power disaster unfolding in Japan, following a 9.0 earthquake and
massive tsunami, has not only Japan, but also large portions of
the US and even parts of Europe on edge. What could possibly be
worse, however, is fear itself, according to some health experts.
radiation escaping from a nuclear power plant catastrophe can increase
the risk of many cancers and other health problems, stress, anxiety
and fear ended up in many ways being much greater long-term threats
to health and well-being after Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and
other nuclear accidents, experts said Monday.
effects were the biggest health effects of all by far," said Fred
Mettler, a University of New Mexico professor emeritus and one of
the world's leading authorities on radiation, who studied Chernobyl
for the World Health Organization. "In the end, that's really what
affected the most people."
contamination and anxiety about the health of those exposed and
their children led to significantly elevated rates of suicidal thinking
and anxiety disorders, and rates of post-traumatic stress disorder
and depression about doubled, Mettler and others said."
say, the fears are not unfounded. Radioactive exposure is clearly
dangerous. However, what the most appropriate remedy might be is
a controversial issue.
many requests from concerned readers, particularly in California,
asking for guidance on strategies to help protect against radioactive
fallout from the recent nuclear disaster in Japan.
the timing of this, even from a personal perspective, was less than
optimal as I was at Expo West and then outside the country for another
five days with very poor internet connection and a massive backlog
of urgent projects. But even beyond that, this is not a simple issue
and I typically take many weeks, more typically months, before I
give a recommendation that I can stand behind as there are simply
too many variables to carefully analyze.
I realize that
many other health sites have been commenting on this but the danger
of providing recommendations without detailed analysis is that there
is a risk one will not carefully consider the implications of the
I am providing you with what I have compiled so far. Please understand
that these are only preliminary recommendations that are still pending
more careful analysis.
I simply wasn't
convinced that the standard recommendation to load up on potassium
iodide was the best recommendation, as it is controversial at best.
Above, you'll find interviews with health experts Dr. David Brownstein
and Ori Hofmekler, both of whom offer further insight into the best
ways to protect your health from radiation damage.
Do Anything Else, Address Your Stress
It is crucial
to recognize the importance of remaining calm and avoiding panic,
despite the dire outlook of the current situation. As discussed
Washington Post article above, fear in and of itself may actually
be one of the mostdangerous side effects of this horrific
unprecedented disaster in Japan, where an earthquake triggered a
tsunami that was followed by a major nuclear power plant emergency,
all those negative psychological effects are being magnified in
ways that no one can predict.
… In the
long run, such incidents can negatively transform entire cultures.
In the areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl accident, a crippling
sense of hopelessness set in and was passed down through generations.
"What we know from experience is the psychological footprint from
a nuclear disaster can not only be massive, but in many ways greater
than the effect of radiation," Becker said. "
On an individual
level, these range all the way from anxiety disorders, depression
and substance abuse to a kind of culture of fatalism and hopelessness
that has gripped the population in many areas, and it continues
The first step
is to relax and seek not to worry as it is likely that will cause
you far more damage than this relatively small exposure to radiation
will. One potent method that I can wholly recommend is the Emotional
Freedom Technique which is a form of psychological acupressure.
For more information, please see
my EFT page, which includes detailed instructions and illustrations
for how to apply this powerful technique.
Fallout How Dangerous is it?
there are many variables involved when trying to determine the level
of danger a particular area may face, this question is virtually
impossible to answer especially since the nuclear crisis is still
ongoing, and it's anyone's guess what will happen next.
Our sense of
reassurance that this is not anything serious is bolstered by CNN
reports yesterday with readings in Washington and California.
It was expected to find trace amounts of the isotopes released from
the Japanese plant. "There is no health risk," Gail Shibley, administrator
of Oregon's Office of Environmental Public Health, Oregon Public
Health Division, said in a statement.
by what we currently know about the situation at the time of this
writing, let's put some things into perspective, because proper
perspective is the key.
that nearly everything in life you do has a risk. Let's take driving
a car. No one would deny that every time you get in your car you
could be killed by a drunk or texting driver. That is why we wear
seat belts and have air bags. Yet we all are willing to take that
risk as we believe the benefits we receive from travelling outweigh
the relatively minor risk.
Boice Jr., a radiation expert at the International Epidemiology
Unit in Rockville, MD, you are exposed to a number of other more
potent carcinogens on any given day than nuclear radiation (barring
direct exposure within the area of the nuclear reactor or atomic
blast, of course.)
amount of radiation that victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were
exposed to would increase the risk of dying from lung cancer by
about 40 percent. Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day increases the
risk of dying of lung cancer by about 400 percent,"Boice
is quoted as saying.
are not very reassuring to a lot of people though, especially anyone
in Japan or on the West coast of the United States.
It is my belief
and understanding that NO amount of radiation is "safe."
diagnostic scans have been attributed to causing tens of thousands
of unnecessary cancers each and every year, so the fear of heavy
fallout is understandable. But I urge you to remain calm; unless
you are in Japan this is a relatively low threat to your health.
follow the situation closely as it unfolds, and be prepared but
don't over-react, as some prophylactic strategies against radioactive
fallout have their own health risks and should not be used
exposure of evacuees from Belarus after 1986 Chernobyl disaster
dose limit* for nuclear power plant workers
recorded at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
radiation sickness begins
(or 1 sievert)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Health Physics Society, U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency
As you can
see, the situation is far from inconsequential within the vicinity
of the Japanese power plant. However, it remains to be seen what
kind of radiation levels end up reaching the American west coast.
for more information about radiation measurements, the regulations,
and guidance on protective limits of nuclear radiation include:
Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
understand that loading up on commercial table salt will simply
NOT protect you against radiation exposure, and may be quite harmful
to your health! The best salt you can get is Himalayan salt. You
can see my previous interview
with the person who discovered it on my main article on it.
Like many questions
in life the answer is - - it depends. In the case if you are near
active radiation fallout it is wonderful idea as the benefit outweighs
the risk. But for virtually everyone reading this that is not their
personal circumstance and taking 130mg of potassium iodide is NOT
a good idea and could result in thyrotoxicosis.
I believe many
"expert" health resources that are advising this are highly irresponsible.
This is part of the problem with rushing to press with recommendations
without carefully considering the implications of those recommendations,
and they can be quite severe.
At this time
the radiation exposure from Japan does not appear to be at high
enough levels to warrant taking a large amount of potassium iodide.
The problem with this large a dose is that if you have an autonomously
functioning thyroid nodule and take this large a dose, you can precipitate
a thyroid crisis.
Why is Iodine
Even Recommended in the First Place in a Nuclear Disaster?
are relatively deficient in iodine, and because of this they will
readily absorb iodine from the environment. Your body is unable
to recognize the difference between regular iodine and radioactive
iodine. It will absorb them equally well. So if you are deficient
in iodine and a radioactive cloud passes by, your body will tend
to suck that radioactive iodine into your thyroid gland to fill
up its iodine stores
In an ideal
situation you will have been taking adequate amounts of iodine from
safe sources which will not only protect you from radioactive iodine
but from environmental toxins that can poison your thyroid gland
like fluoride, bromine and chlorine.
If you have
not been taking iodine and a radioactive cloud comes near your area
then it would make sense to take large doses of prophylactic iodine
to prevent your thyroid gland from absorbing the radioactive iodine.
However it is important to understand that the large dose of potassium
iodide only protects your thyroid for one to three days, no longer
and it does absolutely nothing to protect you from detoxifying the
At this time
there does not seem to be a serious threat in the US from the Japanese
radiation cloud. However, it would seem wise to have doses of potassium
iodide for yourself and your family should another nuclear crisis
emerge that would affect you. It is just a wise safety resource
to have on hand.
sounder long term strategy would be to make sure you are getting
enough iodine from high quality food sources that will protect you
more naturally. But these need to be done over long periods of time
to build up your iodine stores.
More on that
Just How Many
People are Deficient in Iodine?
This past weekend
Dr. David Brownstein was gracious enough to do an interview with
me on this topic. It is important to understand that he has compiled
a tremendous amount of clinical data on this topic and can be considered
a true expert in this area.
has been working with iodine for the last twenty years and has tested
over 5000 patients in his clinic and found over 95% of them to be
iodine deficient. This is an incredible result as it puts iodine
on par with the percentage of people that are deficient in vitamin
side note on vitamin D is that Dr Brownstein has worked with iodine
and vitamin D as understood by the principles I have been teaching
and his clinical experience suggests that iodine replacement is
even more important than vitamin D in seeing immediate clinical
improvement. This is quote a bold claim and I assure you I will
be providing more details from him in future interviews.
Bromide are the REAL Dangers to Your Thyroid
As we review
in the interview, the massive prevalence of iodine deficiency is
a new phenomenon that is likely a result of an absolute deficiency
of iodine intake combined with exposure to other environmental halogens
that compete for iodine receptors. This would be the fluoride and
chloride that is pervasive in our water supply, along with the halogenated
byproducts. Additionally we have bromine, which is part of most
white flour products and added to many items like rugs, carpets
and pesticides added to commercial fruits and vegetables. Dr. Brownstein
has measured these levels on thousands of patients and he actually
finds bromide to be the most serious culprit.
Effects of Potassium Iodide
has been using iodine supplementation in large doses for over two
decades and found side effects from supplementation to be very uncommon.
However when using the higher dose recommendations of potassium
iodide, there have been some concerns expressed by others.
infants (less than 1 month old) who receive more than one dose of
KI are at particular risk for developing a condition known as hypothyroidism
(thyroid hormone levels that are too low). If not treated, hypothyroidism
can cause brain damage.
who receive potassium iodide should have their thyroid hormone levels
checked and monitored by a doctor. Avoid repeat dosing of potassium
iodide to newborns."
could spark a "mini-epidemic" of potassium iodide ingestion and
overdoses, predicted Dr. Leonard Wartofsky, spokesman for the Endocrine
Society and a thyroid expert.
that the drug could cause serious reactions in some people and even
backfire in the case of an actual emergency, putting people past
a two-week window of safe dosage. After that period of time, the
drug can induce severe hypothyroidism, a condition that essentially
shuts down thyroid function.
inappropriate, foolhardy and dangerous to be taking iodine supplements
at this time," Wartofsky said. "It's very important to hold off
until it's absolutely necessary."
potassium iodide can be harmful to people who are allergic to iodine,
those who have certain skin disorders and people with thyroid diseases
including goiter, Graves' disease or autoimmune thyroid disorders."
It is also
important to remember that potassium iodide only provide temporary
protection and should only be taken immediately prior to the
radiation exposure, because it's cleared from your body within 24-72
hours after swallowing it . More importantly, it does absolutely
nothing to counter the effects of the other radioactive isotopes
that you would be exposed to. It ONLY decreases exposure to radioactive
iodine, nothing else. It also does not help your body detoxify any
this Nuclear Crisis as a WAKE UP CALL!!
The good news
is that in all likelihood this is NOT a serious threat to your health.
The even better news is that the attention this has brought to focus
has highlighted the fact that 19 out of 20 people are deficient
in iodine, and have toxic levels of bromide, which could lead to
thyroid impairment, breast and prostate cancers.
this is easily remedied with sources of supplemental iodine. Dr.
Brownstein recommends about 12.5 mg every day, which is about what
the Japanese typically would consume in their diet. He believes
this will provide about 95 percent of the protection that the 130
mg one-time adult dose that is currently recommended by public health
authorities for radiation prophylaxis.
It is tragic
for a nuclear crisis to occur anywhere but Japan is probably better
prepared than any country in the world from a health perspective,
as it is likely that 19 out of 20 Japanese have enough iodine and
will not be at risk from the radioactive iodine exposure.
So the lesson
is that you and your family should ideally be on a comprehensive
iodine/iodide supplement. I actually have been researching this
for the last three years and we were in the process of bringing
a unique product to carry on our site.
the US has loads of older nuclear plants that are susceptible to
disasters and the high incidence of iodine deficiency, it would
make sense to start supplementing.
This may not
be the best time to start however, as this specific crisis has made
it very difficult to find supplies at a reasonable price. If you
have access to them then it would seem to make sense to supplement
with 10-15 mg of an iodide/iodine supplement right away. Lugol's
solution is an option. I previously was against using it but after
speaking with Dr. Brownstein, I believe it can be beneficial.
If you have to wait until the hysteria dies down, there seems to
be very little harm in waiting until the supply becomes more readily
The REAL Issue
for Americans is NOT the Radioactivity but Bromide Toxicity
One of my favorite
strategies to live life by is W. Clements Stones being an inverse
paranoid and believing that the universe is conspiring to make you
better, that for every apparently bad experience there is some hidden
good that you typically just can't see because you are all wrapped
up in the emotions of the "bad" experience.
So while it
is clearly tragic that so many thousands lost their life in Japan
in this crisis and many more will suffer for long periods, the saving
grace is that we are more aware of this issue to be prepared for
But from my
perspective the more important point is that virtually all of us
have an issue with overexposure to bromide that would benefit from
I have previously
written an excellent article
on this topic but when I can assure you that when I wrote it I was
virtually clueless as to the full impact of what I wrote about.
has brought this to my attention and I am now even more focused
There is not
enough time to go into all the details now but I can assure you
that I will be providing much more insightful thyroid information
in the future that will be able to really help bring light to this
than Radioactive Iodine You Need to Know About
It's also worth
mentioning that radioactive iodine is certainly not the only danger
you face from nuclear fallout. There are a number of radioactive
compounds that wreak havoc on the environment and the human body,
and iodine will not protect against those.
and I agree that taking a comprehensive mineral supplement to make
sure your entire mineral stores are replenished is a good idea,
to decrease your potential for absorbing other radioactive isotope
you'll want to make sure you stay well hydrated, and Dr. Brownstein
also highly recommends taking vitamin C to keep your antioxidant
defense mechanism strong.
do get exposed to toxicity, vitamin C is one of the best anti-toxicity
nutrients you can take," he says. "In this case, it's wise
not only to be taking vitamin C going into the situation, but if
you know a radioactive cloud is coming, to increase your intake
of vitamin C to give your body a little cushion against this toxic
To that, I
would add taking Co Q10, or Ubiquinol if you're over 40, along with
the vitamin C.
C only works when it's reduced. Once it donates an electron, it's
oxidized and cannot work. Therefore, you need something to recharge
it and Ubiquinol tends to do that it's a powerful, synergistic combination.
Are Sea Vegetables
Like Kelp a Healthier Alternative to Potassium Iodide?
vegetables provide enormous health benefits and those from the sea
should provide loads of additional benefits over terrestrial vegetables.
However, just like eating fish, the issue of contamination is a
major factor here.
know that I don't advise eating most fish because they typically
are contaminated with heavy metals like mercury, and chemicals like
PCBs and dioxins. Well, similarly most sea vegetables are contaminated.
So while they were an ideal source of nutrition you need to be VERY
careful about consuming them as an alternative to supplemental iodine.
actually sent out many sea vegetable samples to labs and found that
most of them were contaminated with heavy metals and had bromine
instead of iodine. So if you chose to use sea vegetables like kelp,
nori, and kombu, then make sure you have independent third party
lab verification that they are not contaminated and indeed have
here is that kelp harvested after the Japanese radiation leak could
be contaminated with radiation. So if you chose to use kelp you
will certainly want to not only select organic versions, but also
make sure that the company is able to prove to you that it has been
screened for radioactivity by an independent third party and passed.
I believe that toxin free sea vegetables are likely the ideal way
to obtain your iodine. Just as toxin free fish is the best source
of animal based omega-3 fats. However, with all the 20th
century industrial pollution that is an increasingly difficult challenge
to acquire. But if you can be certain the sea vegetables or seaweed
supplement you want to use is toxin free it would likely be the
ideal way to receive your iodine.
Potent Protector Against Toxic Radiation
blue-green algae might be another great alternative to protect against
the effects of radiation, and there is in fact research backing
this up. Spirulina was actually used to treat children exposed to
chronic low-levels of radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
very recently, the interest in Spirulina was mainly in its nutritive
value. Currently, however, numerous people are looking into the
possible therapeutic effects of Spirulina.
studies and a few clinical studies suggest several therapeutic effects
ranging from reduction of cholesterol and cancer to enhancing
the immune system, increasing intestinal lactobacilli, reducing
nephrotoxicity by heavy metals and drugs and radiation protection."
But what is
it about this blue-green algae that gives it this radiation-protective
a 16 percent phycocyanin content a blue pigment that is attached
to its photosynthetic membranes. Phycocyanin is also a nitrogen
storage molecule. The nitrogen atoms can form a complex with heavy
metals such as radioactive cesium and stronium, hence "cleansing"
these radioactive metals from your body.
and chlorella, have similar concerns as sea vegetables though. They
can easily absorb the radiation so if you are purchasing any that
were harvested after last week you will want to make sure they have
been screened for radiation.
another amazing tool for detoxification and is also loaded with
chlorophyll which will increase your resistance to radiation.
and other seaweeds (high in natural iodine)
(to neutralize radiation) or bentonite clays
(an adaptogenic herb)
mushrooms (strong immune support)
oil, which supports optimal thyroid health
is another supplement I'd seriously consider, as it too has been
found to have some protective function against ionizing radiation.
Resources You Need to Aid with Radiation Detox
I also interviewed
Ori Hofmekler on this topic for alternative viewpoint with regards
to how you can decrease the risk to your health from radiation.
The interview can be accessed by clicking the link at the top of
this page. Ori makes some compelling arguments for the use of sweet
whey to help protect against absorbing radioactive minerals.
One of the
reasons for using sweet whey in a situation like this is because
whey protein contains all the precursors that help your body produce
glutathione, which is one of the best ways to detoxify
reason is that sweet whey is a whole whey… It's the highest source
of all minerals and trace minerals that exist in nature. It has
every possible mineral and trace elements including organic sodium that
your body needs in the most bioactive form.
For more detailed
information and explanations, please listen to Ori's interview,
or read through the transcript. It's a fairly compelling argument,
and I wanted to offer you a number of perspectives.
whole whey has so many other health benefits (and I recommend consuming
it daily anyway for optimal health) so you can't go wrong by taking
it now if you've never tried it before.
If you want
to use whey as a source of minerals, I strongly recommend making
sure it's grass-fed organic whey from raw milk.
JC, Fernandez-Calvet L, Rios M, Garcia-Mayor RV. Increased incidence
of thyrotoxicosis after iodine supplementation in an iodine
sufficient area. J Endocrinol Invest. 1994;17(1):23-27.
DA. Control of efficiency and results, and adverse effects of
excess iodine administration on thyroid function. Ann Endocrinol
(Paris). 1996; 57(6):463-469.
R, et al. Effects of excess iodine administration on thyroid
function in euthyroid patients with a previous episode of thyroid
dysfunction induced by interferon-alpha treatment. Clin
Endocrinol (Oxf). Sep, 1997; 47(3):357-361.
Health. 2001 Jul-Sep;16(4):233-51. Adverse health effects of
selenium in humans. Vinceti M, Wei ET, Malagoli C, Bergomi M,