Smoking? Vaping? Here are 5 things you need to know.
Our HQ is in Eastern TN. 1 in 5 of TN adults over 21 smokes , vapes or chews, 22% of high school students use e-cigarettes, 36% of us are obese and we rank #2 in the nation for opioid abuse.
We are not here to lecture but offer support and insights about what is happening inside our bodies and how dietary choices can slow or accelerate the damage.
Here are 5 things you need to know if you are smoking, vaping or chewing.
E-cigarettes are not the holy grail.
Dr. Rebuli et. Al. at the University of North Carolina (1) found e-cigarette users “exhibited significantly altered immune responses.” She observed that e-cigarette use suppresses the ability of the mucous cells lining our nasal and lung tract to remember what a virus looks like raising the possibility of increased rates of infection and reinfections.
Tobacco use increases your blood pressure and heart rate.
Tobacco use triggers an adrenaline release causing our blood pressure and heart rate to rise. We also release adrenaline when faced with a perceived threat to our safety which also calls on our bodies to make more energy to flee or flight.
Guess what also rises? Adrenaline increases energy production which is accompanies by an increase in the production of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS). If left on its own, ROS will oxidize all sorts of compounds that you need to stay healthy.
Tobacco consumption depletes Vitamin C, D and E.
No surprise, Vitamin C, D and E are all mild antioxidants. The elevated levels of ROS depletes reserves of these compounds. Unfortunately depleting these reserves has consequences to health.
Vitamin C is used to make collagen which in turn is needed to make blood vessels. No collagen? Your weakened blood vessels make you a prime candidate for a stroke and other scurvy symptoms.
Vitamin D regulates calcium absorption which is critical for bone health and also associated with lower lung function.
Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve damage, damage muscle tissues and cause vision problems.
Should you take vitamin supplements?
This is where it gets weird.
Remember the joke about the grizzly bear? The punchline is I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.
As Vitamin C, D and E are antioxidants, supplementing seems like a good idea.
However, in 2000, Raitakari et. al. observed that extra vitamin C has no real benefits for smokers. Why didn't it work? Vitamin C is a mild antioxidant, taking more was not enough to outrun the bear.
Six years later researchers at Oregon State found that vitamin C supplements protected smokers from Vitamin E being depleted. That makes sense. Vitamin E outran Vitamin C and survived.
Yet another study conducted by McCovey et. al. (3) in 2014 studied the impact that smoking had on infants, concluding vitamin C supplements were beneficial after all.
Do a search for vitamin supplements for tobacco users and you find plenty of suppliers offering Vitamin C, D, E supplements.
Yada yada yada... you are still fighting the bear with your bare hands. Time to...
Get a 12 gauge in your diet.
100 years ago we ate an egg from a barnyard raised chicken, shucked some oysters, took down a deer or caught a salmon or trout and brought it home for dinner. All of these animals provided us a source of nature's most powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is 5000X more powerful than vitamin C as an antioxidant and if in your diet will help protect your reserves of Vitamin C, D and E. It will also boost your immune system's performance. Learn how here.
So… shoot the bear and eat its liver, kidneys, brain and other offal's. They are loaded with astaxanthin. Or take Adjuvia astaxanthin and give the bear something to catch before it gets to your Vitamin C, D and E.
1. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.
2. Raitakari et. al. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Volume 35, Issue 6, May 2000, pages 1616-1621.
3. McCovey et. al. JAMA 2014 May 311(20): 2074-82. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.5217