Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that vitamin B can alleviate the effect of fine particle pollution on cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B supplements almost turned around negative impacts of immune and cardiovascular systems, total white blood cells count by 139 percent, weakening effects of air pollution on heart rate by 150 percent and lymphocyte count by 106 percent on healthy non-smokers.
This study is the first ever clinical trial to assess whether vitamin B supplements alter the physiologic and biologic responses to air pollution exposure. The study commences a course of research for finding preventive pharmacological therapies to restrain the health impacts of air pollution.
Ambient fine particle pollution has acute effects on the cardiovascular system and is responsible for 3.7 million premature deaths across the globe every year.
Jia Zhong, PhD, who is the principal investigator for this study, and who also serves as a postdoctoral research officer in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School, said Ambient PM2.5 pollution is one of the most frequent air pollutants and has adverse effect on immune system and cardiovascular system. Out trial offers evidence that vitamin-B supplements might diminish the acute impacts of PM2.5 on inflammatory markers and cardiac dysfunction.
Vitamin B Supplementation and PM 2.5 Exposure
For this study, ten volunteers were included, who were aged from 18 to 60; they were healthy non-smokers who were not taking vitamin B supplementation in any form or other medication. Every volunteer received a placebo for four weeks prior to two- hour exposure to concentrated ambient PM2.5 (250 g/m3) subsequently they were given with vitamin B supplements for four weeks ahead of the next two hour exposure to PM2.5.
Baseline data also included a particle-free two-hour exposure. These controlled exposure experiments were carried out from July 2013 to February 2014 at the same time of the day and were adjusted for humidity, temperature and season.
Our results demonstrated that a two-hour ambient PM 2.5 exposure had a remarkable impact on heart rate variability, heart rate and white blood cell counts. Additionally, we showed that these impacts are almost reversed with a four-week vitamin-B supplementation, explained Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, chair and Leon Hess Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School.
As the researchers evaluated healthy volunteers from a lightly-polluted urban set-up, they are concerned about the results that could not be generalizable to people who are at higher risk for pollution-induced cardiovascular impacts, including children, elderly people, patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease and people dwelling in highly polluted areas.
Pollution regulation stays as the backbone for protecting public health against cardiovascular health impacts of ambient PM2.5 levels in urban places across the globe. Dr. Baccarelli highlighted that Studies like ours cannot minimize or be utilized to underemphasize the critical need to reduce air pollution levels at the lowest and to meet air quality standards in the U.S and other nations. But sensitive people and high exposure are seen in large cities worldwide.