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Whether you love a walk in the park with the family dog or just find yourself making the 100 yard dash to your local corner shop at the weekend, we bet you’ve seen at least once, the remains of people taking a substance known as nitrous oxide. If you’re currently thinking of small silver canisters then you, like a great deal of other people, most certainly have. Before we get into the dark side of this recreational drug however, we thought we’d first explain exactly what nitrous oxide is.

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What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous Oxide, otherwise known as NO2 or more commonly referred to as ‘laughing gas’ is a substance that’s been used for many years within the dental industry. Used within general anaesthesia, it has in recent years begun being used as a recreational drug. 

What Does Nitrous Oxide Do?

If you were to ask many about the effects of nitrous oxide, most would simply refer to the natural laughter that can occur when taken. Unfortunately, nitrous oxide has a much darker side and to explain that, we first need to take a look at the human body and some of its functions.

The Methylation Pathway

When we talk about the methylation pathway, we’re referring to a biochemical reaction that occurs in our bodies billions of times every single second. Methylation plays a vital role when it comes to the building up and breaking down of molecules; from neurotransmitters to estrogens and even histamines. 

Methylation helps your body to turn certain genes off and others on. Methylation is also involved in protecting nerve cells, strengthening collagen. In order to function properly, we need to get enough B12 in our diets as well as folic acid and B6. We also need to make the enzymes that essentially keep the methylation pathways running smooth as it’s the enzymes that allow methylation process to carry on enough, to meet the demands from our body. Here’s where it gets tricky and nitrous oxide is revealed to be no laughing matter.

Nitrous Oxide’s Frightening Effects

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas as so many refer to it, stops the methylation pathway dead. It does so by deactivating B12 as well as stopping a certain enzyme for days and even up to weeks at a time. This is incredibly dangerous for anyone, worse still for those with B12 deficiencies already.

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What Does This Mean For Those Using Nitrous Oxide?

For those using nitrous oxide, that means the possibility of neurological and psychiatric problems developing over time. Users may notice subtle or even severe problems from balance issues to cognitive issues as well as psychiatric syndromes developing, ranging from panic attacks to depression. Due to the delayed effect however, many do not make the direct correlation and simply continue to use laughing gas on a recreational basis, causing symptoms to worsen even further.

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    Nitrous Oxide is incredibly dangerous to your health, despite the risk continually being unappreciated by users around the world. If you’re concerned about someone you know however, using nitrous oxide or even your own use, please do not hesitate to contact us today on 0800 3345541.