An encapsulated juice powder concentrate improves markers of pulmonary function and cardiovascular risk factors in heavy smokers

Bamonti F, Pellegatta M, Novembrino C, Vigna L, De Giuseppe R, de Liso F, Gregori D, Noce CD, Patrini L, Schiraldi G, Bonara P, Calvelli L, Maiavacca R, Cighetti G; Jan. 2013


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of 3 months of supplementation with 2 different formulations of an encapsulated juice powder concentrate on pulmonary function and cardiovascular risk factors among heavy smokers. Folate and vitamin B12 status, which play a role in homocysteine metabolism, were also assessed.


This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of two different formulations of an encapsulated juice powder concentrate (Fruit and Vegetable Blends - FV, or Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Blends – FVB; Juice Plus+®) on 75 smokers (average age 49.2 years) who did not yet have any health problems related to smoking. Volunteers had all been smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day for at least 10 years.

Study participants were divided into three groups: group 1 took FV, group 2 took FVB and group 3 took placebo. Several cardiovascular risk factors were measured at baseline and at 3 months, namely homocysteine and cysteine concentrations plus folate and vitamin B12 levels. Pulmonary function parameters were assessed at the same time increments, including forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced expiratory flow at 25%, 50%, and 75% forced vital capacity (FEF25, FEF50, FEF75), and CO diffusion lung per unit of alveolar volume (DLCO/VA).  


At baseline, about half the smokers had elevated levels of homocysteine and concentrations of cysteine that were either higher or lower than ideal. At the end of the study, participants in both supplementation groups saw their total levels of homocysteine decrease significantly, while their levels of cysteine normalized, compared to both baseline and placebo.

Both intervention groups also experienced improvements in measures of pulmonary function, such as FEF25 and DLCO/VA, compared to baseline. Improvement was more marked in the group taking FVB. Finally, folate status was improved in the FV and FVB group compared to baseline, while there was no change in the placebo group.  


“The pulmonary function and biochemical parameters of the healthy heavy smokers assigned to the FV and FVB capsules seemed to have beneficial effects from the nutraceutical treatment. It appears there was a partial reduction in some of the damaging effects of smoking cigarettes. These findings could be related to the significant improvement in some oxidative alterations previously reported and could suggest a potential use of nutraceutical treatment to reduce some smoking-related complications.”

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