Fish oil has been identified as an important tool for improving heart health. The omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil has recently become a popular addition to the diet of many people, making its way from the very health-conscious to the average consumer.
Researchers are now linking fish oil as a possible remedy for another major ailment: drug addiction. Based on the idea that drug addicts become addicted because of a nutritional deficiency, advocates believe that a balanced diet, including fish oil, may be essential for overcoming the problem.
One of the nutrition experts leading the campaign to use fish oil as a treatment for substance abuse disorder is Carolyn Reuben, the executive director of the Community Addiction Recovery Association (CARA), based in Sacramento, California. She believes that the human body reacts to certain dietary deficiencies in ways that can lead to psychological disorders, including addiction.
Reuben advocates analyzing the addict’s particular ailment or substance of choice as the starting point for determining which amino acids, vitamins and nutrients are lacking. Individuals struggling with a drug addiction aren’t typically focused on a commitment to a healthy diet, and as they continue using the drug, it depletes their body of important vitamins and nutrients. Replacing those nutrients can be an important part of attaining a full recovery.
The thinking is based on research conducted by Stephen Schoenthaler, Ph.D., who examined prison inmates who were given a nutritionally superior diet than the one they had been used to consuming. The inmates experienced a 43% drop in hostility, leading the professor to establish links between sugar intake, lessened vitamin consumption and hostility.
Reuben says that these results can be generalized to the treatment of drug addicts. For instance, when a person begins using a substance and finds that instead of feeling high they feel balanced and normal, it may indicate a dietary deficiency. Reuben believes that there is a profound connection between behavior and nutrition.
It may be beneficial for further research to test the theory using a diet rich in fish oil among drug addicts to determine whether they experienced a lessening of cravings for the drug. It may also be beneficial to conduct a study to examine the nutritional composition of a large sample of drug addicts to see if there is a pattern between deficiencies and drug of choice. Fish oil as a part of nutrition-based drug therapy may open doors for a new frontier for drug addiction treatment.