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B Vitamins May Reduce Genetic Risks Related to Pollution

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— July 15, 2017

B Vitamins May Reduce Genetic Risks Related to Pollution

  • Air pollution isn’t only bad for your lungs, but scientists are learning that it may mess up your genes.
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It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that air pollution isn’t good for your lungs. But scientists are learning that it may mess up your genes—and that certain B vitamins may protect against such damage.

A Harvard study team assigned volunteers to two groups. One group received a supplement containing vitamins B6 and B12 along with folic acid, another B vitamin; the other group got a placebo. The volunteers were then exposed to air containing small-particle pollution, which has been linked to health problems.

Pollution exposure caused alterations in the genes linked to the ability of cells to produce energy. However, according to results published in the journal PNAS, B vitamin supplementation was able to prevent these changes.

The study team cited World Health Organization statistics showing that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where small-particle air pollution exceeds recommended levels.

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