Progesterone is a found in good quantities in women and is often thought of as a female hormone. this hormone is important for the regulation of ovulation and menstruation. however current research findings have indicated that this hormone has a role in inhibiting nicotine addiction.
today many people are using drugs with nicotine content and nicohtine addiction is on the rise. it has been causing death that could rather be prevented especially in the developed countries. this stimulant is used by all genders and is appreciated for a feel of high sensation and relaxation after sometime but researchers have noted that women and teen girls appear to be more vulnerable on certain aspects of nicotine addiction compared with men and boys. However the mechanism of gender differences in nicotine addiction is not yet clear, but there is evidence that endorses the suggestion that progesterone may protect females against nicotine addiction unlike estrogen that some researchers have linked to enhanced vulnerability in females to nicotine addiction. Therefore, progesterone may have therapeutic use for nicotine addiction, especially in female smokers. Researchers are working to establish the reason for this gender variation in nicotine addiction and the discovery will provide a greater understanding of the role of progesterone in nicotine addiction. this is important not only from a treatment purposes but also from a prevention perspective. The changes in hormones in the body of women such as those that occur at adolescence and during pregnancy and following birth. The changes in hormones that are also caused by hormonal manipulation like using methods of hormonal birth control may all contribute to changes in vulnerability to nicotine addiction.
Here, we will explore in reference to recent evidences from clinical studies how progesterone affects the health of a woman in relation to nicotine addiction. Depending on the data already availed from past researches we will find out the effects of progesterone during the initiation stage and even during the later stages of nicotine addiction process as a potential relapse prevention treatment.
Several studies have indicated that in spite of the public knowledge that nicotine addiction can be dangerous to one’s health, tobacco use has been on the rise especially on young women and teens. In a 2007 study results on National Survey on Drug Use research done by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration often shortened as SAHMSA found that Females aged 12–17 are also more likely than males initiate smoking. It has also been found out that women take shorter time to develop tobacco dependence syndrome after their initial use of tobacco.
Similar reports of enhanced vulnerability in females versus males have been reported among adult smokers. For example, among adults (18 years and over), although more men than women smoke, women take less time to become dependent after initial use, report shorter and less frequent abstinence periods and smoke for longer periods of time in their lives compared with men with the median cessation age of 33 years for males versus 37 years for females. This finding was reported by a research done by Pierce and Gilpin in 1996 in a study titled: How long will today’s adolescent smoker be addicted to cigarettes?
Of all the studies that have been available on tobacco use it has been found that women are more vulnerable to nicotine addiction as they also appear to respond less favorably to smoking cessation treatments.
Donny and Clark study on rats
A preclinical study on rats done by Donny and Clark with other researchers provided information that is Consistent with the above findings. In preclinical studies, adolescent and adult female rats showed faster acquisition of intravenous nicotine self-administration and higher break points on a progressive-ratio schedule compared with adolescent and adult males. Similarly, female mice showed a greater preference for nicotine in a two-bottle choice task compared with male mice indicating greater sensitivity of females to nicotine’s reinforcing effects. These studies point to important gender differences in initiation and maintenance of nicotine use that may contribute to smaller gains in curbing nicotine addiction in women.
Several research findings point out that Progesterone and its metabolites interact with multiple neurotransmitter receptors including GABA, glycine, sigma1, kainate, serotonin3, and nicotinic cholinergic receptors. However, most relevant for nicotine addiction are interactions with GABA. Progesterone’s active metabolites, pregnanolone and allopregnanolone, have positive modulatory effects on GABA receptors which enhance GABAergic transmission. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and has significant influence on multiple central nervous system (CNS) function. The positive modulatory effects of progesterone metabolites on the GABA receptors have been proposed to weaken drug reward. Remarkably, the effects of progesterone and its metabolites on GABAergic signaling vary with menstrual cycle phase and at hormone transition phases including during adolescence and during pregnancy. For instance, during puberty, allopreganolone’s effects on GABAergic transmission are opposite to those seen before and after puberty with results showing a reduction in GABAergic transmission.
It has also been reported that progesterone also affects signaling at nicotinic receptors. Specifically, both progesterone and allopregnanolone are negative modulators of the α4β2 nicotinic receptors. Progesterone has also been reported to increase mRNA expression of α5 nicotinic receptors.
Despite the research findings that have been published on this issue, the available literature is still insufficient to anchor a strong decision on the use of progesterone hormone in fighting nicotine addiction. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Center is an expert in integrative medicine for addiction. Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.