Friday, March 18, 2011

Radiation Concern Updated

With the increasing concern about radiation I have updated the antioxidant information below and included a couple more links.

Be ready if you are concerned but don’t start worrying about radioactive iodine, and ingesting iodine etc. until you are sure there is danger. Ingesting too much iodine is dangerous, so don't do it unless necessary and you know what you are doing. Seek health care guidance from a professional. I am not an expert on nuclear power plants or radiation, but here is some data to help keep you informed. 

We have a certain amount of radiation around us all the time, both natural and due to human creation. Therefore, the most prudent thing to do is stay as healthy as possible at all times. As far as protecting my thyroid with iodine, I personally eat kelp daily. All sea vegetables contain iodine and other minerals. (Some people are allergic to iodine and should not ingest iodine.) Kelp does not give you the CDC's recommended amount of iodine if your exposed to radioactive fallout. So if that does happen you will want to use the recommendation of the CDC below.

Herbs To Consider

The results obtained from in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that several herbs such as Ginkgo (Gingko biloba),  Gotu kola (Centella asiatica), Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum), Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Amaranth (Amaranthus paniculatus), Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), Stonebreaker (Phyllanthus amarus,) Long pepper (Piper longum), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifoila,) Wild Mint (Mentha arvensis), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Jambul (Syzygium cumini), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Billy goat weed (Ageratum conyzoides), Bengal quince (Aegle marmelos) and Pithraj tree (Aphanamixis polystachya) protect against radiation-induced lethality, lipid peroxidation and DNA damage. Radioprotective Potential of Plants and Herbs against the Effects of Ionizing Radiation, Ganesh C. Jagetia, Department of Radiobiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal-576 104, India

I suggest you read this research article at this link:

Ginkgo may be protective against radiation-induced injuries as shown in the use of ginkgo following the Chernobyl disaster. Treatment of recovery workers from the Chernobyl accident site was found to be effective when an oral dose of 40 mg/day of G. biloba was given 3 times daily for 2 months

 Emerit I., Oganesian N., Sarkisian T., Arutyunyan R., Pogosian A., Asrian K., Levy A., Cernjavski L. Clastogenic factors in the plasma of Chernobyl recovery workers: Anticlastogenic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract. Radiat. Res. 1995;144:198–205.

It appears that Antioxidants are protective against radiation. Reduction of transient free radicals is one mechanism by which antioxidants influence the indirect action of radiation. The extent of danger to normal tissues in radiation therapy for cancer depends on the dose, tissue sensitivity and repair capacity, affected organs, and prevailing endogenous antioxidant defenses.  
Short- and long-term injury to healthy cells, including tissue damage and increased risk of oncogenic transformation, can be prevented by antioxidants, as seen experimentally. New findings that antioxidants induce apoptosis in cancer cells and protect patients from painful side effects of radiation treatment for cancer may prove these compounds useful in radiation from nuclear power plant accidents also. For more information like this go to

Many herbs are antioxidants. Here is a list of a few from "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth" You will notice some of them are also listed in the research above.

     •    Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
•    Chaparral (Larrea tridentata)
•    Fo ti (Polygonum multiflorum)
•    Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
•    Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
•    Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
•    Hawthorne (Crataegus spp.)
•    Ligustrum (Ligustrum lucidum)
•    Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
•    Propolis
•    Rhubarb (Rheum officinalis)
•    Sage root (Salvia miltiorrhiza)
•    Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)
•    Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
•    Tumeric (Curcuma longa)

Antioxidants in Food

Of course we should acknowledged all the wonderful antioxidants we have in our fresh, organic foods and then there are tadditionally the nutritional supplements that can be used. 

A USDA study analyzed the antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods. Researchers tested over 100 foods. Here is a ranked list of the top 20 fruits, vegetables and nuts:

   1. Small red bean (dried), 1/2 cup
   2. Wild blueberry, 1 cup
   3. Red kidney bean (dried), 1/2 cup[br[
   4. Pinto bean, 1/2 cup
   5. Blueberry (cultivated), 1 cup
   6. Cranberry, 1 cup (whole)
   7. Artichoke (cooked hearts), 1 cup
   8. Blackberry, 1 cup
   9. Prune, 1/2 cup
  10. Raspberry, 1 cup
  11. Strawberry, 1 cup
  12. Red delicious apple, 1
  13. Granny Smith apple, 1
  14. Pecan, 1 ounce
  15. Sweet cherry, 1 cup
  16. Black plum, 1
  17. Russet potato, 1 cooked
  18. Black bean (dried), 1/2 cup
  19. Plum, 1
  20. Gala apple, 1

For a comprehensive list of Nutrients ingested for their antioxidant effects go to:

Here is a link to information on eating miso soup for radiation protection:

People in Japan should be concerned, but what about folks worrying in the U.S. Why would the west coast USA be in danger  of Fallout from Japans nuclear plant if it has some sort of core melt-down? 

Everyone on the planet should be concerned. The Japanese reactors hold about 1,000 times more radiation than the bombs dropped over Hiroshima. As far as the United States: The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States. Any airborne radioactive Fallout would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet air stream and how quickly the particles mixed in with the jet-stream. In the spring season, the jet stream moves eastward from Japan toward the United States. Heated isotopes, riding on a cushion of steam and oceanic updrafts, will rise to the west-east jet stream at altitude 20,000 feet or higher. Areas of radioactive fallout are difficult to predict since these depend on local wind currents, temperatures, rainfall and other factors. The jet stream will cross the following states: California, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and possibly further depending on surface winds. Cesium can be expected to fall unevenly, so monitoring is vital to determine the long-term threat level.  (A week after a nuclear weapons test in China, iodine 131 could be detected in the thyroid glands of deer in Colorado, although it could not be detected in the air or in nearby vegetation.)
Radiation can affect the body in a number of ways, and the adverse health effects of exposure may not be apparent for many years. These adverse health effects can range from mild effects, such as skin reddening, to serious effects such as cancer and death, depending on the amount of radiation absorbed by the body (the dose), the type of radiation, the route of exposure, and the length of time a person was exposed. Exposure to very large doses such as would happen if near a nuclear explosion may cause death within a few days or months. Exposure to lower doses of radiation may lead to an increased risk of developing cancer or other adverse health effects later in life. These lower doses are what people on the West Coast of the U.S. are worried about.

If you are around radioactive fall-out what should you do? Radiation can go through material depending on its density.

• Close all doors and windows.
• Turn off fans, air conditioners, and forced-air heating units that bring in fresh air from the outside. Only use units to recirculate air that is already in the building.
• Close fireplace dampers.
• Bring pets inside.
• Move to an inner room or basement. The deeper in the earth or behind dense material such as concrete or metal, the better.

What radioisotopes should we be concerned about.

Lets look at Chernobyl: As of 2005, cesium-137 (C-137) is the principal source of radiation in the zone of alienation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Together with cesium-134, iodine-131, and strontium-90, caesium-137 was among the isotopes with greatest health impact distributed by the reactor explosion.

It appears the main radioisotopes of current concern is Strontium-90 (s-90), Iodine-131 (I-131), and Cesium-134 and 137 (C-134&137). I-131 has a half life of 8.06 days.  It can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin or ingested in food or water.

C-137 has a half-life of about 30.17 years, and decays by beta emission to a metastable nuclear isomer of barium-137.

 What does the CDC say?

C-134&137 Exposure:

There is not much you can do ahead of time for C-134 &137radiation. The FDA has determined that the 500 mg Prussian blue capsules,(Radiogardase) can be safe and effective for the treatment of known or suspected internal contamination with radioactive cesium, radioactive thallium, or non-radioactive thallium. This decision is based on a careful review of published literature articles containing reports, data, and experiences of people who were exposed to high levels of thallium or cesium-137 and were treated effectively with Prussian blue.
Prussian blue should be taken as soon as possible after exposure. However, even when treatment cannot be started right away, patients should be given Prussian blue as soon as it becomes available because it is still effective even after time has elapsed since exposure.
Prussian blue is available only by prescription and should be given only under the supervision of a physician after assessing your medical condition. It is only effective to treat contamination with radioactive cesium or thallium. The dose and duration of treatment depends on the amount of contamination a person is exposed to. Therefore, this drug should be given only when the physician has determined your need for it.

Strontium-90 Exposure:
I don’t know of any direct treatments for strontium-90 exposure.

I-131 Exposure:
External exposure to large amounts of I-131 can cause burns to the eyes and on the skin. Internal exposure can affect the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones and cannot distinguish between radioactive iodine and stable (nonradioactive) iodine. In addition, if dairy animals consume grass contaminated with I-131, the radioactive iodine will be incorporated into their milk. Consequently, people can receive internal exposure from drinking the milk or eating dairy products made from contaminated milk. Once inside the body, I-131 will be absorbed by the thyroid gland exposing it to radiation and potentially increasing the risk for thyroid cancer or other thyroid problems.

Following a radiological or nuclear event, radioactive iodine may be released into the air and then be breathed into the lungs. Radioactive iodine may also contaminate the local food supply and get into the body through food or through drink. When radioactive materials get into the body through breathing, eating, or drinking, we say that “internal contamination” has occurred. In the case of internal contamination with radioactive iodine, the thyroid gland quickly absorbs this chemical. Radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid can then injure the gland. 

Ingestion of Potassium iodide (KI)
Because ingestion of non-radioactive KI acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, it can help protect this gland from injury.

KI cannot prevent radioactive iodine from entering the body. KI can protect only the thyroid from radioactive iodine, not other parts of the body. KI cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once damage to the thyroid has occurred. KI cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine—if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective.

Iodine ingestion is undertaken to keep I-131 from binding to the thyroid tissues. Some people are allergic to iodine and should not take KI. Check with your doctor about any concerns you have about potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is the most common form of iodine available on the market.

Potassium iodide (also called KI) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine. Iodine needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. Most of the iodine in our bodies comes from the food we eat. KI is stable iodine in a medicine form.

KI works by blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid. When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. The thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine—either stable or radioactive—for the next 24 hours.

Iodized table salt also contains iodine; iodized table salt contains enough iodine to keep most people healthy under normal conditions. However, table salt does not contain enough iodine to block radioactive iodine from getting into your thyroid gland. You should not use table salt as a substitute for KI.

Knowing that KI may not give a person 100% protection against radioactive iodine is important. How well KI blocks radioactive iodine depends on

•  how much time passes between contamination with radioactive iodine and the taking of KI (the sooner a person takes KI, the better), how fast KI is absorbed into the blood, and

the total amount of radioactive iodine to which a person is exposed.

In Radiation Exposure, who should take KI according to the CDC & How Much?

This is taken from the CDC. Here is the lnk:

The thyroid glands of a fetus and of an infant are most at risk of injury from radioactive iodine. Young children and people with low stores of iodine in their thyroid are also at risk of thyroid injury.

Infants (including breast-fed infants): Infants need to be given the recommended dosage of KI for babies. The amount of KI that gets into breast milk is not enough to protect breast-fed infants from exposure to radioactive iodine. The proper dose of KI given to a nursing infant will help protect it from radioactive iodine that it breathes in or drinks in breast milk. Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age should take 32 mg (½ of a 65 mg tablet OR ½ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing infants and children. Newborns from birth to 1 month of age should be given 16 mg (¼ of a 65 mg tablet or ¼ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing newborn infants.

Children: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that all children internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take KI, unless they have known allergies to iodine. Children from newborn to 18 years of age are the most sensitive to the potentially harmful effects of radioactive iodine. Children between 3 and 18 years of age should take 65 mg (one 65 mg tablet OR 1 mL of solution). Children who are adult size (greater than or equal to 150 pounds) should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.

Young Adults: The FDA recommends that young adults (between the ages of 18 and 40 years) internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take the recommended dose of KI. Young adults are less sensitive to the effects of radioactive iodine than are children.

Pregnant Women: Because all forms of iodine cross the placenta, pregnant women should take KI to protect the growing fetus. However, pregnant women should take only one dose of KI following internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine.
Breastfeeding Women: Women who are breastfeeding should take only one dose of KI if they have been internally contaminated with (or are likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine. Because radioactive iodine quickly gets into breast milk, CDC recommends that women internally contaminated with (or are likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine stop breastfeeding and feed their child baby formula or other food if it is available. If breast milk is the only food available for an infant, nursing should continue. Women who are breastfeeding should take the adult dose of 130 mg.

Adults: Adults older than 40 years should not take KI unless public health or emergency management officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected. Adults older than 40 years have the lowest chance of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after contamination with radioactive iodine. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI. Adults should take 130 mg (one 130 mg tablet OR two 65 mg tablets OR two mL of solution).

How much KI should I take?
The FDA has approved two different forms of KI—tablets and liquid—that people can take by mouth after a nuclear radiation emergency. Tablets come in two strengths, 130 milligram (mg) and 65 mg. The tablets are scored so they may be cut into smaller pieces for lower doses. Each milliliter (mL) of the oral liquid solution contains 65 mg of KI.

According to the FDA, the following doses are appropriate to take after internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine:

How often should I take KI?
A single dose of KI protects the thyroid gland for 24 hours. A one-time dose at the levels recommended in this fact sheet is usually all that is needed to protect the thyroid gland. In some cases, radioactive iodine might be in the environment for more than 24 hours. If that happens, local emergency management or public health officials may tell you to take one dose of KI every 24 hours for a few days. You should do this only on the advice of emergency management officials, public health officials, or your doctor. Avoid repeat dosing with KI for pregnant and breastfeeding women and newborn infants. Those individuals may need to be evacuated until levels of radioactive iodine in the environment fall.

Taking a higher dose of KI, or taking KI more often than recommended, does not offer more protection and can cause severe illness or death.

Medical conditions that may make it harmful to take KI
Taking KI may be harmful for some people because of the high levels of iodine in this medicine. You should not take KI if

• you know you are allergic to iodine (If you are unsure about this, consult your doctor.) or

• you have certain skin disorders (such as dermatitis herpetiformis or urticaria vasculitis).

People with thyroid disease (for example, multinodular goiter, Graves’ disease, or autoimmune thyroiditis) may be treated with KI. This should happen under careful supervision of a doctor, especially if dosing lasts for more than a few days.

In all cases, talk to your doctor if you are not sure whether to take KI.

What are the possible risks and side effects of KI?
When public health or emergency management officials tell the public to take KI following a radiologic or nuclear event, the benefits of taking this drug outweigh the risks. This is true for all age groups. Some general side effects caused by KI may include intestinal upset, allergic reactions (possibly severe), rashes, and inflammation of the salivary glands.

When taken as recommended, KI causes only rare adverse health effects that specifically involve the thyroid gland. In general, you are more likely to have an adverse health effect involving the thyroid gland if you
    * take a higher than recommended dose of KI,
    * take the drug for several days, or
    * have pre-existing thyroid disease.

Newborn 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. Infants who receive KI should have their thyroid hormone levels checked and monitored by a doctor. Avoid repeat dosing of KI to newborns.
Once again, this is taken from the CDC. Here is the lnk: