Nutritional Support for Smokers

A report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that cigarettes contain more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds of harmful substances, and at least 70 that are linked to cancer. Chemicals such as ammonia, which is used for cleaning products; carbon monoxide, found in car exhaust; and even arsenic, found in products like rat poison, were all detected in cigarette smoke. 

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Smokers Report

What's In a Cigarette?

There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous.

Many of these chemicals also are found in consumer products, but these products have warning labels. While the public is warned about the danger of the poisons in these products, there is no such warning for the toxins in tobacco smoke.

Here are a few of the chemicals in tobacco smoke and other places they are found:

  • Acetone – found in nail polish remover

  • Acetic Acid –  an ingredient in hair dye

  • Ammonia – a common household cleaner

·        Arsenic – used in rat poison

·        Benzene – found in rubber cement

·        Butane – used in lighter fluid

·        Cadmium – active component in battery acid

·        Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes

·        Formaldehyde – embalming fluid

·        Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid

·        Lead – used in batteries

·        Naphthalene – an ingredient in mothballs

·        Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel

·        Nicotine – used as insecticide

·        Tar – material for paving roads

·        Toluene - used to manufacture paint

In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior.
When the brain fails to produce enough dopamine, it can result in Parkinson’s disease. A primary treatment for Parkinson’s disease, therefore, is a drug called L-dopa, which spurs the production of dopamine. Dopamine has also been implicated in schizophrenia and ADHD, but its role is not fully understood. People with low dopamine activity may also be more prone to addiction. The presence of a certain kind of dopamine receptor is associated with sensation-seeking, more commonly known as risk taking.


Top Ten tips for increasing Dopamine Naturally

1. Eat lots of Protein
2. Eat less saturated fats
3. Consume Probiotics
4. Exercise Often
5. Get Enough Sleep
6. Listen to Music
7. Mediate
8. Get Enough Sunlight
9. Supplements such as iron, niacin, folate and vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin D, curcumin, oregano extract and green tea.

Vitamin B’s

May Reduce Stress and Boost Mood. B-complex vitamins are often used to reduce fatigue and boost mood. Some studies suggest that B-complex vitamins can lift your spirits and improve your cognitive performance.

A 33-day study in 215 healthy men found that treatment with a high-dose B-complex and mineral supplement improved general mental health and stress and enhanced performance on cognitive tests (27).

Another study in young adults showed that supplementing with a multivitamin containing high levels of B-complex vitamins for 90 days reduced stress and mental fatigue (28).

May Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety or Depression

While B-complex vitamin supplements are not a cure for mental health issues, they may help improve symptoms of depression or anxiety.

A study in 60 adults with depression showed that treatment with a B-complex vitamin for 60 days led to significant improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms, compared to a placebo (29).

B vitamins may also enhance treatment response when given in combination with antidepressant medication.

One study found that supplementing patients with a vitamin containing B12, B6 and folic acid led to a more enhanced and sustained antidepressant response over one year, compared to a placebo (30).

Note that low blood levels of certain B vitamins, including B12, B6 and folate, have been linked to an increased risk of depression, which is why it’s important to rule out nutrient deficiencies if you are experiencing symptoms of depression (3132).B-complex vitamins usually contain the following:

  • B1 (thiamine): Thiamine plays an essential role in metabolism by helping convert nutrients into energy. The richest food sources include pork, sunflower seeds and wheat germ (1).

  • B2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin helps convert food into energy and also acts as an antioxidant. Foods highest in riboflavin include organ meats, beef and mushrooms (2).

  • B3 (niacin): Niacin plays a role in cellular signaling, metabolism and DNA production and repair. Food sources include chicken, tuna and lentils (3).

  • B5 (pantothenic acid): Like other B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps your body obtain energy from food and is also involved in hormone and cholesterol production. Liver, fish, yogurt and avocado are all good sources (4).

  • B6 (pyridoxine): Pyridoxine is involved in amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production and the creation of neurotransmitters. Foods highest in this vitamin include chickpeas, salmon and potatoes (5).

  • B7 (biotin): Biotin is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism and regulates gene expression. Yeast, eggs, salmon, cheese and liver are among the best food sources of biotin (6).

  • B9 (folate): Folate is needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells and proper cell division. It can be found in foods like leafy greens, liver and beans or in supplements as folic acid (7).

  • B12 (cobalamin): Perhaps the most well-known of all the B vitamins, B12 is vital for neurological function, DNA production and red blood cell development. B12 is found naturally in animal sources like meats, eggs, seafood and dairy (8).

Although these vitamins share some characteristics, they all have unique functions and are needed in different amounts.


About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood. In fact, it’s involved in more than 600 reactions in your body, including:

  • Energy creation: Helps convert food into energy.

  • Protein formation: Helps create new proteins from amino acids.

  • Gene maintenance: Helps create and repair DNA and RNA.

  • Muscle movements: Is part of the contraction and relaxation of muscles.

  • Nervous system regulation: Helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.

Unfortunately, studies suggest that about 50% of people in the US and Europe get less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium.

Magnesium plays a critical role in brain function and mood, and low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression Some experts believe the low magnesium content of modern food may cause many cases of depression and mental illness. Supplementing with this mineral may help reduce symptoms of depression — and in some cases, the results can be dramatic. In a randomized controlled trial in depressed older adults, 450 mg of magnesium daily improved mood as effectively as an antidepressant drug. Low magnesium intake is linked to chronic inflammation, which is one of the drivers of aging, obesity and chronic disease Some researchers believe that people who suffer from migraines are more likely than others to be magnesium deficient. In fact, a few encouraging studies suggest that magnesium can prevent and even help treat migraines. In one study, supplementing with 1 gram of magnesium provided relief from an acute migraine attack more quickly and effectively than a common medication. Interestingly, magnesium has been shown to improve mood, reduce water retention and other symptoms in women with PMS

The following foods are good to excellent sources of magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds: 46% of the RDI in a quarter cup (16 grams)

  • Spinach, boiled: 39% of the RDI in a cup (180 grams)

  • Swiss chard, boiled: 38% of the RDI in a cup (175 grams)

  • Dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa): 33% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Black beans: 30% of the RDI in a cup (172 grams)

  • Quinoa, cooked: 33% of the RDI the in a cup (185 grams)

  • Halibut: 27% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Almonds: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (24 grams)

  • Cashews: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (30 grams)

  • Mackerel: 19% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Avocado: 15% of the RDI in one medium avocado (200 grams)

  • Salmon: 9% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)


Turmeric (Curcuma long). West Coast herbalist Kathi Keville, co-author of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to Healing Arts tells of chronic smokers who took turmeric daily as part of a research project at the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad, India. Those who took turmeric eliminated three to eight times more carcinogens from their bodies as smokers who took no turmeric. 

To make you own Turmeric Tea purchase powered turmeric, grate or chop some fresh ginger and squeeze half a fresh lemon. Add all the ingredients into a tea pot, add boiling water and let steep for a good 5 minutes. Strain into a mug and add a dash of freshly ground pepper and a bit of raw unpasteurized honey. Drink and enjoy the health benefits.

Here are my top 7 favorite adaptogens for adrenal support

1. Amla

Sometimes known as amalaki or Indian gooseberry, amla is a popular Ayurvedic tonic believed to prolong youthfulness, life, and good memory. It also has a reputation for increasing resistance to disease and nourishing the blood, and is considered an especially effective tonic for restoring the appetite, supporting liver health, and supporting the health of the bones, teeth, and hair. Amla is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, mild laxative

2. Ashwagandha

This adaptogen has a reputation as a soothing nervine that can help anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia from stress. It is also used to support immune system health.

Ashwagandha calms the central nervous system. In addition, because it reduces unhealthy levels of inflammation, it can also help relieve arthritis. In lab and animal studies, the herb has suppressed the growth of leukemia, and prostate, lung, colon, and breast cancer cells.

Ashwagandha appears to enhance endocrine function, and can help support an underactive thyroid and balanced functioning of the testes and adrenal glands. It is often used in Ayurvedic formulas to support fertility and vitality in men.

Ashwagandha can also be supportive during heavy periods because it is rich in iron, and has been used in Africa as a uterine tonic for women who miscarry.

Properties: Immune tonic, fertility tonic, nervine relaxant, antispasmodic

Did you know? Ashwagandha can stimulate the thyroid gland, so it's not ideal for people who have issues with overactive thyroid.

3. Cordyceps Mushrooms

Cordyceps is a type of fungus that colonizes on caterpillars. It has been used in TCM to support kidney heath and treat infertility, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, and fatigue. Today, it's used mainly to boost athletic performance and immunity, and as a kidney and lung tonic.

Properties: Liver and kidney protectant, immune aid, fertility tonic, fatigue remedy

Did you know? Several companies now produce excellent cultivated cordyceps grown on soy instead of caterpillars.

4. Eleuthero

Equally suitable for men and women, and especially beneficial for the elderly, eleuthero is gentle, supportive, and good for long-term use. It has nervine actions and offers cognitive support, aids the health of the immune system, and can support healthy cholesterol levels and heart health during stressful times.

In addition to being a good everyday adaptogen, eleuthero offers support for those in highly stressful jobs, or who work long hours or have erratic schedules. It often appears to support the quality of sleep while reducing nighttime waking, but doesn't cause drowsiness during the day. It may also help lower blood sugar levels.

Eleuthero also supports the immune system, helping reduce incidence of colds and acute illness, and is equally beneficial during recovery from chronic illnesses and surgery.

Properties: Immune tonic, nervine, hypoglycemic, endurance booster

Did you know? Eleuthero is an excellent adaptogen for athletes because it supports endurance, shortens recovery time, and appears to protect the immune system during hard training.

5. Holy Basil

Holy basil, or tulsi, is considered one of India's most powerful herbs, and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 3,000 years. In addition to its traditional use as a tonic, Indian folk medicine recommends tulsi tea as an expectorant for bronchitis and to ease upset stomach and vomiting.

Modern herbalists mostly employ tulsi for issues related to the nervous system, including to support memory, recovery from head trauma, and as a treatment for depression. Tulsi's immune-stimulating properties also make it helpful for environmental allergies.

Properties: Nervine, immune system tonic, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative (gas reliever), diuretic, expectorant

Did you know? Holy basil is a member of the mint family.

6. Maca

Maca, a root vegetable grown in Peru, is widely believed to be an adaptogen. For the most part, it is valued for increasing libido and hormonal health in men and women, although the mechanism is not yet understood. Preliminary research into the eight different varieties of maca shows that each type has a slightly different profile of vitamins, minerals, and other factors.

Properties: Aphrodisiac, nutritive tonic, sperm count booster

Did you know? Although it is eaten as a vegetable in Peru, maca is available only in a dried and powdered form in the U.S.

7. Rhodiola

This adaptogen is a succulent that grows in cool, northern climates. It is native to Canada, Russia, and Scandinavian countries. It's part of the official Russian pharmacopoeia as an antidepressant and nerve tonic. Traditionally, this herb was used to increase mental stamina and physical endurance, boost the immune system during winter, and support fertility and endocrine health in men and women.

Like eleuthero, rhodiola can help support the immune system in athletes, when hard training can sometimes cause a decline in immune function. Rhodiola may also help balance blood sugar levels, improve fertility and reproductive health in both sexes, strengthen the heart, and protect the heart from stress-related damage.

Properties: Antiviral, nervine, immune stimulant, heart tonic, neuroprotectant

Did you know? Rhodiola is often used in herbal formulas designed to boost physical and mental energy, as it can provide a relatively quick lift to mood and energy levels.

Undoing Lung Damage?

The following is an article from Dr. Weil you can read it online by clicking here

Emphysema is a very serious lung disease, but it is quite unusual to develop it at your age. If you haven’t already, I would suggest getting a second opinion to make sure your diagnosis is correct. Your best bet would be to get an evaluation by a pulmonary specialist, who can check for an inherited cause of emphysema known as Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. Lack of this protein can result in early-onset emphysema, usually between ages 20 and 40; the effects are significantly worsened by smoking. A simple blood test can determine whether you have this genetic abnormality. If so, treatment is replacement therapy to raise the level of the missing protein enough to slow the progression of the lung disease. Unfortunately, the treatment is not curative, which is why smoking cessation is a must. If you have ATT deficiency, smoking may shorten your lifespan by as much as 10 years.

On its own, cigarette smoking is the most common cause of emphysema in older people. Components of tobacco smoke appear to trigger the release within the lungs of chemicals that damage the walls of the air sacs (alveoli). As a result, the sacs no longer have the same ability to bring oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream. Over time, damage to the air sacs worsens, leading to shortness of breath, a chronic cough and wheezing. Other symptoms may include anxiety, fatigue, weight loss, and eventually loss of mobility.

If you do have emphysema, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stop smoking immediately, which can prevent lung damage from worsening. Emphysema is typically treated with bronchodilators and corticosteroids to improve breathing. Your physician may also recommend that you use low-flow oxygen when you’re exercising or if you have breathing problems at night or suggest pulmonary rehabilitation to improve your tolerance for exercise. Beyond that, treatment options are few. Lung transplants are available for those with severe disease. Lung reduction surgery to remove damaged portions of the lung and allow normal parts to expand more fully is under study; I do not recommend it at this time.

Here are some suggestions to protect your lungs from further damage:

Take antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

  • Take a daily supplement of coenzyme Q10 supplement (CoQ10), which can improve the use of oxygen at the cellular level. Take 60 mg twice a day of the softgel form, which is best absorbed when taken with a meal containing some fat.

  • Take the Chinese medicinal mushroom cordyceps, which may be useful in chronic lung disease. Look for capsules of cordyceps extract and follow the dosage directions on the product label.

  • Increase your dietary sources of carotenes, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow squash and leafy green vegetables. Do not take straight beta-carotene supplements, however, as in smokers they may increase the chances of other lung problems. Your best bet is the mixed carotenoids found in these foods.

  • Get regular exercise to build up your stamina. However, make sure your doctor approves before you begin an exercise program.

  • Maintain normal weight. If you’re overweight, your heart has to work harder, and you’re more likely to experience shortness of breath. If you’re underweight, you will have lower energy stores to draw from.

  • Try to avoid exposure to air pollution, which can worsen emphysema symptoms. Stay indoors when ozone levels are unhealthy and pollution levels are high.

  • See your doctor promptly if you develop a cold or the flu, both of which can worsen symptoms. Be sure to get flu shots annually and ask your physician about being vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia.