It’s more than a hangover. Drinking too much and for too long leaves us all day and night tired, in a bad mood and generally drained.
For some, it is a lifestyle decision to be healthier and happier. For others, it has become an addiction and a lifesaving change.
Related reading: The Many Consequences of Alcohol Addiction
If you are experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms or looking for extra help with health during detox, you might be amazed at how much vitamins can help you.
Here’s what to expect and what vitamins and nutrients can help you feel better and stop those challenging symptoms of detoxing from alcohol.
Symptoms of alcohol detox
We often dismiss the symptoms of alcohol detox because we aren’t aware of what they are. You might think you are tired from going out late or that your hangover lasts too long.
Here are some symptoms to look out for when you are detoxing from alcohol:
· Feeling down or sad
· Being irritable and moody
· Poor sleep or insomnia
· Brain fog
These symptoms usually last around 2 to three days and are different to the severe withdrawal that people who are addicted experience.
Some people wonder why they are getting these symptoms, but other friends who drink more are not. The truth is the amount of alcohol you can drink safely varies depending on your age, weight, gender and even genetics.
One of the biggest problems with drinking too much regularly is that it reduces the levels of vitamins in our system. This puts our metabolism at risk and causes many side effects of alcohol detox.
How alcohol depletes vitamins in your body
We all know that vitamins are important to our bodies. You might not know how alcohol affects some of the most important vitamins.
When your body metabolises alcohol, it does it through the liver. The process uses large amounts of B3. Add to this poor diet by drinking alcohol instead of eating nutritious meals, and a deficiency quickly appears.
Related reading: How to Detox your Liver after Too Much Alcohol
Taking B vitamin or niacin can reverse this and eliminate symptoms such as headaches, low mood, nausea, and tiredness.
Vitamin B3 is essential to metabolising food and creating energy. It could well be the reason you feel so tired and listless after a long drinking binge.
There are several great healthy foods with niacin, including nuts, fish and bananas. However, to replace the level of niacin needed for alcohol detox, we recommend spirulina. It is the highest concentration and should top you up enough to help symptoms.
Alcohol affects our stomachs as well. It can cause food not to be digested, leading to a low vitamin C level.
A vitamin C supplement or smoothies with oranges, kiwi and banana and strawberries can help with your detox.
Related reading: Detox Smoothies | How to Make Them for Amazing Results
Another way to improve your metabolism and boost energy levels is MCT Oil or Coconut Oil. A miraculous substance, MCT can help with several alcohol detox symptoms.
Energy is something we need when we are detoxing from alcohol. Our body feels drained, but MCT oil can help. MCTs are easier to turn into energy than other energy sources giving you a boost of energy when you most need it.
The Effect of Alcohol Detox on The Mind
How alcohol makes us feel is a big part of the attraction. A few drinks might get us in the party mood, soothe our anxieties and help us relax after a long day.
Alcohol does this by tricking the part of our brain that controls happy, relaxed feelings. These are called GABA receptors. Naturally, these get going when we do something we like or spend time with people who make us happy.
This is the reason many people think they enjoy alcohol so much. It tricks your brain into feeling happy when it doesn’t come naturally.
This seems like a great trick until your brain responds by dropping natural levels of these happy chemicals. This is behind one of the toughest parts of alcohol detox feeling anxious and down.
Luckily, there are many ways to help yourself through this part of alcohol detox. Natural supplements can help lift your mood.
Also known as water hyssop, this is a traditional herb used as an antioxidant associated with protecting the brain.
Studies suggest that it helps with brain fog and confusion when taken as a supplement regularly.
Confusion and memory problems are common during alcohol detox, thanks to changes in brain chemistry.
Some studies show bacopa monnieri may help with GABA levels in the brain. This is very important for alcohol detox as GABA is one of the worst affected by drinking.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking too much alcohol for too long can cause a drop in serotonin levels in the brain. This vital signalling chemical controls our happiness, thinking and memory.
Like GABA, serotonin rises when we drink, at first. Later, we feel deficient in serotonin because our body adjusts to the higher levels from the alcohol.
Apple cider vinegar is ideal for alcohol detox as it does the opposite of alcohol. ACV aids in creating tryptophan which encourages the brain to release serotonin. This can alleviate the symptoms of serotonin deficiency.
Other useful sources of tryptophan are fish, cheese, milk, and turkey. Exercise can also boost your serotonin levels naturally, as can being outside in the light.
A recent study of college students showed that apple cider vinegar supplements daily could help improve low mood.
One of the big concerns in alcohol detox is your liver. Thankfully, by deciding to stop drinking, you have done your liver a big favour. Over time it will recover and repair, but there are some vitamins that can help.
Thankfully they are some that help elsewhere as well. B vitamins such as B6 bring down hepatic fat in the liver, helping with fatty liver, a common issue with overuse of alcohol.
B6 is hard for the liver to create when it is busy metabolising alcohol. Being low on B6 can cause fatigue and even depression.
Bacopa Monnieri is also a candidate for liver detox. There is growing evidence that bacopa supplements may improve oxidative stress in the liver caused by alcohol overuse.
Combined vitamins for Alcohol Detox
As you can see, there are a lot of vitamins and herbal supplements to help with alcohol detox and its symptoms. Taking all of them when you are feeling poorly can seem daunting.
There are ways to combine so you aren’t taking so many at once. Taking a vitamin B complex is recommended to cover all the different B vitamin deficiencies caused by alcohol detox is recommended. Also, you can try a specially designed combined supplement for detoxing from alcohol.
Fiona is a writer and manager for an addiction company specialising in natural remedies for alcohol dependency. She believes in natural healing and the power of positivity in recovery. In her free time, you can find her enjoying wild swimming, hiking and running social groups for isolated women in the community.