In the wake of the Tsunami that hit Japan last month, there have been some concern regarding the amount of radiation that has leaked from the damaged reactors and its trajectory based on wind and water currents throughout the rest of the world.
While health authorities have deemed the levels reaching the west coast of North America to be safe and not of concern, there is still an increase in exposure that we are faced with.
However detrimental or not this exposure is, the real culprit we ought to recognize, are the small, daily exposures of radioactive and heavy metal nano-particles that come from our cell phones, laptops, power lines, electric appliances, airports and aircraft, microwaves, cigarette and second hand smoke, etc.
The information below suggests some nutrients that we can increase through dietary and supplemental form as a means to mitigate potentially harmful levels of heavy metals and radioactive particles we come into contact with, not in high doses, but in regular doses.
There are 4 ways in which we can protect ourselves from radioactive nano-products. First is the strategy called “competitive inhibition”, as described by Dr. Gabriel Cousens, who has made an in depth analysis on the potential dangers on his blog. Competitive inhibition is essentially prevention. “…When you have plenty of healthy minerals in the body, they keep the radioactive particles from affecting particular organs.”
Of particular concern is the mineral, Iodine, akin to the thyroid gland. The thyroid is reliant on Iodine to produce essential hormones to maintain metabolism. It is also known to remove toxins like heavy metals (i.e. mercury) from the body and neutralize free radicals. When the body has sufficient levels, we are less at risk of attaining I-131, Iodine in its radioactive form, to enter the cells. The problem lies in the fact that, according to Dr. Cousens, humans worldwide are relatively Iodine deficient. If deficient and exposed to I-131, the body will uptake the radioactive particle and use it in the cell. Not only does I-131 affect the thyroid gland, but also breasts, ovaries, uterus and prostate because all these organs need iodine to operate optimally.
What to eat: Iodine containing foods are most abundant from the sea. Fish, shellfish and sea vegetables (seaweed) are dependably rich sources. Salt water fish such as cod, sea bass, sardines, mackerel and tuna are particularly high as are mussels, crab and oysters. Kelp is the most common high Iodine sea vegetable. In the vegetable kingdom, eat swiss chard, turnip greens, wild garlic and onion, watercress, squash, mustard greens, spinach, asparagus, kale, citrus foods, watermelon, and pineapple. Using sea salt rather than iodized table salt will provide natural iodine and has fewer drawbacks than the fortified latter. So go eat some sushi! The tuna wrapped in seaweed will be a good opportunity to boost your Iodine levels!
Supplemental Iodine: A few words of caution in supplementing. Iodine is powerful and taking too much can cause symptoms. Additionally, what is known as a healing crisis (when the body suffers symptoms as a result of detoxifying) can also cause a myriad of sensations that can be masked as Iodine toxicity. But because we are much more likely to be deficient, a healing crisis is more common. However, supplementing Iodine should only be done with the guidance of a qualified, experienced nutritionist or healthcare provider. Lastly, those with known hyperthyroidism should not be supplementing with Iodine without the direct supervision of your medical team.
AI Levels and RDA’s for Iodine
Infants, 0-6 months
110 mcg (AI)
Infants, 7-12 months
130 mcg (AI)
Children, 1-8 years
90 mcg (RDA)
Males and females, 9-13 years
120 mcg (RDA)
Males and females, 14-18 years
150 mcg (RDA)
Males and females, 19 years and older
150 mcg (RDA)
220 mcg (RDA)
290 mcg (RDA)
Symptoms of both a healing crisis and toxicity may include: rapid heartbeat, itching skin, fatigue, skin outbreaks, skin swelling, swelling of the salivary glands, metallic taste, burning mouth and throat, sore teeth and gums, head cold symptoms, and upset stomach. Other symptoms include headache sweaty palms, diarrhea (particularly if you have parasites). If you get these symptoms, stop iodine immediately and wait till all symptoms subside (usually 3-4 days) before resuming with a lower dosage.
The second method of combating potential radiation effects and damage is through the use of antioxidants. Antioxidant nutrients mitigate free radical damage by neutralizing the volatile unpaired electron molecule that makes free radicals highly reactive. The best antioxidant nutrients include Vitamins A, C, E, D, and the mineral Selenium.
Antioxidant rich foods include green tea, blueberries, açai berry, pine bark extract, strawberry, pomegranate, grape, blueberry, blackberry, cranberry, goji berry, tomatoes, bell peppers, leafy greens, eggplant, beans and legumes. Important components in these foods are the carotenoids, and polyphenols, which can be characterized by bright, vibrant colors. So when choosing foods high in antioxidant properties, attempt to bring in all the colors of the rainbow as one way to ensure you’re getting as best nutrient profile as possible.
The third method of detoxifying oneself against the daily onslaught of radiation and heavy metals is through Chelation. There are foods that are known chelators of radioactive and heavy metal nano-particles, which perform differently than anti-oxidants. Chelation is a form of therapy used not only in combating radiation, but also in other detoxification protocols as well as some cardiovascular therapies. Chelators are able collect or trap toxins in the body because of their unique shape. The molecular structure of said particle is shaped like a cage, hollow on the inside. When ingested, the chelator has a natural ability to trap free roaming, unpaired electrons and carry to the kidneys for excretion.
One caveat that should be heeded about Chelation is that when used intensively, Chelation has the ability to begin pulling essential minerals and nutrients from the blood as well. Beginning a Chelation therapy is something that should only be done with the guidance of a qualified and experienced practitioner. When using nutrition as a means of Chelation, we are almost always working within a safe range of intake so as not to risk our health by way of excess. Foods that have natural Chelation abilities are seaweeds, particularly kelp, arame, wakame, kombu, and hijiki. We also find the pectin in apples and sunflower seeds, miso, grains, beans, and fibrous food to be excellent chelation agents.
Finally, a few other foods that are considered to be anti-radiation, among carrying several other wonderful health benefits. Similar to seaweeds, micro-algaes such as spirulina and chlorella are beneficial antioxidants as well as effective at detoxifying heavy metals from the body. Useful herbs include astralagus, echinacea, panax ginseng in order to keep the immune system functioning optimally, and bee pollen, shown to counteract specific radioactive chemicals.
From a holistic perspective, it would be prudent to include other ways to mitigate the effects of radiation and free radicals. Some natural methods are:
· Use Himalayan salt lamps near electrical devices. They emit negative ions, and pair free roaming electrons emitted by electrical equipment.
· Titanium has the same effect as the latter. Wearing Titanium framed eyeglasses is beneficial.
· Rushing water expels negative ions as well. Showering, riverside, or visiting a waterfall will assist.
· Plant your bare feet in the earth once a day to ground out.
· Avoid sleeping next to electric devices; alarm clock (use battery operated), cell phone, TV.
· Unplug electric devices when not in use.
· Avoid smoke, second hand smoke, automotive pollution, fabric chemicals.