Gutkha is an extremely popular herbal concoction sold throughout subcontinent. We all are familiar with it. People especially males uses Gutkafrequently and are addicted. It have a lot of harm but most of us are unaware of it. Gutka is a combination of lime, tobacco, betel nut, flavorings and catechu- is used by adults and children alike as a mild psychoactive drugGutkha – an assorted mixture of tobacco, catechu, areca nut, slaked lime and certain food additives – affects the normal function of a key family of enzymes, known as CYP- 450, found in almost every organ in the body, study published in scientific journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
These enzymes play important roles in production of hormones, including sex hormones – estrogen and testosterone – as well as production of cholesterol and vitamin D.Gutkha also affects hormones that help the body break down prescription drugs and potentially toxic substances.
Why it is so Popular ? Because of cheapness, bright pouches, easy availability, sweet taste and forceful misleading advertisements, it is popular s
Ingredients of guttka: betel nut, tobacco, lime and savory flavorings
Most harmfull ingredient in gutkha:
Bettle nut: The cancer research body of the World Health Organization has categorised areca nut – the main ingredient of both pan masala and gutkha – also as carcinogenic or cancer- causing.• Betel nut is suspected to elevate the risk of cancer of the gums, mouth, throat, lung, liver, stomach, prostate and esophagus. The carcinogenic(cancer causing agents) alkaloids in betel nut are made even more dangerous by the inclusion of tobacco and lime in gutkha. ** Specific arecal alkaloids act as competitive inhibitors of GABA receptors and have widespread effects in the body, including actions on the brain, cardiovascular system, lungs, gut and pancreas. Nitrosated derivatives of arecal alkaloids, proven carcinogens inducing tumours throughout the upper gut and foregut derivatives in animals, are also associated with increased tumour risks in man. Increased central obesity is found in association with betel usage in man as well as increases in circulating markers of inflammatory and cardiovascular damage. The effects of chronic betel usage in man are at least as diverse as those of smoking and the habit increases the risks of ill health. Betel nut contains three major alkaloids: arecoline, pilocarpine, and muscarine. Betel Nut research :There’s a link between increased betel nut quid nut production and consumption and a substantial rise in the incidence of head and neck cancers among Taiwanese men, says a National Taiwan University Hospital study.Presence of cholinomimetic and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory constituents in betel nut.the presence of cholinomimetic and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory constituents in betel nut, the most commonly used drug in the world after tobacco, ethanol and caffeine. The study provides first evidence for the presence of AChE inhibitory constituents in betel nut, though additional direct muscarinic stimulatory effect cannot be ruled out5:
Side effects of guttka: Some practitioners of Ayurveda (a traditional Indian system of medicine) advocate the use of gutkha as a treatment for fatigue and depression, and the product is also sold as a breath freshener.Unfortunately, gutkha is associated with many serious side effects; almost all medical practitioners advise against its routine use.
Carcinogenic effect:- The most serious side effect associated with prolonged gutkha use is an increased risk of cancer. Betel nut is suspected to elevate the risk of cancer of the gums, mouth, throat, lung, liver, stomach, prostate and esophagus. The carcinogenic(cancer causing agents) alkaloids in betel nut are made even more dangerous by the inclusion of tobacco and lime in gutkha. An increase cancer risk has only been documented in people who chew or consume gutkha on a regular basis.
Psychological effect:- Large doses of gutkha can cause a cocaine-like state of intoxication. Symptoms of gutkha intoxication include dilated pupils, amnesia, psychosis, confusion, impaired judgment and euphoria. While some gutkha users seek the product because of its euphoric, stimulant effects, it can cause serious long-term psychological problems. After long-term use, many users become addicted to gutkha’s effects on brain chemistry. Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, dry mouth, amnesia, insomnia, cognitive problems and fatigue.
Cardiovascular effect:- Like most stimulants, gutkha can adversely affect the cardiovascular system. The National Institutes of Health warn that betel nut is associated with abrupt changes in blood pressure, which can lead to unpleasant side effects such as dizziness and blurred vision. Palpitations and cardiac arrhythmia are also very common in people using gutkha on both a long-term and short-term basis. More seriously, gutkha use is associated with an elevated risk of chest pain, heart attack and stroke. Gutkha should be avoided entirely by smokers and anyone with a history of heart disease.
Gastrointestinal effect:- Gutkha has been known to cause many gastrointestinal side effects. Nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, abdominal pain and diarrhea are common in gutkha users. Rarely, these side effects may be so severe that they lead to a life-threatening state of dehydration, which may require hospitalization. Gastrointestinal side effects may last several hours, days or even weeks following the ingestion of gutkha. It has also been known to cause users to lose control of the bowels and/or bladder.OTHER EFFECTS:-The National Institutes of Health report dozens of potential side effects associated with betel nut and tobacco, two of the primary components of gutkha. Gutkha is acutely toxic to the liver and kidneys and can cause life-threatening fluctuations in blood sugar for people with diabetes. It also frequently causes a reddish staining of the gums, teeth and lips. Less commonly, routine gutkha users develop a sallow( PALE COMPLEXION) complexion. Though gutkha is used by children, it is considered to be unsafe for those under 18 years of age; its toxic effects also make it contraindicated for women who are pregnant and nursing.
Toxic materials in guttka **Latest research on toxic materials**The first-ever detailed study in the country analysed the chewable products and determined the concentration of trace and toxic metals in supari (63 samples), gutka (over 100 samples), tobacco (16), mainpuri (four samples) and paan masala (21 samples).“We have analysed 12 metals — nine trace metals [of them four essential trace metals] and three toxic metals. The traces of toxic metals such as lead and cadmium were found in all the chewing products tested for the purpose. Toxic metals carry serious health risks as they can accumulate in the body and in the food chainFarooq Ahmed Khan, a senior scientific officer at the PCSIR, who along with scientific officers Mohammad Tahir and Akhtar Sharif completed the three-year research on metal poisoning, told Dawn.
Most popular product in karachi Recent studies on the subject show that Karachi has the highest incidence of oral cancer in the world. With the increasing number of oral cancer cases, the city may witness an epidemic in the coming years, medical experts believe.A study conducted by the sociology department of Karachi University in 2006 found that 93 per cent children of 50 government and private schools in Saddar Town spent their pocket money on buying areca nut and seven per cent on betel leaf (paan) and gutka.An Aga Khan University research titled, Socio-demographic correlates of betel, areca and smokeless tobacco use as high risk behaviour for head and neck cancers in a squatter settlement of Karachi, found that head and neck cancers were a major cancer burden in Pakistan.“They share a common risk factor profile, including regular consumption of products of betel, areca and tobacco. Use of paan, chhaalia, gutka, niswar and tobacco is acceptable in Pakistan and is considered a normal cultural practice.”Regarding the increasing use of these chewable products among children, the research report stated that it would have dire consequences on public health as a time-trend analysis of oral cavity cancer in Karachi had already reported up to 200 per cent increase in cases among lower socio-economic strata between 1998 and 2002.
Guttka as an inexpensive product In Karachi it is the most popular thing because of its low cost.from a sweeper to the business man every one can easily afford it.9;LATEST RESEARCHES ON GUTTKA:According to the research findings, the minimum to maximum per day range of metals found in gutka was as follows lead (0.6mg/day to 40mg/day), nickel (6mg/day to 31mg/day), cadmium (0.2mg/day to 2mg/day), iron (19mg/day to 23mg/day), chromium (39mg/day-56mg/day), manganese (4mg/day-7.5mg/day), zinc (19mg/day to 21.8mg/day) and copper (690mg/day to 750mg/day).Adverse impact on health:Dr Aliya Munshi, who heads the Centre of Environmental Studies, said that both trace and toxic metals had adverse impact on health. She explained that essential trace metals such as zinc, copper, manganese and iron, if taken in large quantities, became toxic and caused serious health hazards. Similarly, toxic metals might get deposited in human body and caused long-term ill-effects on health, she added.“Toxic metals can directly or indirectly damage the DNA, which increases the risk of cancer. Heavy metals disrupt metabolic functions in two ways firstly they accumulate and disrupt function in vital organs and glands and secondly they displace the nutritional minerals vital for biological function.”“Toxic metals can`t fulfil the same role as the nutritional minerals, thus their presence becomes critically disruptive to enzyme activity. The usual target is the lung, though arsenic has a unique association with skin cancers and that has been recognised for many years.”
How it affects on an unborn child? According to Dr Munshi, the gradual accumulation of toxic and trace metals in human body results in slow poisoning. The traces of lead, cadmium and chromium can also be passed on to newborns through the placenta, she saidBetel quid use can also have adverse effects on reproductive health in women. Studies have found that pregnant women in India had a threefold increased risk of having a low birth weight infant with regular betel quid use.gutkha induces a very high risk of still birth when used by pregnant women
Quitting Smokeless Tobacco Smokeless tobacco contains higher concentration of nicotine (a powerful addictive) which makes difficult to quit it than quitting cigarettes. Thats the reason why we see people constantly chewing gutka or Pan masala. It is an addiction that becomes a habit when you are in a certain group or in certain situations.
In spite of realizing the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco (gutka, pan), many people find it difficult to quit it. Many reasons are cited as possible cause of failure to quit smokeless tobacco. Some of these are peer pressure, individual attitude, economic condition, lifestyle and fashion, etc.
Since teenage males form the majority among new users of smokeless tobacco, research scientists are increasingly focusing their attention to help them quit it. Some of the suggestions advocated by them have shown promising results for smokeless tobacco users.
Decide to Quit: This can be made only by you. It is suggested that no help from outside can be helpful unless you realize how smokeless tobacco is destroying your health. For this, try to get yourself acquaint with as much information about smokeless tobacco and its harmful effects as is possible. Motivate Yourself: Experts suggest that recording the reasons why you want to quit can be effective in motivating you and help you to stick to your decision. For instance, you can note down the discomfort that you may be suffering from due to oral health problem. Set a Quit Date: The next thing that is required more than anything is your personal commitment. For this, you can set a date and believe that you have what it takes to get through the first week without touching tobacco (gutka or panmasala). If you fail in your first attempt, do not lose hope. Keep on trying until you succeed. Counteract your Withdrawal Symptoms with an Oral Substitute: Some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced by smokeless tobacco users are irritability, cravings, hunger, etc. To counteract this, you may chew finely ground mint leaves, sunflower seeds, sugarless gum, hard candy, cinnamon sticks or other chewed foodstuffs.Use of Transdermal Nicotine Patches: This patch allows steady rate of nicotine absorption to the CNS (central nervous system) every hour, thereby alleviating withdrawal symptoms. Transdermal nicotine patch is placed on the upper part of the body only once daily.
Co-Authorization by : Marriam Majeed & M.Rehan Gul
COURTESY : Medic4health.com
Link : http://www.medic4health.com/2011/05/gutka/