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The effect of smoking on nutritional status

It's interesting how teenage behaviours change (and stay the same) over the years. When I was a teen (approx 30 years ago - how can that be!?), most of my contemporaries smoked. It was a cool thing to do and of course, we didn't have the addictive pull of social media.

Thankfully, smoking rates have decreased amongst young people - they have moved on to other things, which I am not going to go into here. Smoking rates have also decreased among my current age band. There is much more education about the dangers of smoking. We know the associated risks for respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

From time to time, I get a client who smokes, and while they are fully aware of the risks I have mentioned, most people don't realise the effect that smoking has on nutritional status.

When a person smokes, they are inhaling a toxic blend of chemicals that then creates alot of free radicals in the body. Vitamins act to neutralise these free radicals (antioxidants action)), therefore smoking can use up vitamin supply meaning there might be less for other functions in the body.

Two antioxidants, vitamins C and E, can become depleted in smokers, meaning that that person cannot get the benefit of their anti-inflammatory and detoxification effects. Smokers, therefore, may have a greater need for these essential vitamins.

When I explain to my client that many of the vitamins they are consuming are being used to neutralise the effect of their smoking, it does make them think again about their smoking habits. After all, if they came to see a nutritional therapist, they surely want to increase their nutritional status.


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