Because we know drugs and alcohol have a chemical effect on the human body and addiction, we’re not surprised that it affects us on a nutritional level. When you think about, most drugs are made from chemicals. Of course this would affect the body – we’re not built to digest and absorb most of these chemicals. Healthy nutrition is what fuels our bodies to function properly. So when we disrupt the digestive system, we’re not able to absorb the proper nutrients which leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.


First, taking a look at alcohol. Even though it has calories, it has zero nutrients. A lot of alcoholic drinks are loaded with sugar (which isn’t the best for our bodies). When we drink our calories in alcohol, we’re displace many of our food calories. Not only will drinking affect our organs such as the liver, it does damage to the digestive system as well. Heavy drinking could lead to deficiencies in vitamins A, C, D, K, and B vitamins, as well as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.


When drug stimulants such as cocaine, adderall, methamphetamine, and ritalin, actually suppress our appetite. So when users aren’t hungry, they won’t eat. This is another way the body is malnourished. Even long term use with natural drugs such as marijuana can cause deficiencies, such as zinc and problems metabolizing omega-3 fatty acids.


People will use drugs and alcohol to cope with stressful times or down moods. However, it actually makes it worse. Not only are we avoiding life and not learning healthy coping skills, but we’re also damaging the way we absorb nutrients that specifically aid in brain function and emotional/mental health.


For example, alcoholics could be deficient in vitamin D. This deficiency is known to be associated with depression, fibromyalgia, and other mood disorders, as well as a decreased immune system. Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids are connected to anxiety, depression, relapse, and suicidality. Many suicide victims struggled with substance abuse. They weren’t getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Of course, mood disorders and suicide are more complex than this. Nutrition is just a contributing player.


Instead of draining our nutrients and damaging the way we absorb them, we can avoid drugs and alcohol and nourish our bodies with supplements. Even during addiction recovery, vitamins and minerals are a great aid in recovering the body as well as the mind.


If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse with drugs and/or alcohol, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with a medical professional who can provide some advice based on your individual needs.