Medically Reviewer and Contributor:
Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD MPH on 7/14/2021
Vitamin D Deficiencies Can Potentially Increase Risk of Opioid Use Disorders?
A study performed by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) led to interesting findings about opioid addiction.
The study concluded that vitamin D deficiencies have an effect on the magnitude and frequency of cravings for opioids.
If what this study concludes is true, then individuals with Vitamin D deficiencies are at a higher risk of developing an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).
These findings suggest what many medical professionals have been stating for decades. Nutrition should be a key focus to provide a holistic path to recovery from drug and alcohol addictions.
However, preventing addiction is also key. Individuals having a solid nutritional diet, including nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals, is highly important. As seen here and in other studies, each type of nutritional deficiency comes with its risks.
Supplemental studies have also found that Vitamin D Deficiencies also exacerbate opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction Leads to Nutritional Deficiencies
Further complicating the issue, it is addiction that often leads individuals to have a major lack of nutrients needed for proper function.
Addiction often slowly robs the body of essential vitamins due to overall nutritional neglect. It isn’t easy to keep healthy during active drug use. Nutritional neglect is especially worrisome with drugs such as opioids or stimulants.
Users often find themselves with unhealthy skin, dark circles, and in addition, health problems that pile on and go unaddressed.
This can be a vicious cycle as the supplemental study mentioned above shows that Vitamin D deficiencies directly impact the intensity of opioid cravings.
Without proper nutrition and absorbable nutrition supplements, individuals may find themselves intensely craving opioids. This, of course, further complicates the recovery process.
Recovery Centers Should Treat Addictions Holistically Including Nutrition as a Focus in Treatment Plans
Drug and alcohol treatment centers must treatment drug and alcohol addiction in a holistic manner.
But what does this mean?
It means that the patient’s treatment plan should account for their physical health.
It is easy to focus on the treatment types that help with the mental health side of addiction. No doubt, this is the most critical part of treatment.
However, physical health is tied to mental health. In fact, there are studies showing that vitamin deficiencies play a role in feelings of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Treating the entire person as in mind, body, and soul is absolutely crucial.
Here’s What to Do if You’re Addicted to Opioids
If you’re addicted to opioids, then the best first step is to reach out a drug and alcohol treatment center that can provide you with a lifesaving program.
However, if you’re looking to get a handle on your nutritional health, start with supplementing yourself with a vitamin that contains all of the essential nutrients. Included should be Vitamin D.
Doing so may give you a better chance of making it through the opioid withdrawal process. Of course, no one knows just how much of an impact it has, but the studies shared here are promising.
It’s also a bit of common sense. If your body does not have the nutrients it needs to just survive, we can’t expect it to easily go through the process of detox without help.
About the Author
Susana has over 6 years of experience writing content about addiction, mental health, recovery, and treatment. She’s been in recovery for over 5 years, after battling addictions that sought to claim her life. Susana specializes in Organic SEO and Content Marketing and utilizes her experiences to create impactful, insightful, and educational content. Connect with her on Linked-in.
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