Smoking Depletes Your Body of Vitamins, When smokers smoke, their inside organs are at risk from the toxic mixture of toxins and cancer-causing compounds included in cigarette smoke. It produces a large number of free radicals, which can harm cells, and depletes our bodies’ stores of vital vitamins and minerals.
If there are vitamins for smokers, many people question if they could help prevent this free radical harm. In this article, it is discussed how smoking depletes the body’s supply of vitamins and whether supplementation can reverse this harm.
Smoking and Free Radicals
Smoking accelerates the body’s generation of free radicals. These free radicals harm cells, which can ultimately result in cancer and other illnesses.
What Are Free Radicals?
Atoms or molecules with an odd number of electrons are known as free radicals. Because molecules prefer to have a pair of electrons, they are considerably happier when they are in this state, which makes them exceedingly unstable.
Your body is continually exposed to free radicals even if you don’t smoke. Toxins in the environment and typical metabolic processes utilized to break down food produce these free radicals.
In order to regulate their energy, free radicals move around the body in search of an electron to steal from other molecules. They can cause havoc on healthy tissue depending on where they find the electron they require.
The infamous “smoker’s wrinkles” are caused when they impede collagen. When they come into contact with blood vessels, they may cause the blood vessel lining to become damaged, which may lead to a heart attack.
And harm (gene mutations) may happen when the source is the DNA in our bodies cells. The development of a cancer cell is caused by the accumulation of these gene alterations.
How Antioxidants Fight Free Radicals
When combined, smoking’s effects on free radical production (which are enhanced) and vitamin production (which are decreased) have a powerful double whammy.
Smoking depletes vital vitamins that fight free radicals, causing the body to suffer harm from free radicals. Your body is exposed to harm as a result of this combination.
Antioxidants are used by the body’s defense mechanism to counteract free radical damage. Antioxidants are substances that can provide free radicals an electron without compromising their own molecular stability. By doing this, they are able to lessen the harm that free radicals do to the body.
Over 4,000 antioxidants have been discovered by science, some of which are naturally produced by the human body. Others originate from the food we consume.
Additionally, vitamins serve as a barrier against free radicals. They aid in the reduction or prevention of harm by neutralizing free radicals. These defenses are diminished by smoking, making it simpler for free radicals to harm the body.
Vitamin C and vitamin E are two crucial leaders in the field of antioxidants. They are essential for a strong immune system and aid in the body’s battle against pollutants and inflammation.
Oxidative stress is a condition that develops when there are too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants in the body. This is believed to contribute to the emergence of a wide range of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.
Essential Vitamins for Smokers
It is crucial to understand that vitamins alone cannot stop or undo the harm caused by free radicals and other negative effects of smoking. Making ensuring you obtain some essential vitamins, though, may have some positive impacts.
A water-soluble vitamin is vitamin C. The body cannot store water-soluble vitamins like it can fat-soluble ones, so we must obtain them daily from the foods we eat.
Collagen, a protein necessary for the growth and repair of cells that give rise to everything from skin to muscle to ligaments to blood vessels, is made possible by vitamin C. It lowers blood sugar and aids in maintaining a robust immune system. Additionally, it has the special ability to aid in the regeneration of other antioxidants like vitamin E.
According to studies, those who smoke and those who are around secondhand smoke have lower vitamin C levels in their bodies. According to estimates, daily vitamin C needs for smokers are 35 mg higher than for non-smokers.
Unfortunately, at least in terms of heart disease, taking a supplement is not the solution. Even those who took vitamin C supplements still had blood vessel damage. According to a 2017 study, women smokers’ chance of developing lung cancer was decreased by 26% by eating a diet high in vitamin C.
Food Sources of Vitamin C
There is vitamin C in all fruits and vegetables. Excellent vitamin C sources include:
- Citrus fruits
- Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries
- Brussels sprouts
- Potatoes (both sweet and white)
Since vitamin E is fat-soluble, the body stores it in fat cells in the liver. To maintain your body’s supply of vitamin E, it’s not necessary to consume it every day; however, dietary intake is crucial. An essential mineral called vitamin E supports the immune system and aids in the production of red blood cells, which are needed to fight off bacteria and viruses.
Additionally, vitamin E may help prevent cancer, heart disease, and aging, according to researchers. One of the first lines of defense against the free radical damage to the lungs brought on by breathing in cigarette smoke and air pollution is vitamin E. Powerful in terms of antioxidants is vitamin E.
Smoking seems to increase the need for vitamin E, much like it does for vitamin C. Sadly, studies have not shown that vitamin E supplements genuinely assist to prevent cancer, heart disease, or aging-related symptoms. In fact, consuming more vitamin E than 400 IU a day may make several types of heart disease more common and raise overall mortality.
Although there are some claims that the specific form of vitamin E matters, it’s currently best to get your vitamin E by eating a healthy diet. For people above the age of, the recommended daily amount (RDA) for vitamin E is 15mg.
Food Sources of Vitamin E
- Nuts, such as hazelnuts, peanuts, and almonds
- Vegetable oils, such as safflower, wheat germ, corn, and sunflower
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli
- Seeds, such as sunflower seeds
- Breakfast cereals that have been fortified with vitamin E
Other antioxidants, like fish oil and Concord grape juice, may also offer advantages for smokers, according to some research. According to one study, taking fish oil supplements may help prevent DNA deterioration brought on by smoking cigarettes. Another study discovered that the flavonoids in Concord grape juice may lessen inflammation brought on by smoking.
According to a 2018 study, taking supplements of high-dose omega-3 fatty acids may be able to lessen cravings for cigarettes and oxidative stress.
Smoking increases the body’s production of free radicals, which can increase the risk of tissue damage and diseases including cancer and heart disease. As part of our body’s defense mechanism, antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E work to neutralize free radicals before they may do harm.
Sadly, smoking causes a deficiency in these vitamins, which leads to an unhealthy combination of increased free radicals and insufficient antioxidants to combat them. Given that Different research on supplements of both vitamins has found little benefit. It suggests that dietary sources are favored above those obtained from supplements.
A Word From Verywell
If you smoke, it’s never too late to stop, and once you do, your body can start to heal. Your risk of other smoking-related illnesses. Such as heart disease, declines very quickly whereas the risk of lung cancer and several other malignancies remains elevated for the rest of your life (though it significantly falls by 10 years after stopping).