Epigenetics and Healthy Air2 minute read
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We know that breathing Healthy Air is essential to overall wellness. But why, exactly?
Every year, scientists and researchers discover more about how air pollution and other airborne contaminants negatively impact our health. One area of study is called epigenetics, which aims to understand how our behaviors and environment can affect the way our genes work.
Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are sometimes reversible and do not change the DNA sequence, but they can change how our bodies read a DNA sequence. For instance, smoking can lead to epigenetic changes. Smokers tend to have less DNA methylation, which is a common type of epigenetic change that determines whether genes are turned on (expressed) or turned off (not expressed).
After quitting smoking, former smokers can experience increased DNA methylation, and eventually reach levels similar to those of nonsmokers, showing that epigenetic change can evolve over a lifetime based on behaviors and environment.
While DNA methylation and other forms of epigenetic change are essential for normal human development, errors in epigenetics can lead to conditions such as cancers, metabolic disorders, and degenerative disorders.
Connecting back to Healthy Air environments, a study published in 2019 set out to understand the relationship between exposure to air pollution and DNA methylation in human genes.
Researchers found that exposure to air pollution is, in fact, associated with changes in DNA methylation over a lifetime. They observed early effects during pregnancy all the way through to old age.
Most often, these epigenetic changes in adulthood were associated with longer periods of exposure, showing that effects can accumulate over time and that exposure at a young age may lead to accelerated changes down the road. The study also notes that more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms by which air pollution leads to epigenetic change.
Healthy Air for a Lifetime
This study reinforces the need for creating a Healthy Air environment in your home, which can have a lasting benefit for every member of the family.
The AprilAire Healthy Air System® is a whole-house solution that addresses the core aspects of Indoor Air Quality, regardless of the air quality outdoors.
Fresh air ventilation helps bring fresh air into your home, air filtration helps to capture airborne pollutants from circulating in your air, and humidity control helps maintain a comfortable environment while reducing the risk of illness.
Air quality control will become increasingly important over time, as air pollution increases globally and we gain a better understanding of how breathing unhealthy air impacts our long-term health and wellness.