A new study has demonstrated that smoke craving can be reduced by consuming omega 3 supplements. Chronic exposure to smoke has numerous adverse health effects including cardiovascular dysfunction, immune system dysfunction, reduction of omega 3 levels and cancer.
“The substances and medications used currently to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with. The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly,” said Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, head of the addictions program at the University of Haifa’s school of criminology department and of the psychopharmacology laboratory at Bar-Ilan, who conducted this study.
“Earlier studies have proven that an imbalance in omega-3 is also related to mental health, depression and the ability to cope with pressure and stress. Pressure and stress, in turn, are associated with the urge to smoke. It is also known that stress and tension levels rise among people who quit smoking. Despite all this, the connection between all these factors had not been studied until now,” said Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar.
The research participants involved forty eight smokers aged eighteen to forty-five who smoked at least ten cigarettes a day during the previous year, and an average of fourteen cigarettes a day. They were diagnosed as having a moderate dependency on nicotine and had been smoking an average of 11 years. For purposes of this study the participants were divided into two groups; one group received omega-3 capsules, the second group received a placebo. The participants were asked to take five capsules a day for thirty days and in total reported taking more than ninety-four percent of the capsules. At no stage in the study were the participants asked to stop smoking.
The research findings reveal that while no difference was found between the groups at the beginning of the study, after thirty days the smokers who had taken omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an eleven-percent decrease), even though they were not asked to change their smoking habits in any way. They also showed a significant decrease in nicotine craving.
S. Rabinovitz. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on tobacco craving in cigarette smokers: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2014; 28 (8): 804 DOI: 10.1177/0269881114536477