June 11, 2011- As often is the case, the discovery was of the accidental nature, but solves a mystery as to why many people that look thin and why a lot of those who quit smoking gain weight. The researchers in the initial stages were looking at depression and not at feeding behavior. They were looking for new drugs to help with the treatment of depression and while doing the testing they saw that the test animals were eating less.
The tests at the time were on nicotine. They were curious about this effect so the looked into it further. They discovered that nicotine as it enters the brain activates nicotine receptors that are on specific neurons that are known to increase energy expenditure and decrease feeding.
Therefore nicotine creates a pathway in the brain that tells you that you have had enough to eat and signals the body to start expending energy. Some may think of it as a great weight loss program but the researchers want to make sure that everyone knows they do not advocate smoking for weight loss or for anything else, it is too damaging to the body and to others.
There is the possibility that alternatives could be used to get the same end result. There is the potential for a mimicking effect if the correct drug can be found and could possibly help with weight loss. Also when those that are already smoking and began to quit, they could take the drugs so as to not gain weight by stopping smoking. Cytisine, the smoking cessation drug sold in Eastern Europe, also triggered the same brain effect in the study.