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Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital discovered that lung function among smokers may be worse for individuals who are deficient in vitamin D. Individuals who are worried about whether they are consuming enough of this nutrient may undergo a blood test to find out.
In order to determine whether vitamin D had any protective effects on smokers, a team of scientists conducted a study in which they followed more than 600 adult white men between 1984 and 2003. Not only did the researchers collect information on vitamin D levels, but they also recorded the number of cigarettes that subjects consumed, and how well the study participants' lungs worked.
Smoking was recorded in terms of pack-years, while a vitamin D deficiency was defined as anything less than 20 nanograms per milliliter.
Results showed that for every unit increase in pack years, the participants' mean forced expiratory volume in one second, a measure of lung function, was 12 milliliters lower among smokers who were vitamin D deficient. By comparison, that figure was only 6.5 milliliters for smokers who consumed enough of the nutrient.
However, experts warn that the health risks of smoking far outweigh the protective effects of vitamin D, and tobacco cessation is still a good idea.
In the meantime, people who are concerned about their vitamin D levels can take a blood test.
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