Tag Archives: free radicals

Antioxidants May Protect Smokers from Lung Cancer

Healthnotes Newswire Article Reports

Smoking generates free radicals in the body, causing cell damage that can sometimes lead to cancer.

A study found that smokers might protect themselves from developing lung cancer by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants called flavonoids.

Quit Smoking Now — The Best Bet for Better Health

Smoking increases the risk for several cancers and heart disease, in addition to causing emphysema and other chronic airway diseases.

People who quit smoking lower their chances of developing these diseases and can actually repair some of the damage that smoking has caused.

If quitting smoking proves an insurmountable task, though, there are some things that smokers can do that may help protect them from the effects of cigarette smoke.

Flavonoids—Nature’s Cancer Fighters

Flavonoids are plant-derived compounds that are capable of scavenging free radicals in the body.

Studies have shown that flavonoids have anticancer properties, but most of these trials have used amounts of flavonoids much higher than those typically found in the diet.

The new study, published in the journal Cancer, aimed to determine if flavonoids could protect against lung cancer in smokers and nonsmokers, by comparing the amount and types of flavonoids eaten by 558 people with lung cancer and 837 healthy people.

Smokers who ate more of certain flavonoids called catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, and kaempferol, as well as more vegetables, tea, and wine were less likely to develop lung cancer than smokers who ate less of these flavonoids and foods.

Surprisingly, the protective effect of these foods and flavonoids was not seen among nonsmokers. “These results may reflect the finding that these flavonoid compounds are strong antioxidants against free radicals generated by tobacco smoking,” said the authors.

green teaDr. Lise Alschuler, author of Alternative Medicine Magazine’s Definitive Guide to Cancer, 2nd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing, commented, “These findings underscore the significant anticancer properties of flavonoids. Even a relatively small amount of dietary flavonoids exerted significant effects. This effect was most obvious in smokers likely due to the fact that smokers are typically severely depleted in antioxidants and have high exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.”

So where do you find lung-healthy flavonoids?

Benefits of Green and Black Tea

  • Epicatechin and catechin are plentiful in green and black teas, with lesser amounts in chocolate, grapes, and apricots. To boost the flavonoid power of tea, add lemon juice before drinking.
  • The main sources of quercetin and kaempferol are apples and red onions.

(Cancer 2008;112:2241–8)

Source:  Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, Healthnotes

Smoking Bad for You Inside and Out

The cosmetics sector undoubtedly cashes in on our desire to look good.

We spend large amounts of money on creams and different products to enhance or maintain our appearance.

However we often fail to remember how much what we consume affects us.

Cigarettes, which are universally acknowledged to take a toll on our lungs, are an item that can hinder our appearance as well. Whether we are simply social smokers or chain smokers, we may be doing damage to more than our lungs.

Recent research carried out by dermatologists has shown that people addicted to smoking cigarettes have around five times as many wrinkles as those who do not indulge in the habit.

Experts, noting that some studies have even proven that cigarettes yield a stronger effect than sunrays, say: “If you don’t want to experience early aging, quit smoking!”

Photo of Girl SmokingDull, wrinkled, dirty-gray skin, recognized by many as being “smokers skin,” is a phenomenon experienced by 79 percent of smokers, says Dr. Bayram Börekçi, a skin and venereal diseases expert.

Börekçi explains; “Some of the symptoms we see on smokers’ faces include permanent lines and wrinkles, as well as a collapsed facial expression resulting from the protruding bones underneath the skin.

We also see thinning skin, a light-gray appearance, as well as a light orange/purple/red coloring. The “cigarette addict’s face” is the same face seen on women over the age of 70. It is worth noting that people addicted to cigarettes start getting wrinkles very early. The amount of wrinkling is parallel to the number of cigarettes smoked over the course of a year.

Some of the factors which lead to the formation of wrinkles on the skin as a result of cigarette smoking are the widening veins due to the stimulation of the nervous system by nicotine, the reduction of oxygen in soft tissues, the increase in clotting and the reduction of collagen.”

Börekçi, mentioning the toxic, mechanical and genetic effects of smoking, notes that the reduction of moisture in smokers’ skin is connected with the toxic effect of cigarettes. The doctor also notes that the wrinkling seen around the lips of some smokers is a result of the “mechanic” effects of cigarette smoking, the muscles used when actually inhaling smoke.

He notes: “Many people believe that there are also genetic factors at play here, as not all cigarette smokers have a cigarette addict’s face. The elasticity layer in the parts of bodies which are not regularly exposed to the sun in cigarette smokers are, when compared to the same areas of the body in non-smokers, much thicker and more fragmented. The chronic reduction of oxygen to the skin also reduces the synthesis of collagen, making visible wrinkles emerge.”

He went on: “Cigarettes can cause a variety of anti-estrogen effects, such as infertility, early menopause and menstrual irregularities. The physiological effects and importance of estrogen to the skin can be seen clearly in the post-menopausal period. In women who are addicted to cigarettes, the hypo-estrogen situation that is brought about shows itself in dry skin and wrinkles.

Cigarettes reduce the levels of vitamin A in the body, which means that the cells have a greatly reduced level of protection against their number-one enemy, free radicals. This too makes it easier for wrinkles to appear. In people who already have white or grey hair, there is a yellowish color that appears in the hair because of the tar in cigarettes.

The same sort of yellowish-brown color appears on the fingers and fingernails of people who smoke. This is called a “nicotine stain.” The insides of smokers’ mouths are darker than other people’s mouths. In fact, sometimes the insides of the cheeks develop a tough, irregular whitish film. The fact that veins become narrower as a result of smoking means that it is harder for wounds to heal.

It has been shown that even smoking just one cigarette can have the effect of narrowing veins for up to 90 minutes. There are more than 4,000 chemical elements found in cigarette smoke, although it is mostly nicotine, which is responsible for the decrease in the flow of blood.”

So bearing all this mind, you might want to ask yourself: Is enjoying a cigarette really worth all this potential physiological damage you could be dealing yourself?