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This Is What Happens To Your Brain After A Breakup

“Turning on the reward neurons releases repeated floods of the neurotransmitter dopamine. And the dopamine activates circuits inside the brain that create a craving…In the case of romance, the thing you need more of is your beloved.” – Diane Kelly

We’re going to assume, at least for the sake of this article, that someone you once loved someone did not end up becoming “the one.”

Many people reading this article will concede that a such an unfortunate occasion has happened at least once.

The underlying concept you’ll see throughout the article is this: the brain’s complex – and often, unknowable – intricately woven circuitry produces complex feelings that arise from any and all situations; whether positive or negative.

Of course, this includes any relationship that has gone awry.

The motivation behind this article is to explain what happens to the brain following a painful breakup. The benefit of such knowledge is noteworthy in the sense that we will gain a more comprehensive understanding of the neurocircuitry that accompanies a hard felt separation.

It is our hope, then, that this knowledge will enable you to understand why such emotions occur – and what you can do as a rational being to make the best out of a tough situation.

HUMANS ARE HARDWIRED FOR LOVE

Anyone remember the 1980’s commercial “This is your brain on drugs?” This commercial was a well-intended (though rudimentary) depiction of what occurs in the human brain during drug use. Whether or not one is a fan of this ad, it is challenging to object its effectiveness. Following extensive research, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America reproduced a more intensive version of the commercial following a sizeable decrease in drug abuse cases.

As it turns out, the human brain reacts similarly to love. According to Psychology Today, “love has probably started more schoolyard fights, adult feuds, and outright wars than every other catalyst combined – money, alcohol, drugs, politics, sports, etc.”

Simply put, the numerous effects of love on the brain are strikingly similar to those produced by drugs. Similar to how drugs can induce a stagnant effect on the human brain, love (especially deep love) can result in the same – if not exacerbated – neurological effects.

A neuroscientist at the Einstein College of Medicine explains love’s effect on the brain as follows: “Other kinds of social rejection are much more cognitive…(Romantic rejection) is a life changing thing, and involves systems that are not at the same level as feeling hungry or thirsty.”

In other words, when someone we love rejects us, it is as harmful, if not more so, to the brain than social needs (friendships) and primal needs (sustenance).

Wow…can’t say we saw that coming. Wonder what Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil would say on the matter. Anyway, digression aside let’s get down to it.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BRAIN AFTER A BREAKUP

When we separate or reject somebody who we love, the physical effects – shallow breathing, nausea, chest constriction, etc. – are all very real phenomena.

Studies demonstrate that individuals in the midst of a breakup show disproportionate activity in the brain regions that determine the body’s response to physical pain and distress. This is potentially dangerous; and again, the more intimate the relationship, the likelier that adverse and extreme harmful physical side effects arise.

Unfortunately, this counterproductive cognitive response negatively affects other physical channels; including higher blood pressure, weakening of the immune system, and complications of the digestive system. These physical symptoms may persist for days, weeks, or months following a separation; with the duration of such effects highly dependent upon the individual.

Perhaps the most tragic response to heartbreak is a condition known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (aka, “Broken Heart Syndrome) which produces stress hormones in extreme excess, which can, sadly, result in a heart attack, stroke, or even death.

(Sigh…)

WHAT THIS MEANS (AND DOESN’T)

From birth to death (and perhaps beyond), human beings desire to be loved. Regardless of the rapid advancements in neuroscience, we cannot – nor should we presume to – understand the complex mechanisms of love on our brain, body, and soul.

Experience (and science) tells us that love and human existence are inseparable. On the positive side, this inseparability enables us to love and cherish those we hold dear despite any and all circumstances. On the not so positive side, such findings elaborate upon – for better or worse – our dependence on others for connection, friendship, love, and nourishment.

For those currently going through the heartbreak that many of us have endured, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Human beings, by evolutionary design, are resilient creatures. Our brains have the superlative capability of learning, adapting, and rewiring to any past, present or future situation.

REFERENCES:
PARKER, D. (N.D.). QUOTES ABOUT ADAPTATION (102 QUOTES). RETRIEVED MARCH 24, 2017, FROM HTTP://WWW.GOODREADS.COM/QUOTES/TAG/ADAPTATION
KELLY, D. (2015, JULY 20). HERE’S WHAT BREAKING UP DOES TO YOUR BRAIN. RETRIEVED MARCH 24, 2017, FROM HTTP://GIZMODO.COM/HERES-WHAT-BREAKING-UP-DOES-TO-YOUR-BRAIN-1717776450
WEISS, R., LCSW, CSAT-S. (2015, JANUARY 28). THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON LOVE. RETRIEVED MARCH 24, 2017, FROM HTTPS://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/LOVE-AND-SEX-IN-THE-DIGITAL-AGE/201501/IS-YOUR-BRAIN-LOVE


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Why Trying a Team Sport Will Make You Healthier and Happier

Three women tell us how joining a team keeps them motivated, wards off boredom and even comes with serious health benefits.

Playing sports isn’t a new trend when it comes to fun ways to get fit, but talk to anyone who participates in activities from baseball to water polo and she’ll likely sing its praises. You’re sure to hear about the merits of group activity: the camaraderie, increased motivation to get out there and work out, and the unique way that having people to train with lessens boredom on the field (trail, ice, swimming pool). But what you might not know is that there are plenty of health benefits you’ll reap just from getting your sweat on with your teammates. See how these three women rock their group workouts.

House-League Soccer

Maria Topalovic found her soccer groove at age nine, and she hasn’t stopped playing since. “I always wanted to play because my dad loved soccer,” says the Hamilton-based team-sport aficionado. Although she enjoyed a variety of athletic pursuits while growing up—including dance, figure skating and gymnastics—soccer was the one that stuck. “It was the only sport or activity I never wanted to quit and never wanted to miss.”
Now 32, Maria has been playing with a house-league team, the BilaBallerz, for about a decade. Astonishingly, she’s competed with some of her teammates since childhood, on one team or another. “It’s great to share the passion for soccer with some of the same women each season and to be able to support each other in our own fitness goals.”

Why soccer?

“I love the game! I love the cardio, too—after a game, I’m exhausted. I feel like the past hour and a half has been worth the activity, and I know I’ve had a good workout. I love the challenge of the game because anything can happen: You can meet a more difficult opponent, set up a beautiful pass, get an amazing goal, save tough shots, have the stress and excitement of shoot-outs and, most of all, have fun with a bunch of friends.”

Dragon-Boat Racing

The way Faye Visser saw it, “I could sit at home and feel sorry for myself or I could get out and remember there is life after breast cancer.” It was 2005. Faye had been diagnosed in February, had surgery in March and, by July, she’d joined Women Alike Abreast a River, a New Glasgow, N.S., dragon-boat racing team comprising cancer survivors and women in cancer treatment.

The team was “like a lifeline for me,” says Faye, whose strength and confidence grew during weekly practices and seasonal competitions. “As a person who was scared of the water, to be paddling a boat with 20 other ladies was quite an accomplishment.”
The team-training approach makes it possible to get through intense workouts you might give up on, says Faye. “Our coach trains us like we would never do ourselves. We are pushed to paddle until it hurts, but we laugh and think, We’re building muscles and having fun at the same time. And when we
come off the water, it’s a great high.”

Why dragon-boat racing?

“Dragon boating is all about exercising both the body and mind. Out on the water, all your worries disappear—[you have to] stay focused on what you’re doing. It empowers us to be the best we can.”

Road Cycling

Jennifer Northrup never pictured herself cycling 100 kilometres in a day. But thanks to her cycling team, the Vancouverite is training to do just that, with a handful of “century rides” planned for this summer. “This year, I’m on a team for the Ride to Conquer Cancer [a two-day 250-kilometre road-cycling challenge] and I plan on doing the Rapha 100 [a 100-kilometre road- cycling event] with the ladies of Tight Bike Cycle Club,” she says.

Never an avid cyclist, Jennifer discovered the sport last year when her fitness club launched a women’s road-cycling team. Road cycling has a steep learning curve, with its specialized gear, road etiquette and safety rules, not to mention the physical challenges, but for Jennifer, being part of a team was key to hurdling the beginner hump. “I was hooked after our first ride,” she says. “There was something about being among this group of women. Some have been riding for years, but most were just as intimidated and new to the sport as I was. The ladies who led the rides were always supportive and encouraging as we learned how to clip into the bike pedals, how to shift gears and the dos and don’ts of sharing the road with cars. I don’t think I would have stayed on a bike if I didn’t have this group expecting me every week.”
For Jennifer, team training and racing go hand in hand. “I don’t think I’ve signed up for one race that didn’t involve a friend or a group I would be participating with. It’s social, fun and a time to connect with others. Team accountability and camaraderie are huge motivating factors for me.”

Why long-distance cycling?

“I love a new challenge and working toward a big ride or event. Having a goal in mind keeps training fun and motivating. I work for the BC Cancer Foundation, so the Ride to Conquer Cancer is near and dear to my heart on both a personal and a professional level.”

Group Benefits

There really is strength in numbers. Here’s why working out with a team is more effective than exercising solo and how to get the benefits (even if you’re not a joiner!).

The Perks

Group-fitness participants exercise more frequently, are more likely to stick with their workout plans and enjoy a greater surge in feel-good endorphins than those who work out by themselves. And that endorphin rush is key: It improves pain tolerance and encourages a sense of social bonding, which boosts your cooperativeness and generosity.

Choosing A Sport

There are two things to keep in mind here: your interests and maximizing convenience. You want a location that’s easy to get to from your home or workplace. Registered classes may have a slight edge in terms of social benefits (you’ll see the same workout buddies each week), but drop-ins are great if you’ve got a hectic schedule or want to sample different workouts until you find the one that best fits you.

An Alternative Approach

If you don’t want to, or can’t, join a team, classes are a great alternative. Pam Cox, manager of health and fitness programs at the University of Calgary’s Active Living facility, says an instructor-led group setting is appropriate for all fitness levels. And even experienced athletes will appreciate the cross training. An avid runner, for example, may be at a loss coordinating a weight-training routine.

MAR 15, 2017     BY: YUKI HAYASHI


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A ‘Brainwave’ to Help Fight PTSD

Study is preliminary, but suggests an acoustic ‘feedback’ technology might help some patients

Technology using a patient’s own brainwaves might offer hope against tough-to-treat PTSD, new research suggests.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop as a reaction to a terrifying event, such as war, natural disasters, sexual assault and other physical violence or trauma. People with the condition may have prolonged anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares and other life-altering symptoms.

“Conventional treatments for PTSD are often not sufficient for addressing this difficult condition,” noted Mayer Bellehsen. He directs the Feinberg Division of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and Their Families, in Bay Shore, N.Y.
“While traditional behavioral treatments offer significant relief, many people cannot tolerate the treatment and discontinue prior to experiencing the full benefits,” Bellehsen explained.

The new study was led by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. The investigators sought to tackle PTSD from another angle, through the patients’ own brainwaves.

The study involved 18 patients who completed an average of 16 successive, daily sessions of what the researchers called “noninvasive closed-loop acoustic stimulation brainwave technology.”

During the sessions, the patients’ brain activity was monitored and certain brain frequencies were translated into acoustic tones that were then relayed back to the patients via earbuds.

“It’s as if the brain can look at itself in an acoustic mirror, recalibrate its patterns towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal, and can relax,” study lead author Dr. Charles Tegeler, professor of neurology, said in a Wake Forest news release.

After the sessions, nearly 90 percent of the patients reported clinically meaningful decreases in PTSD symptoms, Tegeler’s team said.

“The effects of chronic stress are killing people and the medical profession has not yet found an answer for how best to treat them,” Tegeler said. “We believe there is a need for effective, noninvasive, nondrug therapies for symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which is why we conducted this trial.”

Bellehsen reviewed the findings and was cautiously optimistic.

The research is “a novel approach to thinking about and devising treatments for PTSD,” Bellehsen said. The brainwave approach seemed to help many participants, he added, and “it is notable that most [patients] seemed to tolerate the intervention and did not experience negative events in the course of the treatment.”

However, this remains a small pilot study and “these findings need to be viewed with caution as there is much more work to be done before these efforts can lead to a clinically meaningful intervention,” Bellehsen said. That work should include a larger study group, plus clinician-rated measurements of PTSD symptoms, not the patient self-reports the current study relied on, he explained.

Dr. Aaron Pinkhasov directs behavioral health at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. Reviewing the new findings, he agreed that “any progress in the management of PTSD is very welcome.”

But he also agreed with Bellehsen that a larger, better-controlled and better-evaluated study is needed.

“It would be great to see a larger study demonstrating good results,” Pinkhasov said.

The study was published online April 19 in the journal BMC Psychiatry.

By Robert Preidt     HealthDay Reporter     WebMD News from HealthDay       WEDNESDAY, April 19, 2017
 
Sources: Mayer Bellehsen, Ph.D., director, Mildred and Frank Feinberg Division,  Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and Their Families, Bay Shore, N.Y.; Aaron Pinkhasov, M.D., chairman, department of behavioral health, NYU Winthrop Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, news release, April 19, 2017
source: www.webmd.com


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Health Benefits of Stevia, The Sugar Substitute

The Stevia plant with its ‘sweet leaf’ is a sugar substitute and also incredibly good for you. Unlike sugar, it doesn’t create an insulin response and actually nourishes the pancreas, which helps regulate blood sugar. The leaf is 30 times sweeter than sugar, while extracts are 300-400 times sweeter. This is good for the sugar addict as it will give sweetness without all the negative effects of sugar.

5 SWEET BENEFITS OF STEVIA

Excellent for Diabetics

Type 2 diabetic patients who took 1 gram of stevioside (present in the plant Stevia) with a meal had an 18 percent reduction in blood sugar according to this study. A study that compared Stevia, regular sugar and aspartame, showed that Stevia lowered blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal.

Note: Artificial sweeteners often raise your blood sugar levels even more than sugar.

Reduces Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Stevia has sterols and antioxidant compounds (kaempferol, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, isoquercitrin and isosteviol) in it and studies have found that kaempferol can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23 percent.

Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol and Increase Good Cholesterol

A study in 2009 found stevia helps lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Research also noted that the subjects had no adverse side effects from the Stevia on their health.

Breast Cancer Reduced

This 2012 study found that stevioside helped to decrease specific stress pathways that create breast cancer growth.

Great for Weight Loss

Stevia has no calories or carbohydrates.

Consuming added sugars has been shown to contribute an average of 16 percent of the total calories in the American diet. This high sugar intake has been linked to weight gain and adverse effects on blood sugar.

3 Extra Benefits:

 

  • Fights Cavities: The ‘sweet herb’ is antibacterial, and unlike sugar, it does not feed oral bacteria and is recommended by the National Center for Biotechnology Information to be helpful in preventing cavities. Stevia extracts were linked to less acidic plaque, which is good for cavity prevention.
  • Skin Care: The antibacterial properties help with acne. I have experienced a pimple disappearing soon after using stevia on it.
  • Fights Yeast Infections: Stevia does not feed candida or other yeast and is slightly antibacterial and anti-fungal.

 

Can One Be Allergic to Stevia?

The European Food Safety Committee after reviewing the Stevia literature stated that there was no cause for concern for allergic reactions to the Stevia plant. Also, the FDA declared that stevia was safe in foods and beverages.

Stevia Caution

Some Stevia extracts are so isolated that they have a bitter taste and so other artificial sweeteners have to be added.

Some commercial Stevias have been extracted solely with alcohol solvents (usually the white powder form). This alcohol solvent leaves the sweet taste of the Stevia but can take away some of the health benefits.

Highly processed “Stevia,” such as Truvia, is not real Stevia by the time it goes through refining. Chemical solvents are added during the refining process which includes acetonitrile, found to be toxic to the liver and a carcinogen.

By: Diana Herrington         April 17, 2017
Follow Diana at @DancinginLife


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8 Behaviors That Create Anxiety (And How To Avoid Having Them)

As per the American Psychology Association, anxiety is defined as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry.” There is a difference between worrying about something and anxious thoughts. Anxiety circles around and around creating challenges to every situation. About 18% of our population struggles with anxiety. So how can we get a handle on this disorder?

HERE ARE 8 BEHAVIORS THAT CREATE ANXIETY
(AND HOW TO AVOID HAVING THEM):

1. AVOIDANCE

By avoiding the issue that causes stress, you are actually creating more anxiety. Avoidance is shoveling dirt under a rug and then wondering why you keep tripping over the mount every time you walk near it. The issues are still there. The more you fight to shut them out of the mind, the stronger they become.

It may seem reasonable to avoid the fears, but if you gently address the situation, you could put it aside. When we avoid one fear, we create another in its place. The best advice is to handle the fear, gently addressing circumstances, and slowly try to handle what is causing them. When we finally face our demons, they can’t hurt us anymore.

2. DENIAL

Are you aware that you are suffering from anxiety? Denial causes other underlying disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or other phobias. It can lead to severe depression. Denial is a psychological mechanism that we use when things are too uncomfortable to face. Many psychoanalysts have come to believe that denial is perhaps the first stage of coping with a situation, event, trauma, or experience.

Ask yourself if you are indeed inflicted by fears and phobias that control your thoughts. Denial is often the first step to acceptance. But, until you face the truth, you cannot heal from it.

3. EXPECTATIONS

Expectations are strong beliefs that something will happen in the future. We place them as targets, and when they don’t happen, we spin out of control. An expectation is a controlled instrument. We utilize it as a safety net for what should happen. However, we have little control on what will happen in the future. So, we are crushed when our expectations get tarnished. This causes tremendous anxiety. We were sure that the plan was going to happen just as we had envisioned.

Expectations are anomalies. They serve as nothing but disappointments. What you continue to put forth as assurance is not always going to come out the way you want. Stop putting expectations in your life. Anxiety arrives in those times that we don’t get what we want. You had a set plan. It didn’t happen, and now you are depressed and stressed because you cannot find another solution. There is always another way. Nothing in life is set in stone.

About 18% of our population struggles with anxiety

About 18% of our population struggles with anxiety

4. REASSURANCE

If you are constantly needing the reassurance from others, you most likely suffer from anxiety. By asking and rechecking in with other people, you are reinforcing an irrational mindset that’s affecting your core understanding. Reassurance leads to an unhealthy belief in your own worth and esteem. If you are constantly worrying about what others think, your anxiety will always be elevated.

Trust in your own opinion. If you have to make a decision, believe in yourself to acquire the best plan of action. It’s good to share your thoughts with others, but living by what they judge, criticize and tell you is not healthy. It causes stress and escalates anxieties. You have all the answers within you. Trust in that!

5. RELYING ONLY ON MEDICATION

Medication is helpful, but to rely only on a magic pill is irresponsible. Eventually the medication can stop working and the fears will still be there. Commonly prescribed medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan provide a calming effect by boosting the brain’s neurotransmitters. These are called gamma-amnobutyric acid (GABA) and they work in the same way that opioids (such as Heroin) works. These neurotransmitters create a sense of gratification caused by hormones such as dopamine. It’s a false sense of dealing with the anxiety.

Medication helps with stress and anxiety disorders, but it’s no substitute for the long term behavioral programming. In order to live a healthy life, you must rely on positive reinforcements to help ease those thoughts. Exercise, spending time outdoors, meditation, or even listening to music help in reestablishing healthy manners of dealing with the doom of fears. Taking care of yourself while loving and respecting your health will help reprogram the brain. When you are happy, you release natural feel-good hormones.

6. DRUGS AND ALCOHOL

Drugs and alcohol can provide a momentary sense of ease with anxiety, but its long term effects are deadly. Substance abuse escalates through depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. Most people numb themselves through these substances and then become addicted to them in order to function.

Using alcohol and drugs to aid with anxiety causes other problems and imbalances your mental state. If you find yourself already dependent, please get help. You are masking the phobias with another issue. Addiction becomes a permanent problem for a temporary solution.

7. HELPLESSNESS

The negative self-talks, feeling as if you are insane, sleep disturbances, and believing something is wrong with you are all part of the helplessness that arrives with anxiety. If these behavioral issues are not addressed, they can turn into severe depression and even lead to suicide. Helplessness becomes a spiral-down staircase to hell.

In order to combat this monster, you must let go of the future. You must learn to live now. Helplessness is deteriorating. It’s just like expectations in that you are bound to be hugely disappointed. For a person suffering from anxiety, it’s difficult to hear, “Just let it go.” It’s not that easy. The brain creates scenarios and confirms the disasters. But, when the anxiety kicks in you have the power to substitute the mindset with something positive. Go create, paint, write, or dance. Do something that brings you joy.

8. PSYCHOANALYSIS

Anxiety is a faulty activation that becomes your fight or flight system. It’s healthy to have therapy. It’s important to examine the issues from trauma and past circumstances. The overuse of psychoanalysis can sometimes hinder your healing. In many instances, environmental factors and genetics play a huge role in anxiety. It’s important to address the issues that are going now and not get stuck in the past.

We learn from our behaviors and past experiences. We can be guided to make better choices and work towards a healthy lifestyle. Behavior modification is important when dealing with anxiety. The over dosages of psychoanalysis, returning to those painful events, stumps your process. The constant re-examining of past events do not allow for you to see your present situation.

“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 


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Fun Fact Friday

  • If someone truly loves you, they tend to hug you for at least 5 seconds or more.

  • Changing how you walk affects your mood.

  • Studies show that the walking through a doorway causes memory lapses, which is why we walk into another room, only to forget why we did.

  • Emotions are contagious. Unpleasant or negative emotions are more contagious than neutral or positive emotions.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on Earth after oil.
  • 1% of people are addicted to exercise.

  • Long distance relationships are as satisfying as normal relationships in terms of communication, intimacy, and commitment, studies show.

  • It takes your brain approximately 90 seconds to decide whether or not you like someone.

  • Laughter helps increase memory and learning. Incorporating humor into education leads to higher test scores.

 

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Could a Daily Vitamin Curb Smog’s Health Effects?

Small study suggests vitamin B might help, but reducing pollution levels remains the priority

There’s a lot of evidence to show that breathing in dirty air can harm your heart. But a small new study suggests that daily vitamin B supplements might counteract that effect.

While two hours of exposure to concentrated air pollution had a negative effect on heart rate and levels of illness-fighting white blood cells, “these effects are nearly reversed with four-week B-vitamin supplementation,” according to study co-author Dr. Andrea Baccarelli. He’s chair of environmental health sciences at Columbia University in New York City.

One lung health expert was cautiously optimistic about the findings.

“It is interesting that pretreating with B vitamins may prevent some of the deleterious effects of exposure to this pollution,” said Dr. Alan Mensch, senior vice president of medical affairs at Northwell Heath’s Plainview Hospital in Plainview, N.Y.
“It must be kept in mind, however, that since this study only included 10 healthy patients, it might not be applicable to an entire population,” he added. Plus, preventing air pollution in the first place “takes precedent over developing methods to prevent its deleterious effects,” he said.

The new research involved 10 healthy nonsmokers, aged 18 to 60, who took a placebo for four weeks before being exposed to fine-particulate air pollution for two hours.

The “fine particulates” – microscopic specks – were 2.5 micrometers in diameter, the researchers said.

Inhalable particles that are “2.5 micrometers or smaller are potentially the most dangerous form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep in the lungs and adjacent bloodstream,” Mensch explained. Once inhaled, “they can travel to various organs throughout the body,” he added, causing inflammation and ill effects on cardiovascular health.

“Populations exposed to high particulate-associated air pollution have increased heart attacks, lung cancer, DNA mutations, and premature births and deaths,” Mensch said.

Overall, fine-particle pollution contributes to 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide each year, mainly through harm to the cardiovascular system. This type of air pollution is believed to be the most common trigger for heart attack, the study authors noted.

But could a simple daily vitamin supplement help curb this smog-linked damage?

To find out, Baccarelli’s group gave the 10 participants vitamin B supplements for four weeks before again exposing them to the fine-particle air pollution for another two hours.

This time, the vitamin B supplements were linked to a near-reversal of the negative effects of the pollution on the volunteers’ cardiovascular and immune systems, the researchers said. This included healthy changes in each person’s heart rate and their white blood cell levels.

Baccarelli stressed that preventing pollution should always be the first measure in safeguarding people’s health, however.

“Pollution regulation remains the backbone of public health protection against its cardiovascular health effects,” he said in a university news release. “Studies like ours cannot diminish — nor be used to underemphasize — the urgent need to lower air pollution levels to — at a minimum — meet the air-quality standards set forth in the United States and other countries.”

Another lung expert agreed that the vitamin supplements could help blunt the health effects of dirty air.

The new study is “evidence that vitamin B provides benefits against the development of atherosclerosis in healthy adults who are exposed to air pollution,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

While it remains unclear just how the supplement works in this regard, “this finding recommends vitamin B, which is of course safe and has no side effects, as a buffer against coronary artery disease,” Horovitz said.

The study was published online recently in the journal Scientific Reports.

 
By Robert Preidt       HealthDay Reporter       FRIDAY, April 14, 2017
Sources: Alan Mensch, M.D., senior vice president of medical affairs,  Northwell Health’s Plainview and Syosset Hospitals, N.Y.;  Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Columbia University, news release, April 12, 2017        WebMD News from HealthDay