Omega 3 Oils May Combat Pollution Exposure
Why is pollution bad?
Hong Kong is becoming increasingly known for its pollution season when winds change direction and pollution gets trapped from container ships burning bunker fuel, automobile and bus exhaust, and manufacturing from China. Pollution research has shown some disturbing results on the harm caused by small particulate matter (PM 2.5); those particles that cannot be filtered by our body’s frontline systems end up circulating into our lungs causing damage. Long-term effects of pollution exposure can range from increased risk of heart attacks and lung cancer, chronic illness, as well as pre-mature death.
Reducing Systemic Inflammation
Researchers, led by Principal Investigator Dr Jing X. Kang, Director of the Laboratory for Lipid Medicine and Technology at Massachusetts General Hospital, have released new results on a study showing that omega-3 oils may reduce systemic inflammation caused by the nefarious PM 2.5 particles. Dr. Kang says, “Systemic inflammation can be influenced by the particle size of pollution as well as the chemical composition of the particle. Since the degree of air contamination will vary from place to place, the toxicity would also be different. Our study examined the health effects of the particle size alone, so our findings actually reflect the fundamental impact of PM 2.5 exposure regardless of location.” According to the study, an individual would need to consume 3-4 grams of omega-3 PUFA (EPA & DHA in combination) excluding the weight of the capsules every day to receive benefits. Human trials will explore this topic soon.
Practical suggestions for combating inflammation
Individuals vary in their sensitivity towards pollution, but it’s been shown in other research that infants and young children can be most susceptible to PM 2.5 particles resulting in increased risk of asthma and allergies. Dr Kang recommends that, “those with asthma wear face masks, avoid getting colds or infections, exercise regularly to improve immune function, and maintain a healthy diet to lower systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. Outdoor activities should be limited on days when air pollution is heavier.”