Cigarette Smoking and Depression

We all know we shouldn’t smoke.  But, did you know that nicotine stimulates adrenal hormone, including cortisol?

Elevated cortisol levels are a well recognized feature of depression (and excess belly fat). One of the key effects of cortisol is that it activates tryptophan oxygenase, which basically means less tryptophan is delivered to the brain (Along with less oxygen).  Since the level of serotonin in the brain is dependent upon the amount of tryptophan delivered, cortisol dramatically reduces the amount of serotonin and melatonin we have. Cortisol also reduces the effectiveness of serotonin we have available. If you remember our last article, the anti-depressants we are taking simply recycle that weak serotonin instead of helping us produce more, healthy serotonin.

Cigarette smoking also causes a vitamin C deficiency because we use vitamin c to detoxify the cigarette smoke. Low levels of vitamin C can result in depression and hysteria.

So, we have always known that smoking was bad for us, leads to cancer, birth defects etc. But, if you are like me, you probably smoking helped you when you are stressed. In fact, it does just the opposite and causes our body to think it is stressed, releasing more cortisol and leading to depression.


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