Quitting Smoking and Omega 3

By Dr. Donald Newman, DDS / a couple of years ago

According to a new study, taking omega-3 supplements may help reduce cravings for nicotine and even the number of cigarettes people smoke per day. Current medications that are being used to help people stop smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects. Omega-3 supplements are an easy, safe, and inexpensive way to reduce smoking, according to Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, who headed up this study.

Cigarette smoking is associated with cardiovascular conditions, immune issues and cancer, and it also reduces the concentrations of essential fatty acids in the brain, especially omega-3 fatty acids. An omega-3 deficiency damages nerve cells and interrupts the communication in regions of the brain that are involved with pleasure and satisfaction. These areas are crucial in reward and decision-making, and for the potential risk of relapse and the inability to stop smoking. Thus, an omega-3 deficiency may make it harder for smokers to overcome their cigarette cravings. Other studies have demonstrated that an imbalance in omega-3s is related to mental health, stress and depression which, in turn, are associated with the urge to smoke. It has also been shown that stress levels rise in people who have quit smoking. The connection between all these factors had not been studied until now.

 

This study looked at 48 adult smokers who were diagnosed as having a moderate dependency on nicotine, each having smoked a minimum of 10 cigarettes a day during the previous year and an average of 14 cigarettes a day. The participants were divided into two groups where one group received 2710 mg EPA/day and 2040 mg DHA/day for one month while the second group received a placebo. During that period of time, the participants were never asked to stop smoking.

After 30 days the results showed that the smokers who had taken omega-3s reduced their total cigarettes smoked by an average of two a day without being prompted to change their smoking habits. In addition, they showed a significant decrease in their nicotine craving. In the month that followed (where omega-3 supplementation was discontinued), cigarette cravings increased slightly but still did not return to their baseline values. The placebo group, however, did not show any significant changes in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes smoked during the entire sixty days.

These findings demonstrated that smokers who were not even trying to quit their nicotine habit showed a significant change, reinforcing the assumption omega-3s can help smokers to regulate their addiction and decrease their frequency of smoking.

 

For Related Resource Material, please listen to our Nutrient Roundtable from May 2014 “Why TruTG fish oils?” with Dr. Micheal Jurgelewicz, Dr. David Brady, Andy Casagranda, CN and Dr. Arland Hill

 

Source: 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

 

About the author

Dr. Donald Newman, DDS

I've seen amazing improvements in my own personal health from intelligent choices that I have discovered as a result of this decade long study. I have invested literally tens of thousands of dollars in products - many of them with wonderful results - a good number that offered nothing but empty promises. To help fund this self admitted "obsessive quest for anti-aging and health” I’ve become involved in the distribution of only those products that have shown true results... using legitimate peer reviewed research, and my own body, as a testing ground and litmus test for what is real and what isn't. I am on a quest to live my life in great health and with robust gusto and exuberance.