• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of and finding treatments for complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Nicotine protects against neurodegeneration (activated microglia)

Battery Muncher

Senior Member
Messages
620
Completely anecdotal, but:

Out of all the supplements, vitamins etc that are recommended for ME. Nicotine is the only substance I've taken where I've seen a noticeable improvement. Especially where cognition is concerned. I can barely read without it.

I don't smoke, but I use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. Like Nicorette (tho usually I just use the Boots pharmacy brand - cheaper). They're meant to help smokers quit, but they have plenty of nicotine in them.

I've found the 'inhalator sticks' (sort of mini cigarettes) to be the best method. Patches cause me to flare up. so does gum. In fact, anything that involves prolonged intake seems to cause a flare up. Short and sharp is the best way for me...
 

vamah

Senior Member
Messages
593
Location
Washington , DC area
I started a thread here, suggesting that any smokers amongst us might like to consider converting to the electronic version.

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...ing-electronic-vapourisers.24157/#post-369887

I did - I haven't had a "stinky" for nearly a year and a half now.:thumbsup:
I'm saving a fortune, I still have my beloved "habit" it's just not a dirty, horrible, shameful habit any more.
I think e cigarettes are great. I have a number of friends who have quit smoking by using them. Unfortunately, in the US a lot of idiot politicians are trying to make the laws treat them the same way as real cigarettes.
 

peggy-sue

Senior Member
Messages
2,623
Location
Scotland
The problem is e-ciggies/vapourisers work. Loads of folk are successfully converting.

They're taking business and tax from tobacco companies and the government purse; it's making "nicotine replacement therapy" which doesn't work and so is a lucrative business for big pHarma, redundant.
 

Marco

Grrrrrrr!
Messages
2,386
Location
Near Cognac, France
I think e cigarettes are great. I have a number of friends who have quit smoking by using them. Unfortunately, in the US a lot of idiot politicians are trying to make the laws treat them the same way as real cigarettes.

As is the EU - lunacy.

It also makes you wonder how much of the expected 'dementia epidemic' is due to increased life expectancy; dietary and exercise factors or the success in marginalising smoking?
 

helios

Senior Member
Messages
136
Location
Brisbane
I've used the Nicotine gum on & off over the years. It was for cognition, and it did help a bit but it was not a OMG this fantastic supplement alas. The big annoying aspect I found with nicotine gum was hiccups. When the flavour wore out that's when the hiccups would stop after say 10 minutes. I would be deep hiccuping continuously until then and I hated that. Of course patches would not do that, but I chose the cheaper option. Did anyone else here get that?
I don't know if you would call that an allergic reaction...or would you?
 

helios

Senior Member
Messages
136
Location
Brisbane
So the EU + the USA (not sure about my country) want to treat e-ciggies/vapourisers the same as cigarettes. Of course vested interests are having words in the ears of key policy makers, but on what grounds are they trying to treat them the same?
Tobacco is bad really because of the negative health consequences on the users and those around them.e-ciggies/vapourisers don't have that issue. So what is their argument for cracking down on them?
 

peggy-sue

Senior Member
Messages
2,623
Location
Scotland
The major trick to get the electric ones to work properly is to only suck very slowly and gently.

If you suck too hard and fast, the liquid on the heating part dries up and runs out. It needs to be able to continue to feed onto it, so slow and gentle.

And you need to hold them with the tip pointing down, not up.

The refillable vapourising systems are vastly, vastly superior to the lookalikes.:thumbsup:

The "arguements" for the crackdown are:-

That they will be attractive to youngsters because of the sweetie flavours, so they will start smoking cigarettes, having tried electric ones.

That the use of electronic vapourisers will somehow "normalise" smoking cigarettes again, undoing all the work of campaigns to make it unacceptable.

Then there are the downright fibs.
They explode (one early Chinese one did)
There is harm from the "second-hand vapour breathed out". (There isn't. Proven in scientific tests.)
The juices are full of poisons. (Absolutely not, when they're properly made by reputable companies.)

I've even read a comment, from somebody claiming to be a nurse, saying that; "the juices condense into a pellet of heavy metals".
I replied she'd better tell the alchemists!:p
 

vamah

Senior Member
Messages
593
Location
Washington , DC area
I've used the Nicotine gum on & off over the years. It was for cognition, and it did help a bit but it was not a OMG this fantastic supplement alas. The big annoying aspect I found with nicotine gum was hiccups. When the flavour wore out that's when the hiccups would stop after say 10 minutes. I would be deep hiccuping continuously until then and I hated that. Of course patches would not do that, but I chose the cheaper option. Did anyone else here get that?
I don't know if you would call that an allergic reaction...or would you?
I was told that swallowing too much saliva while chewing the gum can cause hiccups. I have never had this problem, but told it can be prevented by not really chewing the gum but just chewing it enough to soften it then holding it in your cheek to absorb the nicotine. Also wondering if you were using the 4mg doses, maybe switching to 2 mg would prevent the hiccuping problem?
 
I know this thread has been dead for awhile, but it is of great interest to me. I have suffered from post-exertional malaise for about 14 years now. Oddly, the only time these symptoms have almost entirely gone away is when I worked a physical labour job AND smoked cigarettes. As soon as I quit smoking (which I've done many times), the post-exertional symptoms would return. Now having quit smoking for about 9 years, the symptoms are as bad or worse than ever. Interestingly, I took up smoking a pipe a few summers ago, and this summer I smoked two or three bowls a day (not inhaling, but still getting a bit of nicotine). Funny enough, I was able to do a bunch of painting and labour without my symptoms getting too bad! Yesterday I walked up a hill, and I forgot my students' names today because my brain fog was so severe.

Should I give therapeutic use of nicotine a try? I don't want to start smoking cigarettes again, but I sure would like to be able to go for a hike without suffering cognitive impairment for two days after!!!
 

Marco

Grrrrrrr!
Messages
2,386
Location
Near Cognac, France
I know this thread has been dead for awhile, but it is of great interest to me. I have suffered from post-exertional malaise for about 14 years now. Oddly, the only time these symptoms have almost entirely gone away is when I worked a physical labour job AND smoked cigarettes. As soon as I quit smoking (which I've done many times), the post-exertional symptoms would return. Now having quit smoking for about 9 years, the symptoms are as bad or worse than ever. Interestingly, I took up smoking a pipe a few summers ago, and this summer I smoked two or three bowls a day (not inhaling, but still getting a bit of nicotine). Funny enough, I was able to do a bunch of painting and labour without my symptoms getting too bad! Yesterday I walked up a hill, and I forgot my students' names today because my brain fog was so severe.

I've previously suggested that part (or a key part) of our symptoms might be a reduced ability to filter out sensory information due to a deficit in something called sensory gating. This is a problem most commonly seen in schizophrenics where a high proportion use tobacco to 'self-medicate but the effects of nicotine on sensory gating can also been seen in healthy controls where some people seem to be naturally 'low gaters' :

http://jop.sagepub.com/content/27/9/790.abstract

Should I give therapeutic use of nicotine a try? I don't want to start smoking cigarettes again, but I sure would like to be able to go for a hike without suffering cognitive impairment for two days after!!!

You could try something relatively safer like patches or gum for a short while to see if it helps?
 

adreno

PR activist
Messages
4,841
It is also possible that other substances that target nicotinic receptors may help, if someone wants to avoid nicotine.
 

Jonathan Edwards

"Gibberish"
Messages
5,256
My only real worry about nicotine vapes and patches is that nicotine is a powerfully addictive substance. It is said to be more addictive than heroin and I think there is evidence that it is more of a problem for women (no idea why).

So maybe the tragedy of tobacco was simply that the addiction came along with carcinogens and blood vessel damage and lung rot - the nicotine itself was not a problem. Or maybe the nicotine does in itself have long term adverse effects, although I cannot work out quite what those would be. It might contribute directly to hypertension I suppose.

I agree with Marco that it would be very interesting to see if nicotine might have an effect on some neurological mechanism, maybe in the brain stem, that might be central to the ME symptom complex. I would just like to be sure that we would not be exchanging one set of diseases for another.
 

Marco

Grrrrrrr!
Messages
2,386
Location
Near Cognac, France
@Jonathan Edwards

Do you remember the findings of odd visual impairments in ME/CS patients that you thought might be significant? The most apparent impairment was 'smooth pursuit' - the tracking of a moving target :

"Patients were most markedly impaired when required to direct their gaze as closely as possible to a smoothly moving target (smooth pursuit)."

http://www.meresearch.org.uk/our-research/completed-studies/eye-movement-dysfunction/

Well it so happens that this is a well recognised endophenotype in schizophrenia and can be associated with particular neural structures in the visual system.

The paper below proposes that SZ may be due to impairments in the TRYCAT (tryptophan catabolism) pathway which have been associated with 'neuroinflammation' generally and proposed as platying a role in ME/CFS :

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22445460

If I picked it up correctly one metabolite of this pathway is kyurinic acid (KYNA) an endogenous antagonist of the glycine coagonist (glycineB) site of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR),

"Remarkably, experimentally increased brain KYNA levels in rats induce deficits in visuospatial working memory, contextual learning, sensory gating, and prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex".

Post mortem analysis of the neural structures associated with smooth pursuit in SZ patients show altered expression of genes affecting the TRYCAT pathway.

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1107218

Tenuous? You bet. Kind of reminds me of James Burke's 1970s TV series Connections.
 

user9876

Senior Member
Messages
4,556
@Jonathan Edwards

Do you remember the findings of odd visual impairments in ME/CS patients that you thought might be significant? The most apparent impairment was 'smooth pursuit' - the tracking of a moving target :

"Patients were most markedly impaired when required to direct their gaze as closely as possible to a smoothly moving target (smooth pursuit)."

http://www.meresearch.org.uk/our-research/completed-studies/eye-movement-dysfunction/

Well it so happens that this is a well recognised endophenotype in schizophrenia and can be associated with particular neural structures in the visual system.

The paper below proposes that SZ may be due to impairments in the TRYCAT (tryptophan catabolism) pathway which have been associated with 'neuroinflammation' generally and proposed as platying a role in ME/CFS :

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22445460

If I picked it up correctly one metabolite of this pathway is kyurinic acid (KYNA) an endogenous antagonist of the glycine coagonist (glycineB) site of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR),

"Remarkably, experimentally increased brain KYNA levels in rats induce deficits in visuospatial working memory, contextual learning, sensory gating, and prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex".

Post mortem analysis of the neural structures associated with smooth pursuit in SZ patients show altered expression of genes affecting the TRYCAT pathway.

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1107218

Tenuous? You bet. Kind of reminds me of James Burke's 1970s TV series Connections.

Talking of schizophrenia there appears to be some evidence that minocycline (an antibiotic) is effective as a treatment ( http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176%2Fpn.47.16.psychnews_47_16_10-a ) and I noticed that this has also been talked about as being repurposed for ME with the suggestion that it might reduce microglial activity.

Read more: Drug Repurposing I: Antibiotics to Reduce Microglial Activation in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia? http://www.cortjohnson.org/blog/201...uce-microglial-activation-mecfs-fibromyalgia/
 

Scarecrow

Revolting Peasant
Messages
1,904
Location
Scotland
@Marco.

I'm a non smoker and I just applied a 15mg nicotine patch a couple of hours ago. I experimented with nicotine two years ago (see this post and this other one for the result). The mental clarity I had that time was pristine - total cognitive recovery, if short lived - and it happened about 10 - 12 hours after applying the patch. Unfortunately when I woke up the following day I was back to 'normal'. I tried a smaller dose of nicotine shortly after the first time with no effect but I couldn't face making myself so sick again so I never repeated the original dose.

Because of the 10 hour delay I was working on the assumption that the effect may have been due to a metabolite of nicotine but having seen your OP, I've been trying to pluck up the courage for the last month to try again.

I'm going to keep the patch on for as long as I can stomach it, until bedtime if I can, hopefully sleep through the worst of it (or have some hideous dreams) and will report back in the morning.