Rhona McDade | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 15 August 2017

WTF? Air pollution increases stress hormones and alters metabolism

Air Pollution Increases Stress Hormones And Alters Our Metabolism

The Debrief: New research reveals pollution is messing with our hormones and metabolism...

WTF? Here we are spending £50 a month on goat yoga classes (this is genuinely a thing), drinking horrific concoctions of spirulina and smothering ourselves in coconut oil all in the name of health and mindfulness; when all we need to do is breathe and our stress levels and metabolism are f*cked. 

New research suggests that breathing dirty air causes stress hormones to spike, which might go some way in explaining why long-term exposure to pollution is associated with heart disease, strokes, diabetes and a shorter life span. Dr. Haidong Kan of Fudan University in Shanghai, looked specifically at the health effects of particulate matter (PM), small particles less than 2.5 millimeters in diameter, from industrial sources, that can be inhaled and become lodged in the lungs. In a study, students who were exposed to higher levels of pollution over a 12-day period experienced an increase in the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, as did their blood sugar, amino acids, fatty acids and lipids. I’m sorry to think the unthinkable but it might be time to move out of London! It turns out we’re not the only ones thinking this, it’s reported 2 out of 3 people have considered London to escape the air pollution.  

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London Mayor, Sadiq Khan issued the highest air pollution alert in London for the first time this year and said that the capital’s ‘filthy air’ is now a ‘health crisis.’ Putney high street broke its annual emissions limit just eight days into the new year, with Knightsbridge, Oxford Circus, Earls Court and Brixton all following suit. If that wasn’t reason enough to gumtree your car and slip into some hemp harem pants, it is also estimated that 50,000 people a year die prematurely from N02 pollution in the UK! The government’s new plan say that pollution will not fall to legal level until 2025. 

So, the next time you’re on the tube pondering over the grey snot you have just hacked up into a tissue (sorry), take a moment to reflect on what more can be done. 

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