Nutritional Therapy for Alcoholism: Evidence, Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that alcoholism can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Alcoholics are often deficient in vitamins A, B1, B3, C, D, E, and K. They also tend to be lacking in the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Therefore, using nutritional therapy for alcoholism treatment has a logical basis.


I.   Nutritional Therapy for Alcoholism

II.  Effectiveness

III. Resources

I. Nutritional Therapy for Alcoholism

Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional therapy for alcoholism identifies nutritional deficiencies in the alcoholic. It then works to correct those deficiencies.

Practitioners often recommend the use of other substances.

    • Beta-Carotene
    • Branched-chain amino acid
    • Carnitine
    • Chromium
    • Copper
    • D-alpha tocopherol
    • Folic acid
    • Glutamine
    • Glutathione
    • Lecithin
    • Methionine
    • Phosphorus
    • Selenium
    • Vitamins B2, B6, B9, & B12

II. Effectiveness of Nutritional Therapy for Alcoholism

nutritional therapy for alcoholism It is reasonable to think that eliminating those deficiencies might be a good therapy. That’s why much medical research has focused on this subject.

A federal agency (TIAAA) handles alcohol research for the government. It found this. “Although various nutritional approaches have been touted as ‘cures’ for alcoholism, there is little evidence to support such claims.”1

Of course everyone, including an alcoholic, benefits from adequate nutrition. This is essential for good health. But nutrition is not, itself, an effective therapy.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Some other popular therapies are often little better. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) has a self-reported success rate of only about 5%. Thus, only one of every 20 alcoholics achieves sobriety through A.A. This is less than the natural cure rate of as much as 36%. About one of every three people is successful with no therapy of any kind. A.A. inhibits recovery for most people.


The good news is that there are programs that have much better success than A.A. Those seeking either to abstain from alcohol or to reduce their consumption have many choices.

They include these.

For those who want a non-12-step alcohol rehab, there’s a wide choice. To see a list, visit Non-12-Step Rehabs.

Facts useful in selecting a facility are at these links.

III. Resources


1. NIAAA. Alcohol and Nutrition. Alert No. 22, p. 1