Creating Waves of Awareness
There is a huge amount of misinformation being bandied about on nonhomeopathic methods to treat radiation poisoning and how to prevent it. I did some research on the issue to find out the truth, and discovered things that we need to know. Yes, there are some highly effective treatments, but most that are promoted as beneficial either have little or no documentation to support the claims or need to be addressed within their symbiotic relationships with other nutrients.
Originally published here.
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Modern medicine can offer nothing to protect against or prevent the effects of radiation poisoning. The best they have to offer is high doses of iodine, which helps to protect only the thyroid, and the worst of antiobiotics to help check rampant infections in advanced stages of poisoning. In contrast, there are several natural treatments to both limit radiation damage and remove the toxins. Some have been well documented to be effective.
The time to treat radiation poisoning is before it has done any damage. Therefore, two approaches can—and should—be taken. The first is to try to prevent radiation from getting into the body. The second is to try to eliminate it once it has entered. Natural methods can help in both arenas.
We tend to have an image of radiation has something that simply pierces the skin—as if nothing can interfere with its entry into the body. This is not always true. In fact, the worst kind of radiation, alpha, is completely unable to pierce the skin.
Our skin is our first line of defense against radiation. Therefore, at the first indication that there might be radioactivity in your area, the first thing you should do is take off whatever clothing you're wearing and dispose of it, and then wash yourself well by soaking and using soap.
You're probably aware of modern medicine's, and the government's, advice to get iodine—generally in the form of potassium iodide—to take shortly before exposure to radiation. That is helpful for the thyroid, but nothing else. However, we should not take the thyroid's health lightly. Damage to it means that the body's entire energy-generating system is harmed, which will rapidly lead to severe ill health, exhaustion, and death.
The thyroid cannot tell the difference between radioactive and nonradioactive iodine. Therefore, if the thyroid is effectively filled with nonradioactive iodine, then the radioactive variety cannot be absorbed by it. It's simply excreted and does little or no harm.
Therefore, iodine supplementation is a valuable method for limiting the effects of radioactive iodine. Of course, you may also have noted that there's been a run on it in the US, and in the UK it isn't legally available to the general public. (This, of course, is another example of big brotherism that needs to be stopped!)
There are, however, ways to obtain the needed iodine. You could follow the government's advice by eating Agribusiness food stuff "fortified" with iodine, such as condensed milk, commercial mayonnaise, or a few others. Perhaps someone has tested these so-called foods to see if the "fortified" iodine is actually taken up by the thyroid, but I've yet to see any supporting documentation. It should also be pointed out that milk "fortified" with Vitamin D does not provide much Vitamin D to the body.
Unless an exceptionally large dose of radiation is expected, people over the age of 40 probably shouldn't dose themselves with potassium iodide. They are significantly more likely to have adverse reactions to high doses, and are better served by taking a natural source of iodine. The heartening news, though, is that people over 40 are much less likely to get thyroid cancer, so their risk isn't as great.
The most obvious iodine source in nature is seaweed, especially that of the Laminaria family. The term Kelp generally refers to any member of that family. You can purchase Kelp and other seaweeds from Asian and Chinese groceries, and from many supermarkets. It would be wise to start including it in large quantities in your diet immediately.
Another good source of iodine is sea fish, especially Scotland's favorite, haddock, which is the single most iodine-rich food known.
However, a more direct and quick method of supplementing iodine in quantities sufficient to sate the thyroid, thus preventing radioactive iodine from obtaining a purchase, is Kelp supplements, which are available in most healthfood and herb shops throughout the US and the EU.
The generally recommended level of iodine is 125 µg (micrograms) a day. That, though, is nowhere near adequate for normal good health, and certainly isn't good enough to protect your thyroid from radiation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends potassium iodide supplementation at the rate of 130 mg (milligrams) per day to prevent the thyroid's uptake of radioactive iodine. About one-third of potassium iodide is iodine. Therefore, an appropriate single day iodine dosage for prevention is about 43 mg.—a significant amount, which leaves seaweed as a poor source for quickly loading iodine into the thyroid.
Therefore, the only realistic source for iodine to protect against radiation is supplemental Kelp in pills and tablets, such as found in a health food shop. Read the label to determine how much will add up to about 43 milligrams.
Keep in mind that supplementation at this high a level should be done only in radiation emergencies, and only for as long as needed about a day before the radiation arrives. It may help for about a day afterwards, but that's all.
After radiation exposure, you do not have to sit back and wait to get sick, worrying about how severe the damage is. This is where natural medicine is light years ahead of allopathy. We don't wait for symptoms. Instead, we learn from prior experience and use that knowledge. Following are methods for detoxing.
One point should be made clear. The term chelation is usually used in reference to removing toxic heavy metals. That is not the case in terms of nuclear radioactivity. While it's certainly true that the radiating materials are heavy metals, the radiation itself never includes the whole atom. It consists of atomic particles and waves. In this context, chelation refers to elimination of excess radioactivity in the body.
Spirulina and Chlorella are useful for both reducing radiation levels and for improving general health. They are both types of alga highly rich in nutrients.
Spirulina has been studied in Russia, China, and Belarus. The studies showed different, but related, effects of Spirulina. They include reduction of radioactivity in urine by 50% in children after 20 days, and reduction of Immunogobulin E in children living in radioaactive areas (usually cited as near Chernobyl, but I couldn't document that). They claimed that the blood of all children who received 5 grams of Spirulina per day for 6 weeks was normalized, while that of children who didn't receive Spirulina was unchanged.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga. It thrives in eutrophic, that is, extremely nutrient dense, bodies of water, so it is exceptionally high in many nutrients. Appropriate dosage has not been established. The experience of researchers seems to indicate that 5 mg. per day is safe. However, there have been some indications that its ability to eliminate toxins may put stress on the liver. Therefore, it's important to take a liver detox, such as Milk Thistle, with it. (See Milk Thistle below.)
Chlorella is often listed along with Spirulina as a radiation chelator or equivalent. While it most assuredly is a superbly nutrient-dense food and is known to ease the effects of chemotherapy, it seems that it's often confused with Spirulina. It is noted for its ability to counter the effects of ultraviolet radiation, the type that causes sunburns, and that is certainly beneficial. However, claims that it's been shown to counter the effects of nuclear-type radiation seem to be based on confusing the studies of Spirulina (documented in the previous section) with Chlorella.
By all means, take Chlorella to improve your health, including after radiation exposure. It is a good general detoxer, noted for its ability to pull pesticides and heavy metals from the body. However, you would be wise to ignore anyone trying to sell it to you as a protector against nuclear radiation. It may be, but there is no evidence to that effect.
However, if you're looking for a superb nutrient that can help support your body as it battles radiation poisoning, Chlorella has been shown to provide superb support for people being given radiation treatment for cancer.
Kombucha Tea is made by fermenting sweet black tea with a pancake-like culture of yeasts and bacteria, which is often called a mushroom, though that's obviously a misnomer. It's an ancient herbal treatment for a wide range of ailments, including cancer, arthritis, digestive disorders, heart disease, asthma, blood pressure drops, and other diseases. It has more recently been documented for its ability to increase vitality, increase T cell counts, and regrow hair. It's believed to stimulate the immune system.
In September 2010, the Journal of Environmental Biology published "Protective effect of kombucha mushroom (KM) tea on chromosomal aberrations induced by gamma radiation in human peripheral lymphocytes in-vitro" documented that Kombuchka Tea protects against the toxicity of gamma radiation by combatting free radicals. The study was performed on human peripheral lymphocytes exposed to 5 Gy gamma radiation.
This is very strong evidence documenting the ability of Kombuchka Tea to detox gamma radiation, a type that is produced by both uranium and plutonium, both of which are used in nuclear power generating stations.
Both Bentonite Clay and Zeolite have strong and well deserved reputations for detoxing. Both are well noted for their ability to detox heavy metals. Unfortunately, that fact seems to have been used to assume that they can detox radiation. As explained earlier, although radiation comes from heavy metals, the radiation itself is not a metal. It can be either a subatomic particle or a wave, but it is not a complete atom, like metals.
While it may be true that Bentonite Clay and Zeolite can detox radiation from the body, there is nothing to support the claim.
In any situation in which the liver is asked to do extra duty, providing extra support is advisable. In the case of radiation poisoning, it's even more important. Radiation itself is particularly hard on the liver, and the extra stress placed on it by excessive free radicals makes it even more important.
Fortunately, there is a tried and true herb for liver support. Milk Thistle, also called Silymarin, is commonly available. Its stimulative effect can cause mild adverse effects, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, rash, and upset stomach.
Even people who take nothing else to combat radiation poisoning should consider taking Milk Thistle. It can be the difference between health and sickness. Radiation will certainly put stress on your liver, so protecting it is of paramount concern.
A large number of nutrients and foods are suggested as being helpful in preventing or limiting the effects of nuclear radiation. There is truth in many of those suggestions, but most come with significant problems. First, in acute situations, we aren't looking for slow-acting remedies. Because most of these methods tend to be slower, their symbiotic effects with other nutrients can have confounding results. Nonetheless, here is a list of nutrients noted for their beneficial effect on radiation illness:
Do you notice anything about the list of beneficial nutrients for radiation poisoning? They're the same things that you'll find on nearly all lists of particularly healthy foods. That should make the next point quite obvious: The very best way to deal with radiation poisoning is by being healthy in the first place. That means routinely eating health foods and avoiding bad ones, especially processed foods. Sugar, in particular, needs to be avoided when exposed to radiation.
As can be seen from all the natural products that can be used to improve one's ability to prevent, detox, and overcome the effects of radiation, natural healing methods clearly offer far more than modern medicine's approach of trying to protect a single organ, the thyroid, and then, when the body has lost its ability to care for itself, throwing highly toxic antibiotics at a weakened system.
If you're aware of any significant natural radiation detox or treatment methods and can provide supporting evidence, please send me an e-mail.