Smokers who give up their nicotine addiction go through a detoxification process as the toxins from smoking begin to leave the body. New ex-smokers may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, aggravation, dizziness, fatigue and sleeping difficulties. Emotional attachment to cigarettes also causes mental withdrawal symptoms as an ex-smoker begins a new life without smoking. Vitamin intake through supplements and foods during the smoking detox process can help replenish the body with lost nutrients to improve your health during this crucial period.
Smoking depletes the body of vitamin C, an antioxidant that can repair cell damage, Netdoctor notes. Antioxidants protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Cigarette smoke contains oxidants that create free radicals, which produce cell mutations that lead to cancer and other diseases. Smokers and people who just quit smoking need to increase their vitamin C intake for antioxidant protection. Deficiencies of vitamin C may result in fatigue, weakness, depression and weight loss. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables during your smoking detox period. Include vitamin C supplements to help improve vitamin levels as toxins disappear from your body.
Vitamin E, another valuable antioxidant, can be found in vegetable oils, butter, eggs and cereal grains. Vitamin E disappears more rapidly in smokers than in nonsmokers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Researchers at the institute found that vitamin E levels dropped 13 percent faster among smokers than nonsmokers during a controlled study. Vitamin E helps protect lung tissue from cigarette smoke, Dr. Maret Taber, a professor at the institute, says. Getting more vitamin E through foods and supplements replenishes your supply during smoking detox. High levels of vitamin C and E work together for cell and tissue protection.
Smoking also harms vitamin A, which protects cells that prevent bacteria from entering the lungs. Long-term smokers may decrease damage to their lung cells when taking vitamin A, Stop-Smoking-Tips.com points out. Smokers may receive some extra protection by taking vitamin A, but people who quit smoking can significantly increase their levels. Food sources of vitamin A include green and yellow vegetables, egg yolks and milk.
Folic acid, a B complex vitamin, may improve lung function, according to HealthCentral. Folic acid also helps increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, provides relaxation and sleep. People who quit smoking often suffer from insomnia when going through the withdrawal period. Sources of folic acid include fruit, liver, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, okra, pinto beans, navy beans and asparagus.