Omega-3 Supplements Reduce Smoking

Taking omega-3 supplements reduced the craving for nicotine in smokers, and reduced the number of cigarettes smoked per day in a research study from the addiction program at the University of Haifa.

Cigarette smoking which is associated with lung disease and a host of other medical problems, is also known to reduce the levels of omega 3-essential fatty acids in the brain. A deficiency in omega-3 creates dysfunction of the transmission of impulses in areas of the brain related to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Because of this, a deficiency of omega-3 makes it harder for the smoker to deal with cravings for cigarettes. Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar lead researcher explained, “Earlier studies have proven that an imbalance in omega-3 is 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.”
This study included forty-eight smokers who smoked an average of fourteen cigarettes a day and were classified as being moderately dependent on nicotine. They were divided into two groups: Over a 30 day period one group took 4,750 mg of an omega-3 supplement per day, and the second group received an inactive placebo. The participants were not asked to alter their smoking habits . The data showed that the study participants given the omega 3 supplements reported less cravings for cigarettes, and smoked less cigarettes per day than the group given the inactive placebo. It was further shown that one month after the completion of study, those who had taken the omega 3 supplements still reported less cravings for cigarettes, but they did crave them more than before they stopped taking the supplements. Presumably the benefit would evaporate over time as omega 3 levels dropped without the supplements, and the benefit might continue with ongoing supplementation. Further study is certainly warranted to look into this.
Dr.Rabinovitz Shenkar seems confident regarding the implications of this study. She says, “Medications used currently to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects. The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly”.

For the best in Integrative Medicine call Henry C. Sobo, M.D., at 203-348-8805 or write us at [email protected]

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