As air pollution continues to rise around the world, the number of illnesses associated with low air quality, such as dementia, diabetes and kidney, lung and heart disease, could also rise. However, new research from Harvard Medical School found that omega-3 fatty acids can actually prevent and treat negative effects from air pollution.
Every day, we’re exposed to an air pollutant linked to chronic diseases known as fine particulate matter. As the authors state in the report, a safe method of protection is urgently needed as few measures have been taken to reduce health risks.
In the study, researchers exposed test mice to fine particulate matter before putting some on a special diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. They found that mice taking the supplement could prevent and reduce inflammation from the toxin.
This study is also significant because researchers found traces of fine particulate matter in the lungs, brain, liver, spleen, kidney, and testis in mice that were exposed to the pollutant. As a result, the rodents had more inflammation and higher levels of oxidative stress, which is when the body has more free radicals than it can neutralize. Previously, it was thought that the matter was unable to penetrate into organs other than the lungs.
Air quality problems are only getting worse, and this research could be a key finding of how we can keep ourselves healthy. According to the World Health Organization, about three million deaths are linked to air pollution, and 92 percent of the world’s population experiences pollution that exceeds WHO limits.
While it’s impossible to escape pollution, unless you hole up like a hermit, there are things you can do to reduce the effects. The BBC recommends shutting off the AC in your car as exhaust fumes can get sucked inside and circulated. You can also check the air quality conditions by going to Airnow.gov, and limiting time outside on bad air quality days.