The dietary supplement omega-3 can help reduce craving for smoking, claims a new study.
According to the study conducted at the University of Haifa, taking omega-3 supplements reduces craving for nicotine and even reduces the number of cigarettes that people smoke a day.
Cigarette smoking is connected not only to cardiovascular dysfunction, immune system dysfunction and cancer, it also reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain, especially that of omega-3. A deficiency in omega-3 damages the cellular structure of nerve cells and interrupts neurotransmission in areas of the brain involved with feeling pleasure and satisfaction.
These areas are essential in reward and decision-making, and are very important in the process of the development, maintenance and relapse of the addiction and to the inability to stop smoking.
The findings show 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.
No less important, they showed a significant decrease in nicotine craving. After another thirty days of not taking anything, cigarette cravings increased slightly but still remained significantly lower than their initial level. In other words, the craving to smoke cigarettes did not return to the baseline level even a month after stopping to take the supplement.
In the meantime, the group receiving the placebo did not show any significant changes in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes they smoked a day during the sixty days.
According to Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar, the finding that people who were not interested in stopping to smoke showed such a significant change reinforces the assumption that taking omega-3 can help smokers to regulate their addiction and reduce their smoking.