Columbia, March 15: Taking supplements of vitamin B may offer protection against the impact of air pollution on health, a new study claims. Researchers at Columbia University found vitamin B may play a critical role in reducing the impact of air pollution on the epigenetic effects on health.
“Our study launches a line of research for developing preventive interventions to minimize the adverse effects of air pollution on potential mechanistic markers. Because of the central role of epigenetic modifications in mediating environmental effects, our findings could very possibly be extended to other toxicants and environmental diseases,” said Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, professor and chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School.
The study, conducted with colleagues at Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in Sweden, China, Singapore, Mexico and Canada. The researchers administered one placebo or B-vitamin supplement (2.5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6, and 1 mg of vitamin B12) daily to each adult recruited for the trial.
Ambient particles were drawn from an inlet next to a heavily trafficked street in downtown Toronto with more than 1000 vehicles passing through each hour. To take part in the intervention, volunteers were required to be healthy non-smokers, 18 to 60 years old, who were not taking any medicines or vitamin supplements.
"While emission control and regulation is the backbone of prevention, high exposures are, unfortunately, the rule still in many megacities throughout the world. As individuals, we have limited options to protect ourselves against air pollution. Future studies, especially in heavily polluted areas, are urgently needed to validate our findings and ultimately develop preventive interventions using B vitamins to contain the health effects of air pollution," said Dr. Baccarelli.