Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids may do more than just lower your cholesterol level. It may help people quit smoking.
Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, PhD, of the University of Haifa in Israel, enrolled 48 participants who smoked an average of between 10 and 14 cigarettes per day. The subjects had been smoking for an average of 11 years.
The participants were given either 2,710 mg of EPA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid and 2,040 mg of another type of omega-3, DHA, daily for 30 days, or placebo. Those amounts were given via five capsules per day.
After 30 days, those who were taking the omega-3 supplements decreased the number of cigarettes smoked per day by an average of two cigarettes, Shenkar reported in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
In addition, when the participants were examined again after another 30 days, their cravings went up slightly, but were still far below where they were at baseline, even though they stopped taking the supplements.
How omega-3 plays a role in smoking may be related to studies that have found an imbalance in fatty acids is connected to depression, as well as the ability to deal with pressure and stress. Smoking itself reduces fatty acids in the brain, which can negatively impact parts of the brain associated with pleasure and satisfaction.
Health Implications of Cigarette Smoking
More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined, according to the CDC.The good news: Nearly 70% of smokers want to quit,…
Taking omega-3 supplements reduces nicotine cravings and the number of cigarettes smoked per day, according to a first-of-its-kind study conducted at the University of Haifa.
Smoking is well known in the scientific community to reduce essential fatty acids in the brain, most notably omega-3s. This can lead to brain cell damage, according to the study, interrupting neurotransmission in areas of the brain associated with pleasure and satisfaction
After 30 days, those who had been taking the omega-3 supplement had reduced their smoking by two cigarettes per day, or 11%.