Radiation in our environment is always a constant threat to our cellular health and today more than ever it is important to to have radiation protection.
As we stand in line at the airport, waiting to go through the full body scan, I for one opt out, only to be given dirty looks from airport security. Although they assure me that I am only getting a fraction of radiation from their scanner, I find it hard to believe. And then we get on the plane, and we are bombarded with atmospheric radiation as we sit there unprotected in our seats.
Often times, when we sit in the dentist’s chair, we are exposed to dental x-rays. But much more concerning is when we get a CT scan. Approximately 72 million people are getting CT scans in the US. And although these CT scans can increase the diagnosis of certain cancers, broken bones, aneurysms and other deep infections, it is estimated that the amount of radiation in one CT scan is equivalent to 200 chest x-rays. And of course, most concerning is the amount of radiation to which you are exposed may increase the risk of many cancers.
Even the National Cancer Institute acknowledges that the 72 million CT scans could increase the number of cancer cases to 29,000 in future years. In her article, “Do CT Scans cause cancer?” Carina Storrs states, “…a single CT scan subjects the human body to between 150 and 1,100 times the radiation of a conventional x-ray, or around a year’s worth of exposure to radiation from both natural and artificial sources in the environment…” (Storrs C. Do CT Scans cause cancer? Sci Am. 2013-Jul: 309(1): 30:2)
In a 2013 study, published in the British Medical Journal, followed approximately 11 million children from infancy to young adulthood. 680,000 had been exposed to at least one CT scan during their time of maturation. The most stunning conclusion was that with only 1 CT scan, they were at a 24% risk increase of developing some form of cancer, such as tumors of the digestive organs, skin, ovaries/uterus, brain and thyroid. And compared to those who never had a scan during that time period, there was a 35% increase risk of some form of cancer within the first 4 years after the scan. (Mathew JD, Forsythe AV, Brady A et al. Cancer risk in 680,000 people exposed to tomography scans in childhood or adolescence: BMJ: 2013: 346:f2360) Also concerning is that as high as 44% of CT scans are unnecessary. So it is prudent to make sure a CT scan is an absolute necessity before scheduling this kind of imaging.
But what can radiation exposure do to our precious and delicate cells? It damages the DNA housed in the nucleus inside the cell, and that is an invitation for undifferentiated cells (cancer cells) to grow. As the DNA is damaged, it forms compounds that break down DNA called “clastogenic factors,” which are associated with reactive oxygen species, more commonly known as free radicals.
In an abstract by Ingrid Emerit, “Clastogenic Factors: A Link Between Chronic Inflammation and Carcinogenesis” she states: “Clastogenic factors (CF), also called chromosome breakage factors, were first described by radiobiologists in 1968…It was noted that not only do therapeutically or accidentally irradiated persons show an increased frequency of chromosome breaks and rearrangements in their own cells, but the plasma of these persons contains chromosome damaging material able to induce chromosome damage after transfer into cell cultures. These CF were circulating in the blood stream of the irradiated persons even years after the irradiation event (2). Plasma from irradiated animals had a tumorigenic effect in rats (3), suggesting a role for CF in carcinogenesis.”
As is indicated above, clastogenic factors continue to cause damage for years. Both with Chernobyl victims and Japanese atomic bomb survivors, up to 30 years after exposure, clastogenic factors were still detectable in their blood samples ((Emerit I, Sarkisian T. et al. Clastogenic factors in the plasma of Chernobyl accident recovery workers: anticlastogenic effect of Gingko Biloba extract: Radiat Res. 1995 Nov;144(2):133-8)
In many articles, I have discussed the importance of healthy and vital cell membranes, and radiation seems to have a particular affinity for the healthy fats that make up our cellular membranes. Once radiation starts to break down these vital membranes around our cells, the membranes not only start to oxidize (equal to rust on your car fender), but can cause a series of chain reactions where other toxic exposures can increase inflammatory toxins inside the cells.
In a CHTV interview with Dr. Thomas Seyfried, author of “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease”, he points out how vital it is to protect the inner workings of the cell, including the mitochondria. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, making ATP energy. It is vital that the mitochondrial membrane contains a substance called cardiolipin. Unfortunately, when radiation causes cellular membrane damage it also attacks the mitochondria and its membrane, thus displacing cardiolipin, causing severe energy leaks. Remember that we can’t heal without functioning mitochondria.
And if that is not enough, since the creation of the atomic bomb, it was known that radiation exposure can damage bone marrow (where immunity cells are generated), stopping the creation of red blood cells (RBC’s) that carry our tissue’s oxygen and white blood cells (WBCs) which are infection protective. (Green DE, Rubin CT: Bone June 2014 and Heylmann D, Rodel F, Kindler T, Kaina B: Biochim Biophys Acta; June 2014) Regardless of these statics, there are times when we do need a CT scan. And of course, we can’t avoid flying and other environmental sources of radiation. So how can we protect ourselves from this DNA damaging radiation? I am highlighting 5 natural substances that show promising protective effects for radiation protection.
Lemon Balm has been used over the centuries to promote relaxation, sleep and improved memory. The China Study showed that one of its antioxidants called eugenol helped to increase memory function in Alzheimer’s patients (Obulesu M1, RaoDM. Effect of plant extracts on Alzheimer’s disease: An insight into therapeutic avenues. J Neurosci Rural Pract 2011 Jan:2(1):56-61.) But most importantly, lemon balm has the potential to protect our cells from radiation. A study, using radiation technicians who were being exposed to low levels of daily radiation, revealed that lemon balm had various protective effects.
After drinking 1.5 grams/100ml lemon balm tea twice a day for 30 days, cell damage was accessed. The subjects showed a 12% increase in glutathione peroxidase (protects from oxidative damage), a 71% increase in SOD (super oxide dismutase, which protects the inner lining of the cell membrane); a 10% decrease in 8_OH_dG (a plasma marker that is elevated with radiation exposure) and a 29% decrease in lipid peroxidase damage to the cell membrane (a process in which free radicals steal electrons from the lipids (healthy fats) in the cell membrane, causing damage). It was also established that lemon balm protected DNA inside the nucleus of the cell. (Zeraatpishe A, Oryan S, Bagherri MH, et al. Effects of Melissa offiinalis L. on oxidative status and DNA damage in subjects exposed to long-term low-dose ionizing radiation. Toxicol Ind Health. 2011 Apr:27(3): 205-12)
Ginkgo Biloba, known for its ability to boost memory, increase circulation, and ease the effects of high-pitched earring called tinnitus, is also in the spotlight for its ability to scavenge clastogenic factors (referenced earlier). Left unchecked, these tenacious DNA shredders can lead to cancer.
A study, in which healthy human blood was irradiated, indicated high levels of clastogenic activity with 18 abnormal chromosomes per 100 cells. However, when specimens were treated using gingko biloba extract, the abnormal cell rate lowered to 7.3 per 100 cells (a 60% reduction) (Emerit I, Arutyunyan Oganeasian N. et al. Radiation-induced clastogenic factors: anticlastogenic effect of Ginkgo Biloba extract: Free RAdic Biol Med, 1995 Jun: 18(6): 985-91).
Astaxanthin, one of the most powerful antioxidants available (65 times more potent than Vitamin C), is derived from a microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis. Astaxanthin protects our skin from ultraviolet rays, protects our retinas, and crosses the blood brain barrier, protecting our brain from free radical damage. But it too can protect us from radiation exposure.
A study, in which rats were exposed to gamma radiation, showed that the group receiving varying amounts of astaxanthin a month before exposure suffered much less damage than those in the placebo group.
Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2011 Sep;40(5):551-4.
[Protective effects of astaxanthin against oxidative damage induced by 60Co gamma-ray irradiation].[Article in Chinese]
Zhao W1, Jing X, Chen C, Cui J, Yang M, Zhang Z.
So in order to protect your body from the effects of radiation in daily life (in particular during air travel) make sure you take astaxanthin 3 weeks before you are scheduled to fly.
Spirulina extract is known for its ability to promote healthy digestion and bowel function and healthy eyes and vision with its 10 carotenoids including beta carotene. Spirulina also increases white blood cells when radiation exposure is primary. It protects bone marrow against radiation exposure by increasing the production of bone marrow stimulating growth factors such as GM-CFS. Bone marrow compromise can create widespread and life-threatening infections.
When exposed to radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, children were given 4 grams of spirulina per day. After exposure, white and red blood counts were very low. However, after 21 days on spirulina, their red and white blood cell counts increased, eosinophil’s (cells that increase inflammation) decreased and the incidences of anemia were also reduced. (Ivanova KG, Standova KG, Nikolov VN, et al. The biliprotein C phycocyanin modulates the early radiation response: a pilot study. Mutat Res 2010 Jan: 695 (1-20):40-5)
Iodine: Many of us are deficient in iodine, which leaves us even more susceptible to damaging radiation in the environment. This is because our bodies cannot recognize the difference between regular iodine and radioactive iodine, and if we’re deficient in iodine we are more likely to absorb radioactive iodine from our toxic world. The widespread deficiency is likely resulting from the combination of insufficient dietary intake coupled with exposure to environmental toxins that compete for iodine receptors at the cellular level. Not a good combination.
Also crucial for proper thyroid function, it is of utmost importance to maintain healthy levels of iodine in the body. Consuming seaweed regularly from uncontaminated organic sources is a way to maintain iodine levels. There are many unique varieties, including wakame (common in miso soups), arame, hijiki, kombu, agar agar (used to make recipes gelatinous), dulse, and nori (used to make sushi rolls). Try these recipes for crispy dulse seaweed “bacon” and nori seaweed chips. Both are great iodine rich toppings for soups and salads, or can simply be enjoyed as a crunchy snack. Now if, like many Americans, you have trouble fitting non-toxic seaweed into your diet, let me suggest the iodine supplement I take called TMI, which contains the proper ratio of iodine and other essential nutrients to support metabolic function.
CytoDetox™: In past articles I have highlighted the many functions of CytoDetox™ drops. With proper guidance from our trained doctors, it is being successfully used to remove heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals, biotoxins (like mold and Lyme) and co-infections. But there is another protective feature that should be highlighted as well. The molecules in CytoDetox™ have the potential to bind radioactive substrates and elements and remove them safely from the body. So make sure to add this to your arsenal of radioactive protectors.
It is wise to keep these above-mentioned natural radiation protectors on hand. Before flying or getting a CT scan, take a week prior and a week after the trip or procedure to mitigate cellular distress. Your cell membranes and DNA will celebrate your efforts to protect their delicate workings.