As devastating wildfires rage on in Northern and Southern California, the need to protect your system from the toxic effects of smoke is more important than ever.
It goes without saying that if exposure to smoke in the air is the closest you and I come to the fires that are engulfing entire towns in both Northern and Southern California, then we ought to be immensely grateful. That said, the toxic effects of smoke are real… and often insidious. As smoke blankets the Bay Area, alerts of “red” unhealthy air quality have been issued for a week straight and counting. Moreover, even if you’re only going outside in short bursts, your body is still being exposed to significant amounts of toxic chemicals. Consequently, you may notice shortness of breath, coughing, congestion, fatigue, itchy/dry eyes and skin, headache, nausea, brain fog, and insomnia, amongst other symptoms.
But what about the effects you don’t notice? On a microscopic level, the smoke in our air is causing potentially long-lasting cellular damage. At best, it’s aging us… at worst, it’s setting the stage for various chronic diseases down the road (or exacerbating existing ones).
During the California wildfires of 2017, B12 LOVE NDs, Elizabeth Korza and Tara Levy, wrote about some simple measures you can take at home to protect yourself from smoke toxins. However, if you want to support your system beyond these everyday precautions, there are three nutrients that should be top of mind when you visit your favorite weekly B12 LOVE Happy Hour (Pro Tip: You can ask for all three at once as a “Glutathione Cocktail” on our menu):
Glutathione: Glutathione (GSH) is found naturally in the body as a product of the liver. It’s actually a combination of three amino acids – cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine – and ranks as the most important antioxidant produced by the body. That’s right, the MOST important! Specifically, it prevents cellular damage caused by free radicals and peroxides, offering protection against oxidative stress, mercury & toxic metals, alcohol, and organic pollutants.
“Every system in the body is affected by the state of the glutathione system, especially the immune system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, and the lungs.” Martin Gallagher, MD, DC, ABOIM
Last month, Dr. Shannon and I attended a medical conference which featured a session titled “Glutathione: the most powerful antioxidant?” It turns out that’s a rhetorical question, and the answer is undoubtedly yes, yes, and more yes!
B5 (Dexpanthenol): Best known for its energy-boosting effects, B5 synthesizes and metabolizes fats, proteins, and coenzyme-A (an important component of cellular respiration). It’s used as a treatment for fatigue, adrenal stress, acne, and allergies.
High Dose B12 (5mg/mL Methylcobalamin or Hydroxocobalamin): As the base of all of our nutrient injections, we can’t say enough good things about Vitamin B12… especially in high dose concentrations (and btw, there’s no such thing as too much B12!).
Furthermore, the little extra dose of B12 makes a big difference in overall well-being. It is an exceptionally important vitamin for maintaining healthy nerve cells, and also helps in the production of DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic material. Additionally, Vitamin B12 assists in red blood cell formation and helps iron work better in the body. Vitamin B12 is not only boosting to the immune system, it helps battle fatigue, insomnia, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, brain fog, and anemia, amongst other things.
WILDFIRE RESOURCES: HEALTH, SAFETY, & WAYS YOU CAN HELP
The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management published a map of filtered air facilities in the city, where residents can go to get a reprieve from the smoke. The list includes public libraries and Westfield San Francisco Centre.
The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a–year, multilingual, and confidential crisis support hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Ways to Help:
- American Red Cross: Donations may be made online, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- The United Way of Northern California is taking donations for its NorCal Fire Relief Fund online and by text: Send the message BUTTEFIRE to 91999.
- The Salvation Army is taking donations to support disaster relief and provide meals to first responders and evacuees.
- GoFundMe has also set up a page listing various crowdfunding campaigns for the Camp Fire.
- The North Valley Community Foundation has two funds: The Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund and the Butte County Schools Fire Relief Fund. Donors can make an open gift to the school fund, or designate a specific use (such as textbooks or school supplies).
For animal relief, the Butte Humane Society set up an Amazon wish list to donate pet supplies online.