It is becoming far more common in society today to have some level of addiction, dependency, craving or desire for one or more substances. Whether it be alcohol, cigarettes, sugar or caffeine or illegal substances such as heroin or cocaine or addiction to prescriptive drugs such as sleeping pills, pain killers and anti depressants. Interestingly the most addictive out of them all is SUGAR! The famous Oreo cookie study in 2013 showed that the brain in rats was just as activated in the pleasure response to the cookie as it was to cocaine and morphine. Given the choice the rats chose the sweet white filling over the drug. Sugar is highly addictive and directly impacts the pleasure and addiction centre of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, Joseph Schroeder who led the research suggests that the “magical combination of sugar and fat may be even more delectable to our brains than drugs” which perhaps allows to understand why these highly accessible, cheap, health damaging products are so addictive.

But to Quit?

We are our habits, what we think, what we do.

It is a good but challenging question to ask yourself what will I gain by quitting today or what am I putting off today because of being controlled by this addiction, am I hiding behind this addiction, using it as an excuse to prevent myself from achieving or moving on? What will I become? What is my true self?

Addiction, if nature had not intervened and made a mechanism that prevented us from being elated for too long, there probably would be no addictive behavior. The feel good neuro transmitter dopamine, is released by a cup of coffee, a cigarette or a glass of wine, but the body seeks balance so after a while the receptors shut down and by doing so deflating the high. Hence the pattern of addiction, going in search of the next high. Addiction leads to over use of stimulants, the more you have the more you want! But addiction causes depletion of nutrients, over use of stimulants leads to stress, anxiety, and mood swings this becomes a viscous cycle of addiction and fatigue.

Supplements to help kick the habit!

GABA supports anxiety so is useful with withdrawal and cravings.

Glutamine is great for cravings.

Tyrosine is for memory issues or feeling foggy headed.

Irritability, apathetic, depressed take tryptophan/5 HTP.

For many sugar craving is a result of having low serotonin levels. By supplementing with amino acids to correct this, use tryptophan/5 HTP the sugar cravings stop as serotonin increases and also in turn excessive weight gain. Chromium assist in balancing blood sugar so reduces craving too.

Essential fats support brain function, so are vital in supporting mood, supplementing with a good omega balance is key but also adding essential fats to your diet, good fats are mood foods, support satiety, make you feel full for longer, without omega 3 the body is unable to make serotonin.

Phospholipids support brain function. An easy way to add phospholipids into your diet is by adding a NON GMO soya lecithin, it emulsifies fats so delicious in smoothies.

Addiction leads to stress on the liver and digestion so it is important not to over look this. Supporting detox and digestion is key when you quit. Moodand digestion are inextricably linked and when digestion is compromised mood too is affected, so addressing the gut microbiome and the gut wall is vital meanwhile ensuring the liver is supported.

Probiotics, glutamine, aloe vera for digestion

B vitamins, milk thistle, MSM , turmeric, TMG and dandelion to support the liver

Ensure you are sleeping as adrenals need to be nourished and without good sleep your hormone ghrelin increases, which increases your desire for sugar, increases appetite, poor sleep reduces leptin the hormone that helps you feel full.

Stimulants especially caffeine and cigarettes disrupt sleep patterns.

For sleep 5HTP

  • Melatonin 1-3 mg
  • B3 -niacinamide /Inositol 1,000mg
  • Magnesium 400-500mg – stress depletes magnesium and refined foods.
  • GABA calming 1000mg-2000mg
  • Taurine 500mg-1000mg

Supplements are only part of the picture, the key lifestyle essentials are

  • Take regular exercise- raises endorphins naturally
  • Sleep, good quality unbroken sleep create a good routine no blue screens in the bedroom
  • Release yourself from the emotional traps of addiction moving forward and not living in the past. Meditation, Tai chi and support network to get the past out of your future.

Susie Rucker
Nutritional Therapist
Rucker Nutrition

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