~ New Pilot Study Showed Omega 3's Cut Tobacco Cravings
The June 4, 2014 edition of the Journal of Psychopharmacology published the results of a trial in which orally administered eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) reduced smoking and tobacco cravings among those who received the supplements.
Forty-eight regular smokers were given 2710 mg EPA and 2040 mg DHA, or a placebo for one month. Tobacco craving and number of cigarettes smoked per day were assessed at the beginning of the trial, at the end of the treatment period and 30 days following the end of treatment.
Those who received omega-3 fatty acids had significantly lower cravings for tobacco at the end of one month - smoking about 11% fewer cigarettes. Among those who received EPA and DHA, cravings rose in the month following the treatment period, but were still lower than at the beginning of the study.
Participants who received the placebo reported similar craving levels at all time points evaluated.
Author Sharon Rabinowitz of Haifa University notes that decreased intake of omega-3 fatty acids can affect dopamine neurotransmission, which negatively impacts the function of brain systems associated with reward and dependence. This decrease in function could enhance tobacco craving, making quitting more difficult.
“It is assumed that the re-establishment of polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in the current study reduced tobacco craving following cigarette cue exposure by affecting dopamine transmission compromised by smoking-induced lipid peroxidation,” Dr Rabinowitz writes.
“Future studies should examine if polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation affects smoking behavior and its relation to subjective stress via polyunsaturated fatty acid serum bioavailability and metabolism and should attempt to determine the neural mechanisms that may have played a role in the decreased craving observed in this study.”
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