Researchers at the Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo Universidad (UAEH, for its acronym in Spanish) created a powder made with raspberries that attenuates withdrawal symptoms and addiction to nicotine, which considered one of the most addictive drugs in the world.
The beginnings of this research can be traced to a personal experience of Dr. Filardo Kertstupp, researcher and professor at the UAEH Food Chemistry Academic Area, in indigenous communities of the Mezquital Valley. There he took an infusion made of raspberry that mitigated his desire for smoking, “after this experience I began to fully develop the product“.
Subsequently, Dr. Alfonso Atitlan joined the project to test the biological validation against smoking, and along with Ricardo Perez-Pastén Borja proposed to study scientifically the raspberry infusion’s ability to fight against nicotine addiction.
The researchers used mice models that were exposed to doses of nicotine for seven days in order to make them addicted to the substance. Then, after this time the nicotine doses were suspended to create nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
“We begin to give them the treatment, and we found that we could control withdrawal symptoms in the animal model,” said Dr. Atitlan.
Raspberries have an active component found in their stem, leaves and in the fruit called ellagic acid, and associated with a more rapid elimination of nicotine. This acid turns nicotine into serum cotinine, helping detoxifying the subject not only of nicotine itself, but of other toxic substances found in the smoke of cigarettes.
In addition, Alfonso Atitlan said “it is also known that this acid has an anxiolytic effect, which helps reduce nicotine addiction.”
The overall results can be observed in 21 days, but the raspberry-based product is used for fourteen days. To achieve the desired effects by consuming the fruit only, the patient would have to eat two kilograms of raspberries a day to quit smoking in 21 days. However, it is only needed five grams of UAEH raspberry powder for fourteen days to achieve the results.
“Any addiction has an important emotional and psychological component, so prior to treatment, we prepare patients for seven days psychologically, to assist them in the process of quitting tobacco,” said Alfonso Atitlan, noting that one week after treatment, exposed subjects feel improvement thanks to the antioxidant effect of the product.
According to the researchers, compared to other products on the market to combat nicotine addiction, this product promises greater detoxification of the body and has remarkable improvements in controlling anxiety. In addition, it has showed a minimum record of relapse and has a higher antioxidant effect. As it does not have side effects, this treatment can be repeated three times a year as reinforce effect.
Source: Agencia Informativa CONACYT