Running is great for your heart, right? Maybe not...

September 14, 2010
Volume 07    |   Issue 37

Although I’ve lived in small towns most of my life, I spent more than 30 years in Los Angeles. Some of this time, I worked out with Joyce, who loved to run outdoors. So every morning, I’d meet her around 7:00 a.m. and we’d run along a path by the ocean. Exercising was good for our health. But running anywhere in Los Angeles wasn’t. Whether I was indoors at the gym or outside near the ocean, I was inhaling smog.

My lungs often felt tight whenever I’d run. So I knew my body was paying a price for the benefits of exercising. I knew the smog wasn’t good for my lungs. But I didn’t know that breathing so much smog could harm my heart. In fact, one component of smog — ozone — was killing some of my heart cells.

Past studies have linked air pollution to heart disease. But pollution contains hundreds of chemicals including ozone. No one had ever studied the damaging effects of ozone alone — until now.

A study out of Texas A&M Health Science Center exposed some rats to eight hours a day of ozone. They exposed the rats for one to two months. The control group of rats lived in an environment with filtered air.

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The researchers found that exposing the rats to ozone increased the level of inflammation in their hearts compared to the control rats. This inflammation marker appears to correspond to a heart-protective protein. Ozone decreased this protective protein.

What can you do if you’re exposed to smog on a regular basis? Not many people will opt for my solution and move to a more rural, less toxic area. But you may decide to stay indoors and not exercise vigorously on smog alert days. You’ll also want to take a strong anti-inflammatory supplement, such as Reduloxin every day. It can help fight the inflammation smog causes.

The smog alerts you hear on the radio say people at risk should stay indoors. The truth is we’re all at risk. But taking a few precautions, along with Reduloxin, can protect your lungs and your heart.

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