By Michael A. Smith, MD
Instead, what we want to impress upon you is the need to take vitamin D if you smoke. Why? Because recent studies clearly show that smokers with low levels of vitamin D are actually at greater risk for permanent lung damage.
And this means that you need to do more than just increase your intake of vitamin D rich foods. It means that you need to check your blood level and take an appropriate daily dose of vitamin D to optimize your blood level.
The study we’ll look at below is pretty clear: Low vitamin D is not good for smokers.
Poor Lung Function & Low Vitamin DData from 626 men indicated that vitamin D deficiency may accelerate the loss of lung function associated with smoking. The analysis was a part of the Normative Aging Study.
The researchers first defined vitamin D deficiency as a blood level less than 20 ng/ml. They then reviewed blood results of the participants and categorized them as either deficient or sufficient and whether or not they smoked.
Their analysis revealed that vitamin D deficiency in smokers was associated with lower lung function when compared to smokers with sufficient levels.
The lead researcher concluded, “This study presents evidence that vitamin D deficiency may protect against lower lung function and more rapid lung function decline in smokers.”
Does this mean that you can continue smoking and simply take vitamin D and everything will be okay? Absolutely not! But we know how hard it is to quit.
So if you smoke, starting today, optimize your vitamin D blood level and continue your efforts to quit. It could help slow down the inevitable lung damage that comes with lighting up.
Optimal Vitamin D Blood LevelsLow dietary intake and limited sun exposure have led to an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. And this appears to have serious consequences for smokers. Please, make it a habit to get your vitamin D blood level checked yearly and supplement with it to maintain an optimal level.
So what is an optimal level? Well, based on the study cited here, we know that a sufficient level is greater than 20 ng/ml. But honestly, we still feel that’s way too low.
We suggest a blood level between 50 and 80 ng/ml. Why? Because research shows that at this level, vitamin D offers benefits to your immune system, lungs, heart, and could even protect against cancer.
So, start off by checking your blood level. We actually offer a vitamin D blood test that’s affordable and very easy to use on our website. If you want to learn more about it, give our vitamin D blood test page a look.
- Am J Respir Crit Care Med. July 19, 2012 rccm.201110-1868OC Published ahead of print on July 19, 2012, doi:10.1164/rccm.201110-1868OC (http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/content/early/2012/07/18/rccm.201110-1868OC.abstract)
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