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Alcohol Cravings: 3 Supplements That May Help You Stop Drinking For Good

Alcohol Cravings: 3 Supplements That May Help You Stop Drinking For Good

Quick Summary

  • N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor of the amino acid L-cysteine, and is most commonly used in the body to influence the production of glutathione, one of the body's most potent anti-oxidant (Mokhtari et al.
  • Supplementing with high dose of Magnesium (such as Magnesium citrate or Magnesium Oxide) can have a laxative effect and could also cause nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.
  • Glutamine can kill unwanted bacteria in the gut, some of which are involved in signalling the intense cravings we get (Perna et al.

Fists clenched, teeth gritted, that gut wrenching pain and internal dialogue that alcohol cravings can bring use to plague my life daily.

Unfortunately, most of the time, the cravings won.

That is until I started upon my sober journey, delved deep into the biology of addiction, and became kind of my own personal guinea pig.

In my research, I came across many key nutrients for limitless sobriety, but three stood out as compounds that could actually help with alcohol cravings.

Let’s dive in.

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

I consider this compound to be the crowning jewel for cravings, as it’s not only been extensively studied with alcohol cravings, but also cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis too.

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor of the amino acid L-cysteine, and is most commonly used in the body to influence the production of glutathione, one of the body’s most potent anti-oxidant (Mokhtari et al., 2016).

How does NAC help with alcohol cravings?

The primary mechanism of NAC is its ability to restore dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitter dysregulation.

Bringing these two neurotransmitters back into balance is often the primary key in reducing the signal we get that triggers alcohol cravings.

Learn more about N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) over in this article.

Dosages and Safety Information for NAC

Optimal Dose: Studies show between 1,200 – 2,400mg / daily have the most positive reported outcomes (Ooi et al., 2018).

Common Side Effects: The most common side effects from oral supplementation of NAC are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. As NAC is a sulfurous compound, some powdered supplements can have an unpleasant smell.

Recommended Brands for NAC Supplementation

Note: NAC was in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic due to its use as a therapeutic strategy for COVID-19 treatment (Shi & Puyo, 2020). NAC is also a potent supplement to improve immune function, and modulate inflammation in the body.

Magnesium (Mg)

Magnesium (Mg) is another great and extremely affordable option for assisting with alcohol cravings, and you can practically get it anywhere.

It’s best to note though, that a good form, such as Magnesium glycinate or Magnesium citrate should be purchased.

Read more about the different forms of Magnesium in this article.

How does Magnesium help with alcohol cravings?

Similar to NAC, Magnesium helps to restore balance between glutamate and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), which creates a more rested and relaxed state (Nechifor, 2011).

Magnesium also reduces the stimulus of dopamine synthesis, which governs the intensity of our cravings. When we lower dopamine levels, we lower the desire for more booze.

Dosages and Safety Information for Magnesium

Optimal Dose: 400-600 elemental magnesium daily.

Common Side Effects: Magnesium supplementation that isn’t excessive is well tolerated and will likely have no side effects. Supplementing with high dose of Magnesium (such as Magnesium citrate or Magnesium Oxide) can have a laxative effect and could also cause nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

Recommended Brands for Magnesium Supplementation

Below are my current go-to supplements for a healthy dose of Magnesium.

Glutamine

Lastly, is Glutamine, which I’ve coined as a pretty big game-changer in this article, due to its ability to diffusing alcohol cravings rapidly.

How does Glutamine help with alcohol cravings?

Glutamine can kill unwanted bacteria in the gut, some of which are involved in signalling the intense cravings we get (Perna et al., 2019).

Studies have actually shown that alcohol causes an imbalance in our gut microbiome, which also impacts neurotransmitter production, including GABA, Serotonin and Dopamine (Qamar et al., 2019).

Alterations in these neurotransmitter pathways often govern our cognition; mood and behaviour that are attributed to alcohol addiction.

Dosages and Safety Information for Glutamine

Optimal Dose: 5-10g to keep your alcohol cravings at bay.

Common Side Effects: Glutamine typically has no adverse effects and seems to be well tolerated even in doses as high as 50-60g daily.

Recommended Brands for Glutamine Supplementation

  1. Pure Glutamine by Bulk Nutrients 
  2. Glutamine by Muscle Tech

If you have any questions regarding this article, reach out.

References

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