Does clean air 'kill' Coronavirus?
Author: Roshan S Sai
Well, not literally. But air pollution is associated with worsening disease due to coronavirus.
Forget the COVID-19 for a moment.
Did you know that bad air was killing Indians 3 years, 10 months & 10 days too early?
Did you know that exposure to air pollution is linked to an increase in violent crime? Or were you wondering why your spouse/kids were behaving so cranky and distracted lately?
Did you know that breathing outdoors in polluted cities is as dangerous as smoking 25 cigarettes a day?
Did you know that the oceans are warming at a rate of 5 atom bombs per second?
Now that I caught your attention, hopefully, let’s come back to the novel coronavirus.
Air pollution-induced stress is a very common phenomenon. The damage to our physical and mental health has been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during stress.
Breathing clean air, like when you go out for a walk in the woods, results in the release of the 'feel-good hormones' like endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also plays a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation.
Oxytocin decreases cortisol (produced by the adrenaline glands located above the kidneys) which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic or distress. By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric and calm state.
This calm state boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count making it easier to fight infection and illness
How do those effects on the brain from being relaxed translate to boosting our immune system and making our bodies healthier? The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses!
According to many hormone-therapy specialists, relaxation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections.
The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by a clean environment in general and clean air in particular, as we breathe the air around us every moment. Clean air also allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy. The benefits of clean air have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we inhale fresh air.
Health and relaxation that results from clean air boost the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms
According to rheumatologist Dr.Harris H McIlwain, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through reduced stress resulting from inhaling clean air, for example) can help boost the immune system.
Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released when one is stress-free, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting health and relaxation, which makes it much easier for one to fall into a deep sleep.
There are several studies showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response.
Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.
Clean air promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu. This is the reason why children are the least affected by COVID-19! They have an agile and robust immune system (https://bit.ly/3aQJRWx)
The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopping threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system.
While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, clean air (or air free of particulate matter) has proven, beyond doubt, to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole. Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active lifestyle) can help boost your immune system.
The best and often the only defence against many of these highly infectious diseases is a great immunity of the body, which in turn is acquired and boosted by inhaling clean air, exposure to sunlight and consuming clean food and water apart from, of course, regular exercise of the body and mind.
Do let me know in the comments section and I or someone from my team will get in touch with you right away to explain how that can be achieved.