B6 and B9 in higher doses reduces alcohol cravings and anxious tension, as well as insomnia and mood fluctuations. Daily intake of vitamin B3 is 14 to 16 mg with an upper limit of 35 mg. The vitamin B6 daily intake is 1.4 mg with an upper limit of 100 mg and vitamin B9 is 400 mg with a limit of 1,000 mg. Consult your physician before exceeding the daily dose of these B vitamins for managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- Vitamin B3 or niacin, metabolizes alcohol out of your body and regulates part of the stress-related hormones of the adrenal glands.
- Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine is significant in the production of the chemical serotonin, which induces calm during anxiety or depressive states and this vitamin helps regulate melatonin levels to induce sleep.
Vitamins for Opioid Withdrawal
Using a multivitamin or B-complex vitamin during alcohol withdrawal is helpful for preventing malnourishment of nutrients. Most combination supplements have a higher standard dose for the individual vitamin. However, each vitamin serves a specific function in your body and should be adjusted to your specific symptoms. Under physician supervision, vitamin doses are adjusted to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, while also taking into account any existing health problems requiring management.
- Using a multivitamin or B-complex vitamin during alcohol withdrawal is helpful for preventing malnourishment of nutrients.
- However, each vitamin serves a specific function in your body and should be adjusted to your specific symptoms.
The Toxicity of Plug-In Air Fresheners
Vitamins for Opioid Withdrawal
B-Complex Vitamins for Recovering Alcoholics
How to Flush Out Alcohol in Your Body
Vitamin B5 for Weight Loss
Vitamins Depleted by Alcohol
Vitamins That Increase Dopamine
Ativan & B Complex Vitamins
Vitamin Therapy for PTSD
Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Alcoholism
- Alcoholics Victorious: The Impact of Diet and Nutrition on Recovery
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- Carrillo AE1, Flynn MG, Pinkston C, Markofski MM, Jiang Y, Donkin SS, Teegarden D. Impact of Vitamin D Supplementation During a Resistance Training Intervention on Body Composition, Muscle Function, and Glucose Tolerance in Overweight and Obese Adults. Clin Nutr. 2013 Jun;32(3):375-81. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.014. Epub 2012 Aug 31.
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- Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Hollis BW, Rimm EB. 25-hydroxyvitamin D and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Men: a Prospective Study. Arch Intern Med. 2008; 168:1174-80.
- Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, Grant WB, Mohr SB, Lipkin M, Newmark HL, Giovannucci E, Wei M, Holick MF. Optimal Vitamin D Status for Colorectal Cancer Prevention: a Quantitative Meta-analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2007 Mar;32(3):210-6.
- Heaney, Robert P. “The Vitamin D Requirement in Health and Disease.” The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 97 (2005):13-9.
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- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center. Effectiveness and Safety of Vitamin D in Relation to Bone Health. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Aug 2007: 07-E013.
- Salehpour A1, Hosseinpanah F, Shidfar F, Vafa M, Razaghi M, Dehghani S, Hoshiarrad A, Gohari M. A 12-week Double-blind Randomized Clinical Trial of Vitamin D₃ Supplementation on Body Fat Mass in Healthy Overweight and Obese Women. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 22;11:78. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-78.
- Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized Trial of Vitamin D Supplementation to Prevent Seasonal Influenza A in Schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 91:1255-60. Epub 2010 Mar 10.
- Wilkins, Consuelo H. and Yvette I. Sheline, et al. “Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated with Low Mood and Worse Cognitive Performance in Older Adults.” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 14 (2006): 1032-40.
Aubri John has been a contributing researcher and writer to online physical and mental health oriented journals since 2005. John publishes online health and fitness articles that coincide with her licensed clinical skills in addictions, psychology and medical care. She has a master's degree in clinical social work and a Ph.D. in health psychology.