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Nutrition & Addiction

Impact of Nutrition on Addiction, Cravings and Relapse:

Buydens-Branchey, Laure, Marc Branchey, and Joseph R. Hibbeln. "Low plasma levels of docosahexaenoic acid are associated with an increased relapse vulnerability in substance abusers." American Journal on Addictions 18.1 (2009): 73-80.

Schroeder, Ryan D., and George E. Higgins. "You are what you eat: the impact of nutrition on alcohol and drug use." Substance use & misuse 52.1 (2017): 10-24.


Chavez, Melody N., and Khary K. Rigg. "Nutritional implications of opioid use disorder: A guide for drug treatment providers." Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (2020).


Ross L, Wilson M, Banks M, Rezannah F, Daglish M.The prevalence of malnutrition and nutritional risk factors in patients undergoing alcohol and drug treatment. Nutrition; 2011.

Dietary requirements for the brain:

Bourre, Jean-Marie. "Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 1: micronutrients." Journal of nutrition health and aging 10.5 (2006): 377.


Bourre, Jean-Marie. "Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 2: macronutrients." Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging 10.5 (2006): 386.


Wurtman, Richard J. "Behavioural effects of nutrients." Lancet (1983).

Teixeira J, Mota T, Cabral Ferandes J. Nutritional evaluation of alcoholic inpatients admitted for alcohol detoxification. Alcohol Alcohol 2011;46:558–60. 

Schroeder, R. D., & Higgins, G. E. (2017). You are what you eat: The impact of nutrition on alcohol and drug use. Substance use & misuse, 52(1), 10-24.

Islam, S. N., Hossain, K. J., & Ahsan, M. (2001). Serum vitamin E, C and A status of the drug addicts undergoing detoxification: influence of drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors. European journal of clinical nutrition, 55(11), 1022.

Dietary Requirements

Nutrient Therapy for Addiction:


Blum, Kenneth, et al. "Neuronutrient amino-acid therapy protects against reward deficiency syndrome: dopaminergic key to homeostasis and neuroplasticity." Current pharmaceutical design 22.38 (2016): 5837-5854.


Hakimian, Joshua K., et al. "Dietary Supplementation with Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Reduces Opioid-Seeking Behaviors and Alters the Gut Microbiome." Nutrients 11.8 (2019): 1900.


Jeynes, K. D., & Gibson, E. L. (2017). The importance of nutrition in aiding recovery from substance use disorders: A review. Drug and alcohol dependence, 179, 229-239.


Blum, Kenneth, et al. "Enkephalinase inhibition and precursor amino acid loading improves inpatient treatment of alcohol and polydrug abusers: Double-blind placebo-controlled study of the nutritional adjunct SAAVE™." Alcohol 5.6 (1988): 481-493.


Blum, K, Allison D et al. Reduction of Both Drug Hunger and Withdrawal Against Advice Rate of Cocaine Abusers in a 30-Day Inpatient Current Therapeutic Research. Vol 43. No 6, June 1988


Lyte, M. (2011). Probiotics function mechanistically as delivery vehicles for neuroactive compounds: microbial endocrinology in the design and use of probiotics. Bioessays, 33(8), 574-581.


Grant LP, Haughton B, Sachan DS. Nutrition education is positively associ- ated with substance abuse treatment program outcomes. J Am Diet Assoc 2004;104:604–10.

Nutrient Therapy

Gut- Brain Axis in Addiction:

Skosnik, Patrick D., and Jose A. Cortes-Briones. "Targeting the ecology within: the role of the gut–brain axis and human microbiota in drug addiction." Medical hypotheses 93 (2016): 77-80.

Liang, S., Wu, X., & Jin, F. (2018). Gut brain psychology: rethinking psychology from the microbiota–gut–brain axis. Frontiers in integrative neuroscience, 12, 33.

Leclercq, S., de Timary, P., Delzenne, N. M., & Stärkel, P. (2017). The link between inflammation, bugs, the intestine and the brain in alcohol dependence. Translational psychiatry, 7(2), e1048.

Gut-Brain Axis

Trauma and Addiction:


NIDA. "Exploring the Role of Child Abuse in Later Drug Abuse." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1 Jul. 1998.


Mills, Katherine L., et al. "Post-traumatic stress disorder among people with heroin dependence in the Australian treatment outcome study (ATOS): prevalence and correlates." Drug and alcohol dependence 77.3 (2005): 243-249.

Trauma & Addiction

Social Factors in Addiction:


Alexander BK, Beyerstein BL, Hadaway BF, Coombs RB. Effect of Early and later colony housing on oral ingestion of morphine in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1981;15:571-576.

Solinas, M., Chauvet, C., Thiriet, N., El Rawas, R., & Jaber, M. (2008). Reversal of cocaine addiction by environmental enrichment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(44), 17145-17150.

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis: 

Pihl, RO et al, Hair: A diagnostic tool to complement blood serum and urine, Science, 1978;202:1271-1273.


Maugh, TH, Hair: A diagnostic tool to complement blood serum and urine, Science, 1978;202:1271-1373.


Katz, SA, The use of hair as a biopsy material for trace elements in the body, Amer Lab.,1979;Feb:44-52.


Harrison, W, Yarachek, JP, and Benson, CA, The determination of trace elements in human hair by atomic absorption spectroscopy, Clin Chim Acta 1969;23: 83).

"Hair concentrations may provide useful information on longer term nutrition"

Casey, C. E.; Hambidge, K. M.: Trace Element Deficiencies in Man. Advances In Nutritional Research Vol.3. Draper, H. H., ed. Plenum Pub., 1980. Hambidge, K. M.; Walravens, P.A.: Trace Elements in Nutrition. Prac Ped 1974, 1:1


"Research literature supports the view that trace element content of the hair and nail reflect body intake…from which one can conclude that hair and nail are suitable samples for evaluating body stores."
Hopps, H. C.: The Biological Bases for Using Hair and Nail for Analysis of Trace Elements. Trace Substances In Environmental Health VIII. Hemphill, D.D., ed. University of Missouri, Columbia. 1974.


"The elemental analysis of hair is becoming increasingly popular for the assessment of nutritional status."

Katz, S. A. Professor of Chemistry, Rutgers University.: The Use of Hair as a Biopsy Material for Trace Elements in the Body. Am Lab 1979; Feb.

"Hair may provide a continuous record of nutritional status."
Maugh, T. H. Hair: A Diagnostic Tool to Complement Blood Serum and Urine. Science1978; 202.

"From the analyses, it was clear that hair concentrations of Ca, Fe, and Zn could reflect the effects of supplementation."
Leung PL, Huang HM, Sun DZ, Zhu MG., Hair concentrations of calcium, iron, and zinc in pregnant women and effects of supplementation., Biol Trace Elem Res. 1999 Sep;69(3):269-82.


"One such procedure which has shown great potential, at least for the determination of micro-element nutriture…, is the use of hair as the biological sample. Perhaps an even more important advantage would be that hair, by the very nature of the sample, should reflect a rather long-term nutritional state rather than recent (i.e. previous meal or day) dietary intake."

Sauberlich, H. E.; Scala, J. H. Department of Nutrition, Letterman Army Institute of Research, San Francisco, California. Dowdy, R. P. Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Food Systems Management, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri


"The analysis of recently grown hair for zinc provides a biomarker of recent zinc status."

Rush E, Li L, Chandu V, Whiting R., Hair zinc concentrations not subject to seasonal variation in adults in New Zealand., Biol Trace Elem Res. 2003 Dec;95(3):193-202.


"The result of research studies indicate that hair mineral analysis can be useful as a diagnostic tool in the examination of trace metal exposure, including abnormal nutritional intake, and may assist in the study of certain mental states. They (hair mineral analysis) may suggest mineral imbalances present in the body that perhaps could be rectified by a mineral supplemented diet. Hair metal testing is a fascinating new diagnostic tool and often gives unexpected clues to mineral imbalances in the body. The authors would support this statement from the results that they have accumulated to date."

Barlow, P. J.; Kapel, M.: Metal and Sulfur Contents of Hair in Relation to Certain Mental States. Hair, Trace Elements, and Human Illness Brown, A.C.; Crounse, R. G., eds. Praeger Publications, 1980.


"The significance of hair analysis as a biological indicator of abnormal intake of trace elements in man is confirmed. Geographical variations of hair trace element concentrations, on the whole, depend on geochemical conditions or nutritional factors."

Batzevich VA., Hair trace element analysis in human ecology studies., Sci Total Environ. 1995 Mar 15;164(2):89-98.


"Human head hair is a recording filament that can reflect metabolic changes of many elements over long periods of time and thus furnish a print-out of post nutritional events."

Strain, W. H.; Pories, W. J.; Flynn, A.; Hill, O. A.: Trace Element Nutriture and Metabolism Through Head Hair Analysis. Trace Substances in Environmental Health. Hemphill, D. D., ed. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1972.

Social Factors

Mental Health and HTMA:

Walker, M, Excessive tissue manganese as a cause of anti-social behavior, Townsend Let For Doctors, 1994, December:1328-1334.


Walsh, W, Can the predisposition to violence hang on a hair?. Also, Hair tells violence bent?, Medical Tribune, 1984;25(21), 7/25/84.


Vobecky, J et al., Hair and urine chromium content in 30 hospitalized female psychogeriatric patients and mentally healthy controls, Nutr Reports Intl., 1980;22(1):49-55.


Schauss, AG A review of 137 cases of ADD-Hyperactivity. Also, Twelve rules for establishing good eating patterns in 3-7 year olds: The formative years, Also, Twelve changes of the twentieth century that affect dietary habits in modernized countries, Presentations at the Conference on Nutrition and Behavior, John Radcliffe hospital, Oxford University, England, July, 1985, in Nutrition And Antisocial Behavior, Brian Shuppan: Tokyo, 1986.


Schauss, AG et al, Random analysis of the diets of chronic delinquents, J Orthomol Psych., 1979;8(3):149-157 and 1979;8(4):222-226.


Schauss, AG, New findings on nutrition and its application in the behavioral sciences, Controlled hair mineral analysis study of violent and sociopathic prisoners, presentation, First International Conference on Nutritional Therapy in Medicine, 6/26/1983.


Rimland, B, and Larson, GE, Hair mineral analysis and behavior: An analysis of 51 studies, J Learn Disab, 1983;16: 279-285


Pfeiffer, C, Psychiatric Hospital vs. Brain Bio Center in diagnosis of biochemical imbalances, J Orthomol Psych., 1976;5(1)28-34.


Pfeiffer, C, Zinc and manganese in the schizophrenias, J Orthomol Psych, 1983;12(3):215-224.


Marlowe, M, Hair mineral content as a predictor of mental retardation, J Orthomol Psych., 1983;12(1):26-33.

HTMA in Mental Health

Other Selected References:

Clapp, M., Aurora, N., Herrera, L., Bhatia, M., Wilen, E., & Wakefield, S. (2017). Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clinics and Practice, 7(4)

Sinha R, Jastreboff AM. Stress as a common risk factor for obesity and addiction. Biol Psychiatry. 2013;73(9):827–835. 

Davis L1, Uezato ANewell JMFrazier E. Major depression and comorbid substance use disorders. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2008 Jan;21(1):14-8. 


Havard Bentsen Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, brain function and mental health, Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2017; 28(sup1): 1281916.

Jackson, Jessica R. et al. “Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity.” The Psychiatric Quarterly 83.1 (2012): 91–102. Link.

Brian E. Leonard, The concept of depression as a dysfunction of the immune system, Curr Immunol Rev. 2010 Aug; 6(3): 205–212.

Van der Kolk, B. The psychobiology of posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatr 1997; 58(9): 16-24.

Gerwyn Morris1* and Michael Berk, The many roads to mitochondrial dysfunction in neuroimmune and neuropsychiatric disorders, BMC Medicine (2015) 13:68

Tripp JC1, Skidmore JRCui RTate SR. Impact of Physical Health on Treatment for Co-occurring Depression and Substance Dependence. J Dual Diagn. 2013;9(3)

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