Many people every day proclaim that they are "trying to quit smoking," but quitting smoking can be very difficult and can even seem impossible. Most smokers are addicted to nicotine, a drug that is found naturally in tobacco. More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.  New, ground-breaking research has emerged demonstrating the positive effects of broad-spectrum micronutrients on smoking cessation efforts.
One of the biggest reasons that quitting smoking is so difficult is because of the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:
Many smokers do not achieve freedom from tobacco/nicotine using readily available anti-smoking aids, many of which contain nicotine themselves. Researchers at the University of Christchurch, New Zealand have recently published a randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigating Daily Essential Nutrients, a broad-spectrum micronutrient formulation and its impact on those who attempt to quit smoking.
Following a baseline phase where cigarettes per day and nicotine dependence were measured, participants (n = 107) were randomized to placebo (n = 50) or the broad-spectrum micronutrient formulation, Daily Essential Nutrients (n = 57). Participants did not know if they were given the placebo or an unnamed nutritional formulation.
During the pre-quit phase, for four weeks, participants worked up to the full clinical dose of 12 capsules per day. During the quit phase (12 weeks), participants were registered with a public Quitline while consuming micronutrients or placebo. Carbon monoxide levels were measured to confirm smoking cessation.
While 100% of the study participants intended to quit smoking during the study, 45% of participants completed the trial and 28% of the micronutrient-treated group had quit versus 18% for placebo. Comparison of cigarette consumption (cigarettes per day) between the micronutrient and placebo groups showed that those taking micronutrients reported reduced consumption throughout the trial, notably at pre-quit weeks 1 and 4, and at quit phase week 4.
The reseachers reported, "This is the first RCT investigating the impact of micronutrients on smoking reduction, finding that micronutrients reduced harm through reduction in number of cigarettes smoked relative to placebo. The small sample and high dropout rate limit confidence in the conclusions and generalizability of the study; however, assessed by number needed to treat, micronutrients are comparable to other smoking cessation treatments but with fewer side effects. Future research using larger and longer trials including cost-effectiveness and biomarker measures is encouraged."
Micronutrients are being increasingly studied for the treatment of psychiatric conditions, but direct application of micronutrients as a treatment for addictions is still in the beginning stages. There is extensive evidence to support that micronutrients alleviate stress. Given that tobacco smoking is often used to cope with stress, taking micronutrients may moderate the stress of withdrawal and increase the chance of a successful quit attempt.
This study is the first known RCT to investigate the use of micronutrients to support smoking cessation. Treatments that are safe, effective, relatively inexpensive, and readily available are needed and micronutrient supplements offer one such possible alternative.