It’s been a challenging year on the immune system and now many of us across the West are in the thick of forest fires. Here’s what you can do to help prevent pollution from stressing your system, reduce inflammation, and to set yourself up healthy.
Fire Pollution and Your Health
Forest fires manifest a lot of pollution, more-so when they start burning pavement, vehicles or structures. The result of forest fires is ultimately what’s called dioxins. Dioxins are highly poisonous and increasingly prevalent in our air. They come from hospital and trash incinerators, backyard burning, oil and gas extraction and usage, and forest fires.
Over 90% of human exposure comes from food sources that have been exposed to dioxins, and when there are active fires, we get more of it from the air we breathe. Our fats store these dioxins and they don’t break down for about 10 years which also means they accumulate in us.
There’s a strong link between dioxins and increased inflammation and lowered immunity. This can look like upticks in asthma, neuro issues like muscle pain or bone pain, reactivated infections, feeling run down, headaches, bloating, acne, digestive issues and more.
Studies Show Acupuncture Reduces Inflammation
A wonderful new article came out in The Harvard Gazette covering a new study on the efficacy of acupuncture’s ability to reduce inflammation. The report states that acupuncture appears to quell inflammation from different signaling pathways, and also prompts the body to activate pathways to reduce it.
Other studies track acupuncture to work on neuropeptides, cytokines, and substance P, all having to do with reducing inflammation for things such as pain, auto-immune issues, asthma, digestive issues and more.
What is observed is that regular acupuncture supported the reduction of inflammatory markers.
Supplements to Keep You Up-to-Snuff
I also can’t stress enough to make sure your detoxing abilities and antioxidant loads are sufficient to cycle the pollutants out. This also helps take the burden off of your lymph, nervous system, lungs, and so on to keep yourself healthy and resilient. Specific ideas include:
- NAC/ N-Acetyl Cysteine: Is a scavenger of free-radicals, supports the liver in ushering out toxins, supports healthy neural tissues and lung tissue…which is excellent during flu season and fire season.
- Glutathione: Very strong against oxidative stress in the cells, particularly against environmental pollution, and supports the liver. This can be too strong for some folks to take, in which case NAC (the precursor) might be a better choice.
- Bentonite clay: This is gentle and lovely to drink daily. It also helps detox certain molds, metals, clear the skin and regulate digestion.
- Vitamin C: This is a big one! Vit C is of vital importance. It’s found widespread lung cells making it extra important when we breathe in pollution. Our bodies don’t make vitamin C so we must get the adequate amount every day. Up to 3 grams a day or bowel tolerance is acceptable. If you have strong histamine issues, you may need to play around with types of C as some such as ascorbate C can aggravate mast cells (which can create more inflammation) for some folks. Opting for Quicksilvers Lipsomal C might be a better option and that can be found in the supplement link below.
- Chinese herbs: While “antioxidant” and “detox” are not words used in TCM, the concepts do exist. There are a few Chinese herbs that have “antioxidant” qualities, and nearly anyone on a formula from my pharmacy has had them or is taking them.
There are several types of filters on the market. For smoke and fire particulates, HEPA is your friend. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and a true HEPA filter is rated on what percentage of fine dust (specifically PM0.3) it can reduce. A true HEPA filter must remove 99.97% of PM0.3 and this will certainly be of help in controlling the amount of fine particles from fires in your airspace. Some units use ionization or ozone and this is not recommended for home/office use. Stick with the HEPA or HEPA/carbon filters. (carbon can help neutralize odors and some VOC’s.) For more filter information, a link is provided below.