B Vitamins To Protect Against Pollution

Taking a B vitamin supplement might help prevent the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular disease. This news comes from research by a team at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The investigators noted that ambient fine particulate pollution contributes to 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide every year, mostly through its effect on the cardiovascular system. This pollution is the most frequent trigger for heart attacks in most populations. To test earlier findings suggesting that a B vitamin supplement can help reduce the negative effects of air pollution, the team recruited 10 18-to 60-year-old healthy volunteers. None of them smoked, took any form of B vitamin supplements or any medication. After four weeks of taking a placebo, the volunteers were exposed for two hours to fine particulate pollution after which the researchers measured heart rate, white blood count and lymphocyte count. The volunteers then received B vitamin supplements, which they took for four weeks before being exposed to two more hours of pollution. Results showed that the effect of the pollution on heart rate was reduced by 150 percent, on total white blood count by 139 percent and on lymphocyte count by 106 percent. Based on these findings, the researchers reported that the supplements significantly reversed any negative impacts caused by the exposures on the volunteers’ cardiovascular and immune systems. However, they cautioned that the results might not apply to people at higher risk for pollution-induced cardiovascular effects including those who live in heavily polluted areas. 

Jia Zhong et al, “B-vitamin Supplementation Mitigates Effects of Fine Particles on Cardiac Autonomic Dysfunction and Inflammation: A Pilot Human Intervention Trial.” Scientific Reports, April 3, 2017; 7: 45322 DOI: 10.1038/srep45322

Also in this week’s bulletin:


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