These Vitamins Protect Your DNA From Air Pollution

What if there was a vitamin that could actually protect your genetic material against damage from toxic substances in our air? Well, according to recent research, not just one vitamin can do this but a whole set of vitamins have this amazing protective ability.

According to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in conjunction with Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in Sweden, China, Singapore, Mexico and Canada, the B-complex vitamins protect DNA against common pollutants in our air. The researchers identified a gap in our understanding of natural substances that could protect our bodies against the health-damaging effects of air pollutants, so they sought solutions.


Participants in the study were given either a placebo or a B-complex vitamin supplement containing 2.5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6 and 1 mg of vitamin B12 daily. Study participants were healthy non-smokers between the ages of 18 to 60 who did not take any other supplements or medications. Air pollutants were extracted from a heavy traffic area in downtown Toronto and administered to the volunteers. Researchers found that those who took the B vitamin supplement had greater protection against DNA damage resulting from air pollutants.

The research is valuable as a growing body of research links air pollution to a wide variety of health conditions, including: respiratory diseases (asthma, COPD, emphysema, etc.), heart disease, and even brain diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. While we obviously need to find ways to reduce air pollution, it is also imperative to find natural solutions free of harmful side-effects to help manage these health conditions.

Food Sources of B-Vitamins

Vitamin B6: bananas, avocados, cantaloupe, molasses, soy, walnuts, pecans, leafy greens, green peppers, carrots

Folic Acid: mushrooms, nuts, broccoli, asparagus, lima beans, lettuce, spinach, beet greens, sweet potatoes, leafy greens

Vitamin B12: foods fortified with the vitamin, mushrooms and fermented foods. The primary foods that are fortified with B12 are almond milk, rice milk, soy milk (be sure it’s organic since most soy is genetically-modified), hemp milk and oat milk, along with fortified breakfast cereals and vegan meat substitutes. Check out my blog “How to Get Vitamin B12 on a Vegan Diet.”

B Complex Supplements

Most B vitamin supplements come in either 50 milligram or 100 milligram dosages, with either 50 or 100 milligrams of each of the B vitamins, including: B6, B1, B2, niacin (B3), along with 50 or 100 micrograms of each of folic acid and vitamin B12. Take one or two capsules or tablets daily, as directed on the package of the product you select.

Ideally, because B-complex vitamins are involved in energy production in the body, it is best to take them in the morning or early afternoon to avoid excessive alertness at bedtime. Most people find that the energy boost is a pleasant benefit of supplementing with B vitamins. The B-complex vitamins work best together and as a result are best taken in a combination supplement, rather than as individual vitamins. You may notice that your urine becomes darker while taking B vitamins. Contrary to what some people think, you are not just urinating the supplements out of your body. Instead, they also offer a protective effect against infection or other health conditions to your urinary tract.