A new study found out by researchers in US that high dosage consumption of Vitamin B may have a ‘protective effect’ the damage caused by air pollution. Scientist said that its effects are real and noteworthy but stress the limitations of their work. The also say that in heavily polluted cities like Beijing or Mexico or India, a test phase in urgently needed.
B Vitamins May Have ‘Protective Effect’ Against Air Pollution :
While the impacts of air pollution on health have become a cause of growing concern to people all around the world. But the actual mechanics of exactly how dirty air makes the people sick is not yet clearly understood. World Health Organization (WHO), has noted that over 90% of the world’s population live in areas. Hence where air pollution exceeds over safety guidelines.
PM2.5, a pollutant that considered as the most dangerous is very fine particulate matter causing heart and lung diseases. It comes from diesel cars, burning wood and stoves and as a co-product of chemical reactions from other hazardous gases. The pollutant is around 1/30 the width of a human hair. If gone deep in one’s lung would result in lung and heart disease to the young and old.
The genes in our DNA contain the instructions for life, but epigenetics controls how those instructions used. Since 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).
The study showed that air pollution alters the genes in the immune system at the epigenetic level switching them on or off, inhibiting our defences. Researchers had already seen that nutrients could somehow stop this process in animal studies with the chemical Bisphenol A. Adding to this in new human trial, an international team of scientists wanted to see. Hence if exposure to concentrations of PM2.5 could mitigated by a daily B vitamin supplement containing 2.5mg of folic acid, 50mg of vitamin B6, and 1mg of vitamin B12.
In the trial, ten volunteers tested. Initially, they were first exposed to clean air while given a placebo to measure their basic responses. The same volunteers later tested with large doses of B vitamins. While exposed to air containing high levels of PM2.5. The researchers found that a four week B vitamin supplementation limited the PM 2.5 effect by between 28-76% at ten gene locations. They found a similar reduction in impact on the mitochondrial DNA, the parts of cells that generate energy.
“Where we quantify the effect, it is almost close to a complete offset on the epigenome of the air pollution,” said Jia Zhong from Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study. “The fact that they find a coherent story in only 10 subjects is promising. But clearly warrants further follow-up in larger populations. Especially considering the ethnic variability in this study,” said Prof Carrie Breton from the University of Southern California. Also who wasn’t involve in the report. “While I think it is great that doing something as easy as taking a vitamin would help protect against air pollution harm. The public health goal still needs to one reducing air pollution to level that is not harmful,” she said.
The study has published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).