"...all doctors should be able to diagnose and treat nutritional deficiencies."

Royal College of Physicians. Nutrition and Patients: A Doctor's Responsibility. London 2002

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Smoking

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The decline in the popularity of smoking has been noticeable over the last two decades.  Unfortunately the 25% of the adult population who continue to smoke remain at an increased risk of heart disease, cancer and some nutritional deficiencies

National Diet and Nutrition Surveys of Adults and The Elderly reveal that smokers:

  • a greater intake of white bread, sugar and cooked meat dishes
  • a greater intake of dietary fat but a lower intake of polyunsaturated fats including omega-3 fats
  • a lower intake of fibre
  • a lower intake of fruit and vegetables
  • lower intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene
  • a lower blood level of serum beta-carotene for the same intake as non-smokers
  • lower levels of folate and vitamin B6 in the elderly even when the values are adjusted for intake
  • higher levels of haemoglobin as smoking reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and the body responds by producing more haemoglobin

Additionally smokers are susceptible to the serious adverse effect of high dose supplements of beta-carotene which has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. See "Are your supplements safe for you - contraindications"

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Copyright Dr. Alan Stewart M.B.B.S.M.R.C.P. (UK)M.F. Hom.
47 Priory Street, Lewes, East Sussex. BN7 1HJ
Tel 01273 487003 Fax: 01273 487576