Overcoming Opiate Addiction with Food & Fitness

The therapeutic treatment of substance use disorders via blood sugar management is often reserved for alcoholics with acute glycemic response to sugar and sweet tasting foods.

Alcohol is essentially straight sugar and the connection between alcoholism and glucose metabolism disorders such as hypoglycemia is pretty straightforward.

However, I stumbled upon this cool research article that suggests opiate addicts are similarly susceptible to blood sugar disorders, which I believe means that there are a few nutritional concepts that may be beneficial in advancing the treatment protocol for heroin, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and OxyContin abuse.

In the addict’s brain, sugar lands on certain brain receptors also utilized by opiate drugs to produce a surge of euphoria. Cross utilization of receptors may produce a preference for sweet, hyper palatable foods in recovering addicts when opiates are removed.

Unfortunately, said preference for sweet, hyper palatable foods can have a wide variety of detrimental effects, including weight gain, tooth decay, and altered glucose metabolism.

Adding insult to injury, sugar-laden foods may also activate the opiate system to alter opiate treatment or hinder it through tolerance.

The solution?

Eating to properly manage blood sugar! I covered blood sugar management pretty thoroughly here, here, and here, but the basic premise is that we minimize our intake of easily digestible carbohydrates – sugar and other highly processed foods – and increase our intake of fiber, protein, and fat.

Fiber from fresh, whole vegetables is best. Complete proteins found in animal foods such as poultry, pork, eggs, beef, and fish is great. And, healthy fats can be found in cold-water fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, and raw extra virgin olive oil.

Of course, exercise can also have a profound effect upon how we feel both physically and psychologically and it deserves a special place in your holistic health and wellness, addiction recovery routine.

Regardless of your drug of choice or phase in recovery, eating well is essential in supporting long-term recovery and holistic health.

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© Matthew Lovitt and TwelveWellness, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Lovitt and TwelveWellness with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.