Monday, June 1, 2009

Is Addiction Really a Disease?

As this recent article in MacLeans magazine suggests, addiction is really a choice.

Although the author doesn't seem to talk about nutrients as a nutritional consultant I have to agree with him. When we take a close look at an "addict's" brain we will see that there are certain deficiencies that cause the brain to desire the creation of more neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine. Drugs and alcohol can boost neurotransmitters for a short time making a person feel good or even normal. Who wants to feel bad? No one.

Severe cravings result when there are a lack of amino acids. These are the building blocks of protein and without adequate amino acids the neurotransmitters can't function properly and a person has an overwhelming urge to fix this. The only problem is that unless they know about the amino acid connection, they will reach for the wrong thing!

I've seen severe cravings vanish in a matter of minutes when a person uses the correct amino acid. GABA and L-glutamine are great for this.

Another problem is alcohol abuse will also create candida overgrowth. Candida is a naturally occurring bacteria and belongs in our digestive tract but when a person consumes acidic food like sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, meat, etc then the candida takes over rapidly.

So what happens when the alcoholic stops drinking? The candida is starving for food and causes the person to reach for either another drink or as anyone familiar with alcoholism will know, they will suddenly start eating candy bars in large quantities. Even people who have had a dislike for chocolate will start eating it. The candida is powerful and it wants to stay alive. The urge to drink or eat sugar becomes virtually unbearable and the addict exchanges one addiction for another without solving the underlying problem.

Is there a solution? Absolutely. When we feed our body and brain with good nutrients we will no longer crave alcohol, junk food or drugs. Exercise is also helpful.

I highly recommend getting the body into an alkaline state, filling up on amino acids, detoxing the body of heavy metals so that mineral absorption becomes optimal as well as consuming lots of water and raw fruits and veggies to increase energy levels which in turn make exercising easier. Exercise will also help depressive states. Candida must be dealt with in order for long-term success to be there.

Addiction is a choice but overcoming addiction can be next to impossible if the brain is starving and there's candida overgrowth. For a phone consult and more specific recommendations, contact me at