Vitamin B: The Way to Your Polluted Heart

By Leili Najmabadi 

Many city dwellers are aware of the effect pollution has on their hearts, and it’s not the effect of a bad mood from a gray day. Air pollution has been consistently linked to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and exposing oneself to two hours of this pollution has shown negative effects on levels of white blood cells and heart rate.

However, Dr. Andrea Baccarelli and Dr. Alan Mensch have discovered that taking vitamin B supplements can reverse this harm. As chair of environmental health sciences at Columbia University and senior vice president of medicine at Northwell Health’s Plainview Hospital, Baccarelli and Mensch were able to test 20 participants, all healthy and nonsmoking adults. Half of the participants were assigned to the placebo group and the other half took the vitamin supplements after their two hours of experiencing the pollution’s effects. All participants were exposed to microscopic specks with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers, and the researchers in this study deemed this size or smaller to be “potentially the most dangerous form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep in the lungs and adjacent blood stream”. Air that has a high concentration of these particles can be responsible for increases in inflammation, heart attacks, lung cancer, DNA mutations, and premature births and deaths in the population. To be precise, the 3.7 million premature deaths in the world every year can be linked to this pollution.

The experimental group consumed the vitamin B supplements for 4 weeks before another exposure to the fine-particle air pollution. The researchers found that the supplements could recover negative reactions back to their normal states. Though this step in treating adverse effects is a positive step, it is most important to focus on preventing the worsening of air pollution in the first place

 

Preidt, Robert. "Could a Daily Vitamin Curb Smog's Effect on the Heart?: MedlinePlus Health News." MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You. HealthDay, 14 Apr. 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.