Nutritional Therapy for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Treatment

There is extensive evidence that alcoholism and substance abuse can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Alcoholics are often deficient in vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins and in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.

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It is reasonable to suggest that replacing the nutritional deficiencies of alcoholics and substance abusers might serve as a helpful therapy. That’s why extensive medical research has focused on this important subject.

However, the federal government’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has concluded that “Although various nutritional approaches have been touted as ‘cures’ for alcoholism, there is little evidence to support such claims.”

Of course everyone, including a substance abuser, benefits from adequate nutrition, which is essential for good health. But nutrition is not, itself, an effective therapy.

Other therapies are often little better. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) has a self-reported success rate of only about 5% at the end of a year. Thus, only one of every 20 alcoholics achieve sobriety through A.A. This is less than the natural cure rate of as much as 36%, or about one of every three people who obtain no therapy of any kind.

The good news is that there are programs that have much better success than A.A. and Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.). Examples include Moderation Management, Rational Recovery, Women for Sobriety, SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training), HAMS (Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support.), LifeRing, and the Life Process Program developed by Dr. Stanton Peele.

For those who want an alcohol rehab, there’s the St. Gregory Retreat Center, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), licensed to provide on-site detox, accepts most health insurance, and is a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.

Note: This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about alcohol, alcoholism, substance abuse, nutritional therapy, A.A., N.A., St. Gregory, HAMS, or any other subject and none should be inferred. Neither this website nor your host receives any compensation, directly or indirectly, from listing or describing any program. Such listing or description does not imply endorsement


  • Biery, J.R., Williford, J.H. and McMullen, E.A. Alcohol craving in rehabilitation: assessment of nutrition therapy. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 1991, 91, 463-466.
  • Lieber, C.S. Hepatic, Metabolic, and Nutritional Disorders of Alcoholism: From Pathogenesis to Therapy. Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 2000, 37(6), 551–584.
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol and Nutrition: Alcohol Alert From NIAAA. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1993.
  • Shuman, S.F. Research into the place of Nutritional Therapy and Exercise in a Program of Recovery from Substance Addiction and Process Addiction. Ph.D. dissertation. Union Institute, 1999.

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This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about any subject.
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