Some vitamins and supplements may improve opiate withdrawal symptoms. Learn more about what scientists discovered regarding vitamins used during opiate withdrawal.

If you struggle with opioid addiction and want to quit, you may wonder if there are alternative remedies to help with withdrawal. Specifically, in your desire to lead a healthier life, you may wonder if there are vitamins you can take to help with opioid withdrawal.

Article at a Glance:  

  • Some people try alternative remedies to help with opiate withdrawal symptoms.  
  • There are no vitamins or supplements approved by the FDA for opiate detox or withdrawal. 
  • Vitamins to consider trying however, include multivitamins, passionflower, vitamin C, and ginseng.  
  • You can also help yourself through opiate withdrawal by eating high-protein and high-fiber foods.  
  • Drinking water, sticking to scheduled mealtimes, and avoiding starchy/sugary foods can help too. 

It is important to note that no vitamins, herbs or supplements have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in opiate detox or withdrawal. However, some vitamins were studied by researchers and other experts. Doctors know that if you struggle with opiate use, you may also have challenges with poor diet and eating patterns. Therefore, in some cases, it is possible that using vitamins, herbs or supplements may help.

When choosing vitamins to use during withdrawal, the package labeling on the vitamins may not be able to help you. Because some supplements are not approved by the FDA, companies are not allowed to market their vitamins, herbs or supplements with claims that they help with opioid addiction treatment.

It is important to talk to your doctor before starting new vitamins, herbs or supplements. Some products may have an interaction with medicines you are currently taking. Also, depending on your medical history, some products may be dangerous for you to take.

Related Topic: Natural supplements for anxiety

Best Vitamins for Opiate Withdrawal

  1. Multivitamin: Because nutrient deficiencies are very common in opiate users, your doctor may recommend a basic multivitamin. Your doctor may conduct blood tests to find out if you have any deficiencies. Different deficiencies have different symptoms, and treating them will make you healthier and stronger during recovery.
  2. Passionflower: Passionflower is an herb that was studied alongside clonidine, a drug that is sometimes used for opiate withdrawal. In the study, people who took passionflower with clonidine had less opioid withdrawal symptoms than the people who took clonidine alone. The physical symptoms, as well as the mental symptoms like anxiety, of the withdrawal process improved with passion flower use. Researchers think that the herb works because of its effect on multiple chemicals in the brain. Side effects of passionflower include dizziness and sleepiness.
  3. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a chemical that plays an important role in the body. Vitamin C was studied in patients suffering from heroin withdrawal and it improved major withdrawal symptoms when used in high doses. Luckily, vitamin C, even at high doses, is nontoxic. The main side effects at high doses are nausea and diarrhea.
  4. Ginseng: Ginseng is a traditional Chinese herb. Several studies have been conducted on ginseng in both humans and animals. Studies have shown that ginseng may improve mood symptoms like anxiety during opiate withdrawal. There are multiple kinds of ginseng available, so it is important to know what kind you are buying. Most studies looked at Asian ginseng, also known as red ginseng. It is also important to talk to your doctor before using ginseng if you have a history of cancer, because ginseng may impact some cancers. Side effects of ginseng include dry mouth, fast heartbeat, and diarrhea.
  5. Acetyl-L-carnitine: This dietary supplement is derived from carnitine and L-carnitine. Carnitine is an important chemical building block for the body. Acetyl-L-carnitine was studied and shown to improve muscle symptoms and sleep problems from opiate withdrawal. Side effects from the supplement are very rare and usually limited to an upset stomach. However, you should talk to your doctor before using the supplement if you are on chemotherapy drugs for cancer, because the supplement may increase your risk of nerve damage.

Natural Vitamins for Opiate Withdrawal

Some of the best vitamins for opiate withdrawal come directly from the food you eat. Diet is especially important for people who struggle with opiates because they often have severe nutrient deficiencies. People using opiates are likely to eat very few fruits and vegetables. Instead, opiate users are likely to eat foods with little nutritional value. Additionally, setbacks are more common if poor nutrition habits continue. One reason for this is that a person recovering from substance use may mistake hunger for a drug craving. This factor increases the risk of experiencing a setback. Opiate users should, therefore:

  • Eat foods high in protein, such as fish and chicken
  • Consume less starchy and sugary foods, and instead, have more vegetables and whole grains
  • Eat a high-fiber diet
  • Schedule mealtimes and stick to them
  • Drink fluids with meals and between meals

If you or a loved one live with opiate addiction, contact The Recovery Village today. Calls are free and representatives are ready to get you or your loved one started toward recovery. Making the telephone call is the first step toward a healthier future.

Thomas Christiansen
Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
Jessica Pyhtila
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
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U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Substance Use Recovery and Diet.” March 26, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Akhondzadeh S, Kashani , Mobaseri M., et al. “Passionflower in the Treatment of Opiates Withdrawal: a Double-blind Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, October 2001. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Passionflower.” September 9, 2015. Accessed June 2, 2019.

National Institutes of Health. “Vitamin C.” September 18, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Evangelou A., Kalfakakou V., Georgakas P., et al. “Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Effects on Withdrawal Syndrome of Heroin Abusers.” In Vivo, April 2000. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Lee B., Kim H., Shim I., et al. “Wild Ginseng Attenuates Anxiety- and Depression-like Behaviors During Morphine Withdrawal.” Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, October 2011. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Ginseng (Asian).” November 5, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Janiri L., Martinotti G., Tonioni F., et al. “Acetyl-L-carnitine in the Management of Pain During Methadone Withdrawal Syndrome.” Clinical Neuropharmacology, February 2009. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Carnitine.” June 5, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Nabipour S., Ayu Said M., Hussain Habil M. “Burden and Nutritional Deficiencies in Opiate Addiction- Systematic Review Article.” Iranian Journal of Public Health, August 2014. Accessed June 2, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.