Getting off alcohol after a period of heavy drinking or alcohol abuse isn’t easy. This typically requires medical and behavioral treatment, beginning with alcohol detox.
Alcohol detoxification should ideally take place in a medically supervised setting, such as a detox facility or inpatient treatment center for medically supervised detox.
Because heavy drinking and alcohol detox can cause vitamin deficiencies, the use of certain vitamin and mineral supplements during detox is commonly recommended.
Why Are Vitamin And Mineral Supplements Recommended For Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol use disorder, the clinical diagnosis of alcohol addiction, is associated with a number of vitamin deficiencies that can increase a person’s risk for medical issues.
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements during detox can help by:
- reducing the risk of medical complications during detox
- supporting physical recovery from alcohol addiction
- restoring nutrients lost through vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive sweating
Supplements can be restorative, and also serve as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of severe issues, such as seizures and delirium, developing during detox.
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Multivitamins For Alcohol Detox
Multivitamins can help support physical health in people who are healthy, as well as people with substance use issues who have certain vitamin deficiencies.
Common multivitamin ingredients include:
- vitamin C
- vitamin D
- niacin (vitamin B3)
- thiamin (vitamin B1)
- vitamin A
- herbal supplements
While these vitamin supplements can also be taken individually, multivitamins may be an easier alternative if you have trouble taking multiple vitamins at once or over the course of a day.
Magnesium For Alcohol Detox
Magnesium deficiency is common in people with alcohol use disorder. Restoring normal magnesium levels with a supplement can help support physical recovery from alcohol dependence.
Furthermore, some research suggests magnesium may be beneficial for helping restore healthy liver function and mitigating alcoholic liver disease.
B Vitamins For Alcohol Detox
Heavy drinking can disrupt the body’s ability to properly absorb B vitamins, which help to support heart function, healthy skin, digestion, and energy production.
Taking a vitamin B-complex supplement during alcohol can help support physical recovery from alcohol abuse and help to prevent withdrawal-related complications.
A vitamin B-complex typically contains:
- thiamine (B1)
- riboflavin (B2)
- niacin (B3)
- pantothenic acid (B5)
- pyridoxine (B6)
- biotin (B7)
- folic acid (B9)
- cobalamin (B12)
Importance Of Thiamine For Preventing Severe Alcohol Withdrawal
Taking thiamine is highly recommended during detox to help prevent medical complications associated with a severe form of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens (DTs).
Thiamine supplementation, with magnesium and folate, may also help to prevent a neurological condition known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
This potentially life-threatening condition is characterized by severe confusion; loss of control over bodily movements; and repetitive, uncontrollable eye movements.
Omega 3-Fatty Acids
Omega 3-fatty acids can help support healthy brain function in people who are recovering from a period of binge-drinking or chronic alcohol abuse.
This type of nutrient can be found in fish, or be consumed in the form of a fish oil supplement.
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may help to reduce the severity of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal during the acute detoxification process.
While the body can produce these on its own, amino acids may also be supplied in the form of a supplement or through the consumption of protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, and tofu.
Certain herbal supplements, some of which can be found in multivitamins, may help support healthy liver function and potentially help to reduce the urge to drink.
- milk thistle: for supporting healthy liver function
- kudzu: for helping to reduce alcohol consumption or cravings
While these are not necessarily treatments for alcohol withdrawal, they may help to support general well-being during the detox process and in early recovery.
How Alcohol Abuse Causes Vitamin Deficiencies
Heavy alcohol use can disrupt the absorption of certain nutrients in the body and negatively affect the body’s ability to maintain adequate levels of essential nutrients.
Furthermore, substance abuse can also:
- cause changes in appetite
- lead to increased or decreased food intake
- co-occur with disordered eating habits
- weaken the immune system
Treating vitamin deficiencies caused by alcohol use disorder in early recovery can support both physical and mental health.
Can You Stop Drinking At Home With Alcohol Detox Supplements?
Detoxing from alcohol at home isn’t generally advised. While supplements can help prevent severe withdrawal, they cannot serve as a replacement for medical treatment.
Vitamin supplementation does not by itself:
- prevent the risk of relapse
- prevent severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- prevent alcohol cravings
- replace behavioral health treatment
Vitamin supplements can serve to be just that — supplements.
While detox is a process of eliminating toxins from the body, vitamins can help restore essential nutrients that have been lost and support the healthy function of various bodily systems.
Find Alcohol Detox And Addiction Treatment Today
Alcohol detox is, for many, the first step on the road to recovery. If you’re looking for help for yourself or a loved one with alcohol use disorder, we may be able to offer assistance.
Call our helpline today to learn more about alcohol detox supplements or to find alcohol addiction treatment options near you for yourself or a loved one.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- American Family Physician — Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
- American Journal of Physiology — A specific amino acid formula prevents alcoholic liver disease in rodents
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI — Alcohol Withdrawal StatPearls
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI — Wernicke Encephalopathy StatPearls
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Fish oil treatment reduces chronic alcohol exposure induced synaptic changes
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMed —Magnesium treatment in alcoholics: A randomized clinical trial