It is known that smoking is easy to start but hard to quit. One reason is that some smokers believe nicotine can suppress body weight. They hope to use smoking to control weight gain.
However, the weight-suppressive effects of nicotine are still poorly understood. Moreover, it is unknown if the effects are related to food eating.
In a recent study, researchers tested the weight-suppressive effects of nicotine on rats. They found that even a low dose of nicotine can suppress weight gain independent of food intake. The finding is published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
Researchers from University of Pittsburgh conducted the study. They fed or injected rats with a specific amount of nicotine in daily 1-hour sessions and measured the rats’ body weight and 24-hour food eating.
In another experiment, rats were food restricted and could get different doses of nicotine. In the final experiment, the dose of nicotine was reduced in rats across time.
The result showed that nicotine could suppress body weight gain independent of food eating.
In food restricted rats, the weight-suppressive effects of nicotine depended on dose. In rats that could get the maximum dose of self-registered nicotine, the body weight gain during 20 days was reduced by 40% despite no change in food eating.
In addition, when nicotine dose decreased, rats gained more body weight.
Researchers suggest that even a low dose of nicotine can suppress body weight, and this effect is independent of food eating. This is important for nicotine reduction policy.
In addition, it is possible that the weight-suppressive effects of nicotine act differently from nicotine addiction effects. This will be tested by future research, and new treatment of obesity might be developed.
Related reading: Smoking has long-term impacts on DNA, says study.
Citation: Rupprecht L, et al. (2016). Self-Administered Nicotine Suppresses Body Weight Gain Independent of Food Intake in Male Rats. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, published online. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw113.
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