If you’re worried about the rising rates of air pollution, you may want to stock up on some B vitamins. A new study from Columbia University indicates that the nutrient may reduce adverse effects of PM2.5, which are fine Particulate Matter that have a diameter smaller than 2.5 microns. In comparison, human hair diameters range from 40 to 120 microns. These tiny particles can be inhaled and are thought to cause health problems.

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Researchers conducted the experiment on healthy, non-smokers between the ages of 18 and 60. Participants were given a placebo and exposed to clean air, first, then took a placebo before being exposed to polluted air. Following that, they received a B vitamin supplement containing 2.5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6 and 1 mg of vitamin B12, before the same process was repeated, reports CNN. Measurements were taken before and after air exposure, revealing that the vitamins actually reduced damage of PM2.5 exposure.

The study was incredibly small, conducted on only 10 people, and further research is needed to verify that vitamin B could actually be used as a way to ward off the harmful impacts of air pollution.

“The molecular foundations of air pollution’s health effects are not fully understood, and the lack of individual-level preventative options represented a critical knowledge gap,” says Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, professor at Columbia, in a statement. “Our study launches a line of research for developing preventive interventions to minimize the adverse effects of air pollution on potential mechanistic markers. Because of the central role of epigenetic modifications in mediating environmental effects, our findings could very possibly be extended to other toxicants and environmental diseases.”

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According to the World Health Organization, 92 percent of the population lives in communities where pollution levels exceed the WHO’s limits. About three million deaths occur each year because of pollution.

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