Studies have shown that smokers, in addition to exposing their lungs to harmful toxins, often eat less fruits and vegetables than non-smokers. Given the role of fruit and vegetable based antioxidants in improving respiratory health and the difficulty of achieving lasting dietary change, researchers hypothesized that powdered fruit and vegetable supplements could improve respiratory function in heavy smokers. The results of their study are now available in an Open Access Article from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the Official Publication of the American College of Nutrition and a publication from Routledge.
75 heavy smokers meeting a set of health and lifestyle criteria were randomly divided into three groups for a double-blind placebo study, and instructed to take assigned mixed fruit and vegetable juice powder concentrate capsules twice daily (Juice Plus+®, NSA, Collierville, TN). One group (FV) was given capsules containing a blend of fruit and vegetable concentrate powders. Another group's capsules (FVB) contained the same ingredients with additional berry juice concentrate powder, and the control group was given a placebo. All subjects underwent blood sampling and respiratory tests before and after 3 months of supplementation.
The researchers concluded that ." . . both supplemented groups, but to a greater extent the FVB group, showed improvements in some pulmonary parameters, cardiovascular risk factors, and folate status. The beneficial effects of Juice Plus+® supplementation could potentially help smokers, even if smoking cessation is advisable." Researchers also found ." . . . a partial reduction in some of smoking-related complications . . . and suggested a potential use of nutraceutical treatment." But again, they remind us, that further research is needed and the treatments in question "cannot substitute for smoking cessation."
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