Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S., CFMP
An underappreciated highway danger has been shown to cause sudden cardiac arrest or clotting off of a coronary artery
In addition, this highway danger has been found to cause sudden arrhythmia that makes a person pass out or have a heart attack.
The highway danger I am referring to is diesel and other traffic exhausts.
Diesel exhausts have been known for decades to create clots, arrhythmias and heart attacks.
What baffles me is that this has been known for over ten years and has even been published in cardiologists’ leading journal, Circulation (published by the American Heart Association)!
We now know the mechanisms by how this happens.
Research has shown that diesel and traffic exhaust fumes (unavoidable chemicals) poison the ability of the body to make nitric oxide (it poisons the endothelial nitric oxide synthase enzyme).
The endothelial cells of our vasculature protect us against atherosclerosis and thrombosis. A major weapon of endothelial cells to fight vascular disease is endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), an enzyme that generates the vasoprotective molecule nitric oxide (NO·). However, many of us unintentionally mistreat our endothelial cells.
From diabetes to hypertension, cancer to strokes, memory and learning disorders to septic shock, male impotence to tuberculosis, there is probably no pathological condition where nitric oxide does not play an important role.
But there is a way to fix it.
As a brief review, our bodies make our own nitroglycerine (nitric oxide, actually) to dilate our blood vessels out of the amino acid arginine. So for any long drives especially, whether it’s business or pleasure, it is a good idea to take 1000 mg of Arginine Powder.
But remember this heart triggering can happen with very short auto exhaust exposures as well. At least you now know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from diesel-induced arrhythmias and heart attacks.
A car air purifier would be a great addition to the interior of your car or truck, and to put the air on recycling rather than sucking in highway fumes.
So where are the cardiologists who should be telling folks these simple things to do to protect themselves?
Peretz A, et al, Diesel exhaust inhalation causes acute vasoconstriction in vivo, Environ Health Persp 116:937-42, 2008
Peters A, et al, Exposure to traffic and the onset of myocardial infarction, New Engl J Med 351:1721-30, 2004
Rich DQ, et al, Association of short-term ambient air pollution concentrations and ventricular arrhythmias, Am J Epidemiol 161:1123-32, 2005
Dockery DW, et al, Association of air pollution with increased incidence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias recorded by implanted cardioverter defibrillators, Environ Health Persp, 113:670-74, 2005
Mills AL, et al, Diesel exhaust pollution causes vascular dysfunction and impaired endogenous fibrinolysis, Circulation 112:393036, 2005
Cherng T-W, Mechanisms of Diesel-Induced Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase Dysfunction in Coronary Arterioles, Environ Health Perspect. 2011 January; 119(1): 98–103.
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