A recent study featured on Medical News Today shows that aside from being linked to cancer, stroke, and heart attack, smoking may also alter how the body's enzymes break down prescription drugs.

Researcher Aaron Wright, PhD, and his colleagues analyzed lung and liver enzymes from both lean and obese mice that have been exposed to firsthand and secondhand cigarette smoke. The enzymes, tagged P450, help in breaking down approximately 75 percent of all ingested drugs and substances. However, obesity combined with smoke may cause certain medications to lose their potency for individuals with normal weight.

“Exposure to cigarette smoke increased the activity of some of the P450 enzymes, and adding obesity had little or no change on that effect. But for other enzymes, which are usually far more active when exposed to cigarette smoke, the addition of obesity had a dramatic, opposite effect. The enzymes were 100 times less active,” Wright explains.

Wright recommends obese individuals to completely stop smoking, avoid cigarette smoke, and lose excess weight. Doing so may significantly lower their risk of contracting chronic diseases.

(Photo by danieljordahl via Flickr Creative Commons)

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