Radiation Protection: Practical Solutions Beyond Potassium Iodide


by Greg Nigh, ND, LAc

Nature Cures Clinic physician

The media has us all glued to our seats seeking more information about the radiation cloud that may or may not drift over US soils. In any case, speculation on TV about where it might drift is accompanied by frenzied searches for potassium iodide tablets that we are told might help protect us.

As our previous article by Dr. Andy Swanson noted, potassium iodide is not practical protection from long-term, low-level radiation exposure — the very type that people in the US could be exposed to. Potassium iodide is to be used to protect against high-level, short-term exposure to radiation. The doses that provide this protection, though, cannot and should never be sustained beyond about 5 days. Even in this amount of time, there are serious risks involved with taking iodide in such high doses.

However, this certainly doesn’t mean that, without potassium iodide, there are no ways to protect against radiation exposure. In fact, the scientific literature is filled with hundreds of studies showing that supplements you can find at virtually any grocery or drug store can offer substantial protection against low level radiation exposure.

First, it’s helpful to understand exactly what it is that radiation does in our bodies. Once this is clear, the ways to protect against it become more obvious. Radiation that passes through our cells can create high levels of something called reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals as they are more commonly known. These free radicals have a damaging effect on cells through a process called oxidation. The best protection, then, is through substances that fight oxidation in cells. We all know what these substances are, because they are called antioxidants.

A wide range of antioxidants have been shown in scientific studies to provide significant protection against the damaging effects of radiation exposure. Just a few of the antioxidants that have shown this protection include:

1) N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
2) Melatonin, the sleep hormone that is also has strong antioxidant capabilities
3) Vitamin C
4) Vitamin E
5) Resveratrol
6) Genestein, found in soy foods
7) Selenium

These are just a few of the nutrients that have been found in scientific studies to protect against the damaging effects of radiation exposure. Even better, these nutrients have a wide range of health benefits in addition to the radiation protection they provide.

Please note: there are therapeutic doses of each of these nutrients. Do not run out and purchase them and take them all in high doses without consulting with a health care practitioner experienced in their proper dosing.

These are uncertain times. While the media and the internet have people scrambling for potassium iodide as radiation protection, common antioxidants found in most grocery stores and pharmacies are much more sensible solutions for preventing damages that could be caused by low level radiation exposures. Maintaining adequate, sustained antioxidant status in your body helps protect you far beyond the few days of protection that potassium iodide might offer.

If you’d like some help sorting through the fog of information about iodine/iodide, radiation, antioxidants or other health issues now in the news, visit with one of the doctors at Nature Cures Clinic. Let us sort through the fog for you and give you a practical plan for protecting you and your family from a potential radiation exposure.

Acai: Hype or Health?

We’re examining superfoods again here at Nature Cures Clinic.

Today we’re taking a look at the massive marketing campaign that’s surrounding one little Brazilian berry, acai.

When it comes to foods that contain high levels of antioxidants, acai is the popular new kid on the block. Lab studies show the fruit to contain high levels of antioxidants — which are thought to protect against cell damage, and in turn heart disease, neurological disorders, and a number of cancers. In one clinical trial, consuming acai increased the blood antioxidant levels in a group of healthy volunteers.

That’s one study that we know about — but from the wealth of claims about acai on the internet, you might believe there’s been a lot more research done.
Among the claims: acai will miraculously help you lose weight, cleanse your colon, and enhance your sexual desire. All claims that have not been verified by a reputable source.

And not only that — there’s the danger of falling prey to a “free trial scam.” When you search “acai” on the web, you will be directed to a dozen or more sites offering a free trial for the “acai berry weight loss” products. Numerous people have complained about being charged hundreds of dollars for this supposed “free trial,” and there are now lawsuits against the makers of the products in several states.

So should the overzealous marketing of some unscrupulous businesspeople make you shy away from eating acai?

Let’s get back to the basics. Acai is still a fruit, and no matter the overblown claims, putting more fruits and vegetables in your diet is hardly ever a bad thing. It is always a good idea to stock up on antioxidants. To ensure you’re buying acai with the most nutritional value, make sure you are buying 100% pure acai and not a product mixed with other ingredients. Also, the acai you eat should be from pulp, not the acai seed.

If you have questions about antioxidants, or need help developing a nutrition plan, the practitioners at Nature Cures Clinic are ready to help, give us a call today: 503-287-4970

Antioxidant Power of Purple Corn

Chances are you’ve heard about the health value of blueberries.

With their deep blue color, they’re high in anthocyanins, a form of flavonoids . The flavonoids found in blueberries may provide protection against disease by upping the antioxidant defenses in the body.

As you may or may not know, Nature Cures Clinic is now on Twitter; you can find us here. That’s where our followers can ask us their health and nutrition questions, and we do our best to deliver. Recently, one follower asked us about the health value of purple corn, and its role in fighting cancer. They wanted to know if purple corn could pack the same punch as their favorite blue fruit.

Here’s what we told them: Continue reading “Antioxidant Power of Purple Corn”

Hit Job

A recent study on antioxidants is a classic “hit job” on alternative medicine.

This study compared aspirin to a combination of antioxidants for their ability to prevent progression of arterial disease and diabetes. The study found that there was no difference in effectiveness between the two therapies. And without missing a beat, newspapers around the country proclaimed this new finding.

The dose of antioxidants used in this study is ridiculously low. For instance, this study used 100mg of vitamin C daily in their antioxidant supplement. While this is higher than the US RDA, it is somewhere between 1/5 and 1/20 the dose that is widely recognized to confer therapeutic benefits. Continue reading “Hit Job”

Green Tea Extract and Cardiovascular Disease

Imagine the size of the headlines if a pharmaceutical were found to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and enhance the body’s antioxidant capacity. Now imagine that this new drug can work in as little as three week. It would be the most prescribed drug on the market.

Well, you don’t have to go to your doctor to get this magic medication. A recent study has found that green tea extract has all these benefits. And with cardiovascular disease as the number one killer in the country, news like this could dramatically reduce the number of people dying of this disease. Continue reading “Green Tea Extract and Cardiovascular Disease”

Vitamin C and Exercise Recovery

For all you exercise fans, a study in the Journal of Sports
Medicine and Physical Fitness has shown that supplementing with 1
gram of vitamin C prior to exercise reduced the level of muscle
damage induced by the exercise. In addition, other important health
indicators such as antioxidant status and stress levels in the body were
lower in the vitamin C group than in the control group.