Beta Carotene and Smoking

Recent studies have shown that smoking and taking Beta Carotene supplements do not go together. Beta Carotene is an antioxidant, which means that it inactivates free radicals in the body. In the process it oxidizes and can become a kind of pro-oxidant or form oxidized by-products. Normally we don't have to worry about the by-products of Beta Carotene's antioxidant behavior. If you maintain a healthy diet with a variety of antioxidants they will work in combination to protect one another from oxidizing.

It appears that smokers on the other hand do have something to worry about. Two studies ending in the nineties found that people who smoked at least one pack a day or drank higher than average amounts of alcohol and took Beta Carotene or Vitamin A supplements were at a higher risk for developing lung cancer and a higher risk of dying. Each of these trials showed that Beta Carotene wasn't helping many of its smoking participants and was in fact hurting some of them. The first trial called The Alpha-Tocopheral, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Trial showed eighteen percent more lung cancer and eight percent more deaths in male smokers who took 20mg of Beta Carotene. The second trial called the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET) initial results showed that there was twenty eight percent more lung cancer in the group of smokers and former smokers it had taking Beta Carotene and Vitamin A and seventeen percent more deaths. These results were so similar to the Cancer Prevention Trial final results that they told the participants to stop taking the supplements before the trial was scheduled to end.

Why is this so? Well, since it's thought that anti-oxidants protect each other from oxidizing scientists suspect that smokers don't have enough of the other types of antioxidant vitamins in their systems to prevent this from occurring. It has been found that smokers have low levels of Vitamin C in their blood stream-and that's' one of the antioxidants. So the Beta Carotene oxidizes in the body after it uses up its antioxidant properties an in effect becomes a free radical damaging or exacerbating damage done to the cells of smokers lungs which leads to abnormal cell growth and cancer. With low levels of other kinds of antioxidants in their bodies there's nothing to stop it. Scientists believe that the two antioxidants that work together to protect the body from Beta Carotene pro oxidant damage are Vitamins E and C.

If you are a smoker you should by no means try to avoid Beta Carotene or Vitamin A in your diet. These trials seem to show that all anti-oxidants work together to prevent cancer and isolating one or the other for consumption, especially in a non-natural form, simply negates its effects and sometimes causes problems. What you should be doing is focusing on eating a lot of foods with antioxidants in combination. There is no evidence as of current that suggests eating foods with Beta Carotene in them can increase the risk of cancer in smokers.

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Author Vincent Platania represents the Stanley Home Products. Stanley Home Products has been in business since 1936, and offers high quality home and personal care products to keep your home and your body clean. Visit http://www.stanley-home-products.com

Vitamin E deficiency

A deficiency of vitamin E is rare in humans. Vitamin E is present in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis, Wheat, Sunflower seeds, Hazelnuts, Soybean oil (Soy is present in just about every packaged product on the market), Broccoli and etc. Though studies indicate we don't get the full recommended daily intake of vitamin E, which is twenty-two and a half international units. Since these studies came out many people began to worry that they weren't getting enough of the vitamin and began taking mega doses of vitamin E. While in some cases its certainly true that people need supplementation, such as pregnant or lactating women its not entirely necessary for the general population. Vitamin E deficiency has never been proven in a healthy human. It's been shown in other species and in those with medical conditions that limit the body's ability to absorb Vitamin E. It may be possible to develop a deficiency if you maintain a very strict and limited low fat diet for a period of time, but other vitamin deficiencies will show up as well. A deficiency can occur in people with an inability to absorb fat, because some fat is needed in the digestive tract for the absorption of vitamin E. Someone with a genetic abnormality in their alpha-tocopherol transfer protein will have a deficiency of vitamin E. Lastly premature babies will be deficient in the vitamin or low birth weight babies because of a poor vitamin E transfer from the mother via the placenta to the baby or in the case of preemies simply a lack of time to transfer the vitamin. A vitamin E deficiency also seems to be connected to Zinc deficiencies. The body may use zinc in absorbing or making use of vitamin E or the diet could be lacking in multiple vitamins and nutrients. Other conditions that can result in a vitamin deficiency are various intestinal disorders. Those suffering from Crohn's disease often experience diarrhea and subsequent inability to absorb vitamins. If you lack the ability to secrete bile you may need a special form of water soluble vitamin E since bile helps with the absorption of fats in the digestive tract. Some symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are sometimes nerve degenerations in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, eventual blindness. In infants you may notice irritability and edema. While adults can develop anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells, so you may notice fatigue, weakness, and paleness. The problem with vitamin E deficiency is that anyone who develops it will likely have a disease that is the underlying cause, such as Crohn's disease or gallbladder problems. So before diagnosing yourself as having a vitamin E deficiency you should get to a doctor and have them take a look at you for a proper diagnosis. In many cases treatment of the disease will naturally stop the symptoms. Visit http://www.stanley-home-products.com

Author Vincent Platania represents the Stanley Home Products. Stanley Home Products has been in business since 1936, and offers high quality home and personal care products to keep your home and your body clean. Visit http://www.stanley-home-products.com