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Omega-3 Fats Could Ward Off Cigarette Cravings

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study found omega-3 fats in fish oil may ward off cigarette cravings. Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the study divided 48 smokers into two groups; one group received omega-3 supplements (2,710 mg EPA and 2,040 mg DHA daily) for 30 days while the other group was given a placebo. The participants had been smoking for an average of 11 years, had an average of 14 cigarettes per day, and were diagnosed as having a moderate dependency on nicotine. Here’s what the researchers discovered:

  • After 30 days, participants in the omega-3 group smoked on average two cigarettes less per day (an 11% decrease), even though the researchers did not instruct them to stop smoking or change their habits.
  • After 30 days, the omega-3 group showed a significant decrease in nicotine cravings.
  • After 60 days (30 days after treatment ended), the omega-3 group had a slight increase in cravings, but they were still significantly lower than at the start of the study.
  • Those in the placebo group did not experience a significant decrease in cravings or in the number of cigarettes they smoked.

This study is the first clinical trial to examine the effects of omega-3 supplementation on tobacco cravings. It builds on previous research linking a deficiency of omega-3 fats to lower stress tolerance, and to possible interference with the brain’s reward and pleasure system.

Source: Journal of Psychopharmacology

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