According to a new study published in PNAS, researchers at Columbia University demonstrated that B vitamins may play an essential role in reducing the impact of air pollution. This is the first study to show possible interventions that may prevent or minimize the adverse effects of air pollution. Specifically, it shows how preventive measures with B vitamins can influence particular pathways that may mitigate these adverse effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 92% of the population lives in places where air quality levels exceed the limits of 10 μg/m3. Air pollutants can deposit in the respiratory tract, which can result in lung and systemic inflammation. Although there has been substantial lowering of air pollution through large-scale emissions control policies over the past few decades, its negative health effects are still common and may contribute to many complex health issues.
In this study, researchers gave participants a placebo or B vitamin supplement containing folate, pyroxidine, and cobalamin. Plasma B vitamin levels were assessed before and after, which demonstrated that B vitamin supplementation prevented changes in the genes involved in mitochondrial oxidative energy from air pollution.
The truth is, we all live in an ever-increasing toxic environment. More than 80,000 chemicals are introduced into the world each year and our indoor environment is likely more toxic than our outdoor environment.
We are exposed to pesticides, herbicides, chemical solvents, xenobiotics, and industrial chemicals of all kinds through the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. These toxins accumulate in our body and contribute to the total toxic load that can cause a variety of health problems. Unfortunately, this exposure to environmental toxins is often unavoidable.
What can we do? Support our detoxification pathways. There is significant evidence of the importance of diet and nutritional supplementation in maintaining detoxification pathways. This may consist of eating organic food, drinking clean, pure water, and supplementing with nutrients such as B vitamins, N-acetyl-cysteine and calcium d-glucurate, or participating in a formal detoxification program.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS
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Source: B vitamins attenuate the epigenetic effects of ambient fine particles in a pilot human intervention trial, Jia Zhong et al., PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1618545114, published online 13 March 2017.