Objective: Cigarette smoking is associated with reduced pulmonary function and increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study evaluated the effects of two different combinations of mixed fruit and vegetable juice powder concentrate (Juice Plus+, NSA, Collierville, TN) on heavy smokers.
Methods: At baseline (T0) and after 3 months’ supplementation (T1), pulmonary function parameters and cardiovascular risk factors—that is, plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) with related B vitamins and cysteine (tCys) concentrations—were assessed in 75 apparently healthy smokers (aged 49.2 ± 10.6 years, 20 cigarettes/d, duration > 10 years) randomized into 3 groups: placebo (P), fruit/vegetable (FV) and fruit/vegetable/berry (FVB).
Results: T0: most smokers showed abnormalities in tHcy and tCys concentrations. T1: respiratory function was unchanged in P and slightly, but not significantly, improved in FV, whereas FVB showed a significant improvement in forced expiratory flow at 25% (FEF25; p < 0.0001 vs P and FV) and significant improvement in CO diffusion lung/alveolar volume (DLCO/VA). FV and FVB (50%) showed significant reduction in tHcy and tCys compared to T0 (p < 0.0001) and P (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: At T1, both supplemented groups, but to a greater extent the FVB group, showed improvements in some pulmonary parameters, cardiovascular risk factors, and folate status. The beneficial effects of Juice Plus+ supplementation could potentially help smokers, even if smoking cessation is advisable.