Best Vitamins & Supplements for Cigar Smokers
Best Vitamins for Cigar Smokers
Note: The views expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author. Please consult your health advisor before taking any vitamins and supplements.
When choosing vitamins and supplements for cigar smokers (and smokers at large), it’s important to understand that we run the risk of adverse health effects while enjoying our favorite stick.
We’ll begin by highlighting the most relevant and serious health effects of cigar smoking and then tell you which vitamins and supplements can help minimize these effects so you can enjoy your favorite smoke for many years.
Health Conditions for Cigar Smokers
While cigars are safer than cigarettes due to the many carcinogenic chemicals used by elder tobacco, smoking any type of tobacco still has substantial health consequences. Most people think that cancer risk is the only thing you face when deciding to smoke, but unfortunately, there’s a lot more to the equation than just carcinogens.
increased blood pressure and hypertension
The first and most common concern with tobacco smoking (and anything else) is the risk of increased blood pressure and hypertension. Smoking tobacco and its chemical compound nicotine causes blood vessels throughout the body to constrict. This results in reduced blood flow to all of your major organs, including your heart, brain, lungs and skin.
Less oxygen and nutrients flow to the organs and cells that desperately need them, not to mention significantly raising your risk of heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure is known as the silent killer for a reason, and the constant narrowing of your blood vessels contributes heavily to this devastating disease. Decreased blood flow also means aging and wrinkled skin, lower testosterone, lower sex drive and a higher risk of erectile dysfunction.
When blood flow constricts, your body prioritizes sending blood to the major organs needed to keep you alive, and even though many of us men may feel otherwise, our sex organs are not one of them.
increase in free radicals
The next major issue we face as brothers and sisters of the Leaf is the increase in free radicals in our blood. Free radicals are unstable atoms that damage and injure healthy cells, leading to various diseases and accelerated aging. Several studies and theories have linked an increase in free radicals to serious conditions such as:
- diseases of the central nervous system such as Alzheimer’s, cerebral and Bell’s palsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease
- Auto-immune and inflammatory diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart disease due to clogged arteries (yes, we get this from many angles)
- accelerated aging-related deterioration, such as reduced skin-elasticity, wrinkles, gray hairs, and hair loss (again, our skin takes a beating from many angles)
Unfortunately, tobacco is not the only reason for the increase of free radicals that we encounter every day. Others include toxic chemicals, air pollution, alcohol consumption, and highly processed and fried foods.
immune system function
The last issue we’ll cover here is weakened immune function and the host of issues that come with it. Due to the low bioavailability of selenium and the decrease in white blood cell count caused by tobacco smoking, our immune system struggles to protect our bodies from viruses, infections, and other foreign bodies.
This makes us more vulnerable to things ranging from the common cold to more serious things like cancer. In addition, decreased bioavailability of selenium is associated with infertility, muscle weakness, fatigue, brain fog, and hair loss. While there are some other health consequences of tobacco use, these are the most important and harmful ones so we will stop here for now.
Vitamins and Supplements to Help Cigar Smokers
Wow, I’m glad it’s over! Now we can get on to the fun stuff. I promise it is not our intention to scare you with this information, but it is important to know how to solve the problems we are facing. The good news is that there are a number of vitamins and supplements that research has shown can help with many of the above health effects of smoking tobacco.
You can adjust your diet to get more of them into your body, supplement them all individually, or find a multivitamin that puts them all in one capsule. Before we begin, there is one caveat with the multivitamin route. Most of the generic multivitamins available on the market contain certain vitamins that have been shown by several studies to actually increase the risk of cancer in smokers!
This is correct; If you smoke tobacco and take a daily multivitamin, there is a good chance that you are increasing your risk of cancer. These are vitamin E, vitamins B6 and B12, and vitamin A aka beta-carotene. We suggest that if you are currently taking any of these you stop immediately and do some research. We will be sharing some links at the end of this article to help guide you.
Vitamin C – Antioxidant and boosts immunity
The first supplement smokers should pay attention to is vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin which means that our bodies do not produce or store it; The only way to get it is by ingesting it. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, kiwi, peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.
It is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals, boosts immunity and helps in the production of white blood cells. Research shows that it may help manage high blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels that become tight and rigid from smoking.
Low levels of vitamin C have also been linked to decreased memory and ability to think clearly, AKA brain fog. Overall, vitamin C is essential for anyone interested in maintaining their health, but even more so for people who smoke tobacco!
Vitamin D3 – Immune Support & Wellness
Vitamin D3 is another superpowerful vitamin for smokers. Vitamin D3 is found in foods such as salmon, tuna, beef liver, egg yolks, shrimp, milk, yogurt, and mushrooms. Low levels of vitamin D3 have been linked to hypertension, high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke.
It also provides a powerful boost to the immune system to help fight off infections and diseases, including many of the central nervous system and autoimmune diseases we discussed earlier. Vitamin D3 has also been researched for its ability to fight fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
Getting enough vitamin D3 through diet alone is challenging, so you should supplement it with a healthy diet. Also, too much vitamin D supplementation can cause issues like nausea and dehydration, so be sure to stick to 15mcg unless you’re over 70, which means you can take up to 20mcg. Can
Zinc – Immune System Support
Zinc is an essential nutrient (technically a mineral), so it needs to be taken in through diet and supplements. Zinc is found in various plants and animals, such as shellfish, meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, mushrooms, kale, peas and asparagus.
Its primary function is to support a strong immune system. Zinc is essential for immune cell function and signaling, and zinc deficiency is directly related to susceptibility to infection and disease. Zinc is also researched for reducing the risk of many age-related diseases and reducing inflammation that leads to heart disease, cancer and mental decline. Zinc is another supplement where very high doses can cause some complications, so it is best not to go above 11mg per supplement unless specified by a doctor.
Collagen – Skin Health and Elasticity
Collagen is an essential protein in the health and maintenance of the skin and one of the main building blocks of muscle, bone, cartilage, blood vessel linings, the respiratory tract and other connective tissues. Smoking tobacco depletes our own collagen which leads to skin ageing, wrinkling and loss of elasticity.
Furthermore, collagen plays an integral role in cellular processes such as tissue repair, immune response, and cellular communication. Since tobacco smoke speeds up the aging of your skin and other connective tissues, collagen is an important supplement in combating the effects of smoking.
Collagen isn’t as easy to obtain from the diet as some of the others on this list, but it can be found in high amounts in bone broth, chicken skin, fish skin, sardines, and organ meats. It can be found in smaller amounts in poultry, meat, seafood, legumes, dairy and eggs. As a general rule, it is much easier and more effective to supplement collagen with one of the many forms of collagen supplement on the market.
Collagen is also most effective when combined with vitamin C and zinc, as both are needed for your body to produce its own collagen.
Turmeric – Antioxidant and reduction of inflammation
Turmeric is a “superfood” antioxidant with inflammation-fighting properties to combat the risk of heart disease, cancer and other metabolic syndrome linked to smoking. For thousands of years, turmeric has been used for medicinal purposes, and science is now catching up to its massive benefits.
So much so that Healthline.com said it “may be the most powerful nutritional supplement in existence.” Turmeric has been researched to improve cardiovascular function and reduce the risk of heart disease by improving the function of the lining of blood vessels. It has been shown to contribute to the death of cancer cells, reduce the growth of blood vessels in tumors, and slow the spread of cancer.
If that wasn’t enough, several studies show that turmeric improves memory and learning, can fight depression, arthritis, and delay aging. Overall, turmeric is something everyone should take on a daily basis, and more so if you smoke tobacco. Studies have shown it to help with almost every disease associated with smoking and improve the functioning of your entire body!
Quercetin – Anti-inflammatory and immune support
Quercetin is a natural flavonoid antioxidant and anti-inflammatory found in many fruits and vegetables. It is known to boost the effectiveness of the immune system, lower high blood pressure and lipid profile, and reduce stress hormones.
Quercetin has been researched for its effects in preventing carcinogenesis (cancer), improving cardiovascular health, enhancing athletic performance, and having neuroprotective properties! It does exceptionally well when combined with Vitamin C, demonstrating synergistic effects between the two. Foods rich in quercetin include onions, capers, broccoli, cherries, red apples, red grapes and berries.
Final Thoughts on Vitamins and Supplements to Support Smoker’s Health
Depending on how careful you are with the quality of your diet, it can be challenging to get enough of these vitamins without supplements. Nevertheless, it is possible if you are determined and disciplined.
If you choose to take supplements individually, be sure to follow dosage guidelines for D3 and zinc, as they are easy to overdose on. Let’s say you want to have all of these ingredients in one supplement with proper dosage and without the vitamin that can cause cancer in smokers.
In that case, a daily multivitamin made specifically for smokers called Smoke-Rx does exactly that. Whatever your choice, we urge you to get more of these vitamins in your life to help counteract the effects of smoking so that we can live longer, happier and healthier lives!
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