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Is Nutrition the Missing Piece for Overcoming Addiction?

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: There's a new approach to overcoming addiction... using nutrition to help bolster the recovery process.
Air Date: 12/10/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Alex Zaphiris, MD, MS
Alex Zaphiris, MD, MS is an integrative family physician and neuro-nutrient specialist practicing in San Francisco, California. She serves as Clinical Faculty at University of California San Francisco and Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Through her medical office, Care Practice, Dr. Zaphiris guides and supports patients with a variety of addictions from opiates and tobacco to sugar, to lead fuller substance-free lives. She first introduced the Recovery Superstar concept in 2011, because she saw that when her patients recovering from opiate addiction learned how to hack their brains, they gained more control of their lives.

Recovery Superstar applies the latest advances in neuroplasticity and integrative mental health in a self-directed, private program to help people with opiate addiction heal their brains at a deeper level and eventually live an opiate-free life.
Is Nutrition the Missing Piece for Overcoming Addiction?
Those who suffer from addiction never have an easy road to recovery; even if they are dedicated to getting clean.

But Dr. Alex Zaphiris has focused on a new approach to overcoming addiction... using nutrition to help bolster the recovery process.

What scientists and doctors are finding more and more, is that the brain needs nutrients to effectively heal and recover.

People who are in recovery for addiction, whether for painkillers, heroin, alcohol, etc., may have had years of substance abuse, which has literally changed their brains.

These individuals' brains are deficient in key nutrients that the brain needs to heal and to function properly.

What are some of these nutrients?

Vitamin D is very nourishing to the brain. Fish oil not only helps improve brain function, but it also aids in easing symptoms of depression, which is often an underlying condition that leads a person to turn to addictive substances in the first place.

Research has shown that B vitamins are also extremely important. In fact, it's been determined that about 30 percent of the population has a genetic variation where these individuals don't convert B vitamins from their inactive form to the necessary active form.

Finally, neurotransmitters come from amino acids and protein, which most people don't get enough of.

Nutrition can also work the other way. Consuming foods that are bad for the brain, like HFCS, trans fats, and carbohydrates (which are all pro-inflammatory elements) can do great damage to an individual's recovery.

RecoverySuperstar.com is a website Dr. Zaphiris created for those struggling with addiction. It includes a self-directive program with weekly lessons that individuals can do at their own pace. These lessons help individuals understand what it is their brains need to heal and recover.

The website is also instrumental in connecting people. So many people who suffer feel like they're suffering all alone. There is so much shame attached to addiction, and thoughts of, "How could I let this happen to me?" The support system offered by the website and associated programs helps alleviate some of those lonely thoughts and feelings.

Even people who suffer from things like depression or anxiety, or who are overwhelmingly stressed, might benefit from the information on the site.

Want to learn more?

Tune in as Dr. Zaphiris shares her experiences with nutrition and addiction, as well as more information about RecoverySuperstar.com.