[PHNUTR-L] Supplement May Curb Gambling Addiction
hecowan at islandnet.com
Wed Sep 26 21:24:02 PDT 2007
Supplement May Curb Gambling Addiction
Article available online at: http://www.therapytimes.com/092507Nutrition
Researchers at the University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, have discovered that a common amino
acid, available as a health food supplement, may
help curb pathological gamblersí addiction.
In a recent eight-week trial, 27 people were
given increasing doses of the amino acid,
N-acetyl cysteine, which has an impact on the
chemical glutamate ñ often associated with reward
in the brain. At the end of the trial, 60 percent
of the participants reported fewer urges to
gamble. The research was recently published in an
issue of Biological Psychiatry.
ìIt looks very promising,î says Jon Grant, JD,
MD, a University of Minnesota associate professor
of psychiatry and principal investigator of the
study. ìWe were able to reduce peopleís urges to
Those who responded well in the first round of
the study were asked to continue to participate
in a double-blind study ñ a testing method where
neither the researcher nor subjects know who is
in the control group until the study is finished.
Of the 16 who responded to the amino acid the
first time around, 13 agreed to continue in the
double-blind study (three didnít want to risk
quitting the drug) for an additional six weeks.
About 83 percent who received the supplement,
continued to report fewer urges to gamble. Nearly
72 percent of those who took the placebo went
back to gambling.
Similar studies using N-acetyl cysteine have
shown its ability to curb drug addictions in
animals, and a current University of Minnesota
study conducted by Grant is investigating whether
the drug could help methamphetamine users quit.
ìThis research could be encouraging for a lot of addictions,î Grant says.
This pilot study is the first to examine the
efficacy of a glutamate-modulating agent in the
treatment of pathological gamblers, making the
findings fairly significant, Grant says.
Source: University of Minnesota
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