I received the following account from a reader, reprinted with permission.
Having never used tobacco or nicotine products before, purely for my own edification, yesterday afternoon I went down to Walmart and bought a $5 pack of 2 mg (the smallest dose) nicotine chewing gum, purely to see what all the buzz (if any) was about.
1. I started chewing on one chicklet at about 6:00 P.M..
2. For the first 20 minutes or so I noticed … nothing.
3. After that I started to feel really warm. The house was at ~68 but it felt like 78-80. I opened my shirt as a started to perspire a little. Don’t know if this was just sensation or due to actual increase in metabolism.
4. I also started to feel a twinge of nausea. Nothing really bad or anything, but enough to cause a complete loss of appetite. This was significant as it was dinner time and I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch. It was also unfortunate timing as my wife was in the process of making a big batch of shortribs for dinner. Luckily after nibbling on a few I regained my appetite.
5. I did not notice any subjective change in mental state, awareness or focus.
6. I went to bed around 9:30. Around 10:30 I awoke with a painful muscle cramp that I had occasionally experienced in the past during sleep, but not for at least a year and not since switching to magnesium citrate. Could be coincidence or maybe not.
Overall it was not a pleasant experience.
#3 and 4 could certainly be relevant to weight loss.
I understand the initial pharmacokinetics for gum, which drains through the portal system into the liver and hence takes many minutes, are entirely different from inhalation, which provides nicotine to the brain in a manner of seconds allowing the user to titrate their dose. But overall it was an interesting experiment.
Interesting experiment for an adult, nicotine-naive man to give that a try.
I believe a correction is needed here on the pharmacokinetics of nicotine gum. Since it’s not absorbed from the intestines, it doesn’t go through the liver – the so-called “first pass effect”. It’s absorbed through the oral mucosa, which is why, aside from making you ill, tobacco isn’t eaten. By being absorbed through oral mucosa, it bypasses the detoxifying mechanism of the liver and goes straight into the bloodstream, thence to the brain.
Note the complete loss of appetite. Some, maybe even much, of the obesity epidemic is due to less smoking. One of the reasons for the spurious results some researchers have obtained between BMI and mortality is because smokers have a lower BMI, and smoking causes illness, more than enough to offset the effects of a lower BMI.
Nicotine by itself is relatively harmless, and may in fact be a net benefit. It’s the combustion products of smoking that cause damage.
You can see why nicotine is an attractive drug for many people.
Check out our Supplements Buying Guide for Men. (No nicotine gum there however.)