Over 50% of American adults smoke, or have smoked, tobacco in their lives. While we all know the terrible effects on our lungs, but do you know the nutritional deficiencies and requirements brought with smoking tobacco??

Probably the most shocking is the effect on Vitamin C. For each cigarette you smoke, 25 mg of Vitamin C are burnt up.

Smoking also burns up Sulfur. This is one of the causes of sore throat from smoking, and coughing can ensue upon eating fats. Sulfur is the ‘beauty’ mineral useful for our skin, hair and nails. And cigarette smoking not only burns up our Sulfur, but the amino acids L-Methionine and L-Cysteine, the amino acids which make the cells more flexible.

Nicotine is also the opposite molecule of Niacin and when you smoke a cigarette, the Niacin is displaced in the brain and replaced by nicotine. With each cigarette, niacin throughout the entire body is displaced and replaced.

So you can see, if you are already deficient in Vitamin C, or are requiring more Vitamin C to support your immune system or for other nutritional and health needs, each cigarette is taking it away and requiring you to ingest even more just to keep healthy. What all does Vitamin C do for your body??

Vitamin C plays an important role in the formation of collagen, which is important for the growth and repair of tissue cells, gums, blood vessels, bones, and teeth. It also necessary for your body to absorb Iron. Smokers are oftentimes anemic, and this is very much one of the reasons. Vitamin C accelerates healing after surgery, helps decrease blood cholesterol and lowers the incidence of blood clot formation in the veins. Vitamin C is part of the blood pressure regulation system and helps prevent hypertension (high blood pressure) by protecting levels of nitric oxide, a natural chemical MADE by the body to help relax blood vessels. It also supports the immune system. A deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to a condition called scurvy, which causes muscle weakness, swollen and bleeding gums, loss of teeth and bleeding under the skin, as well as tiredness and depression.

Sulfur is a very important mineral in the body. It is present in all body cells, but concentrated in the skin, hair and nails. It also aids in the dissolving of acids in the body, improves circulation, normalizes heart action, and acts as an oxidizing agent on the blood. Most importantly, it is essential in the formation of the amino acids Cysteine, Methionine, Lysine, Glutathione and Taurine for the replacement of proteins in the organism. Symptoms to let you know you are deficient and can experience many side effects, include poor growth of nails and hair, dermatitis, eczema, constipation and improper bile secretion. Low Sulfur will also give you clues including morning phlegm-filled throat.

Niacin , also known as Vitamin B-3, helps the body convert food into fuel (or, rather, carbohydrates into glucose), which the body uses as energy. It also helps the body use fats and proteins and is needed for a healthy liver, healthy skin, eyes, and to assist the nervous system. Niacin is also very instrumental in the production of various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and elsewhere. Niacin works with the circulation system. In the U.S., the main cause of Niacin deficiency is Alcoholism, with smoking coming close in behind. And, since, alcohol and cigarettes are often used together, it’s a bad mix for all of these needs and processes in the body.

Not mentioning the purposes and functions of all of the other acids, hormones and other essentials produced within the body dependent on these nutrients, you can quickly see how smoking affects nutrition.

How can you correct these deficiencies caused by smoking? First, obviously, quit smoking. Some recommendations are to supplement your Niacin while quitting. Not only will it help replace the displaced vitamin, but will also help prevent cravings for starches while quitting. To replace sulfur, use the sulfur-containing aminos Methionine and Cysteine, and the herbs Sarsparilla and Fenugrrek. Take Spirulina to give the body more oxygen, along with Vitamin E to utilize the oxygen more thoroughly. The herb Goldensel is helpful, as well, but it should not be taken until smoking has ceased for a couple of weeks. This is because Goldenseal will ‘melt’ the tar in the lungs, and acts as an expectorant which will cause lots of coughing and coughing up green and yellow phlegm. Wait until the lungs have started to reconstruct.

Holistic Nutrition is not just about ‘food.’ Any substance that provides or deteriorates vitamins, minerals, enzymes, cell salts, hormones, tissues or any other part of the body are considered ‘nutrition.’ A personalized nutrition program will encompass all of these factors, and guide you in correcting causes and effects. A generic or trendy ‘diet’ is not enough. Especially for those with health issues, but even for people who think they are healthy. It can take years for effects to manifest. Visit your holistic nutritionist or natural health practitioner today to find a holistic plan to get back on track!

Author's Bio: 

Lisa C. Baker, CNC, RNHP, is a certified Nutritional Counselor, and also holds a certificate in Complementary and Integrative Health. She is a member of the American Nutritional Association, the International Association of Natural Health Practitioners, International Institute for Complementary Therapists, and is a Registered Natural Health Practitioner by the IANHP. She is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Naturopathic program.