Nutrition Advice for Former Smoker

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Buzz Foster, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    Well, it has only been two weeks, but I kept it quiet to see if I would stick with it without hearing constant good wishes.

    Anyway, I did it, and now I want to take some steps to improve my health. I have been taking vitamin and mineral supplements since January, and I am wonderig what, if anything, I can take that would be helpful in repairing the damage I have done over the years to my lungs, and hopefully preventing lung cancer.

    I found that a vitamin A derivative called 9-cis RA has been tested on former smokers and has shown improvements in bronchial cell functioning that could help as a lung cancer preventative. However, the drug is not yet FDA approved for this purpose. It is currently prescribed to AIDS patients for relief from some KS symptoms. Side effects include skin problems and hair loss. It sounds promising, but not ready for prime time just yet.

    Nicotene vaccines are on the immediate horizon, and I am interested in those, too.

    In the meantime, what vitamins and supplements are good for helping my body repair itself? I don't feel as invilnerable as I did in my twenties...
     
  2. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    I'm no doctor (and don't play one on TV either) but I'd think talking with a nutritionist would be the best first step. Why replace one drug with another? The human body seems pretty adept at healing itself if given the right food(s) and throw in a bit of excercise. You can get 100% of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs with the proper diet.

    IMHO, we've been "advertised", as a society, into looking for a magic elixir (or pill) to make everything OK......and easy and painless. I love all those drug commercials that promise to fix you right up but that you may have liver problems, your hair fall out, constipation, etal.

    Mort (who can't let it go without saying "good for you")
     
  3. Tom Fynan

    Tom Fynan Stunt Coordinator

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    I play a doctor in real life, but not on television. An oncologist, as it happens. Time is the only thing that will reduce the risk of lung cancer in a former smoker. Depending on how long and how much you smoked, it takes 10-15 years for the risk of lung cancer to return to the baseline of the general population. Physical damage such as emphysema can not be repaired.

    I don't know of any studies of supplements or vitamins that have been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers. One of the largest studies, of beta-carotene, showed an increased risk of death in smokers who took it.
    Cis-retinoic acid can eliminate precancerous lesions in the throat and mouth, but the doses needed are very toxic; most people can not tolerate them.

    The best you can do is eat a healthy and balanced diet (then you don't need vitamins and supplements), tone up your cardio-pulmonary system with aerobic exercise, and most importantly, stay off the cigarettes. I know it's hard, but I did it myself 17 years ago.

    Good Luck,

    Tom Fynan
     
  4. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Yeah, get out and start exercising to fill that void left by cigs. Even walking daily can help you manage your stress and keep your mind off the death sticks.

    Good luck Buzz and good job so far!
     
  5. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    Well, I have seen studies that indicate that half of all smoking-related lung cancers are in former smokers. Benny Parsons quit in 1978, and is now battling lung cancer. Makes you want to scream. But perhaps he had a genetic predisposition to it. Who the hell knows. Other studies indicate that 10% to 15% of all smokers will get lung cancer. Better odds than the lottery for sure, but not the certain death sentence that seems to be implied by the anti-smoking lobby.

    For the record, I have quit and want to stay quit. But I am pro-personal freedom, and I am squarely in the skeptics camp on second-hand smoke issues. I don't quit smoking and turn into one of those people with spray bottles that squirt cigarettes out.

    The smoking vaccine takes away the rush, which would help prevent relapse. I hate stopping, but it isn't impossible. What has proven impossible has been staying off. That vaccine would help to keep me on the wagon. Thanks for the encouragement Mort, and I'm not looking for the magic pill...just the best help science can provide. (Heavy emphasis on the science side...I have no desire to go to the holistic store and take quack herbs or wear crystals.)

    Tom, thanks for the input. 9-cic R A does not look like any picnic for KS sufferers, so I assume that I would not enjoy taking it and making my hair fall out. I remain hopeful for sciences of prevention, which I think for now are more in the nutrition realm. I guess 9-cis R A is being tested on people with obviously precancerous lesions. As far as I am aware, I do not have those, and have never had a "smoker's cough". Hopefully, my lungs are resilient enough to fix themselves, but I do want to give them all the building blocks they need to help them. Hence, the basis of my question.

    Joe, I have decided that it is time to get back into the home gym. Also, it is hard to smoke on a motorcycle. I can ride longer stretches. Sweet.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I do feel better, and I have to keep reminding myself that I do.
     
  6. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Try fasting and some de-toxing, only after consulting with your doctor of course.
     
  7. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    As the good doctor said, increased intake of Vitamin A (beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body) has been shown to increase death in smokers.

    I had one patient that brought in all of her medications and supplements. She was a former smoker taking several times the RDA for Vitamin A. We told her that she had to stop.

    As a future doctor, I would agree that a well-balanced diet that precludes the need for extra supplements is the best way to go.

    Wishing you a long and healthy life.
     
  8. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5246538.stm

    I don't mean to be rude or highjack this thread, but I'm frustrated that in this day and age there's still some skepticism about the effects of second-hand-smoke. It's very, very harmful, particularly when young children live in the same space. (The link above is the BBC reporting on how second hand smokers are more likely to develop osteoporosis.)
     
  9. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    I though taking more than the RDA of vitamin A was a bad idea for anyone. That is one of those vitamins that does not get flushed out quickly if you take too much of it, right? I take no extra A, just what is in my multi.

    Mike, the oft-quoted 1993 EPA study, which is also the basis for every other second-hand smoke conclusion and law in the U.S. was thrown out for flawed methodology. The conclusion of harm was reached before the study was done. It had a pre-determined conclusion. No matter how it is sliced, it is not science.

    Now, I was never the type who would blow smoke in someone's face and laugh if they asked me not to smoke around them. I have always preferred a non-smoking section in a restaurant, as the strong smell of tobacco smoke interferes with the taste of food. But I also am of the opinion that in situations where only adults are present, and the choice is available to leave or stay, laws should not dictate behaviour. I have seen busy-body old ladies in Albuquerque insisting that bars should be smoke free. They have done exactly that in Colorado. That's ridiculous. Everyone there is at least 21. That's above the minimum smoking age. If you spend enough time in a bar for second hand smoke to affect you, you probably have worse problems than second-hand smoke.

    Heck, I'll bet if you studied it long enough you'd find that people exposed to second hand smoke in bars are more likely to have DWIs than little old busybody ladies who stay at home. [​IMG]
     
  10. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    In many places here in Canada smoking is banned outright in public places altogether, especially bars and restaurants. In fact I think by now most of the provinces have adapted a zero tolerance law on smoking (I'm sure someone can chime in and confirm it).
     
  11. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    We have exported Kalleefornia to the Great White North!!!! New law this year was no smogging within 20 feet of a doorway....and of course, no puffs allowed indoors in any public place for quite some time now. I think there's another ballot initiative coming that adds another $2.50 a pack tax for another worthwhile government program too.

    Good thing you didn't try this quitting thing in the PRK Buzz....you can't smoke anywhere but they can't afford to let you quit either.

    Mort
     
  12. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    I think Kentucky just did a statewide ban. Boy, talk about biting the hand that feeds...
     

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