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Addiction to carotenoids is as strong as cigarettes and is apparently a real thing, see case study

Ask yourself, is it typically healthy things people get addicted to, or decidedly unhealthy things?  I'm going with the latter.  See below.

Can carrots be addictive? An extraordinary form of drug dependence.

The paper describes three cases of dependence on carotenoids with typical symptoms of irritability and nervousness accompanying their abstinence, with a long-term dependence, and an inability to simply discontinue. Three patients (a man and two women) all being smokers, evaluated this dependence as very similar to that on tobacco. The limitation of further use had the same effect in both cases. The women evaluate the dependence as stronger than that on cigarettes, the man as somewhat weaker. The former patient--a woman--even relapsed, and recently found herself in danger of further relapse. This, however, she nipped in the bud. Laboratory enzyme examinations revealed a disorder in the enzymatic outfit affecting the auto-immunity and the neurovegetative system.

Carrot addiction.

OBJECTIVE: A case report of carrot addiction is presented with a review of the literature and comment on the role of beta carotene in addictive behaviour.

CLINICAL PICTURE: The addiction occurred in a 49-year-old woman under conditions of stress due to marital problems, leading to a depressive illness and increased smoking. The patient maintained that the sensations of carrot craving and withdrawal were quite distinct from those associated with smoking.

TREATMENT: The patient was advised to record her daily carrot consumption.

OUTCOME: The patient did not return for several months, but stopped eating carrots after an operation, at which time she also stopped smoking.

CONCLUSION: Compusive carrot eating, regarded as a rare condition, has received scant documentation, unlike hypercarotenemia due to unusual diets or food fads. Nervousness, craving, insomnia, waterbrash [regurgitation of an excessive accumulation of saliva from the lower part of the esophagus often with some acid material from the stomach] and irritability are associated with withdrawal from excessive carrot eating. The basis for the addiction is believed to be beta carotene, found in carrots. Does carrot eating, an aggressively oral activity, merely act as a behavioural substitute for smoking? Or does beta carotene contain a chemical element that replicates the addictive component of nicotine? Further study of this unusual but intriguing addiction may reveal more about the basis of all addictions, with particular implications for the cessation of cigarette smoking.

Dr. Garrett Smith, the "Nutrition Detective"
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (NMD) in Arizona
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