Environmental toxins exist not just externally in the foods we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink. They’re also the low-level toxins we are exposed to in our homes on a daily basis that are compromising our health, from food packaging, skin products, cookware and more. The good news is that we have much more control over the toxins in our homes than outside, and there are easy and accessible solutions to lower our exposure.
How to protect against air pollution
The very fact that air pollution is estimated to cause at least seven million deaths worldwide every year and has been linked to diseases like asthma, lung dysfunction, neurological damage, and cancer is enough to show the importance of protecting ourselves from toxins.
So how do we reduce the damage? Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, antioxidant vitamins C and E, as well as nutrients like sulforaphane have been shown to protect against air pollution by reducing the effects of pollution on asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases(1).
Known as ground pollution, O3 is one of the six criteria air pollutants that are regulated by the EPA, and a molecule known to cause a variety of adverse health effects(2). It’s also thought that vitamin C and E especially may help reduce nasal inflammation and restore antioxidant levels in patients exposed to high levels of ozone “smog” or O3(3).
Additionally, fish-derived omega 3 oils are known for their ability to alleviate inflammation in blood vessels caused by tiny pollution particles, and studies have found that when patients supplement with just 2.5g of omega-3 fish oil, they found a significant increase in the health of their cardiovascular system(4) Rosita Real Foods make one of the highest quality fish oils on the market, ensuring that all the unique fats in their cod liver oil aren’t filtered out, and avoiding molecular distillation which can strip the oil of its vitamins(5).
Other studies have also found that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil provided more protection from pollution-induced vasoconstriction (tightening of the blood vessels) than other oils(6).
Supplements to help detox the body
Studies have identified oxidative stress as one recurring feature that underlies the toxic effect of air pollutants, which trigger a number of inflammatory responses(7).
Since antioxidants help reverse oxidative damage, supplementing with antioxidants and precursors can have a significant beneficial effect, offering us the protection we need. One key antioxidant involved in the process of removing unwanted toxins from the body is glutathione. Glutathione directly binds to oxidative compounds that damage cell membranes, DNA and energy production, and neutralises them so that they are no longer a threat(8).
Because it breaks down in the stomach before reaching the cells, it’s important to supplement it in liposomal form which protects the core ingredients from the digestive system and increases their uptake. Since we breathe in so many toxic substances in daily life, from heavy metals, herbicides, food additives, mould and bacterial toxins, it’s important to remove as many as we can from our internal environment. Supplementing with specially made products that remove different classes of toxins is a great way to help the body and the gut intercept and neutralise potentially dangerous substances. Or charcoal, like this supplement from Bulletproof, which is able to remove heavy metals, bacteria and intestinal gas.
Recent studies have been undertaken to look into the effect of air pollution on patients with a respiratory disease, and the findings are significant. A report by researchers in Respiratory Research found that carotenoids and vitamins D and E could assist with protecting your lungs from pollution damage(9). Additionally, it was suggested by the report that vitamin C, curcumin, choline and omega-3 fatty acids may also help to protect against pollution damage that can led to exacerbated asthma, COPD and even the initiation of lung cancer(10).
What about Vitamin D supplementation?
Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the effects of pollution on asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases, which is why it’s important to supplement with a bioavailable form of vitamin D throughout the year, especially if you already suffer from a respiratory disease. Find out more about the bioavailability of supplements here.
It’s absolutely possible to reverse the damaging effects of air pollution exposure and protect yourself from lung conditions like asthma. Taking the right supplements can help strengthen your body and increase your antioxidant levels which will help remove unwanted toxins from the body and mop up free radicals. Keen to find out more and give some of these supplements a try? Try searching “toxins” in our product search bar and you’ll see all our recommended supplements, or start off with a good vitamin D supplement and fish oil before trying some of the more niche ones.
Want to read more about some of the food-based supplements mentioned in this blog? Click here.
1 Natural Grocers Predicts Top 10 Nutrition Trends For 2022
2 Ground-level Ozone Basics
3 Air pollution – can changing your diet help?
4 Recent Clinical Trials Shed New Light on the Cardiovascular Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
5 Air pollution – can changing your diet help?
6 Characterisation of the vasodilation effects of DHA and EPA, n-3 PUFAs (fish oils), in rat aorta and mesenteric resistance arteries
7 Air pollution, oxidative stress and dietary supplementation: a review
8 Air pollution, oxidative stress and dietary supplementation: a review
9 Pollution and respiratory disease: can diet or supplements help? A review
10 Pollution and respiratory disease: can diet or supplements help? A review