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 exposed to air pollution that is at least 2.5 times higher than the levels recommended by this organization. More than likely, all of us are exposed to air pollution in some degree.

Air pollution is a mixture of gases, liquid droplets and particles, the smallest of which can pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs, causing serious health effects. It has been demonstrated an increased risk for cardiovascular events in relation to both short- and long-term exposure to concentrations of ambient particulate matter. A cardiovascular event is any incident that may cause damage to the heart, for example: angina, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure or arrythmias.

As heart rate variability (the variation in the time interval between heartbeats) can be measured and low heart rate variability is a predictor of several of these cardiovascular events, it is useful to evaluate the effect of omega-3 supplementation in reducing the adverse impact of air pollution on cardiovascular disease risk. In a study with nursing home residents exposed to ambient air pollution in Mexico City, supplementation with 2 g/day of fish oil reduced heart rate variability lowering by air pollution from -54 % before supplementation to -7 % after supplementation. In a later study, in which healthy middle aged adults were exposed to two hours of air pollution in an experimental chamber, supplementation with 3 g/day of omega-3 from marine origin also mitigated the lowering of heart rate variability.

This means that supplementation with omega-3 from fish oil can reduce the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular disease risk.





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