First, I would like to thank Michelle Frost, our editor, for making this newsletter happen.
As everyone is well aware, we have been inundated with news about radiation fall-out since the recent 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan, which has created extreme health risks and unimaginable havoc for the people living there. Shockwaves of fear about radioactivity exposure have now reached the United States. What advice do we as doctors give our patients, family and friends to reassure them there are measures they can take to minimize the effects of radioactive fallout?
Most importantly, they need to understand that as radiation travels from the compromised nuclear plants in northern Japan, the levels of radiation drop significantly the farther they travel away from the point of origin. It has been speculated that by the time the radioactive particles reach the United States the amount of exposure to humans would be equivalent to the amount of radiation a person receives on a transcontinental airline flight. This assessment has been widely questioned and it may indeed be an understatement. Being as proactive as possible is well-advised and I suggest these healthful options, based on the latest research I have gathered, for optimum self-care and peace of mind. Suggested measures/actions to take:
1. Antioxidants are essential due to the oxidation created by radiation. Antioxidants are a family of molecules that network to safely transfer energetic electrons and channel them into useful work through adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). ATP is made in the mitochondria of the cell and is basically our power source throughout our body. Oxidative stressors, such as radioactive fallout (containing radioisotopes), disrupt the function of the mitochondria as well as causing damage to the immune and endocrine systems. Antioxidants can prevent and limit the damage to these systems. Begin a regim of antioxidants such as Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), Alpha-lipoic acid, selenomethionine, Vitamins A, C, D and K2, coenzyme Q10, omega 3 fatty acids and glutathione. Our Ultra High™ Formula is an advanced multi vitamin and antioxidant formula and is an excellent first line of defense.
2. Increase the consumption of sulfur-rich foods including garlic, onions, broccoli sprouts, ginger, and eggs (chicken, duck or goose). These sulphur-rich foods are traditionally protective foods. Consume miso, sea vegetables, seaweed (kelp), kimchi or raw sauerkraut and watercress. Herbal, green and white teas, rich in epigallocatechin gallates (ECGC), are recommended as well as fresh or freeze-dried vegetable juices and fiber or pulp-rich juices. Remember to stay hydrated (64 ounces daily). Avoid excess consumption of simple sugar sweeteners.
3. Many folks are concerned about the known risk of radioactive iodine 1-131 coming through the area of major fallout. The obvious thinking here is to block the intake of iodine 1-131 from getting into the thyroid gland. This can be accomplished by flooding the body with non-radioactive iodine. However, Potassium iodide use is only recommended in areas where the exposure is extremely high, i.e., northern Japan. By the time radioactive fallout reaches the U.S., the amounts of radioactive particles do not warrant the use of potassium iodide and the subsequent damage that would occur to the endocrine system. It is suggested to consume sea vegetables, such as nori or kombu, that contribute healthy iodine to the thyroid, eaten with each meal, will deter the uptake of destructive radioactive iodine 1-131.
4. Exercise that includes stretching remains an important component of maintaining health. Work consciously to maintain a sense of balance and calm throughout this period. This too shall pass.