How Your Body Repairs Itself, Even After Years of Smoking
A new study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research suggests metabolic changes that occur soon after a person quits smoking may help explain how some of the harmful effects of smoking could be reversible. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lung function improves and heart attack risk diminishes within two or three months of quitting smoking and earlier research shows these physiological improvements are due, at least in part, to metabolic changes.
For the study, researchers regularly collected blood, urine, and saliva samples from male volunteers who were trying to quit smoking and for up to three months after quitting. They reduced the effects of nutrition on metabolism by controlling the volunteers’ diets during four in-patient stays and ensured compliance by measuring levels of carbon monoxide and cotinine – a by-product of nicotine that can be detected in urine and saliva for several days after smoking.
Overall, researchers identified 52 substances formed in or necessary for metabolism that were significantly changed after the study participant stopped smoking. According to the researchers, these substances could one day be used as biomarkers for smoking-induced biological changes and could be used to evaluate potential benefits of switching to other smoking products, including electronic cigarettes.