Relieving Chemical Addictions


The term addiction encompasses almost all imbalance and self-destructive behavior. Chemical and codependency can create an illusory sense of well-being, but in the end, it severely damages physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

There are underlying metabolic malfunctions common to almost all forms of addictions. Sugar is the foremost "addictive, yet legal" substance used today. Several other drugs such as amphetamines, psychedelics, cocaine, caffeine, and nicotine temporarily increase the release of sugar into the bloodstream; this creates a "high" through a metabolic process similar to that involving sugar and alcohol. These drugs also duplicate the mood-inducing effect of the body's endorphins, chemicals which transmit messages to the brain that help to relax the nervous system or make it "smile."

There are many degrees of addictions. Some people are mildly addicted to one or two cups of coffee or a few teaspoons of sugar. Others consume two to three quarts of caffeine drinks with more significant amounts of sugar. At the other end of the spectrum are addicts drinking pints of alcohol daily, shooting heroin and doing large amounts of various drugs.

Research and studies show that individuals with chemical or co-dependency may very likely be suffering from an assortment of one or more metabolic disorders such a hypoglycemia, hypoadrenia, hypothyrodism, vitamin B deficiency, mineral deficiency, liver malfunction, and depression. Serious maladaptive patterns, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and candida albicans are common among drug addicts and alcoholics. Continual nutritional support is instrumental in gaining real and lasting recovery. It is not uncommon for those who remain totally chemically free to simply substitute their chosen substance with excessive use of another addictive substance, such as sugar, caffeine, or nicotine. This behavior is often indicative of some metabolic disorder that the individual is trying to self-correct.

It is a good idea when beginning a nutritional program to include a clean diet: lean protein, complex carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables and fruits, low fat, high fiber and little or no refined sugars. When selecting nutrients, you may want to begin with a particular nutrient or formula, and use it for a week, noticing its effect. Then, select a second nutrient and note its effect. An overall increase in energy or a heightened sense of well-being indicates that the nutrients are probably helping.

Detoxify to Rebuild

Here are some of the nutrients that address common problems from which many recovering people suffer:

Nutrients Associated with Detoxifying the Liver and Digestive Tract

Milk Thistle

It is effective in treating cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, and alcohol induced fatty liven It protects the liver cells from damage by environmental and internal toxins.


A superior liver and blood detoxifier. A natural antibiotic, it is known to help reverse liver damage and effectively treat a variety of infections.


Excellent liver and detoxifier and mild diurectic, dandelion increases the flow of bile and encourages both the transformation and transportation of nutrients.

Burdock Root

A highly nutritional, hormone balancing herb and a strong liver purifier.

Red clover

Flushes toxins out of the bloodstream.


Breaks down fatty tissue in the liver.


Helps enzyme activity in the liver and removes uric acid.

Cat's Claw

Serves as a general body detoxifier.

Changing Your Energy

These nutrients are associated with relaxing and strengthening the nervous system.


This is one of the most important nutrients. Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and other drugs cause the body to eliminate calcium. Depressed calcium and magnesium levels are often the root of irritability, muscle spasms, and various forms of pain. A standard dose of 600 mg., twice a day, in the morning and in the evening is sufficient.


Magnesium and calcium are partners in keeping the nervous system strong and healthy. Most abused substances contribute to diminished magnesium in the blood. A recommended dose is 600 mg. taken twice a day with calcium.


Composed of two amino acids, DLPA is especially useful in reducing cravings and helping clear up the depression, pain, and the nervous system. Recommended dose is 750 mg. twice daily.


Improves intelligence and helps control hypoglycemia and the craving for alcohol and sweets. Suggested dose is 1000 mg. twice a day.


Improves cellular glucose uptake, scavenge free radicals, improves short-term memory, and enhances energy.


Improves digestion and promotes liver function and ulcer healing.


Helps rebuild the liver, relax the nervous system and calm the stomach.


Influences the uptake of calcium in the bones.


Decreases the urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium and increases blood levels of estrogen and testosterone.

Building Blocks

These nutrients help to strengthen immune functions.

Trace minerals

Electrolytes in a crystalloid form will keep the cells strong, maintain the pH balance, increase the body's oxygen level and allow efficient absorption of the nutrients from food or supplements. The trace mineral chromium helps to regulate the blood sugar, which can have a beneficial side effect for reducing a desire for sugar. GTF chromium is considered the most bio-available. A dose of 200 mcg. once a day is a good place to begin.

Two other important trace minerals are selenium and zinc. Selenium plays a role in the body's utilization of oxygen. Patients with candidiasis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and ARC have shown low levels of selenium. A dose of 100 mcg. per day is considered safe. Zinc also plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism. If one uses excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, drugs, or alcohol, it is more likely that a zinc deficiency will develop. Low zinc levels can cause liver deterioration and diminished functioning of the reproductive organs, immune system, and skin. A safe therapeutic dose is 20 mg. once or twice a day.

Vitamin A

An important vitamin for recovering people for several reasons. Poor liver and thyroid functions make many addicts unable to convert the beta-carotene form into vitamin A. The best form is either cod liver oil or shark liver oil. 10,000 -25,000 IU daily is suggested.

Vitamin C

Is a primary detoxifier of drugs and poisons from the body and an excellent antioxidant. Helps neutralize much of the withdrawal difficulties, and is powerful in rebuilding the liver, adrenals, and immune system. A dosage of 1000 mg. three times daily is recommended.

Vitamin E

A powerful antioxidant that helps the body break down the free radicals created by toxins and some forms of radiation. Nourishes and increases the production of adrenal and reproductive hormones and strengthens the immune system. Also improves nervous system function, and has been shown to restore the function of a damaged liver. Recommended use is 400 IU natural D-alpha tocopherol daily with meals.

Vitamin B Complex

The B vitamins are usually seriously deficient in people who use excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or other drugs. A supplement with 50 mg. of the basic B vitamins is usually sufficient, taken one to two times daily, before 4 p.m.


Supplementation with acidophilus provides "friendly" intestinal flora which help to digest food and control pathogenic yeast, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. A standard dosage of twice daily, morning and evening, is usually sufficient.


S.O.D., superoxide dismutase, helps to facilitate the elimination of free radicals from the body. It also has been found to protect the joints from free radical damage that can cause some arthritic symptoms. S.O.D. is one of the foremost enzymes the body uses to break down free radicals. Suggested dosage is six tablets daily for four weeks, then decrease to three a day.

Nutritional Yeast

Unique broad scope, whole food supplement using European slow extraction "cracked cell" yeast culture process. Increases T-cell count and eliminates toxins from drug abuse. Perfect hypoglycemia remedy.


Essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6 are important for the function of the brain. Flaxseed is an excellent source, taken daily. May help alcoholics lose their physical desire for alcohol.

The healing crisis

The healing crisis in action is known as the "reversal process." The reversal process takes place when a person who has been on a sick, chronic downhill path decides to stop, turn around and reverse his or her direction.

The first step is making a decision. It's taking health and life into your own hands and going your own way. It is not leaving it all to the doctor, patronizing the local pharmacist and going along the same old habits that brought on the trouble in the first place. It is a retracing process, a path that leads to restored health. It is the rebuilding of the body. Other methods may provide symptom relief, but relief without correction leads only to a more chronic or degenerative condition.

Are you free from most unhealthy habits? In your diet, do you stress the vital foods: fruits, grains, vegetables, and nuts? Do you get to bed early and get enough sleep? Do you get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and contact with nature? If you answer YES to all of these questions, you have come a long way toward purification of the bodily temple.

Achieving balance requires taking the time to care for yourself. You may need to take steps to restore a badly damaged liver or build a strong immune system. Regular nourishing and balanced meals are crucial as are nutritional supplements. Finally, have patience. No one can restore a lifetime of metabolic imbalance in a week!

Howard Peiper is a nationally recognized expert in the holistic counseling field and a recovery professional. Dr. Peiper's healing, healthcare and natural health professional credentials extend over a 30- year period and include those of naturopath, author, lecturer, magazine and radio consultant and co-host of a television program. He has co-authored 12 books including The Secret of Staying Young, All Natural Anti-Aging Diet, A.D.D.: The Natural Approach, Natural Solutions for Sexual Enhancement and Are You Poisoning Your Pets?


By Howard Peiper

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