What Is Orthomolecular Nutrition?
Orthomolecular nutrition is the science of using micro and macro nutrients from natural foods and supplements to nourish the body in order to support its capacity to heal itself.
The physiological damage – harm done to our organs, muscles and cells – caused by the substance abuse of alcohol or drugs must be addressed to begin the process of cellular rebalancing and addiction recovery.
Canadian Health Recovery Centre’s orthomolecular treatment model is uniquely tailored to benefit the individual suffering from addiction – cravings are reduced or eliminated and neurotransmitter function is improved – paving the way for talk therapy to be effective.
Our model takes the principles of orthomolecular medicine to support the body on a biochemical level and incorporates them with the principles of holistic nutrition to provide proper nourishment through foods. The nutrients needed by one person for optimal function can be vastly different than those needed by another, depending on genetics and environmental factors. At CHRC, laboratory tests are taken and individualized programs are developed to optimize results for each of our guests. A person low in amino acids, for example, will have impaired neurotransmitter function and under the guidance of our orthomolecular nutritionist, these imbalances will be restored. An individual with compromised liver function from chronic alcoholism will require supplements that help facilitate liver regeneration and detoxification, while someone with an opiate addiction will require rebound pain management and neurological support. All will benefit from the foundation of optimal nutritional support.
Some of the underlying biochemical issues we address are:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Adrenal fatigue
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Amino acid imbalances
- Excessive heavy metals
- Food Intolerances
At CHRC we provide advanced nutritional services and education, supplemented by bio-individual orthomolecular treatment, utilizing laboratory data, specialized diet and nutritional supplements to facilitate optimal results for every client.
How Does Orthomolecular Nutrition Help With Addiction And Recovery?
Orthomolecular nutrition approaches addictions as partially biochemical in nature. We know that there are social-emotional factors that contribute to addictive behaviour, but we also understand through neuroscience that the biochemistry of an individual addicted to drugs or alcohol is different than the biochemistry of someone who is not dependant on drugs or alcohol. This is part of the reason why some people fall into the cycle of addiction while others do not. Some people are actually predisposed to addictive behaviour on a biochemical level. These people may fall into any or all of these categories:
- they have sugar metabolism problems that fuel cravings
- they have genetic predispositions which affect how the organs process drugs and alcohol, making them more toxic and addicting
- they have hidden or unmanaged food sensitivities that contribute to unmanageable cravings
- they have nutritional deficiencies and subsequent pain, mental health issues, and physical health issues that perpetuate the addiction
The lifestyle of a person addicted to drugs or alcohol typically results in the depletion of important nutrients which, over time, interferes with normal brain function. Rebalancing the body on a biochemical level is a key element in lasting recovery, as it addresses the deficiencies and imbalances that can make an individual prone to addiction and unable to maintain lasting sobriety.
Abstinence alone is ineffective for long-term recovery for a large percentage of people. Talk therapy is an important component of treatment and recovery, but is imperfect as a treatment if the biochemical imbalances are not addressed. Clinical data supports the biochemical approach to addictions as providing a much higher 75-80 percent recovery rate after 5 years – as opposed to the counselling-only approach, without biochemical support, with a much lower 15-25 percent recovery rate after 5 years. Without effective treatment, the cycle of addiction will continue for many, as the individual will continue to self-medicate in their desperate need for relief from anxiety, depression, cravings, irritability, fatigue, confusion and irrational thinking.
By using orthomolecular nutrition to rebalance and nourish the body on a biochemical level, the body and mind are strengthened and overall health and vitality are improved. Our guests leave feeling better than they have ever felt and don’t need to be convinced of the benefits they’ve experienced.
What Is The Data To Support Orthomolecular Nutrition?
Data has existed since the 1950s to demonstrate that targeted supplementation, coupled with a specialized diet, can normalize even severe mental health dysfunction. In fact, in 1955, the results from the first ever double-blind placebo studies in psychiatry were published by Dr. Abram Hoffer on the curative impact of high dose niacin on schizophrenia. The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine documents this and continuing research by orthomolecular physicians today. Advances in neuroscience now support this model for addictions. New and exciting discoveries are being made regularly to link brain health to digestive and overall wellness, from doctors like Alan C. Logan, a naturopathic doctor and faculty member of the Harvard School’s Mind-Body Institute, and Natasha Campbell-McBride, a medical doctor and researcher with two post-graduate degrees: Master of Medical Sciences in Neurology and Master of Medical Sciences in Human Nutrition.
At CHRC we also incorporate herbal supplements. Plant medicine is ancient and is still practised by 80 percent of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization. Currently, 70 percent of new drugs are derived from plants.
All our meals are made from whole natural foods, cooked in organic oils and custom spice blends. We incorporate a wide variety of fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and superfoods.