Cigarette poison kills anti-ageing gene, new research reveals


New York: Scientists have discovered one of the ways in which smoking cigarettes makes you age faster and puts you at risk of diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

Researchers at the University of Rochester in the US found that the toxins in cigarette smoke wipe out a gene that protects the body against premature ageing.

Dr Irfan Rahman, associate professor of environmental medicine and an investigator in the University of Rochester’s Lung Biology and Disease Programme, noted: “You can be 45 years old and look great on the outside, but if you are a smoker or former smoker, your lungs can easily be 60 years old because of the chemical assault.”

Cigarettes contain around 4,700 toxic chemical compounds which decrease the lungs’ production of SIRT1, a protein that helps to regulate chronic inflammation, cancer and ageing.

The University of Rochester team, in collaboration with Finland’s Helsinki University Hospital, confirmed that levels of SIRT1 are significantly lower in smokers than in non-smokers.

This in turn affects genes that help to detoxify the airways, speeding up the ageing process of the lungs.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine and in the American Journal of Physiology.

Are toxic metals making you ill?


Alarmingly, we unwittingly ingest far more toxic metals daily than what our body’s can eliminate. In a recent study 278 heavy metals and other toxins were found in the blood of newborn babies, an indication of just how many there may be in a fully grown adults body.

These metals accumulate in our tissues and organs, building up to dangerous levels that kick open the doors of chronic, degenerative diseases such as cancer, MS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The increased prevalence of heavy metal toxins in the human body is almost certainly a direct result of today’s modern society.

Astonishingly, it is no longer a case of whether an individual has been exposed to toxins but rather the level of exposure to heavy metals that the body has experienced. Dangerous toxins are present in the air we breathe, the water we drink and even the soil in which our food is grown. Most people are completely unaware of the common sources of heavy metals and more worryingly are oblivious to the real physiological and psychological dangers that these toxins posses.

Aluminum, Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Thallium and Uranium are some of the most commonly known heavy metals and there are a number of ways in which these can be absorbed into the body. Each toxin can attack specific organs and often the dangers of these heavy metals can go unnoticed until problems develop later in life. Ranging from headaches, hypertension and fatigue to more serious health and neuro-psychiatric disturbances for example, depression or even infertility, the effects of these are varied and pose serious risks to our health.

Undoubtedly one of the most common and most dangerous heavy metals released into our environment is mercury, this can be found in fish products (especially tuna, sea bass and Halibut), amalgam tooth fillings, certain vaccinations, fluorescent lights, manufacturing plants, hospitals, and clinical thermometers.

Mercury vapour is easily absorbed into the body, and once taken into the bloodstream can affect the kidneys and liver but have a natural affinity for the nervous system causing problems such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Altzheimers. Symptoms of Mercury poisoning include

– Impairment of peripheral version
– ‘Pins and Needles’ feelings
– Impairment of speech, hearing and walking
– Muscle Weakness
– Skin Rashes
– Mood Swings
– Memory loss

During pregnancy, women who also eat just a single highly contaminated portion of fish can expose their child to mercury toxins, which travel through the placenta to potentially harm the developing nervous system and the brain. Also, vaccinations can contain a mercury preservative called Thimerosol which are commonly given to young babies, even though this product has now been banned in a lot of vaccinations.

Extensive research has shown that many vegetables can also contain potentially high levels of lead, due to the absorption of petrochemicals when grown near roads. Lead competes with calcium in the body and can lead to serious neuropsychiatric symptoms such as insomnia, temper tantrums, lowered IQ and difficulty with reading and writing.

Disturbingly, the growth stimulator which is occasionally fed to chickens can contain high levels of arsenic. Subsequently, many families are as risk of toxic poisoning simply from consuming a traditional family favourite.

Says Dr George Georgiou “With today’s modern society taking its toll on our bodies, there seems to be a very real need to increase awareness surrounding the issues of heavy metals. It cannot be a mere coincidence that diseases such as cancer and other serious ailments are on the rise. It is imperative that ignorance be alleviated and people become aware of the dangers. Simple proactive steps such as eating organic food and taking a heavy metal chelator supplement can ensure that levels of exposure are minimized.”

Research has shown that the problems surrounding heavy metals will continue to grow especially with the development of technology in today’s society. The importance is to raise awareness and it is paramount to highlight the dangers of the hidden killers present in our food.

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