Oat extract may cut cigarette cravings: Pilot study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

A standardised oat extract may reduce cravings for smoking and offer would-be quitters an alternative to the patches and gums, suggests research from Japan.

A daily supplement of an oats herb extract was found to reduce tobacco consumption from about 20 to fewer than nine cigarettes per day, according to results of a pilot study published in the journal Pharmacometrics​.

The ingredient, extracted from an ancient type of wild oats, was developed by Frutarom and is being marketed under the name Neuravena.

“Although further studies are needed, we think that Neuravena extract has potential as a novel food ingredient that can effectively aid smoking cessation,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Fumitaka Fujii from ASK Intercity Company, the Japanese distributor of the ingredient.

“To successfully quit smoking, the first few weeks after quitting are thought to be the most significant, and we think that the use of supplements such as Neuravena extract can be a useful means of successfully stopping smoking if taken while reducing consumption or in the early stages after quitting.”

Jocelyn Mathern, MS, RD, Technical Health Manager for Frutarom USA told NutraIngredients.com that the ingredient does not contain nicotine. “Rather, Neuravena works on enzymes in your brain and also affects brain waves in a way that may relieve stress and improve cognitive performance,”​ she said.

Study details

In collaboration with researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Meiji Pharmaceutical University, Fujii recruited eight Japanese smokers (average age 32.5) and given daily supplements of 900 mg of Neuravena for 28 months. The participants were told that the aim of the study was to test the efficacy of supplements in reducing smoking.

At the end of the study, the Japanese researchers reported that the average cigarette smoking decreased from 19.5 per day to 8.9 per day.

Furthermore, the carbon monoxide levels in the breath of the participants decreased from 17 ppm to 11.9 ppm.

The verbal and general memory of the participants also improved, but not the visual memory.

Limitations and active ingredients

The study was a pilot study and therefore has several limitations, including no blinding and no placebo controlling.

“Although additional placebo-controlled study is essential, supplemental uptake of Neuravena extract could be helpful in the reduction of cravings for smoking,”​ wrote the researchers.

Oats versus patches

Carla Wullschleger, product manager EFLA-Line for Frutarom Switzerland told NutraIngredients.com that the ingredient, regulated as a dietary supplement in both the US and Europe, is different from products such as Nicorette since this is an OTC drug due to the nicotine content.

“There already are various finished products available on the European market containing Neuravena in the indication cognitive support/mental wellbeing,”​ she said.

Formulation options

Mathern told this website that the ingredient can be used in capsules and tablets as well as other dietary supplement applications, such as bars.

While many people looking for cigarette reduction may turn to gums, Wullschleger said: “We have no experience of using Neuravena in a gum and are not aware of any customers running such projects. I have checked with. According to our application lab it is possible to apply the extract in a gum from a technical point of view.

“Based on the outcome of the Japanese application study the recommended daily dosage would be 860 mg of extract, which needs to be taken into account when considering a gum application,”​ she added.

Source: Pharmacometrics​ Volume 75, Issue 3/4, Pages 47-53 “Pilot Study of the Standardized Oats Herb Extract for Smoking Reduction”​ Authors: F. Fujii, T. Hashimoto, N. Suzuki, R. Suzuki, K. Mohri

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