Originally published July 27 2012
Understanding the war between nicotine and dopamine helps smokers quit
by S. D. Wells
(NaturalNews) Every smoker and ex-smoker knows that nicotine is the major culprit of the smoking addiction. In addition, they may even know that cigarette manufacturers use ammonia to free-base nicotine in order to boost it's addictive hook up to 35 times. Yet, scarce is the man or woman who understands how nicotine functions like a dopamine imposter, raising levels of this "feel good" chemical in the body artificially.
Nicotine also acts as an enabler, widening capillaries, allowing for the rush of the 4,000 plus chemicals in a commercial cigarette to penetrate cells and foster anxiety, nervousness, and sickness. Dopamine can also raise levels of awareness and general pleasure, but the problem is that as dopamine levels increase from the use of cigarettes, natural chemical reactions in the body like dopamine and serotonin decrease their natural production. When a smoker tries to quit cold turkey, they experience days, weeks, and sometimes months of depression and anxiety, mainly because their dopamine production levels cannot recover quickly enough. Ever hear of people getting very "cranky" after they quit? The central nervous system is so accustomed to being nurtured with nicotine, it's almost like a border-line diabetic's body, which barely produces insulin because it's so accustomed to a high sugar diet (http://whyquit.com/whyquit/linksaaddiction.html).
Replenish with a natural supplement which boosts dopamine levels and ends the cravings Put simply, nicotine damages dopamine production for smokers, so to supplement the production of dopamine is the ultimate way to help a smoker quit, and quit for good. Even though the smoking habit is also a behavior addiction, the "feel good" drug aspect is stronger and is the driving force for smokers to return to the habit when something stressful comes along, unless they know how and how much to supplement (http://www.raysahelian.com/dopamine.html).
The highly under-estimated issue for smokers is that commercial tobacco is "free-based" with ammonia and has been for about 50 years. Marlboro got busted in the 1990's and admitted to it, and then paid off Blue Cross and Blue Shield over 4 billion dollars to "let it rest," basically so they could keep doing it. Then all the other major brands learned the news of the "hook trick" and starting doing it as well (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Master_Settlement_Agreement).
Ammonia cooked with tobacco makes the nicotine up to 35 times as strong The function of ammonia in commercial cigarette manufacturing is to turn the nicotine into a vapor ready form by converting bound molecules into free molecules. If you are smoking commercial cigarettes, you're getting up to 100mg of potency in one cigarette. This alone wrecks the body's ability to properly regulate dopamine and serotonin levels, balancing the entire process on three fulcrums: the potency of the brand being smoked, how many cigarettes are smoked per day, and when the cigarettes are being smoked. This is why so many smokers grab a cigarette and light it up before or after something stressful, or a situation which requires energy and motivation (http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/nicotine/a/nicotineeffects.htm).
Why do most nicotine related cessation programs fail? Nicotine gum delivers between 2 and 4 milligrams per piece. Nothing close to the amount received from smoking an ammonia-treated "cig." The nicotine patches deliver less than 1 mg (between .5 and .9 mg) each hour, and that's on a slow, fairly constant release into the blood. Again, nothing like the nicotine vapors in a commercial cigarette, which reach the heart and brain within 3 seconds. Medications like Chantix and Zyban do not contain nicotine at all, but block the brain's receptors to it, creating a very dangerous "wall" which can also disrupt dopamine and serotonin from reaching proper regions in the brain. This is exactly why suicide is a side effect of these two prescription medicines (http://abcnews.go.com).
Visualize the war that's going on inside a smoker's brain: Nicotine versus Dopamine. Natural fight or flight reactions are now becoming nervous disorders. Organic feelings and emotions about life in general become exaggerated problems which seem insurmountable at times. After long term use of high-potency cigarettes (about 15 to 20 years), a person can permanently cripple the dopamine system, and ruin the ability to feel pleasure at all without first smoking a cigarette.
Understanding and addressing the chemistry of it all is the cure. Dopamine functions in your brain to help you deal with stress, anxiety, and relaxation, and should occur naturally, instead of being chemically induced. This is what cigarette manufacturers realized 50 years ago and this is the hook which keeps smokers addicted and pulls them "back in" when they quit.
The current scare tactics in smoking advertisements do not offer sensible options for quitting the habit, if any of them even offer an option at all. If you smoke and want to quit using a natural method, one which addresses this insight directly, look into a program which not only addresses nicotine, but offers solutions to the actual body chemistry and balance needed to stay smoke free for life. 14AndOut, "How to stop smoking in 14 days or less," teaches this method and is recommended by the Health Ranger (http://premium.naturalnews.tv/14AndOut__TV.htm).
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