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Clin Chest Med. 2000 Mar;21(1):173-87, x.

Tobacco-related diseases. Is there a role for antioxidant micronutrient supplementation?

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  • 1Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA.


It is clear that smoking causes an increase in free radicals, reactive nitrogen and oxygen species (RNS and ROS, respectively), and that cigarette smoking is associated with increases in the incidence and severity of several diseases including atherosclerosis, cancer, and chronic obstructive lung disease. Although there is still no unequivocal evidence that oxidative stress is a contributor to these diseases or that an increased intake of antioxidant nutrients is beneficial, the observation that smokers have lower circulating levels of some of these nutrients, raises concern. This article discusses the possible links between the observed oxidant-induced damage related to tobacco smoking, effects on cellular mechanisms, and their potential involvement in the causation and enhancement of disease processes.

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