Radiation Update: Antioxidants over Iodine
Designs for Health, one of my favorite nutraceutical companies, hosted an educational call on the current radiation situation and here’s what I gleaned from it. If we are threated by radiation, Radioactive Iodine is the least of our worries. The stampede should be for Antioxidants rather than for Potassium Iodine. And the best thing that we can do today is to keep stress levels low, avoid panic, and continue to eat a whole foods diet, free of preservatives and toxins.
Radiation essentially transforms the water in our bodies into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals, the most damaging of all free radicals. These particles can then react with our own DNA, potentially causing all types of cancers throughout the whole body. Radiation is made up of a slew of nasty particles including Krypton, Plutonium, Cesium, Uranium, and other mixed oxides. Some of these have a very long lasting half life of up to one year.
Radioactive Iodine is just one part of the horrendous concoction. It specifically targets the thyroid and causes thyroid cancer, but it has a very short half life, meaning that it dissipates quickly. Previous incidents such as Chernobyl show that adults have virtually no risk. It was mostly the children that were stricken. Most of their exposure came from drinking milk from cows that had eaten radioactive grass.
It is true that if you are eating a diet that is high in iodine, you will be less likely to absorb the radioactive iodine. Luckily for the Japanese, their traditional diet, rich in sea vegetables and fish is naturally rich in iodine.
Because Radioactive Iodine has such a short half life, it is highly unlikely that here in California we will be exposed to radiation drifting in from the Japanese incident. However, the likelihood of an earthquake, a possible tsunami, and impending accidents to our own nuclear reactors is a very real threat and we should be prepared.
In case of an emergency, right at the time of exposure or within 2-4 hours of an incident, adults should take 130 mg of Potassium Iodine. Infants under 1 year of age should take 65 mg. This will block up to 97% of the absorption of Radioactive Iodine. It should be understood that this is only protecting the thyroid. This will have no effect on all the other kinds of other cancers potentially caused from the radiation. While up to 30 mg of Iodine has been proven effective, the higher dose will ensure blood levels to remain high for a few weeks. It is not necessary to take that much Iodine ahead of time and it can in fact be dangerous to your health! Side effects include anxiety, heart palpitations, hyperthyroidism, and even death.
So what can we do to protect ourselves from the other, more dangerous elements of radiation? Quite simply, we need to ensure that we are eating an antioxidant rich whole foods diet and that we are optimally detoxifying. Herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, and panax ginseng reduce radiation induced cell death. Aloe Vera protects the skin and digestive tract from radiation exposure, as does ginger.
Melatonin protects against cellular damage. Our bodies do not make melatonin unless we get enough sleep in complete darkness. We make melatonin ourselves from serotonin which we make from amino acids (specifially l-tryptophan and 5-HTP) and Vitamin B6. Amino acids come from protein foods, so adequate protein intake is key. Glutathione is one of our body’s premier antioxidants. We make it ourselves from an amino acid called L-cysteine. Whey protein powder, as long as it’s been low heat processed and isn’t denatured, is a wonderful source of L-cysteine.
Meanwhile, it makes sense to supplement with smaller amounts of iodine over time to ensure that your thyroid receptors are full. Many of us are already iodine deficient as a result of drinking fluoridated and chlorinated water and eating refined flour products that contain bromides. This can lead to a sluggish thyroid and symptoms such as extreme fatigue and inability to lose weight. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to order an iodine testing kit to determine what your current levels are and how much you need to supplement with.
It also makes sense to supplement with antioxidants since not all of us can eat 100% organic and fresh every day. I am a big fan of Alpha Lipoic Acid which recycles Vitamins C & E in your body. Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that is both water and fat soluble so it can positively benefit all of your body’s tissues.
If you are curious about radiation levels in your area, the Environmental Protection Agency is tracking it for us on their website, radnet.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t been eating a healthy diet, perhaps this is the wake up call you need to start making some positive changes in your life. One of the most beautiful things about healthful eating is that by expanding your own consciousness and making healthier choices, you can have a positive impact on the health of the planet and the state of the world, one bite at a time. For a free 30 minute phone consultation, call me at 510-421-3214. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Yours in Health,
Sylvie Nalezny, MA, CNE