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How to Reduce the Inflammatory Effects of Smoking

This won't be a post about how to quit smoking, but instead this post will meet smokers in the middle and encourage healthy habits throughout smoking. Smoking is an “oxidant”. Therefore people who smoke need more “antioxidants” than people who don't smoke. Vitamin C is one of the most well-known antioxidants. Vitamin C is a necessary nutrient that was first discovered in the 1400s when military crews from Rome, Egypt, and Greece developed scurvy during long voyages at sea. Today we know that vitamin C does much more than prevent scurvy; it aids in collagen formation, helps make norepinephrine and steroid hormones in the body, helps absorb iron, and it acts as an antioxidant.

Since smoking is an oxidant and creates inflammation, eating more sources of vitamin C can provide necessary antioxidants to decrease the inflammatory effects of smoking. The National Institute of Health recommends eating 75-90 mg of vitamin C per day. That’s roughly 2 servings of raw fruits or vegetables. People who smoke need an extra 35 mg of vitamin C per day, which is about 1 extra serving of fresh fruits or vegetables each day to help reduce the inflammation.

Some signs that you don’t have enough vitamin C are fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, muscle cramps, body aches, and easy bruising. It’s hard to get too much vitamin C. The NIH states the upper limit is 6-10 grams. Since vitamin C is water-soluble, any extra vitamin C that your body doesn’t need will be flushed out through the urine. A sign you are getting too much vitamin C is diarrhea.

If you or a loved one smokes and you're ready to quit, let QCNH help you with naturopathic techniques to ease the addiction and quit for good!

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