Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Can We Decrease Inflammation By Breathing Cleaner Air?

Image found here. 


A study conducted by Ryan W. Allen, PhD, and colleagues from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, studied healthy adults living in a small community where wood-burning stoves are the main sources of pollution. Researchers theorized that study participants who routinely breathed air containing large amounts of particulate matter - or pollution - had higher levels of systemic inflammation resulting in increased cardiovascular disease. Participants were asked to use a HEPA air filtering mechanism in their homes for prescribed amounts of time and agreed to give blood samples during the study.

"Our main objectives were to evaluate the potential for a simple intervention to improve indoor air quality and reduce pollution-related cardiovascular health risks and to better understand the mechanisms that contribute to air pollution-related cardiovascular health problems," Dr. Allen said in a news release.

The report was published online January 21 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

You can read a complete report of this study on Medscape Medical News entitled HEPA Filtration May Lower Cardiovascular Risk.

Here's how Dr. Allen summarized their findings:

"Our results support the hypothesis that systemic inflammation and impaired endothelial function, both predictors of cardiovascular morbidity, can be favorably influenced by a reduction of particle concentration and add to a growing body of evidence linking short-term exposure to particulate matter with a systemic inflammatory response," Dr. Allen said. (Italics mine.)

Study participants had statistically significantly lowered levels of inflammatory markers which included C-reactive proteins after using HEPA filter mechanisms in their homes for a relatively short period of time - seven days.  During this period of time, the participant's C-reactive proteins decreased by an impressive 32.6%. C-reactive proteins indicate body wide inflammation and are often elevated not only in cardiac disease but also autoimmune disease.

To read more about lab studies to measure autoimmune disease activity, read this and this.

Other markers of oxidative stress (malondialdehyde, 8-iso-prostaglandin F2-alpha) and of inflammation (interleukin-6 and band cell counts) were also studied. Although inflammatory markers and measures of the health of the inner lining of blood vessels (endothelial function) were improved, oxidative stress markers remained unchanged.

The potential to reduce body-wide inflammation so problematic in many illnesses including cardiovascular disease but ALSO autoimmune disease - yes, that includes Sjogren's Syndrome - by simply plugging in a HEPA filter in our homes is nothing short of amazing.

You can read more about what HEPA filtering is and how it works here courtesy of Medline and the National Institutes of Health.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An argument more to go away from Paris as soon as I can !!