Omega-3 and the consequences of air pollution


In the air that makes life possible for plants, animals and humans there are always solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended; but when pollutant particles dirty the air, the survival of the living beings is in jeopardy. As we have already discussed in another post, exposure to air pollution is linked to health risks. Pollutants in the air come from many different sources, but they are considered as such mainly when associated with human activities (because of their non-natural origin, and the magnitude of their consequences). For example, living beings emit carbon dioxide when they breathe, but carbon dioxide is considered to be a pollutant when results from the burning of gasoline and natural gas; and volcanic eruptions can spew massive amounts of sulfur dioxide, but its main source are factories.

Air pollution can be outdoor or indoor: outdoor air pollution is a consequence of the inefficient combustion of fuels for transport, power generation and activities like home heating and cooking. On the other hand, sources of indoor pollution include tobacco smoke and household products and pesticides, among others. Whatever the source, chronic exposure to the particulate pollutants contributes to the risk of developing several diseases. When the particles are of less than 10 µm in diameter, they can penetrate into the respiratory tract; and if they are smaller than 2.5 µm in diameter, they cause even more health effects, because they penetrate deeper into the respiratory tract, and not only accumulate in the lungs but can also cross the pulmonary barrier and travel into other organs.

Increasing tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids, whether prior to exposure or after exposure, might be effective in reducing the risk of health problems induced by particle exposure.





Omega-3 and impact of air pollution

Air quality in most cities worldwide fails to meet World Health Organization guidelines for safe levels. About half of the people living in cities reporting on air quality is expos[...]