Albert Einstein is well known as one of the most brilliant individuals to ever walk the earth. His contributions to science and math can never fully be appreciated because they made such a difference in the level of modern intelligence. But there’s one fact you might not know about Einstein… he loved smoking a pipe. In fact, he once said, “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs.” Einstein was making an informal hypothesis about the true impact of nicotine, even if he didn’t fully acknowledge the reason his pipe seemed to boost his judgment.
Today’s scientists are following this same train of thought in an effort to uncover just how nicotine could potentially impact the brain. Dozens of new studies are focusing on how nicotine affects cognitive function and the results are absolutely stunning. If you always thought nicotine was the enemy, it’s time to reconsider.
Scientists now know that nicotine closely mimics a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This is a vital neurotransmitter for brain function because it is responsible to helping you memorize facts or learn new information. Acetylcholine also plays an important role in physical health by boosting immunity and fighting inflammation.
A 2005 study revealed that nicotine aggressively attacked inflammation in the body, giving the immune system enough power to help the body heal. In fact, nicotine is such a powerful anti-inflammatory that studies have shown it to be an effective treatment for blood poisoning and even ulcerative colitis.
In a Chinese study, researchers tested rats to see how nicotine would impact their cognitive abilities and brain function. The rats that received nicotine showed marked increases in neuroprotective activity. To put it simply, the rats were better able to learn and process new information.
Nicotine also has powerful potential for treating Alzheimer’s disease. When Indian scientists inflicted an Alzheimer’s type disease on rats, they tried to treat them with nicotine to see if there was any change. The nicotine seemed to boost neuroplasticity. The results were ground breaking but some of the rats were even able to regain cognitive functions that they lost due to the Alzheimer’s mimicking disease.
In another Canadian research trial, scientists divided participants into two groups. One group was given nicotine gum and the other received a placebo. Then all the participants were put through rigorous memory tests to see if there were any differences in performance changes. The group that received nicotine gum showed substantial improvements in memory.
This is just a small portion of the many studies that have already shown the benefits of nicotine. Yet doctors are still telling people that nicotine is deadly and it simply doesn’t make sense. Smoking will make you sick, but it’s not because of the nicotine content. It’s really because of the tobacco in cigarettes. When tobacco is burned, it releases thousands of toxins putting you at grave risk. But if you choose electronic cigarettes, you completely eliminate the dangers of tobacco while you still enjoy the potential benefits and brain-boosting power of nicotine.
While more study is obviously needed to learn how to use nicotine for cognitive boosts and fighting Alzheimer’s, we do have the beginnings of an important new perspective on nicotine. Perhaps in the future, doctors won’t demonize nicotine so quickly once they are armed with information on the possible benefits to health and cognition.