Research

Why Quitting Smoking Leads to Rapid Weight Gain

Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to health.However, smokers are often in no hurry to get rid of a bad habit, not only because it is extremely difficult, but also as a result of fear of gaining excess weight. Moreover, some people recklessly start smoking just to get rid of obesity. But why does ex-smokers begin to accumulate fat in their bodies? After all, the appetite remains the same, that is, people do not consume more food. Despite the fact that the relationship between smoking cessation and being overweight has been identified for a long time, no one has previously done research on this issue, so there was no answer. The situation was corrected by employees of the Weizmann Institute, who probably managed to establish the cause of this phenomenon. Apparently, it's all about the intestinal microflora, which, as you know, affects the metabolism. According to the researchers, the substances contained in tobacco smoke penetrate the intestines, where they affect the microflora in a special way.

Scientists have found out why people who quit smoking start gaining excess weight

Why tobacco smoke leads to weight loss

In a study published in Nature,scientists at the Weizmann Institute report that they conducted a study on mice. The authors found that rodents that were constantly exposed to cigarette smoke did not gain weight, despite the fact that they ate a dense diet, they ate foods high in sugar and fat. Moreover, the mice did not gain weight only as long as they were exposed to the smoke. As soon as they “quit smoking”, they began to gain weight quickly.

Then the authors of the work began to give the rodentsbroad-spectrum antibiotics, as a result of which they stopped gaining weight, regardless of their food intake. At the same time, the effect of antibiotics is known - they deplete the microbiome. From this, scientists concluded that microflora is to blame for weight gain. As I said above, microflora is able to influence metabolism. Moreover, some bacteria are even able to protect against obesity. what we talked about earlier.

Substances in tobacco smoke affect the microflora on which metabolism depends

To confirm that intestinal microbeswere indeed the main factor regulating weight in rodents, the researchers conducted the experiment. They collected microflora from mice that had been exposed to the smoke, as well as those who had “quit smoking”. The prepared microflora was transplanted into intestinal “non-smoking” mice, which did not have their own microflora, since it was previously destroyed. As a result, mice that received microflora from rodents who quit smoking began to quickly gain everything. Animals with microflora from "smoking" mice, as expected, did not get fat.

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Since mice with alien microflora did not breathe at alltobacco smoke, it became obvious that nicotine or other substances that are contained in tobacco smoke penetrate the bloodstream, and then in the intestines affect the microflora. As a result, it prevents the accumulation of excess calories. But, as soon as the effect of these substances ceases, the microflora changes again, as a result of which it contributes to the accumulation of fat in the body.

Why the microflora of smokers protects against obesity

The authors in their study describe twosubstances that, in their opinion, affect the metabolism of quitters. One of them is dimethylglycine. When this substance was given to smoking rodents without microflora, they began to gain weight. That is, the substance works even without bacteria. Then the scientists conducted the opposite experiment - they began to give the “quit smoking” mice products with a low content of choline, that is, the substance, as a result of the processing of which dimethylglycine is formed. The animals eventually, as expected, stopped gaining weight, as their dimethylglycine levels remained low.

Study Finds Substances That Promote Obesity in Smokers

The second substance found is acetylglycine.On the contrary, it inhibits the accumulation of fat. This substance was contained in large quantities in mice that were deprived of microflora. When acetylglycine was given to rodents who had “quit smoking,” their weight remained normal, regardless of diet.

“The compounds we have identified canlead to new therapies that can help people avoid weight gain while quitting smoking. Moreover, these compounds could be further developed to treat obesity even among nonsmokers, ”says Professor Eran Elinav, one of the study's authors.

Scientists decided not to limit themselves to research onmice, and analyzed the microflora of smokers and people who quit smoking. The picture turned out to be similar to that which they observed in rodents. That is, the level of dimethylglycine increased in those who quit smoking. Thus, if further research confirms the effect of the two substances on the metabolism of people, drugs for obesity may soon appear, and then it will be possible to quit smoking without fear for their figure. By the way, microflora affects not only metabolism, but also a number of other processes in the body. According to some scientists, life expectancy even depends on it.