Posted on Nov 06, 2019, 3 p.m.
A study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology has found that dietary fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids have cardioprotective effects against air pollution in highly polluted areas.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that carry a variety of benefits to general health including relieving inflammation and reducing the risk of heart disease. Researchers from Shanghai’s Fudan University worked in collaboration with Michigan State University and Texas A&M University to determine whether supplementation with omega-3 would protect cardiovascular health against the effects of PM2.5.
PM2.5 is fine particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, these tiny particles are dangerous as they affect the lungs and travel through the bloodstream to trigger chronic diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, and heart attack.
The randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial involved 65 healthy college students who were randomly assigned to an intervention group or a control group to compare the effects of omega-3 on PM2.5. Over a period of 5 months the intervention group was given 2.5 grams of daily dietary fish oil, and the control group was given placebo.
Four rounds of health examinations were conducted on both groups during the last two months of treatment to measure blood pressure, 18 biomarkers of cardiovascular health, and the acute effects of PM2.4 were analyzed within each group. Results showed those in the fish oil group had relatively stable levels in response to PM2.5 exposure while the control group displayed significant and negative responses.
Positive effects of fish oil supplementation was observed on five biomarkers of oxidative stress, neuroendocrine stress, blood inflammation, endothelial function, and coagulation such as significant differences in fibrogen between the groups.
The researchers concluded, “This interventional study suggests that dietary omega-3 fatty acids supplementation may have short-term benefits in mitigating potential adverse cardiovascular effects in response to high levels of PM2.5.”
Around the globe safety standards set by W.H.O regarding air quality are not being met by many cities as their data shows that 91% of the world’s population resides in areas where the levels exceed the limits of the World Health Organization’s guidelines. Unless you take extra precautions you are not even safe in your own home as 3.8 millions deaths are attributed to household air pollution annually.
Results of this study suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect the cardiovascular health of those residing in areas with high levels of air pollution. With the increasing amount of air pollution affecting the world it is important to find ways to protect from these harmful effects.
Pollution should be seen as a major environmental issue that threatens everyone’s health daily. Omega-3 fatty acids may help to improve overall health while boosting resistance to the harmful effects of PM2.5 exposure. Omega-3 can be found in supplement form, but the best sources are from food such as salmon (4,123 mg per serving), walnuts (2,570 mg per ounce), chia seeds (5,060 mg per ounce), cod liver oil (2,682 mg per tbsp), and flax seeds (7,260 mg per tbsp).
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.