Hardly a day passes without our attention being called to the growing burden of environmental pollutants and toxins. It is becoming clear, in fact, that we are literally swimming in a sea of toxic chemicals and pollutants. The good news is that we can provide a strong first line of defense for our physical body with a few key nutrients on board. (See Dr. Brown's air pollution nutrient defense protocol at end of blog)
Toxic chemicals in the body
- The EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act Inventory currently lists 86,228 chemicals actively being manufactured, processed, and imported in the US.
- There are 2,000 new chemicals introduced each year.
- The EPA is currently reviewing 374 chemicals.
- Every woman, man, and child is home to a plethora of synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, and varied pollutants.
- A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the average newborn baby has 200 industrial chemicals and/or pollutants in their umbilical cord.
Burden of air pollution on the body
Air pollution is a particular form of environmental contamination that is widely publicized and indeed threatening. Many cities around the world issue daily alerts as to whether or not it is safe to breathe the air. This growing environmental crisis leaves people all around the world searching for ways to protect themselves from environmental pollutants. As a global community, we urgently need to reduce emissions of chemical and heavy metal toxins into the air. And as individuals, we can all take a few simple steps to enhance our capacity to cope with air pollution. Lifestyle and nutrition can make a big difference in how well we cope with this toxic environment.
Oxidative damage by environmental pollution
The major action of all environmental pollutants is that they cause oxidative damage and increase inflammation within the body. Air pollution in particular has been associated with both increased cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and mortality. And as we see the many wildfires around the world, it is good to remember that these fires also produce significant and serious air pollution.
3 key nutrients that protect from air pollution hazards
Research suggests that a good place to begin your air pollution self-protection program is by using 3 key nutrients documented to fortify detoxification capacity and limit the damaging impacts of environmental pollutants. These 3 toxin-buster nutrients are:
- High dose, fully buffered ascorbate / vitamin C powder,
- Omega-3 fatty acids, and
- Magnesium in alkalizing form.
BLA — Buffered L-Ascorbate (Vitamin C)
Vitamin C is one of the most abundant and widely distributed antioxidant in humans. Ascorbate, the metabolite of vitamin C that is used by the body, is reported to be the second most common molecule in all living cells within the body. Interestingly enough magnesium is reported as the most common molecule in all living cells, and it also plays an essential role in cellular detoxification. Vitamin C is known as the “maternal sacrificial antioxidant” that protects every cell in the body from oxidative damage. It even donates electrons to help regenerate other antioxidants like glutathione and vitamin E.
Vitamin C as BLA (buffered l-ascorbate) helps to mobilize and safely excrete many toxins including toxic metals. Specifically, vitamin C works synergistically with magnesium, zinc, sulfur, and selenomethionine to mobilize and excrete toxins. Adequacy of both vitamin C and these selected minerals are necessary for toxin excretion. Should you wonder about the adequacy of your mineral intake, you can estimate mineral adequacy by testing the pH of your first-morning urine. Details and testing materials are available in our Alkaline for Life® Diet Starter Kit. And a simple urine strip test allows you to screen for vitamin C adequacy.
Because of its antioxidant role, vitamin C has been shown to protect against the negative impacts of air pollution. Specifically, vitamin C supplementation has been shown to:
- Protect against the effects of high ozone exposure on lung function.
- Prevent unwanted changes in airway responsiveness.
- Benefit asthmatic adults exposed to air pollution.
- Protect against oxidative damage caused by air contamination near a coal-burning plant
We use a high potency BLA powder at Alkaline for life to be able to obtain the needed level of Vitamin C for detoxification. See our Air Pollution Nutrient Defense Protocol below for appropriate BLA dosing.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research suggests that supplementation with 2,000 to 3,000 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids helps prevent damage caused by air pollution. Omega-3 fatty acids can:
- Protect against adverse effects of particulate matter on inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Protect blood lipids from air-pollution-induced damage, and is thus cardio protective.
Magnesium is essential for the detoxification of pollutants, and having adequate magnesium protects against the cellular uptake of toxic heavy metals. Magnesium is also central to the body’s production of metalothionines, which are natural factors that help the body excrete heavy metals. Magnesium deficit indicates metabolic acidosis, and a first-morning urine reading below 6.5 on a pH test indicates the need for greater magnesium intake.
Magnesium taken as magnesium ionized glycinate, magnesium ascorbate, and magnesium citrate are easily absorbed and aid in alkalizing the body, which in itself facilitates detoxification. Should you find that magnesium causes diarrhea, it is not because you are allergic to it, or can’t tolerate magnesium. It is most likely because you have a block to magnesium uptake. This block to magnesium uptake can be corrected using a liquid choline citrate supplement. For more details on correcting this block to magnesium uptake watch my short video on the subject.
Alkaline for Life® Protocol to Aid in Detoxification of Air Pollutants:
- 4500 mg of BLA- fully buffered ascorbate: Take 1,500 mg, 3x/day (½ tsp Alkalini-C 3x/day)
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 2,000-3,000 mg/day of EPA and DHA
- Magnesium in alkalizing forms: 500 to 1,000 mg/day
- Vitamin E: 400 IU mixed tocopherols