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Breathing in sea air helps to fight cancer and to prevent high cholesterol. This is shown by research from the Ghent University and the Flemish Institute for the Sea.
Have you ever heard of sea spray? Researchers give this name the seawater that is sprayed in the air by the waves. This sea spray contains a lot of natural substances that are produced by algae and bacteria, and that are good for your health. When you breathe in sea air, you absorb these substances in your body - the known ‘healthy sea air’.
Researchers at Ghent University have investigated the effects these substances from sea air have on our genes.
"We took samples of the sea air and examined them in the lab," explains Emmanuel Van Acker (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering). "We have exposed human lung cancer cells to those air samples, and examined which health effects they cause. We specifically looked at the effects on our genes, and compared this with results from other scientific studies. "
Slow down the gene
The research has shown that sea air inhibits the effect of a gene that plays an important role in lung cancer and in cholesterol levels.
Researcher Jana Asselman (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering) explains: "Previous studies have shown that lung cancer cells die off and that cholesterol falls when we slow down this gene. New potential cancer therapies and the latest generation of cholesterol inhibitors work on this same gene. Now that we know that sea air also slows down the effect of this gene, we can expect sea air to have a similar positive effect on health. "
The research is currently still in full swing. The researchers are now trying to find out which specific substances in the sea air cause these effects and to understand what these substances do with other cells in our body.
The research is published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports and is freely accessible to everyone. www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-36866-3
Source: Ghent University press release
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