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Radiation protection from nutrition & herbs

The radiation scare in Japan has created quite a stir around the disaster-prone communities here in California. Some of my friends are asking about potassium iodide tablets and yes, I have always had a secret stash in the closet (from Anbex). We live a half-hour away from a nuclear power plant, and I like to have some sense of preparedness for the unthinkable. The craze about potassium iodide makes me realize how peace of mind is really most important. After all, protection from thyroid cancer is a small bullet-proof bikini with guns like leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer. For my friends here and in Japan, I have some great resources on herbs and nutrition for radiation protection thanks to my education at the Natural Healing Institute. This list will be tastier, cheaper, and save the limited supply of tablets for people who are suffering from much higher exposure!

Natural sources of iodine:

In cases of extreme emergency, you can ‘fill up your thyroid’ with iodine so that radioactive iodine in the air cannot be absorbed. A typical tablet of potassium iodide yields around 100 mg of iodine for absorption – taken daily until exposure is not a threat. Eating iodine-rich foods may also be sufficient. Dr. David Brownstein prescribes 6-12 mg of iodine for maintenance, and up to 50 mg of iodine to reach sufficiency. There is an optimal level for different populations, and too much iodine can increase the risk of thyroid imbalance and disease.

Sea vegetables are an amazing source of iodine and vitamin K. They also help reduce inflammation and play a role in balancing estrogen. Here are types you may find at your local grocery store:

  • Nori – famous for sushi rolls, and sold as a great snack
  • Kelp – in organic flakes 1/2 tsp = 6 mg of iodine
  • Hijiki – black pasta
  • Kombu – pliable strips for flavoring rice and soups – just soak it in the liquid
  • Wakame – used for miso soup
  • Arame – lacy and milder than others
  • Dulse – soft and chewy

Due to potential toxins in seafood, it is best to purchase organic sea vegetables, and these may be more available in dried form from outside your local area.

Nutrients that may protect from radiation or its effects:

Green tea – protects mice from gamma radiation – capsulesdecaffeinated capsules

Rosemary – protects mice from mutations before and after gamma-irradiation treatmentcapsules

Panax ginseng – prevention of some negative effects of gamma radiation in micecapsules

Luteolin – appears to inhibit some types of thyroid cancer cellsavailable from Life Extension (also found in celery, thyme, green peppers, and chamomile tea)

Apigenin – appears to inhibit some types of thyroid cancer cellsavailable with other protective nutrients from Life Extension (also found in celery and parsley)

Chlorogenic acid – protects against gamma radiation chromosomal damagetablets (high in coffee)

Curcumin – protects against gamma radiation chromosomal damageV-caps (known as the spice turmeric)

Pantothenic acid (pantothenol) – protects liver from damage from gamma radiationcapsules (in mushrooms, cauliflower, and raw sunflower seeds)

Selenium and vitamin E – protects liver from damage after gamma radiationcombined capsules

Beta-carotene – protects liver from damage by gamma radiationsoftgels (in carrots, sweet potato, kale and pumpkin)

Melatonin – pre-treatment protects liver from damage by gamma radiationcapsules

Milk thistle – protects liver from damage, especially prior to radiation exposurecapsules

Hibiscus – reduces free radical-induced DNA damage in vitro – tea

Unfortunately, doses of these substances used in studies were typically much higher than their supplemental counterparts. More research is necessary to determine optimal levels for human protection and safety. Despite the limitations, we are all fortunate to have access to these natural therapies as their significance becomes clear. Perhaps the recent disaster will give us a nudge to consider how our nutrition can improve and combat the increasing amounts of radiation everywhere. Most importantly, thoughtful nutrition provides a peace of mind that is essential to good health.

Please consult a health professional to determine the appropriate dosage, treatment, and diagnosis for any condition or prevention program. Material on this site is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified health care provider.

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