Radiation: Protect Yourself and Your Patients with Nutrition
By Jack Tips, PhD, CCN
Following the March 2011 earthquake and nuclear reactor disaster in Fukushima, Japan, Americans purchased the entire supply of potassium iodine / iodide in one day. This knee-jerk reaction did not come close to protecting people from the fallout then, or from the continued onslaught of radioactive particles still pouring out of that disaster. Let's examine the impact of radiation in our world and learn about some simple, effective ways to protect your family and patients.
The sound-bite media has moved on to new sensations, but the ongoing poisoning of the ocean and United States agriculture fields, water supplies and breathable air continues. Let's first understand that the human body has innate methods to counter small amounts of radiation; thus a note of optimism for those who act preventatively.
More than a year after the Fukushima disaster, reactor #1 was releasing more than 10,000 mSv an hour, exceeding the radiation "safe level" for an entire year. Reactor #2 still emits fatal levels of radiation into the atmosphere. The problem is far from over. A study in BioMedicine International Journal suggests that 14,000 Americans have died from Fukushima radiation, while countless more are experiencing thyroid disorders and birth defects.
Two Kinds of Cell-Damaging Radiation
Radiations, (electromagnetic oscillations), come in two categories – ionizing and non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation has the high-frequency energy to break chemical bonds and knock electrons out of their shells. It creates free-radical ions and unbalanced molecules that damage DNA and cause cellular metabolic dysfunction. Examples: nuclear radiation (nuclear reactors, medical treatments), X-rays, CT scans, and gamma rays (inspect produce trucks, irradiate food).
Non-ionizing radiations are low frequencies that cause molecules to vibrate unnaturally, but do not directly displace electrons. Examples: cellphone towers and antennas, Wi-Fi, electromagnetic fields generated by electrical appliances, microwave ovens.
Both radiation categories damage molecular structures and can cause single-nucleotide-polymorphisms (called SNPs or snips) to the human genome, the chromosomes that express either health or disease via cellular metabolism; as well as damage to the cells' mitochondrial DNA that govern how cellular energy – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – is made.
Mitochondrial Diseases – The New Catch-All
In making ATP energy for practically all cellular life processes, cellular organelles called mitochondria use dangerous free radicals (oxidative / reductive molecular transformations) to assemble ATP molecules, which are quickly neutralized and recycled similar to how nuclear reactors make electricity. If something goes wrong with the mitochondria and the cellular metabolic processes, free radicals damage the cell and cause inflammation. Aberrant cells (cancer) can develop if the immune system and cellular apoptosis (suicide) processes are not employed. Damaged mitochondria can be likened to a damaged nuclear reactor that poisons the environment, and thus becomes a disease.
Today, research has discovered that virtually all chronic-degenerative and autoimmune diseases stem from damaged mitochondrial DNA and inflammatory free-radical damage to cellular DNA and cell membranes. It's here in the intracellular life processes that radiation is so damaging – both ionizing and non-ionizing. It's in the core genetic transcriptional processes that genetically modified foods have a dire impact, as they present unnaturally arranged chromosomes, aka altered DNA, that introduces altered chromosomes into the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA – the operating system for human health and life.
One of the insidious molecular cascades of perpetual free-radical damage is the NO / ONOO (no! oh no!) cycle, whereby nitric oxide (NO) converts to peroxynitrite (ONOO) and back to nitric oxide. As it cycles, it spews DNA-snipping, inflammatory free radicals. This errant intracellular process is, according to Dr. Martin Pall, professor of microbiology at Washington State University, responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress syndrome, chemical sensitivity, and a host of other diseases. Dr. Paul suspects pesticides in our food as being a prime culprit in this inflammatory process, and increasing cellular antioxidants a method to break the insidious cascade.
Savvy nutritionists have a solution to break the NO/ONOO cascade: 1) increase cellular glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase – cellular antioxidants that quench free radicals; and 2) increase methylation to provide more glutathione, which also assists in cellular detoxification.
The Body's Innate Radiation Protection
Ionizing radiation is nothing new to the human body. The sun's ultraviolet and cosmic rays, and naturally occurring radioactive uranium / radon, are part of the natural environment. The body has ways to prevent and repair damage to chromosomes; processes dependent upon plant-foods and nutrition.
Bacteria can live inside nuclear reactors, so nature's survival precedent already exists. What we need to protect human health is to first stop dangerous exposures. Due to the reluctance of medicine and communications companies to accept factual data regarding radiation damage, we must take personal steps to protect ourselves by supporting the body's innate processes. To protect financial interests, users of radiation devices continue to errantly espouse, "A wee bit won't hurt."
This is why, when Fukushima started spewing radiation into the world's atmosphere, ocean and global food supply, many people panicked and took iodine to fill their thyroid receptors so that radioactive I-131 would not find a home in their thyroids. They overlooked that iodine doesn't protect other parts of the body. Nor does it address all the other radioactive particles such as Cesium-137, which competes with potassium; Strontium-90; and 60 other deadly particles.