Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a type of radiation that is emitted by a variety of sources, including power lines, cell phones, and Wi-Fi routers. It is ubiquitous these days with the advances in technology that we achieved and as the world becomes more connected, we are essentially bathing ourselves in a sea of EMFs.
While the long-term effects of EMFs on the body are still being studied, there is evidence to suggest that they may have a potential impact on inflammation, which can become problematic if chronic. Anecdotally this is why some more sensitive people feel overburdened in public places like shopping malls, which have an extremely high level of EMFs going about. Conversely a few days spent in nature may feel refreshing because of the lack of EMFs bombarding your system.
Mechanisms of Action
One way that EMFs may affect inflammation is through the impact on two calcium-calmodulin dependent enzymes called NOX and NOS. These enzymes are involved in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO), which can trigger inflammation, as we have discussed in previous articles. Exposure to EMFs has been shown to increase the activity of both of these enzymes, leading to an increase in ROS and NO production and, subsequently, inflammation.
There is also evidence to suggest that increased EMF exposure may be correlated with increased levels of peroxynitrite (ONOO-), a highly reactive molecule that can damage cells and contribute to inflammation. In addition, some studies have found that EMF exposure may be also linked to an increase in interleukin 6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a role in immune system function.
Tackling EMF Genetics
There may also be certain genetic predispositions that can affect an individual’s sensitivity to the impact of EMFs on inflammation. For example, the CACNA1C gene has been linked to an increased risk of inflammation and even Alzheimer’s disease in response to EMF exposure. This is but one of the many areas that we consider in our genetic and metabolic optimization approach, when assessing your inflammatory propensity. You should, too!
To address these genetic predispositions and potentially mitigate the impact of EMFs on inflammation, there are several supplements that may be helpful. For example, boswellia, folic acid, melatonin, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may be helpful in regulating EMF-triggered inflammation.
However, these supplements need to overlay on healthy behaviours, where you spend for example at least some part of your day in an EMF-free environment. And whereas, this can be difficult to achieve during the day, you can transform your bedroom in an EMF-free sanctuary, which would allow your body to better regenerate during the time you are asleep. Keeping your bedroom as much electricity-free as possible is ideal, but at the very least keep any electronics out of your bedroom. It is a start in the right direction!