Chemical Compounds in Coffee Beans May Help Ease the Effects of Morning Nicotine Cravings
For some smokers, the first cigarette of the day just isn’t as satisfying without a cup of coffee. It could be more than just a morning habit: Chemical compounds in roasted coffee beans may help blunt the effects of morning nicotine cravings, University of Florida researchers have found.
In a cell study, researchers identified two compounds in coffee that directly affect certain high-sensitivity nicotinic receptors in the brain. In smokers, these brain receptors can be hypersensitive after a night of nicotine withdrawal.
The newly published findings have not yet been tested in humans, but are an important step toward better understanding the effect of coffee and cigarettes on nicotine receptors in the brain, said Roger L. Papke , Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at UF College of Medicine. . Caffeine is the feel-good ingredient in coffee for most people, but smokers can get a different kind of boost.
A lot of people like caffeine in the morning, but there are other molecules in coffee that may explain why cigarette smokers want their coffee.”
Roger L. Papke, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, UF College of Medicine
The researchers applied a solution of dark roast coffee to cells that express a particular human nicotinic receptor. An organic chemical compound in coffee may help restore nicotine receptor dysfunction that leads to nicotine cravings in smokers, the researchers concluded.
The results led Papke to a broader hypothesis: one of the compounds in brewed coffee, known as n-MP, may help quell morning cravings for nicotine.
Papke said he was intrigued by the idea that addicted nicotine smokers associate smoking with coffee in the morning and alcohol in the evening. While the effect of alcohol on nicotine receptors in the brain has been extensively researched, the interaction of the receptors with coffee has been less studied.
“A lot of people crave coffee in the morning because of the caffeine. But did coffee do anything else to smokers? We wanted to find out if there were other things in coffee that affected the nicotine receptors in the brain” , said Papke.
The results, he said, provide a good basis for behavioral scientists who could further study nicotine withdrawal in animal models.
Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health.
Papke, RL, et al. (2022) Coffee and cigarettes: Modulation of high- and low-sensitivity α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by n-MP, a biomarker of coffee consumption. Neuropharmacology. doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2022.109173.