Nicotine gets a really bad reputation from a lot of people who aren’t fully educated on it, and is prime target for misperceptions about it. The most common one being it’s one of the cancer causing chemicals that is produced from a lit cigarette. But, this isn’t true. In fact, it’s so far from the truth it’s crazy! What if I were to tell you that Nicotine actually carries a whole host of benefits rather than hinderances? Would you believe me?
Well, if the answer is no you wouldn’t believe me, then that’s what the point of this article is all about. I’m going to look at the top benefits Nicotine can actually give a person, and explain how it is not one of the cancer causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke, nor is it actually harmful to a person. Let’s get into it!
What is Nicotine?
To start this article off, let’s have a look in detail at what Nicotine exactly is, and where it originates from.
Nicotine is something that is extracted from Tobacco plants, commonly within the Nightshade family. Tobacco plants first originated within South America, before spreading out further to other continents.
Nicotine is a naturally produced chemical that is found within a family of compounds called Alkaloids. Based on scientific studies, the highest levels of nicotine are found within Tobacco leaves and Nicotine makes up anywhere from 0.6% to 3% of the dry weight within a tobacco leaf.
Nicotine is classed and used as a stimulant due to it’s properties, and is most commonly found in cigarettes as well other forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as Nicotine Pouches, E-Cigarettes, Nicotine patches and so on.
Is Nicotine harmful?
There has not been any scientific proven evidence that Nicotine is harmful to a person who ingests it. Many people believe that Nicotine is one of the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke, but it’s not true as there’s not been any proof to show that Nicotine can actually cause cancer.
So we have established it is not harmful to a person, so if something isn’t harmful, it must be beneficial instead right? Correct! Let’s have a look at some of the top benefits of nicotine.
The Benefits of Nicotine
Now we come onto the main topic of this blog, and that is looking some of the many benefits that Nicotine has to a person, both on their body, mind and general mental wellbeing. Some of the benefits are known to some people, but I bet there are a lot of what I list below that you didn’t actually know!
The benefits I list below have all been researched and have the evidence to back the claims up as well which I will link back to within the text. All studies have been carried out by professionals in their field.
1 – Nicotine can help maintain a person’s weight
It’s not some secret weight loss pill that everyone wishes was around, but Nicotine does actually work as a natural appetite suppressant and can help maintain a persons weight, by curbing the cravings they may have for junk food which could mess with their weight.
When somebody quits smoking, and they opt not to use a form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, they do run the risk of having withdrawal symptoms from Nicotine as well as the side effects that come with it. And unfortunately, sudden weight gain is one of these side effects/symptoms.
Nicotine works as an appetite suppressant and it also affects a persons metabolism by triggering the body to burn through certain kinds of fat cells through a process what is known as “Thermogenesis”
A recent study shows that Thermogenic fat cells are activated to burn by stimulating a certain nicotinic acetylcholine receptor called CHRNA2—the same receptor that regulates nicotine dependence in brain cells—either naturally by the body with acetylcholine, or with nicotine, which mimics the effect of acetylcholine on the CHRNA2 receptor.
2 – Nicotine can help improve short-term as well as long-term memory
One of the most widely recognized benefits of Nicotine is the ability it has to help improve a person’s memory in both the short term, as well as the long term also. In recent times, Nootropic supplements have been used by people to improve their brain function, including memory, and what comes as a bit of a bizarre surprise, Nicotine is arguably the best thing out there to help improve people’s memory.
A case study was done at the University of Surrey in the UK which looked specifically at the effects nicotine could have on people’s memory, and they gave 10 smokers, and 10 non smokers either Nicotine Gum or a Placebo during this trial and set them a series of short term memory taks to be completed as part of this study over a four hour period. And the results suggested that the people who took on board Nicotine had an enhanced memory reaction time performance compared to those who did not consume Nicotine and undertook the same tasks. The authors of the study summarised with
“It is suggested that nicotine facilitates the processing of stimulus information in short-term memory.”
3 – Nicotine improves reaction time
Keeping in line with brain functionality and productivity, a separate study was carried out by a team of experts at the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry which involved 113 smokers and showed that smoking a cigarette under naturalistic conditions improved the performance of the smoker when taking an IQ related task.
And crossing over to the other side of the world, the University of Auckland in New Zealand carried out an experiment with 29 different subjects under different conditions such as not having nicotine to those taking on board in Nicotine in varying different levels, and it was found that those taking on board Nicotine had a vastly improved time to make a certain decision when compared to those who did not have Nicotine.
4 – It can help an Athlete perform better, and can be consumed without having to smoke
Being an athlete of any calibre takes a certain level of discipline as well as maintaining good health to be able to perform at optimal levels. This means that smoking cigarettes is an absolute no go, as smoking can seriously hinder your heart and lungs as well as leading to potential respiratory problems which will only get heightened when playing sports which are physically demanding.
However, some Professional Footballers have previously been pictured carrying cans of Nicotine Pouches, as well as Snus pouches as a smoke free alternative to being able to still consume Nicotine. It’s been proven that Nicotine can actually heighten and enhance an athlete’s performance with its various different features such as reducing dry mouth, controls weight, helps with relaxation and also improves focus.
5 – Nicotine can improve alertness and make you feel more awake
Nicotine can improve alertness and help a person feel more awake down to the fact it is classed as a stimulant. Much like what caffeine does to the human body, Nicotine also has a similar effect. Nicotine when consumed and absorbed into the body can enhance the brain’s electrical activity and induces a state of superior alertness to enhance attention, alertness and creativity.
If you are a Nicotine user, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about as there’s nothing quite like a “nicotine buzz” to get you going with whatever you’re doing. First thing in the morning, or when you’re struggling to focus, a quick hit of Nicotine and you will be raring ready to go thanks to the stimulating properties Nicotine has on the brain!
I hope this article was informative and has helped you learn more about how much of a positive impact Nicotine can have on a person. I’ve only listed 5 benefits for the sake of this article, but there are so many more benefits that Nicotine has which I haven’t listed, stemming from improving a persons general wellbeing right up to being beneficial to people with serious health conditions such as Alzeihmers, ADHD and Parkinson’s Disease.
So Nicotine isn’t the villain it’s made out and believed to be, in actual fact it’s quite the hero in most circumstances! I hope more education and studies will be done on the benefits of Nicotine, and people will begin to believe in it rather than opposing it.