Study Reveals the Benefits of Nicotine?
A new study showed that nicotine may not be bad at all if given independently from tobacco. In fact, the study revealed that nicotine can cut fats, anxiety and slows brain aging. These new discoveries about the addictive substance were revealed by the research at Texas A&M.
Aside from those interesting benefits of nicotine, the research showed that nicotine has the potential to ward off Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
What makes nicotine special?
Ursula Winzer-Serhan, PhD, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and her collaborators have an interesting answer to this question.
The researchers showed that nicotine’s ability to be neuroprotective may be partly due to its well-known ability to suppress the appetite.
The researchers used animal models in the study. The animals were divided into three different groups that received nicotine at three different concentrations (low, medium and high) corresponding to occasional, low and medium smokers.
A control group was also assigned which did not receive any nicotine.
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The Interesting Results
Out of the three groups, two groups that received nicotine at low and medium doses didn’t show any levels of the drug in their blood. In addition, this group of animals experienced no changes in food intake, body weight or number of receptors in the brain where nicotine acts.
For the group that received the highest concentration of nicotine, the results were interesting. The researchers discovered that these animals ate less, gained less weight and had more receptors. This indicates that at higher doses, the drug gets into the brain where it can impact behavior.
Nicotine Did Not Cause Anxiety
The researchers found that no traces of anxiety were detected to those animals receiving high doses of nicotine. In fact, it made the animal less anxious. This result contradicts the assumption that nicotine increases anxiety among smokers.
The researchers were curious about its anti-aging effects. To probe for this assumption, the next step is to test nicotine’s potential anti-aging effects using aged animal models.
Although early results indicate that nicotine can keep older individuals from gaining weight like the control group does, the researchers have not yet determined whether this lower body mass index translates into less degeneration of the brain.
Don’t Get Excited Yet!
Amid the intriguing discoveries, the researchers urge caution.
Ursula Winzer-Serhan said, “I want to make it very clear that we’re not encouraging people to smoke.”
The researcher explained that smoking caused varied health problems and it is possible that benefit of the nicotine would be more than cancelled out.