6 Amazing Benefits of Nicotine

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Nicotine is one of the most famous chemicals on the planet, thanks to its presence in cigarettes and addictive quality. But there is more to this chemical than you may have known till now.

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is an alkaloid that is found in the plants of the nightshade family, having a strong effect on the parasympathetic nervous system. Famed for being a stimulant, most people know about nicotine because it is the active ingredient in cigarettes, and the reason why picking up that habit can be so dangerous. As a potent stimulant for the nervous system, the body begins to crave more of the compound after being exposed to it. Nicotine typically affects the body only for a short time.

What some of us don’t realize is that this compound is also found in other types of foods/plants, such as eggplants, tomatoes, and potatoes, albeit in minimal quantities. In some cases, it can be used for medicinal purposes, or to help and treat the addiction to cigarettes. By itself, this chemical is not inherently dangerous, but given that the primary source of this stimulant is cigarettes, many people identify it as a “bad” compound.

Graphic of a human head covered in a web with a trapped male figure in the brain and a no-smoking symbol

Nicotine withdrawal can be tough. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Benefits of Nicotine

There are a number of benefits to this compound, including the following:

  • Preventing Parkinson’s disease
  • Improving memory
  • Boosting energy
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Alleviating depression symptoms

Let us discuss them in detail below.

Parkinson’s Disease

Although smoking is never recommended, it is found that smokers are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to certain studies, largely due to the effects of this chemical on the brain.

Memory Enhancement

Continuing from above, the burst of energy towards cognitive function associated with nicotine can help improve memory and retention of information.

Tourette Syndrome

Some research has found that the regular supplementation of this alkaloid can cut down on the severity of Tourette Syndrome.

Arthritis

This compound has some anti-inflammatory qualities, which can make it an ideal remedy for arthritis and other chronic inflammatory issues, including headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Depression

The stimulant nature of this compound makes it excellent for those suffering from low energy, depression, and mood disorders. That being said, nicotine withdrawal can also cause depression and mood swings.

Nicotine Side Effects

This chemical compound has a number of well-known side effects, specifically addiction, nervous system disorders, tumor growth, and a negative effect on brain development.

  • Addiction: The major side effect of nicotine is an addiction. While injections or supplements are often used to help people curb their addiction to cigarettes, the body will continue to crave nicotine as long as it is being provided with the chemical.
  • Nervous System: As a powerful stimulant, an excess amount of nicotine – in any form – will result in anxiety, nervousness, and excess stress hormones in the body.
  • Brain Development: Studies have found that regular supplementation of this alkaloid before your brain has fully developed (age 25-28) can be damaging to the development of the prefrontal cortex. For this reason, smoking at a young age is highly discouraged.
  • Tumors: It is has been shown that this compound can exacerbate tumor growth and make cancer treatment less effective.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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