The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.
Tobacco was first found and cultivated, perhaps as early as 6000 B.C. and for thousands of years, people have smoked or chewed the leaves of the tobacco plant. Following the discovery and colonization of North and South America, the tobacco plant was exported widely, to continental Europe and the rest of the world.
Smoking or chewing tobacco makes you feel good, even mildly euphoric. While there are thousands of chemicals in the tobacco plant (not to mention those added by cigarette manufacturers), one, nicotine, produces all the good feelings that draws you back for another cigarette.
Nicotine is a naturally occurring liquid alkaloid. Alkaloids are an organic compound made out of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sometimes oxygen. These chemicals have potent effects on your body. Another alkaloid is caffeine. A toxin to your body.
Nicotine normally makes up about 5 percent of a tobacco plant, by weight. Cigarettes contain 8 to 20 milligrams (mg) of nicotine (depending on the brand), but only approximately 1 mg is actually absorbed by your body when you smoke a cigarette
As with most addictive substances, you have devised a number of ways of delivering nicotine to your bodies. Nicotine readily diffuses through, your skin, Lungs and Mucous membranes (such as the lining of your nose or your gums)
Nicotine moves right into the small blood vessels that line the tissues listed above. From there, nicotine travels through your bloodstream to your brain, and then is delivered to the rest of your body. The most common and quickest way to get nicotine and other drugs into your bloodstream is by smoking it. Your lungs are lined by millions of alveoli, the tiny air sacs where gas exchange occurs. These alveoli provide an enormous surface area — 90 times greater than that of your skin — and thus provide ample access for nicotine and other compounds. Once in your bloodstream, nicotine flows almost immediately to your brain. Although nicotine takes a lot of different actions throughout your body, what it does in the brain is responsible for both the good feelings you get from smoking, as well as the irritability you feel if you try to quit. Within 10 to 15 seconds of inhaling, most smokers are in the throes of nicotine’s effects.
Nicotine doesn’t stick around your body for too long. It has a half-life of about 60 minutes, meaning that six hours after a cigarette, only about 0.031 mg of the 1 mg of nicotine you inhaled remains in your body.
Your body get rid of nicotine by,
- About 80 percent of nicotine is broken down to cotinine by enzymes in your liver.
- Nicotine is also metabolized in your lungs to cotinine and nicotine oxide.
- Cotinine and other metabolites are excreted in your urine. Cotinine has a 24-hour half-life, so you can test whether or not someone has been smoking in the past day or two by screening their urine for cotinine.
- The remaining nicotine is filtered from the blood by your kidneys and excreted in the urine.
Nicotine changes how your brain and body functions. The net results are somewhat of a paradox: Nicotine can both invigorate and relax you, depending on how much and how often you smoke.
Nicotine initially causes a rapid release of adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone. You may be familiar with adrenaline’s effects, rapid heartbeat, Increased blood pressure and rapid shallow breathing.
Adrenaline also tells your body to dump some of its glucose stores into your blood. This makes sense if you remind yourself that the fight-or-flight response is meant to help you either defend yourself from a hungry predator or run away from a dangerous situation — running or fighting both require plenty of energy to fuel your muscles.
Nicotine itself may also block the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin tells your cells to take up excess glucose from your blood. This means that nicotine makes people somewhat hyperglycaemic, having more sugar than usual in their blood. Some people think that nicotine also curbs their appetite so that they eat less. This hyperglycaemia could be one explanation why: Your bodies and brain may see the excess sugar and down-regulate the hormones and other signals that are perceived as hunger.
Nicotine may also increase your basal metabolic rate. This means that you burn more calories than you usually would when you are just sitting around. However, losing weight by smoking doesn’t give you any of the health benefits that you’d get if you were losing weight by exercising. It actually does the opposite! Over the long haul, nicotine can increase the level of your bad cholesterol, LDL that damages your arteries. This makes it more likely that you could have a heart attack or a stroke.
Nicotine’s effects are short-lived, lasting only 40 minutes to a couple of hours. This leads people to smoke throughout the day. Add to this the fact that you can become tolerant to nicotine’s effects and need to use more and more nicotine to reach the same degree of stimulation or relaxation, and you can see how you can go from smoking one cigarette a day to a pack a day habit.
Like any addiction stopping is not always easy. While you’re using nicotine, your body adapts the way it works to compensate for the effects of the nicotine. For example, neurons in your brain might increase or decrease the number of receptors or the amount of different neurotransmitters affected by the presence of nicotine. When you no longer have nicotine in your body, these physiological adaptations for nicotine remain. The net result is that your body can’t function the same way in the absence of the drug as it did before, at least in the short term. People trying to quit nicotine experience this as, Irritability, Anxiety, Depression and have a craving for nicotine
Over a period of about a month, these symptoms and the physiological changes subside. But for many smokers, even a day without nicotine is excruciating. Every year, millions of people try to break the nicotine habit; only 10 percent of them succeed. Most will throw in the towel after less than a week of trying, because the way that nicotine rewires the reward system of your brain making nicotine’s pull irresistible.
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