A small study in Israel offers hope to longtime smokers. Fish oil, an affordable and easily available supplement helped smokers reduce their cravings for nicotine, which, in turn, helped the smokers reduce their smoking by an average of two cigarettes per day.
The research says that cigarette smoke reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain. The reduced fatty acid levels damage the receptors that allow the smoker to feel pleasure and satisfaction. Nicotine already interferes with these pleasure centers.
Dr Rabinovitz Shenkar, the researcher behind the new study, says, “Earlier studies have proven that an imbalance in omega-3 is also related to mental health, depression and the ability to cope with pressure and stress.” The relationship between stress and increased smoking behaviors is clear.
These three factors combined work to make cravings for cigarettes so strong that many people never manage to quit:
- Decreased fatty acids damage pleasure centers.
- Nicotine attacks pleasure centers.
- Decreased fatty acids increase stress response.
It’s clear from this list that increasing the intake of essential fatty acids can only benefit the smoker trying to quit.
Fish oil may be one of the most effective, most available, and most affordable supplements for increasing the appropriate polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Even if you are not a smoker, other research points to additional benefits of fish oil:
- Benefits the Cardiovascular System. Fish oil appears to increase the health of arteries and veins, helping to lower cholesterol, tryglicerides, LDLs and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing good HDL cholesterol.
- Lowers Risks of Stroke and Heart Attack. Fish oil breaks up clots before they can cause any damage to the heart or brain.
- Reduces Breast, Colon, and Prostate Cancer. Fish oil has been shown to help prevent these three common cancers.
- Lowers Pain Caused by Inflammation. The fatty acids in fish oil appear to help regulate your body’s inflammation cycle, which prevents and relieves painful conditions like arthritis, prostatitis, and cystitis.
- Increases Brain Function. Fish oil may improve memory, reasoning and the ability to focus.
- Helps to Manage Depression and Psychosis. We’ve seen that fish oil may make it easier for you to deal with stress. In addition, it seems to help with alleviate symptoms of depression and other psychoses.
The researchers say larger and longer studies are needed, but the evidence so far is very promising.