A definite association exists between exposure to ambient particulate matter PM2.5 over time and MAFLD, based on this extensive study of 90,086 people in southwest China.
Over 90,000 people in China were studied for the potential impact of ambient (surrounding area) air pollution on metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). The study reported that long-term exposure to ambient air pollution leads to an increased risk of MAFLD in smokers, alcohol drinkers, obese individuals, and those consuming high-fat diets.
All societies, not just China, face a significant economic burden from MAFLD, a growing global health challenge. An increasing number of studies show that traffic fumes and industrial pollution fuel soaring numbers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects 25% of the world’s population.
NOTE: PM2.5 is an air pollutant (2 1/2 micrometers or less in width) that causes the air to appear hazy when its levels are high. A human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter. It will give you an idea of how small PM(2.5) is. A human hair is about 30 times wider.
The researchers also observed that the association of MAFLD with PM2.5 was more substantial than that with (PM1) or (PM10). Particle size seems to play a significant role in the pathways of biological action.
The reason is that smaller particles (PM1) can more easily enter the lung alveolar region and relocate into the circulatory system and tissues. The larger particles (PM10) get stuck in the upper respiratory tract.
The study results further demonstrated that the people most affected by PM(2.5) are:
- over 65
- chronic drinkers
- those who consume a high-fat diet
This study also announced that burning fossil fuels generates particles and gases that increase people’s risk of illness. In the case of PM2.5, the risk increased by 29 percent for every 10 microgram increase in density.
The lungs become inflamed when PM2.5 particles are lodged in them and cause sticky blood. Similarly, even a slight increase in NO2 levels from diesel vehicles was associated with a 15 percent increase in liver disease.
According to their findings, the researchers urge government officials to recognize that air pollution can be controlled as a modifiable risk factor for liver disease. Walking, jogging, and cycling in towns and cities have essentially no benefits due to traffic fumes.
Air Pollution From PM2.5 Can Wreak Havoc On Your Health
In 2013, a study was designed to “alert public opinion, international media, and policymakers” to the harmful effects of exposure to PM(2.5) on NAFLD. According to the study, air pollution from PM(2.5) ordinarily originates from fuel combustion (motor vehicles, power generation, industrial facilities), residential fireplaces, and wood stoves.”
Of particular importance, the study emphasized that diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) are significant contributors to air pollution in large cities. (DEPs) have shown in a previous study on mice that they directly cause inflammation and oxidative damage to DNA in the liver.
An earlier 2007 study conducted on mice showed that DEP had a direct effect of DEP on inflammation and oxidative damage to DNA in the liver. And in 2009, a study declared that PM(2.5) exposure might be a significant risk factor for NAFLD progression.
However, the China study confirms the direct link between PM(2.5) pollution and NAFLD.
The study showed that long-term exposure to ambient levels of PM(2.5) increases the likelihood of developing MAFLD in the real world. Unhealthy lifestyle habits and central obesity may exacerbate these effects.
In addition, men and obese people should take more protective measures against ambient air pollution, affecting these groups more.
If you work out or run outdoors, you should be careful not to exercise near a heavy traffic area. The workouts may do you more harm than good.