Tobacco, cigarette and nicotine addiction is responsible for nearly 500,000 deaths per year in the USA and almost 5 million worldwide. Realizing early in my medical career that the prescribing of nicotine and dangerous medications for my patients did not work, I developed a science-based, rational, effective and natural treatment that I have prescribed for decades to thousands of patients. I spend a lot of time educating every smoking patient about the science of basic brain chemistry so that they can choose to not become the next to die of cancer, heart and lung disease.

My smoking patients are well aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking, so why are they driven to smoke? Why are smokers prescribed nicotine patches and gum, the same addictive substance in tobacco, as well as other potentially addictive and dangerous drugs? These baffling questions can only be answered after learning a little basic knowledge about how your brain works. This knowledge can also lead you to a method of smoking cessation or cutting down that does not rely on nicotine being delivered by some other route or by using risky and addictive medication.

The over 100 billion cells in our brain called neurons must have a way of “talking” to each other. They perform this communication by releasing and receiving small molecules called neurotransmitters, and some of these have the function of keeping us alert, joyful, pain- and stress-free. Neurotransmitters are synthesized from basic dietary nutrients such as amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, and a steady supply of these must be delivered to the brain to keep us on our A game. You can easily imagine the consequences of nutritional deficiencies, leading to a brain which is incapable of synthesizing these “groovy” neurotransmitters. Memory and mental clarity, mood stability and vocational and social functioning can all suffer. Cravings for drugs and alcohol, irritability and sleep problems can ensue.

If neurotransmitter shortages are severe enough and continue indefinitely, most people are compelled to seek ways to offset the discomfort and difficulties. One of those ways is to take up smoking. Nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco, artificially overcomes some of these neurotransmitter deficiencies, and temporarily improves functioning and mood which had been less than par. We can feel and function “normally” again and of course many are seduced by such “improvements.”

Nicotine may temporarily short circuit deficient brain chemistry to improve mood and function, but it is quickly detoxified away and users are back to square one, at least as depleted as before which drives them to smoke again. Over time, the brain compensates for the regular appearance of nicotine and lessens the synthesis of natural neurotransmitters. The smoker thus becomes progressively more dependent on tobacco, just to keep some neurotransmitter activity alive and get by in life. The hook is in, the bait is swallowed, and nicotine quietly assumes control of the mind, body and spirit.

I would caution the reader about seeking help from your doctor or the conventional healthcare system. You would likely be prescribed nicotine in some other delivery system (patches or gum) or another mood altering drug which only perpetuates the problem. Most physicians, like me, received virtually no education in nutrition or how to apply it to correcting biochemical imbalances, especially in the brain. We were trained to have contempt for nutritional science, and given the message that only pharmaceutical treatments work. Yes, they sure do work – they work to keep smokers hooked on nicotine or get them hooked on some other addictive and dangerous drug.

The addiction industry is profitable, regardless as to whether it markets substances which are classified as recreational, such as nicotine and alcohol, or illicit or pharmaceutical chemicals. Ingrained, systemic and unsavory profit motives for perpetuating addiction are imbued within the healthcare system, which I do not have the time or space to fully address here. Suffice it to say that you or a nicotine-addicted loved one who wants to quit or cut down the use of nicotine must recognize that there is little, rational help available for you in the healthcare system at large. You must become an assertive, educated and suspicious healthcare consumer to be successful.

Your brain operates according to ancient laws of biochemistry. Our brains are programmed to respond to the arrival of nicotine by synthesizing less acetylcholine, the brain’s “natural nicotine,” in order to maintain balance. The more that nicotine is used, the less acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters are synthesized, and the more dependent one becomes. There is no way to around this issue, except to respect these inviolable principles and provide your brain with what it needs to correct the problem.

On the other hand, when the brain receives plenty of choline and vitamin B5 or pantethine so it can synthesize acetylcholine, it is encouraged to drive nicotine out and replace it with its natural neurotransmitter, which it prefers. The same goes for replenishing other nicotine-deplete neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin from other precursor nutrients such as tryptophan and tyrosine and other B vitamins and the minerals.

Please understand that the biochemical laws of neurotransmitter synthesis are mapped into your genes and if you are dealing with an addiction to a drug like nicotine, you can not ignore these regulatory rules without paying a horrendous price. I have proven in outcome studies that precursor therapies along with certain B vitamins and minerals dramatically decreases relapse rates and makes nicotine and smoking cessation relatively painless and easy. But this is like proving that 2 plus 2 equals 4 – of course it works because your brain is designed to work. Feed your brain properly and you will reap the benefits.

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