As we all know, and many people have directly experienced, people in recovery from Opioid Use Disorder can suffer from profound cravings, which often lead to continuing use. While the pharmaceutical companies offer various medications such as buprenorphine, naloxone, etc., these drugs are themselves highly dependency-forming, and do not help to rebuild depleted endorphins or dopamine and norepinephrine. It is this depletion, along with low blood sugar from missing meals, or a rebound effect from eating high sugar foods, which actually CAUSE these cravings.
Eating a minimum of 20 grams of protein (from meat, fish, eggs, or milk), every 4 hours, addresses both of these issues. It helps keep blood sugar in balance, which allows for continued access to willpower and recovery skills. Protein-rich food also actually provides the nutrients necessary to keep rebuilding our own natural pain-relieving endorphins as needed. Endorphins are large molecules made up of a number of amino acids which are found in protein. To jump start the rebuilding of the endorphin system, special formulations of these particular amino acids, such as those found in products like Total Amino Solution (Genesa), or Amino Replete (Pure Encapsulations), can be useful.
A synthetic amino acid, D-Phenylalanine, available online, was first created to reduce the post-operative need for morphine. It supports endorphin activity in the brain and can reduce cravings. Using the amino acid L-Tyrosine to rebuild dopamine and the energizing norepinephrine may also reduce the post-withdrawal fatigue that often leads people to pick up again simply for the energy to function. These amino acids are anti-addictive as they work to rebuild neurotransmitter systems rather than deplete them. Many people have found that feeding the brain the nutrients it needs to function at its best, deeply supports the recovery process.