Occasional Smoking and Beta Carotene

Q. I’m a former smoker and have an occasional cigarette socially. You’ve warned that beta carotene will increase the danger of lung most cancers in people who smoke. My multivitamin lists “vitamin A 2,500 IU, 40% as beta carotene.” Ought to I cease taking it?

A. You shouldn’t fear concerning the beta carotene, however moderately your occasional smoking.

The 4 massive research from the 1990s displaying that beta carotene capsules enhance the danger of lung most cancers in people who smoke (by about 24 %) used doses at the very least 40 occasions increased than that in your multi. Plus, they centered on pretty heavy people who smoke; former people who smoke didn’t appear to be in danger. Nobody is aware of the secure dose of beta carotene for people who smoke. Nonetheless, your low dose and your mild smoking would presumably drastically scale back the dangers posed by the interplay.

Beta carotene is listed as vitamin A on the complement label as a result of the physique can convert it into that vitamin. There’s no proof that beta carotene from meals poses any most cancers threat. In actual fact, such meals might assist stop some cancers. There’s additionally no proof that beta carotene capsules have any well being advantages; we don’t suggest them for anybody.

As for social smoking, even an occasional cigarette entails important dangers, no matter beta carotene capsules. A single cigarette, or temporary publicity to secondhand smoke, can set off a coronary heart assault, stroke or sudden demise, in accordance with a 2011 report from the Surgeon Basic. And smoking only one cigarette places a stunning quantity of carcinogens into your physique.

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