Pollution as a source of nutrient overuse

Health Care

All toxic and pollutants lead to phenomena of overuse of micronutrients.

If alcohol, and in particular red wine, has certain positive effects on health, beyond a certain dose it causes multiple destruction linked to both the toxicity of ethanol and its derivatives such as ‘acetaldehyde and the alterations it causes in vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, selenium, polyunsaturated fatty acids and glutathione

Pollution as a source of nutrient overuseLikewise, the sun, beneficial in moderate doses, including nutritionally since it plays an important role in the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin, becomes relatively harmful, in particular by triggering the emission of singlet oxygen, a “cousin” of free radicals. Singlet oxygen, possibly the main mediator of accelerated skin aging and the increased frequency of skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure, is neutralized by beta-carotene and other carotenoids. Twelve days of exposure to the sun results in a decrease in the beta-carotene content not only in the skin, but in the plasma.

It is well established that tobacco causes an intense destruction of vitamin C, which has led to the admission that smokers have at least double the recommended intake of this vitamin compared to non-smokers.

But it is much less well known that smoking also impairs vitamin E, carotene, vitamin B9 and vitamin B12, and even less that passive smoking is also accompanied by a destruction of vitamin C.

Moreover, it has been shown that this destruction was not yet compensated by vitamin C supplementation greater than 250 mg per day in active smokers or equal to 250 mg per day in passive smokers. The current recommendation of an intake of 100 to 120 mg of vitamin C in smokers is therefore completely insufficient.

Finally, smoking interferes with bone mineralization.

Air pollution, caused by a large number of agents such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, soot particles, interacting with each other and with particles in suspension and light, generates species , often radical, with high toxic power.

Exposure to air pollution leads to a depletion of a certain number of nutrients mobilized in the damaged tissues: in particular the antioxidant vitamins and sulfur-containing amino acids, precursors of glutathione.

The atmosphere in which motor vehicles circulate is also loaded with lead, which interferes with zinc.

Lead can come from other various sources: paints, food, tap water, alcohols kept in crystal basins … like other heavy metals, cadmium and mercury, which also interfere with zinc.

Despite the multiple attempts to deny the phenomenon, the release of mercury by dental amalgam is not in doubt.

Hundreds of occupations lead to intense exposures to heavy metals, as well as to other pollutants, for example dentists with regard to mercury.

If the quality of the outside air can pose problems – in Paris in the last three years 67 exceedances of the permissible levels of nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulfur dioxide have been recorded – studies carried out over the last fifteen years on the indoor air quality revealed that pollution was almost always more intense indoors than outdoors.

However, we spend more than 80% of our time indoors: place of work, residence and means of transport.

Apart from cigarette smoke, which remains the first source of exposure in the world to radioactive particles, without counting carbon monoxide, aldehydes, formalin, cadmium … and without considering the intense exposures linked to the professions , many sources emit pollutants under our noses, at home, in the car or on public transport, in the office.

The gas cooker and heater give off nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, in small amounts, less than the amounts necessary to cause acute poisoning.

Construction materials, fiberglass, insulation foams, vinyl tiles for ceilings, plasters, paints, wallpapers, lacquers, varnishes, plywood, treated wood, synthetic carpets, the fabrics of curtains, sofas, armchairs, household appliances, etc., release volatile organic compounds, solvents, aldehydes, formalin and particles.

The newer the houses or their decoration and furnishings, the more intense this release.

In addition, all cleaning products that contain solvents, detergents, pesticides and in particular deodorants that contain dichlorobenzene, and dry-cleaned fabrics that contain perchlorethylene, as well as pollution from the operation of household and outdoor appliances, reactivate indoor pollution and recreate, especially in carpets, upholstery and bedding, longer-term release reservoirs.

In the offices, the density of synthetic materials, the machines, in particular the photocopier emitting ozone and solvents, the air conditioning, create a more polluted environment than at home, at the origin of the sick building syndromdècxW for several years. .

In addition to the irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, a feeling of discomfort and lethargy is added which reduces the performance of about 20% of office workers in the United States.

The materials of the means of transport emit volatile organic compounds in their interior space, in a particularly intense way when they are new, and other pollutants during their operation benzene, carbon monoxide.

But certain pollutants affect us in an even more intimate way, when they are released, such as chloroform by the shower water that we take, by lacquers, dyes, varnishes, cosmetics, perfumes that we take. we put on our hair, our nails, our skin, by the synthetic fabrics that we wear or by our clothes returned from dry cleaning, by the tank of the car that we refill with gasoline, etc.

Tap water contains nitrates, chlorine, chloroform, residual aluminum from flocculation treatments, and a host of other inorganic and organic pollutants in small doses that can come from domestic, urban, agricultural, industrial waste , infiltration from the surface, water treatments, or ducts.

But quantitatively, for those who do not smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol and do not practice a highly exposed profession, one of the most important sources of pollutants is probably found in food, which – beyond all the substances that they have been able to integrate during cultivation or breeding, transport, agro-food processing, packaging and storage – undergo transformations during the cooking process leading to ingestion of several grams per day of burnt or scorched products, which contain potent mutagens and carcinogens.


Apart from tobacco, the daily intake recommendations do not take into account the increased needs induced by daily exposure to a toxic load.

This is not specific to the urban world. The rural world, with the handling of many machines and products and the same problems with the air in houses, synthetic fabrics, tap water and food, leads to comparable and sometimes similar exposures to pollutants. superior to cities.

As Lance Wallace of the US Environmental Protection Agency points out: “Living in

More than 150,000 new molecules have been put into circulation in our environment in less than a century. We can now consider that we are supplemented daily through the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and even their packaging whose components migrate into the food (phthalates, bisphenol A , for example), clothing, cosmetics, drugs, interior decorations, transport, workplaces … by pollutants that cost us antioxidants, N-acetylcysteine, a precursor of glutathione, and ‘energy…. This alone is a justification for taking daily protective supplements and detoxification cures, the frequencies of which are to be evaluated according to the intensity of the exposure.

Author Jean-Paul Curtay

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