NP mag

Topic: Addiction.

Dr. Keith D. Kantor, CEO of Named Program LLC

  1. What is the prevalence of addiction among Americans?

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin.

In 2010 the Partnership for Drug Free Kids reported 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs. That’s approximately one in every 10 Americans over the age of 12 – roughly equal to the entire population of Texas.  But only 11 percent of those with an addiction receive treatment


  1. What are the most common addictions people seek treatment for?

The most common addiction that people seek help for include:

  • Cigarette (nicotine) dependence
  • Alcohol abuse/dependence
  • Illicit/other drug abuse/dependence
  • Food disorders/addiction (with a focus on Binge Eating Disorder/BED)

Other addictions include:

  • Gambling addiction (i.e., pathological gambling)
  • Internet addiction
  • Love addiction/ sex addiction
  • Exercise addiction
  • Workaholism
  • Shopping (spending) addiction



  1. Briefly, what do you feel are the key components of an integrative approach to addiction treatment?

There is not one thing that will help addiction while increasing the success rate of relapse it is a combination of therapies including psychological therapy, support groups, nutrition coaching, amino acid therapy, environment, and willingness to accept therapy from the patient.  Not stimulating the opiate receptors and drastically reducing inflammation are 2 important components covered in


  1. What biochemical changes in the body and brain can be directly correlated to addiction? Is it the same for all addictions, or are there some differences?

The first type of addiction, substance addiction, involves direct manipulation of pleasure through the use of products that are ingested into the body, including drug use disorders and food-related disorders. Drugs of misuse often are grouped into categories such as cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and illicit substance use

(Sussman S, Ames SL. Drug abuse: Concepts, prevention and cessation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 2008.)

The second type, process addiction, comprises a series of potentially pathological behaviors that expose individuals to “mood-altering events” by which they achieve pleasure and become dependent ( Robinson TE, Berridge KC. The psychology and neurobiology of addiction: An incentive-sensitization view. Addiction. 2000;95:91–117). There is several process addictions identified in Aqua OH-rent literature including gambling, various types of Internet use, love, sex, exercise, work, and compulsive spending.



  1. Please explain how the biochemical changes that take place may impact a person’s overall wellbeing and how they may contribute to the cycle of addiction.

Drug addiction has been diagnosed, as a disorder that moves from impulsivity to compulsivity in a summarized cycle of addiction comprised of three stages: preoccupation/anticipation, binge intoxication, and withdrawal/negative affect. As addiction develops the changes in the neurological system also adapt and increases in brain reward thresholds also grow as abuse of substances and behaviors increase. Dopaminergic function has been identified as a key common element of addiction, lending support to what became a strong program on the role of dopamine and opiate receptors in addiction, treatment, and research.  As the brain reward thresholds increase it will control all thoughts and behaviors reducing the ability to maintain relationships, career, finances and everyday task. 



  1. Are there any studies that support these observations? Please note if possible.
  • Koob GF. Allostatic view of motivation: Implications for psychopathology. In: Bevins RA, Bardo MT, editors. Motivational factors in the etiology of drug abuse (series title: Nebraska symposium on motivation. Vol. 50. Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2004. pp. 1–18.
  • Volkow ND, Fowler JS. Addiction, a disease of compulsion and drive: Involvement of the orbitofrontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex. 2000;10:318–325. [PubMed]
  • Volkow ND, Li TK. Drug addiction: The neurobiology of behavior gone awry. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2004;5:963–970. [PubMed]


  1. Are there any specific key nutrients lacking in someone with an addiction? If so, please list the most common ones and if they are associated with a specific type of addiction.

In any substance abuse there will most likely be a deficiency of amino acids and if this occurs for a long period of time the body may be irreversible damage.

Alcoholism results in deficiency of B-vitamins, thiamine, and folic acid. A lack of these nutrients causes iron deficiency and neurological problems. Korsakoff’s syndrome (“wet brain”) occurs when heavy alcohol use causes a lack of enough thiamine.

Stimulant use results in overall malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances due to the body being up for days at a time, weight loss, and dehydration. 


  1. Have you addressed nutritional deficiencies or biochemical imbalances during detox, recovery or relapse prevention phases of treatment? If so, during what phase of treatment were they addressed, how were they addressed and what benefits/results have been observed?

Nutritional deficiencies are addressed from the beginning, this increases the success of all phases of rehabilitation.  We recommend high quality amino acid therapy, the most nutrient dense natural, organic food sources, and supplementation of multi vitamin mineral, omega 3 fatty acids, multi-strand probiotic to start with and after lab values are interpreted more supplement recommendations will be recommended. 


  1. Have you developed nutritional guidelines or diets as part of an addiction recovery program? If so, what did the program consist of and what was the specific goal in incorporating them as part of the overall treatment plan?  


The main focus of all of our nutrition plans( is to optimize the pH balance in the body, suppress opiate receptors, and address any nutrient deficiencies.  The plan is caffeine free, gluten free, low sugar, no refined sugar, low dairy, high fiber and macro nutrient balanced with healthy anti-inflammatory fats, high quality proteins and complex slow acting carbohydrates. 

  1. What specific types of diets or nutrients do you feel are key to assisting in bringing the body back into balance during addiction recovery and prevention?

Emphasizing antioxidant rich foods like vegetables, some fruits, and healthy fats in addition to high quality supplementation therapy are the keys to restoring and repairing the body. 


  1. What role do you feel diet and nutrition can play in recovery, prevention of addiction or addiction relapse, if any?

Nutrition is often the overlooked component of addiction and recovery yet, one of the most powerful.  Nourishing the body with optimal foods, vitamins, minerals, and hydration will give the patient more control, due to the reduction in cravings and suppression of opiate receptors.  A craving for food can often be mistaken for a craving for the once abused substance. 


  1. What do you feel is the key to successful incorporation of nutrition and diet in an integrative addiction recovery program?

The key is to address nutrient deficiencies, suppress opiate receptors to avoid any cravings, and high quality amino acid therapies and these tips recommended for our program. 

  • Develop a meal and snack schedule and adhere to the routine daily. This will reduce cravings while keeping the body in a state of balance.
  • Aim to eat 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Preferably a ratio of one fruit to three vegetables. This keeps fiber intake at optimal levels, and provides vitamins and minerals in their most raw form. 
  • Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of stable alkaline water (Aqua OH-) daily. This will promote optimal organ function, electrolyte balance, and reduce cravings.
  • Include a high quality source of protein, a heart healthy fat and fibrous carbohydrate at each meal. This is the most absorbable form of amino acids, which have been shown to be critical in addiction and recovery.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements are helpful during recovery. A high quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, B-complex, vitamin D, omega 3 fish oil, and a probiotic are all recommended to take daily with meals for optimal absorption. More specific supplements and herbs can be recommended individually based on assessment and laboratory values.
  • Get regular exercise, at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night.
  • Reduce/stop caffeine and stop smoking.


  1. Do you have any other comments as to key factors that contribute to the overall success of an integrative addiction treatment program? A controlled environment is the best way to overcome any addiction that is why we have partnered with addiction centers.