Thanks to public messaging, we are all aware of the negative health consequences of smoking. Smoking introduces tar into your lungs, and and toxins into the bloodstream, that cause many serious illnesses. Cigarette smoke contains a number of poisons, such as carbon monoxide, cadium, arsenic, cyanide, benzene, ammonia, formaldehyde, and many more. Even nicotine is a poison, used to kill insects.
When you inhale these toxins, your body has to work overtime to counteract all of the negative health effects. These harmful chemicals cause damage to bodily tissues. The damage requires your body use up reserves of vitamins and minerals to repair itself, leaving little leftover for normal health maintenance. This often leads to nutritional deficiencies, and a decline in health. Here are some example of the specific ways smoking leads to vitamin deficiencies..
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and one of the main vitamins used in cellular repair, building red blood cells, and boosting your immune system. Smoking depletes vitamin E levels because so much of it is required to rebuild damaged lung and artery tissues. Smoking also causes damage to the mouth, throat, and many other bodily tissues that also require vitamin E for repair. When your cell do not get repaired, it can lead to cancer. Researchers have shown low levels of vitamin E are correlated with higher rates of cancer.
Smoking introduces a significant number of free radical into your bloodstream. Vitamin C is one of the body’s main antioxidants. It is required for the repair of every tissue in your body, from your skin to liver cells. Research has shown that due to the high level of free radicals in tobacco smoke, each cigarette depletes your body of 25 mg of Vitamin C. Since vitamin C is vital to your immune system, many smokers tend to be sicker than non-smokers.
Despite marking messages, smoking actually causes a lot of stress on your body. When there are too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants, your body goes through something called oxidative stress. Nicotine is a stimulant that causes spikes in blood pressure, and the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke actually stealing oxygen from your bloodstream.
All this stress causes the release of cortisol, and your body uses available B vitamins for the production of energy, metabolizing of food, all to counteract the stress. Prolonged stress can lead to serious health risks, such as anxiety, depression, premature aging, and heart disease. Also, stressful situations are one of the major triggers to smoke again, and stress in general makes it more difficult to adhere to a smoking cessation plan.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered important for heart and brain health. It has also been studied for smoking cessation. Smoking has been shown to reduce levels of fatty acids in the brain, leading nerve cells damage and problems in areas of the brain involved with feeling pleasure and satisfaction. Higher levels of Omega-3 help with mental health, cravings, and impulse control. An Omega-3 deficiency makes it harder for the smoker’s body to deal with its craving for another cigarette.
Supplementing Your Diet
Thankfully, it is possible to counteract some of the negative health effects through proper nutrition, and even reverse some of the damage. Healthy raw foods such as fruits and vegetables have enzymes that can bind with compounds left in the mouth after smoking and produce an unpleasant aftertaste that the brain may learn to associate with tobacco.
There are many excellent multivitamins and herbal supplements that can help smokers improve their health, and begin to feel better. Health supplements will also make it easier to quit smoking when you feel ready. They will also be part of a smoking cessation plan, and help improve health after quitting.
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