Nicotine: Addiction, Side effect, Role inside the body
Think of the people smoking everywhere we go in the public places, and I started thinking that, what is actually in a Cigarette. Then I further thought about what is Nicotine actually, and how is it being extracted from the leaves of Tobacco that makes the smokers to get addicted.
Then I started to do a small review about the Nicotine and what are all the effects it posing on the human, since a huge number of people are indulged in smoking almost in every part of the world.
So, what is Nicotine?
Nicotine is a toxic and colorless to mild yellow colored liquid, resembling the oil, which is the chief and active ingredient of the tobacco plant components. Also, Nicotine can act like a stimulant when it is spiked in a small amount, but blocks the autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells, when used in high dose.
Nicotine is from the biological source, which is a plant, collectively called as tobacco.
On the other hand, Nicotine can also be produced synthetically.
What is tobacco?
Tobacco is basically a Plant which is like an eggplant, Red Peppers, Tomatoes and potato (Nightshade) and all plants together falls under the same family.
The tobacco plant’s leaves are cured to reduce the green color content of the plant part for the Nicotine extraction process.
There are totally around 70 species of tobacco plant, which all comes under the genus Nicotiana.
But, the most economical value is obtained by the species Nicotiana rustica for its alkaloid nicotine content.
Apart from Cigarette, Nicotine is also used in the making of pipe tobacco, flavored Shisha tobacco, pan packets and chewable source.
So, how much Nicotine is present in a Tobacco plant?
It is not the entire part of the plant that contributes to the Nicotine production, however, 2–14% of the active Nicotine is seen in the fresh leaves, while the dried and cured leaves retain about 0.6–3.0% of the total dry weight of the leaves.
Is Nicotine Addictive?
Yes, Nicotine is absolutely addictive and it is compared to the consumption of heroin. Nicotine is basically an alkaloid and a Parasympathomimetic stimulant in humans, giving a strong impulse to take more.
According to the American Heart Association, Nicotine consumption through smoking is one among the hardest habits to quit.
Even, the prolonged Nicotine users experience the same sort of mind state that is being experience by the users of heroin and Cocain.
Nicotine communicates with the human brain in a specific manner. It plays the role of an agonist, as it binds to the receptors of the brain (nicotinic acetylcholine receptors), while on the other hand it blocks the activity of the other agonist from binding to the receptor and mentioned as an antagonist.
To make it simple, sometime Nicotine is the villain and sometime is a Hero.
Regular or Long-term Nicotine users will start sensing symptoms as follow:
- They start craving for Nicotine, no matter at what time. But, I have seen people in the need of Cigarette especially after having their mealtimes.
- People start to sense loneliness
- Absolute mood swing
- Sense of Irritability
- Anxiety for no reason
- Sluggish and Moodiness
- Poor attention and focus
- Losing interest in sexual drive
Side Effects of Nicotine
Is there any side effects caused by the Nicotine? If you get such question in your mind, just tell yourself that, every drug has its side effects.
The only difference is, how far or how deep would be it.
Probably you would have come across many a times the news or statistics of people being killed by the habit of smoking and related drugs.
Many have lost even their personal life and relationship, because of Nicotine usage
Some of the bodily caused side effects of Nicotine are numerous. Some of the major effects are:
Blood circulatory system:
The basic enjoyment of Nicotine starts with the blood streams.
Nicotine is first adsorbed into the blood stream and passes to the brain to react to it.
But, the greasy like substance causes clot in the wall of the blood vessels and lead to further ailments.
Many a times, Nicotine even cause blood clots as one of the major side effect.
The next bad thing expected to happen is the Atherosclerosis, in which it forms a plague and blood clots further in the walls of the artery.
This later leads to narrowing the artery space.
Side Effects of Nicotine on sleeping disorder:
Since Nicotine has a direct effect on the receptors of the brain, it is capable of involving with the normal process of the brain secretions.
- This can even lead to various sleeping disorders and emotional fluctuations.
- Feeling Dizziness and Lightheadedness as a post effect of Nicotine
- Feeling lonely and disturbed
- Sleepless nights, while feeling a dry lungs
- Restlessness throughout the night with repeated thoughts
- Finding hard to sleep at night
- Getting addicted to cocaine
Sex life, Child Birth and Fertility:
The effect of Nicotine on the sex life among the couples and child birth is some of the serious side effects and other possible reasons are:
- Low or no sexual drive leading to poor relationship satisfaction
- Decreased or shrink in the male reproductive organ
- Premature ejaculation or low retention time in bed
- Poor sperm quality, which includes poor or no sperm motility
- Low sperm count
- Taking long duration in child birth
Effect of Nicotine on Human Digestive system:
Nicotine poses the side effects on gastrointestinal system starting from the mouth. The most common effects are seen as
- Dry mouth associated with smoky odor
- Stained teeth or yellow color formation on teeth
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Indigestion – the major cause, along with gastric trouble, as if you would feel that your stomach is an air filled balloon
- Ulcer and intolerance to mildly spicy food
- Very slow digestion
- Taking more time for excretion
Nicotine can cause harm to the heart and functioning system, which are as follows:
- Feeling pricking like sense on the chest
- Faster and increased heartbeat
- Feeling heavy hearted and heart beat
- Higher chances of getting a heart attack
- Heart valve blockage or narrowing the diameter of the blood vessels
- Irregular or improper rhythm of heart beat
Nicotine Side effects on women:
The same kind of side effects that men are susceptible is applicable to women. In addition to those, female smokers may pose risk of the fetal development.
It is not that the women need to smoke directly, it is possible to get the side effects when passively inhales the smoke of the tobacco.
Other common risk by Nicotine on women are:
- Affecting the child in the womb with obesity, diabetes and poor mental alertness.
- Chances of insulin secretion disorder
- Difficulty in breathing
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart beat
- Spasms in the lungs
- Changes in Menstrual cycle
- Sleeping disorder
- Mood swing
Role of Nicotine inside the body:
After the tobacco stuff is burnt, the smoke containing Nicotine gets adhered the mucous membrane of the nose and lungs and then enters into the bloodstream quickly.
Then, it passes the signal to the brain in just a matter of 8-12 Seconds.
It stimulates the brain to produce the hormone epinephrine, which increases the heart beat and blood pressure. It further stimulates the dopamine, the hormone that controls the pleasure point of the brain.
Nicotine constricts the blood linings, which leads to the immediate and fast reach of blood to the brain to release more hormones.
How long can Nicotine stay inside the body?
Nicotine has a relatively shorter period of life span in the human body. Is has a half life time of 2 or less than 2 hours. To make it more clear, if you smoke 1 milligram of Nicotine, probably 0.031 milligram is expected to remain in a smoker’s body after six hours of smoking.
However, when Nicotine reaches the lungs, the enzymes present in the lungs breaks the nicotine into metabolites like cotinine and Nicotine oxide.
Almost 80 percent of the Nicotine will be converted to cotinine and the shelf life of the cotinine is 16 hours in the human body, which is far longer than the parent molecule Nicotine.