Posted on Mar 15, 2019, 5 p.m.
Over 90% of the world population lives in urban areas exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, W.H.O calls air pollution “the world’s largest single environmental risk”. Preventing air pollution from happening is the obvious solution, however with greed and profit being so prevalent and controlling this will not be happening anytime soon.
Harvard and Columbia Universities may have found a way for people to help mitigate the risks of air pollution on an individual basis by simply increasing their intake of certain B-vitamins, as published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
10 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18-60 were either given a placebo or daily supplements containing 1 mg of vitamin B12, 50 mg of B6, and 2.5 mg of folic acid while being exposed to clean air; then they were exposed to air containing high levels of PM2.5.
Very fine particulate matter can lodge deep in the lungs causing heart and lung issues, this air pollution has been determined to damage health by altering vital genes in the immune system via switching them on/off at the epigenetic level weakening the body’s defenses. Effects of taking B-vitamins supplements has been found to help reduce this damage to the immune system at 10 vital gene locations by 28-76%, and reduced damage caused to mitochondrial DNA by the PM2.5.
Benefits of increasing intake of B-vitamins can also include helping to reduce risk of stroke, increasing energy, preventing anemia, fighting stress, promoting growth, and protecting mental health. Folate/folic acid is especially important while pregnant as it is vital to healthy growth and development of the baby.
You can also help to protect yourself from damaging effects of air pollution by checking the forecasts for your area and staying indoors when levels are high; exercise indoors when levels are high; avoid high traffic areas when exercising; never smoke inside or even better quit; invest in quality face masks to help filter out particles from the air you breathe in (those thin flimsy ones really are not helping at all it really needs to be a good quality one).
You can help to reduce air pollution by keeping vehicles in good shape/tuned up; use public transportation/car pool or ride a bike/walk more; use less energy in your home/workplace; try using manual gardening and snow removal equipment; and avoid burning trash.
Prevention is key until a better way is figured out to get rid of existing air pollution and build up. Increasing B-vitamin intake and/or green vegetables and whole grains may be a good idea if you live in an area that is bad for air pollution.
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