Pop one of these to fight DNA-damaging air pollution

Did you know that the air you breathe every day could be damaging your DNA and putting you at risk for disease?

It’s a scary thought. But, the truth is, air pollution poses a real danger to your health. It’s been linked to everything from asthma to Alzheimer’s.

And since there’s no realistic way to avoid breathing in polluted air, it’s up to you to protect yourself from the damage it causes…

Luckily, researchers just uncovered a way to do exactly that. They determined that certain vitamins may shield your DNA from air pollution-related damage…

Pollution protection in a pill

Researchers from Columbia University found that a simple B-vitamin supplement could protect you from the negative health effects of air pollution…. especially the DNA damage it causes.

In their study, researchers examined the effects of PM2.5 pollution particles. These are very small air pollution particles that are notorious for invading your lungs and causing stress and inflammation throughout your entire body. This inflammatory reaction explains why particulate air pollution is a known contributor to health problems like heart disease, asthma and lung disease.

Scientists have also discovered that environmental pollutants like air pollution have a negative effect on your health because they have a negative effect on your genes. They trigger genetic changes that predispose you to disease.

But this latest study found that non-smokers between the ages of 18 and 60 years old who popped a B-vitamin supplement were able to protect themselves from some of these genetic changes. In fact, they were able to reduce the negative impact air pollution had on their DNA by a jaw-dropping 102 percent!

Of course, in a perfect world, people wouldn’t be required to breathe highly polluted air in the first place. But researchers don’t recommend that you hold your breath for cleaner air…

“While emission control and regulation is the backbone of prevention, high exposures are, unfortunately, the rule still in many megacities throughout the world. As individuals, we have limited options to protect ourselves against air pollution. Future studies, especially in heavily polluted areas, are urgently needed to validate our findings and ultimately develop preventive interventions using B vitamins to contain the health effects of air pollution,” said Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, professor and chair of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University.

B-vitamins and more pollution protection tips

So if you want to protect your health from the DNA-damaging effect of air pollution, just pop a high-quality B-vitamin supplement. In the study, researchers gave participants a supplement that contained 2.5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6 and 1 mg of vitamin B12.

You can also take a few other steps to protect yourself from air pollution, like:

  • Use essential oils to reduce air pollution-related inflammation in your lungs.
  • Get plenty of exercise. It counteracts the negative effect air pollution has on your lifespan.
  • Eat extra broccoli sprouts. They contain a compound that’s been shown to reduce the effect of air pollution on your health.
  • Plant more trees in your yard. The more trees there are, the less air pollution. This may not help your health immediately, but it’s sure to help future generations. And if you want a more immediate effect on your health, start planning a move to a more forested area.
  • Start a detox regimen. It will help your body handle the onslaught of pollutants it faces daily.
  1. “Taking B vitamins may reduce epigenetic effects of air pollution.” MedicalXpress. https://medicalxpress.com. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  2. Zhong, et al. “B vitamins attenuate the epigenetic effects of ambient fine particles in a pilot human intervention trial.” PNAS, 2017.
  3. “Particle Pollution (PM).” AirNow. https://airnow.gov. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.