Smokers - take care with this common supplement

Beta-Carotene, dangers for smokers, and the alternative

High levels of Beta-Carotene* in the body are associated with lower incidence of cancer, including lung cancer. So, one might assume it would be a good supplement for smokers, since they have an increased risk of cancer.

Surprisingly not! Studies have found that heavy smokers taking a high dose (20mg or more daily) β-Carotene supplement have an increased, rather than decreased, risk of lung cancer. (This didn’t apply to non-smokers).

20mg is a really high dose, and these effects were noticed after long-term use, so don’t panic if you’ve taken a multi-vitamin with β-Carotene before now - it probably contains less than 15mg. It’s important information to have though, so you can avoid taking any such high dose supplements.

Pollution Protection is designed to provide broad antioxidant support for people living in a polluted environment, within a daily multivitamin formula. The lifestyle of a lot of busy people I know includes smoking, whether it’s daily or a social-drinking habit, so it’s important that PP is suitable for them. Smokers can benefit from β-Carotene in lower doses, from foods, so in Pollution Protection I’ve used microalga Dunaliella Saline - see below - that has a safe amount of natural β-Carotene among other similar compounds such as lutein.

*What is Beta-Carotene?

A natural pigment that gives fruit and vegetables their orange-red colours, β-Carotene functions as an antioxidant in the body but is also converted to Vitamin A. It’s often used in supplements for that reason, because while Vitamin A is stored by the body and is toxic in excess, β-Carotene should be converted only as needed. Vitamin A is important, amongst other things, for maintaining your skin, vision and immune system function.

I met someone who had Vitamin A toxicity recently - it’s good to be aware of this if you take supplements because by taking a combination of multivitamins, beauty supplements, cod liver oil, and prescriptions for acne (all of which contain Vitamin A/Retinol), a harmful excess could occur!

Why use D. Salina Algae?

D. Salina Algae isn’t green as you’d imagine - it’s bright pink! That’s because of its carotenoid content. It contains not just β-Carotene, but Alpha-Carotene and Xanthophylls like Zeaxanthin, Cryptoxanthin and Lutein. This natural mixed carotenoid extract is easily absorbed by the body and the antioxidant compounds work in synergy. This ingredient is what gives Pollution Protection capsules their orangey colour.

Credit: Steve Jurvetson

Credit: Steve Jurvetson