Omega-3 fatty acids (OFAs), found in a variety of foods including in oily fish, soy beans and spinach, could reduce inflammation and oxidative stress caused by air pollution by up to half, according to the study conducted in mice.
However, the research also shows air pollution particles can penetrate through the lungs of lab animals into many major organs, including the brain and testicles. This raises the possibility that the health damage caused by toxic air is even greater than currently known, The Guardian reported on Friday.
"I would definitely recommend taking OFAs to counter air pollution problems," lead researcher Jing Kang, at Massachusetts General Hospital, part of Harvard Medical School in the US, was quoted as saying.
"OFAs are well known to have many other healthy benefits and the key thing is they are not like a drug, but a nutrient with so many benefits," Kang said.
Two to four grammes per day would be the equivalent dose in humans to that given to the mice, Kang said.
The research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could provide an immediate, practical solution for reducing the disease burden of air pollution.