B vitamins may have ‘protective effect’ against air pollution [ sun extra ] 21/03/2017
HEALTH IS WEALTH
B vitamins may have ‘protective effect’ against air pollution
B vitamins may offer some protection against the impacts of air pollution, a small scale human trial suggests. Researchers in the US found that high doses of these supplements may “completely offset” the damage caused by very fine particulate matter.

The scientists involved say the effect is real but stress the limitations of their work. Follow up studies are urgently needed, they say, in heavily polluted cities like Beijing or Mexico.

While the impacts of air pollution on health have become a cause of growing concern to people all around the world, the actual mechanics of exactly how dirty air makes people sick are not clearly understood. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 90% of the world’s population live in areas where air pollution exceeds safety guidelines.

One of the pollutants that is considered the most dangerous is very fine particulate matter, referred to as PM2.5, where particles have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers. These complex particulates come from diesel cars, wood burning stoves and as a by-product of chemical reactions between other polluting gases. At around 1/30 the width of a human hair, PM2.5 fragments can lodge deep in the human lung and contribute to lung and heart health issues in the young and old.

Scientists have long suspected that PM2.5 causes what are termed epigenetic changes in our cells that can damage our health. The genes in our DNA contain the instructions for life, but epigenetics controls how those instructions are used - it’s like the relationship between an mp3 track and the volume control, you can only hear the musical notes (genes) when you dial up the volume (epigenetic changes).
 
 
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