Smoking is not good for you.
You know this. I know this. Even your five year old nephew knows this.
But giving it up is HARD.
Especially if you’re a lady.
Study after study, shows women battle more with cigarette craving than men.
It’s those hormones again…………….
The cigarette craving cycle
Cigarette (nicotine) cravings are no exception.
People have been aware that smoking habits of women, often vary across the menstrual cycle. Have you ever noticed ?
The reason why, women smoke more or less at different times of the month, has never really been explored, until now. But, researchers from the University of Montreal , decided it was time to tackle the issue.
They mess with your head
The team worked with 34 serious smokers. The men and women all smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day and had no intention of quitting. The smokers agreed to undergo MRI brain scans, alongside blood tests and screenings for depression and anxiety.
They began with a quick puff at ground zero, then in due course, climbed into the scanner to view a series of pictures, while their brains were scanned. One set of pictures were neutral, the other set were designed to illicit cigarette cravings. Brain patterns were tracked.
- The men in the study, did it once.
- The women, climbed in and out of the MRI machine twice, once during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle and once, during the luteal phase.
The follicular phase is the first half of the menstrual cycle, it begins after the period. The luteal phase is the second half of the menstrual cycle, it ends when menstruation occurs.
The circuits are the same
The participants were all nicotine addicts – there was no real difference between the genders. The fMRI patterns, also found very little difference between the neuronal patterns of men and women.
So neuronal circuit differences don’t explain why ladies LOVE cigarettes more.
The only difference the team could see between the men and women – was the levels of activation of the neural circuits. Ladies brain’s lit up like Christmas trees during the follicular phase, but, there was only a tiny glimmer of activity in the hippocampus during the luteal phase.
Estrogen the foxy lady
- When estrogen levels are high, women receive a little more pleasure from their vice.
- When progesterone levels are high, smoking doesn’t feel quite as good for a lady.
This is important to know.
If you’re planning on quitting, you want to quit when you’re least like to suffer SERIOUS CRAVINGS.
Stop when you ovulate
This research suggests, the best time to quit is around the time you ovulate. This is the time period, just before/around the time, you get cranky i.e. suffer from PMS. It is at this point in your cycle, that estrogen levels are dropping and progesterone levels are rising.
You’re in the QUITTING zone.
The lower estrogen, higher progesterone levels should mean cravings are diminished. They’ll still be there, they won’t be eliminated (sorry), but if you can hold it together for the duration of the luteal phase, the odds that you stay off the cigarettes permanently, are a tiny bit higher.
Timing is everything
NOTE : You might also want to try a fishy pick me up too, research suggests this can help with cravings.
The key to better body chemistry for the diabetic, is to blunt the rise in sugar. A whey cocktail prior to a meal is an easy way to reduce sugar spikes…
People in this prestigious club of folks who have celebrated a 100 or more birthdays, are no more virtuous than the rest of us, when it comes to health habits.
The idea that an aspirin a day, will protect from heart disease is pretty much embedded in the collective psyche. But aspirin doesn’t really protect women.
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