We know smoking is seriously bad for our health but aside from the obvious damage, it can also leave you lacking in crucial minerals like magnesium.
Around 100,000 Brits die every year from smoking, while many more are living with serious smoking-related illnesses. Smokers can also suffer from a lack of vital vitamins and minerals, including magnesium.
The nutrient shortfall
Experts have long argued that part of the health risk of smoking is that smokers tend to eat a less healthy diet, so they lack key nutrients. In 2017, US researchers decided to put that theory to the test.
They looked at the diets of men and women, both smokers and non-smokers, who completed a three-day food diary. Results showed that smokers had low intakes of healthy fats, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, various B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
Although the study found non-smokers also failed to eat enough key nutrients, the smokers’ intake was substantially lower, raising their risk of developing chronic diseases.
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More cigarettes ups deficiency
Another study examined whether the amount you smoke also affected nutrient levels. Research published in the IOSR Journal Of Pharmacy in 2016 looked at both iron and magnesium levels in the blood of smokers, and found that not only were magnesium levels much lower in smokers, magnesium was significantly decreased when people got through more than 15 cigarettes a day.
Appetite or absorption?
Smoking can dent your appetite – if you’re eating less food, you’re getting fewer nutrients – but it can also reduce absorption of magnesium thanks to the impact it has on your digestion.
Smoking weakens the muscle between the oesophagus and stomach, and can also affect factors that protect or heal the stomach lining, such as blood flow or the mucus that protects the stomach lining. All this damage makes it harder to absorb nutrients such as magnesium.
Smoking damages kidneys too
Scientists have also found that nicotine damages the kidneys. This is important because kidneys are responsible for regulating the body’s excretion and reabsorption of electrolytes, including magnesium. If the kidneys are less able to excrete these substances, you can be left with a build-up of waste products in the blood.
This disruption to kidney function can lead to high blood pressure and further kidney damage, or even kidney failure. That’s why smokers with conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure tend to develop kidney disease much faster than non-smokers.
Yet another reason to stub out the cigs and munch on magnesium-rich leafy greens.
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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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