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Functional Medicine for Addiction by William Billica, MD

Watch our short video as Dr. William Billica talks about digestion and amino acids.

This is biochemical individuality. Everybody’s got their own pattern. There are core sets of the program that we use for the addicts that almost everybody goes on. But it is individual and the nutrients work together. Sometimes if you’re treating just one part, but not some other key thing, there’s still going to struggle. There are some things that don’t quite match. Sometimes you do histamine or pyrrole testing, and it’s not quite abnormal, but they fit the pattern and stuff. So, we would then try those to treat the person and try and repair the brain. And repairing the brain is a lot associated with the dopamine part of the brain.

Digestion and Amino Acids

So, most addicts have poor digestion and diets. They come in, they’re depleted of everything. It makes it kind of tough when you do organic acids and amino acids, some people are just depleted of everything. And it’s hard to tell. Is this genetic, is this just poor nutrition? If somebody hasn’t been eating well and has low amino acids, even using something like whey protein, whey protein has a lot of branched-chain amino acids, which have a big impact on mood and addictions. As long as they don’t have a dairy issue, I would do that. It’s a lot cheaper, and it tastes better than using fancier amino acid blends.

Hypoglycemia and insulin

Hypoglycemia, that’s huge. I mean, you know, go to any AA meeting, and what are they doing? They’re drinking coffee with cream and sugar, and they’re eating donuts or cookies. They are setting all of those addicts up to crash and relapse a couple of hours after the meeting.

Blood Sugar is a big factor. So, when we look at that inner balance, when alcohol is involved, it’s like 97-98% of the time, on a glucose tolerance test, they have significant hypoglycemia.

Histamine imbalances

So low histamine, lots of anxiety, paranoia, thought disorders, they don’t tolerate much in the way of medications, trying to give them a bunch of supplements, they often don’t tolerate those. So, you focus on trying to increase histamine, you have to be careful about over-methylating. You still can use some B12 and a little bit of methylfolate, but you don’t want to give them a big dose or a big multi. N-acetyl cysteine has good support for these people, helps balance their brains and their responses.

M. folate actions in body

Even if they have that I would not start with 15 milligrams right away, because of all those other things that the methylfolate does. For all these things in the body, if you go crank somebody on 15 milligrams, you can trigger a whole bunch of stuff and people don’t feel good. You can trigger a detox reaction and stuff. So even if you’re a double 1298 you’re going to want to start on the couple of milligrams, or no more than five, and then work your way up.