Billions of people are exposed to dangerous fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, from diesel fumes, wood burning stoves, and chemical reactions between other polluting gasses. PM2.5 particles are incredibly tiny, with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers. They can lodge deep in the lungs and cause heart and lung problems, and they are thought to alter genes associated with the immune system. How do you protect yourself against something with that has the ability to change your DNA? You take B vitamins.
Researchers in the U.S. discovered that four weeks of B vitamin supplementation limited the PM2.5 effects by 28-76% at ten gene locations. Though limited by their small sample size and the high doses of B vitamins in the study, scientists nevertheless saw a connection. The B vitamins made a difference both in epigenetic changes and on a mitochondrial level.
Looking for B Vitamins
B vitamins give us our energy. They provide essential support for neurotransmitters and nerve tissue. The specific B vitamins used in this study were B6, folic acid (or B9), and B12. The inclusion of folic acid and B12 is especially interesting as they are some of the building blocks involved in repairing DNA, and they are involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body. Despite common fear that if you have the gene for something you automatically get it, the body can be influenced. Genes change.
Gun Seeks Magic Bullet
So the question becomes how do we get enough B vitamins to offset that pollution, to support all of those essential processes in the body, and to keep our genes intact or improve them? While we can produce B vitamins in the gut, it doesn’t happen without the right foods or the right gut environment. Fresh, organic vegetables and fruits replenish B vitamins, but the amount of nutrition to be found in our food is declining overall. There’s also the issue of assimilation. A digestive system that isn’t working properly won’t be able to use those vitamins to their best effect. The good news there? Maintaining the same produce rich way of eating that provides and creates B vitamins is the best way to have a healthy digestive system.
- Mental Health, Physical Health & B Vitamins – Nature’s Valium
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- B Vitamins May Have ‘Protective Effect’ Against Air Pollution – BBC
- Mental Health, Physical Health & B Vitamins – Nature’s Valium – Organic Lifestyle Magazine
- Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious? – Scientific American