Tobacco smoking is one of the most difficult and insidious habits to stop and yet we are constantly bombarded with messages advising us to how we should set about stopping smoking. The problem with most of these advertisements is that they are all for nicotine patches, gum or cigarette substitutes; which are all well and good but they do have quite high rates of recidivism with people failing to actually ‘kick the habit’ for good. However, by using some fairly basic and everyday health supplements you can vastly increase your chances of quitting smoking once and for all.
Why you should stop smoking – now!
Whether its cigarettes, cigars or a pipe you smoke it is the nicotine in the tobacco that is the addictive drug that keeps you wanting more. Some people feel that they need tobacco for their nerves or that in social situations they feel more relaxed if they smoke, some people will even say smoking helps them to lose weight! However, to what point they might think this helps them socially is a mystery as they will smell of tobacco smoke, not to mention having yellow teeth and bad breath. The reality of it is that their bodies simply crave nicotine to the extent that they are almost unable to function without a certain level of nicotine in their blood. That, in itself, is bad enough but the damage that the smoke and tar inhaled when smoking does is far more serious. Whilst the nicotine will raise your blood pressure and pulse rate the smoke, after only a few months of smoking, will cause bronchitis and even pneumonia, sinus congestion, shortness of breath and fatigue. That last point is worth re-thinking for the moment as your body’s response to feeling fatigued is to look for a ‘pick-me-up’ and the automatic response to that is – another dose of nicotine! Those are just the short-term effects; in the longer term smoking can lead to cancers, heart disease and strokes. It is also well known that the skin of smokers will age more rapidly than non-smokers, cause premature grayness and, in men, baldness and impotence.
Supplements to help you stop smoking.
As a smoker your levels of vitamin B and C will be depleted and you should immediately give these regular daily boosts. Vitamin B helps to soothe frayed nerves and lessen anxiety, symptoms you will experience when stopping smoking. Vitamin C is a well known anti-oxidant, meaning that the vitamin it will remove free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules whose production is increased by smoking tobacco. Free radicals are bad for us because they can oxidize our DNA which can lead to cell mutations such as cancers. Taking a vitamin E supplement will help to reduce the risk of stokes, heart and arterial diseases – that can also be caused by free radicals. There are also some other health supplements that can help you through the cravings for tobacco products that your nicotine addiction will be constantly tempting you to revert back to your ‘old’ smoking ways. Used for centuries in India as a cure for opium addiction oat extract has the ability to significantly reduce your dependence on nicotine by affecting the chemicals in the brain that give rise to addictions. Some people experience anxiety of stopping smoking which is again due to the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Although these feelings of anxiety will pass within a month or so, taking vitamin B, pantothenic acid, will boost the adrenal glands to produce more anti-stress hormones to counter this effect. If you’ve been using nicotine patches or gum, there’ll come a time when you should also wean yourself off these. As a substitute try chewing liquorice or dandelion roots, these are two more health supplements capable of reducing the tobacco/nicotine cravings. However, you must only use them the urge for nicotine/smoking is very strong. Finally, when smoking you are inhaling all manner of impurities into your body, cat’s claw extract is an excellent supplement, suitable for some people, to remove all those nasty toxins.
Other things to take and do when stopping smoking.
Picking up on that last point on detoxing yourself – apart from vitamin and health supplements there are some other things to take and do when stopping smoking. The first thing to mention is – eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and nuts to help reduce the harmful effects of all that smoke you’ve been inhaling. Lots of green leafy vegetables are recommended along with raw or lightly cooked carrots. Bilberries and blueberries, along with pretty well any type of nuts, should become your favorite snacking foods; after all they’re good for you in so many ways compared to potato chips, chocolate etc. if you feel particularly stressed out by giving up smoking – increase the amount of exercise you do. Whether it’s extra or longer sessions at the gym, pool or just going for a brisk walk – exercise will help you to get over the cravings for smoking and reduce your stress levels. As mentioned before using nicotine patches or gum, at least in the early stages, may well help you to break the smoking habit. However, you should also keep your mind open to other therapies such as hypnotism or the old Chinese art of acupuncture. Finally, if you really are depressed and at a loss as to whether or not you’ll succeed in stopping smoking – you can always discuss taking an anti-depressant drug such as bupropion with your physician.
Taking supplements to stop smoking.
When taking vitamin B one tablet a day will suffice. However, look for a vitamin B complex tablet that will include vitamin B12, biotin and folic acid. Start taking a 500mg daily dose of vitamin C, large doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea, so if necessary reduce this dosage as required. A daily 400mg dose of vitamin E is recommended, if you’re taking a prescription anticoagulant drug seek medical advice first. Oat extract is usually taken as a tincture and you should take half a teaspoon four times a day. The alcohol based extract is known as avena sativa, but a non-alcoholic preparation in oat juice is also available. Pantothenic acid can be quite expensive so look for calcium pantothenate instead, take 100mg twice a day. Liquorice and dandelion roots can be chewed according to the individuals taste. As always if you have a known medical condition, are a nursing mother or are pregnant – seek medical advice before taking supplements.