Fish oil supplements reduce cravings for nicotine and even the number of cigarettes that people smoke a day, according to a new study conducted at the University of Haifa.
“The substances and medications used currently to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with. The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly,” said lead research Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, M.D., head of the addictions program at the University of Haifa.
Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar worked with 48 participants aged 18 to 45 who smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day and an average of 14 cigarettes per day. Their average age was 29 and they had all started smoking before age 18, meaning they had each been smoking for an average of 11 years.
They were divided into two groups, one of which took 2,710 mg of the fatty acid EPA per day and 2,040 mg of the fatty acid DHA per day for a total of approximately five capsules of an omega-3 supplement on a daily basis, while the other was given a placebo.
After 30 days, those who had been taking the omega-3 supplement had reduced their smoking by two cigarettes per day, or 11 per cent.
Importantly, the participants were not told to stop smoking at anytime during the study.
One month after they stopped taking their supplements and placebos, their nicotine cravings hadn’t returned to baseline.