Vitamin C and Other Antioxidants
- Smokers break down vitamin C about twice as fast as nonsmokers. This can deprive the body of one of the most versatile immune system boosters and cell protectors. Bioflavonoids, antioxidant substances from plants, work with vitamin C to restore health. Since smoking drastically depletes the body of vitamin C, 5,000 to 20,000 mg a day are needed, depending on the individual. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it. Stop if loose stools occur.
Vitamin E is another important antioxidant that protects cells and body organs from damage by cigarette smoke. Choose a d-alpha-tocopherol form for best absorption. Because mega doses of vitamin E given suddenly can cause platelet clumping, smokers should start with only 200 IU daily and increase by 200 IU monthly to a maximum dose of 800 IU daily after four months.
The lungs are lined with mucus membranes that, over time, become irritated and damaged by smoke. Vitamin A, with natural beta-carotene plus carotenoid complex, is an antioxidant that specifically aid in the healing of mucus membranes and that are very important for lung protection. 25,000 IU daily is the optimum dose for men and 15,000 IU for women. Pregnant women should not exceed a dose of 10,000 IU.
B Complex Vitamins
- Folic acid, a B vitamin found in dark green leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, and kale, is needed for the formation of red blood cells and is important to cell division and replication. Smokers inhale carbon monoxide, a poisonous substance that damages the red blood cells ability to carry oxygen to tissues.
Cigarette smokers often suffer from fatigue and their livers are stressed by the work of metabolizing inhaled chemicals. Vitamin B-12 is needed for optimum liver function and it also boosts energy. It is destroyed by stomach acids, so a form made to dissolve under the tongue or injections given by a doctor are best. Dose for smokers is 1,000 mcg twice a day.
Cellular enzyme systems necessary for repair of lung tissue are damaged by smoking. A vitamin B complex with 100 mg of each ingredient will aid those systems; follow label directions.