I almost cannot believe that I’m writing this post.
It’s not to scaremonger. It’s hopefully to help.
See, This Wall Street Journal article points out that potassium iodide retailers are inundated with calls (and running out of their stocks rapidly) on the fear that the Japan nuclear fallout will reach the west coast. I’ve also seen the insane eBay auctions where potassium iodide pills are selling for upwards of $1000 at this point.
Last week, they were $8 for a pack of 14.
Am I personally concerned about radiation reaching the United States? Maybe a little bit. But there are so many mitigating factors, and the news reports on whether these meltdowns will cause radiation to travel through the jet stream are very conflicting.
But: Knowledge is power. And I’m no after-school special. I’m just saying, it is. Knowing what to do in confusing situations helps quell the fear.
And I love you guys; I don’t want you to be afraid. And I want you to feel prepared, if you are.
I’ve been researching nonstop for the last three days, and it had finally reached a point where I had to share all the information I was finding. All of a sudden, it seemed crazier not to share it than TO share it (and risk you guys thinking I was crazy).
PLEASE REMEMBER: I am not a doctor or a health professional. NONE of these things should be used as your sole source of medical advice, nor should they be acted on without consulting your physician, if you deem it necessary. I’m just sharing what I found, so you’ll have the same information I have.
First Things First – Potassium Iodide and Iodine
If stores in your area are out of potassium iodide tablets don’t fret. Painting on iodine or betadine will provide a good bit of protection against radioactive iodine. While not as reliable as ingesting potassium iodide (and not as thoroughly scientifically studied), your body will absorb the iodine, which will then travel to and hopefully protect your thyroid.
(I also just ran across, while searching for potassium iodide-containing products, this ingredients list for Ensure Plus, which DOES contain it. Not sure how much in relation to the supplements, though. In addition – funny enough – Milk Bones also contain potassium iodide. Now you know how to protect – and satisfy – Spot!)
How to paint on iodine: Purchase a bottle of 2% tincture of iodine or Betadine at your local drugstore (you may have to ask for it at the pharmacy). Paint about 2 ml or so on your abdomen (a little less for children) and allow your skin to soak it in. Do this daily until the iodine remains a reddish-orange color on your skin (doesn’t fade). When it stops fading, it means your body has enough iodine.
However, if you’re consistently exposed to radiation, you’ll want to keep painting on the iodine every day.
DO NOT DRINK IODINE OR BETADINE. Neither of these things should ever be ingested. Also, avoid them if you have an allergy to iodine (which you most likely do if you’re allergic to shellfish).
The good news is, your body naturally needs iodine, so this will serve a health benefit. (Iodine helps regulate the thyroid, helps the health of skin and hair, helps with energy and more – read more about the health benefits of iodine here.)
Now for the not-so-good news. The only thing potassium iodide and iodine does is protect your thyroid against radioactive iodine. That’s it. They fill up your thyroid and disallow the radioactive iodine to infiltrate and cause health problems and cancer down the road.
So while it’s nice to have either potassium iodide or iodine, it’s not only radioactive iodine that’s potentially going to be floating through the jet stream.
You might want to note some of the other things you can eat/supplement to help eliminate some of the radioactive exposure (IF IT HAPPENS).
If you have a thyroid issue, there are some other confounding factors to consider about iodine as well.
Foods That Contain Iodine and Detoxifying Properties
There are other natural ways you can get iodine into your system, and these ways also have detoxification properties, so you’ll get added benefit.
And these things are: Basically anything that comes out of the ocean.
Natural News reported that both blue-green algae and spirulina (in addition to containing iodine) helps rid the body of heavy metals – a concern in radiation exposure – and protects the body against cancer.
All of the above, though, according to dozens of sources I’ve read, are excellent detoxifiers and good at reducing the level of heavy metals in the body.
Where to Buy Them: You can purchase dried/powdered kelp, spirulina, and blue-green algae at most natural food stores. Mine happened to be out of kelp two days ago. (I put kelp and/or spirulina in the green smoothies I drink on a regular basis.) You can also order kelp and spirulina from Mountain Rose Herbs. They’re actually a lot cheaper there than what I pay at my local natural foods store.
You might also be able to find any of the above (excepting shellfish) in liquid extract form, as well.
In Chernobyl, for instance, spirulina was used to help save many children from radiation poisoning. By taking 5 grams of spirulina a day for 45 days, the Institute of Radiation Medicine in Minsk even proved that children on this protocol experienced enhanced immune systems, T-cell counts and reduced radioactivity. Israeli scientists have since treated Chernobyl children with doses of natural beta carotene from Dunaliella algae and proved that it helped normalize their blood chemistry. Chlorella algae, a known immune system builder and heavy metal detoxifier, has also shown radioprotective effects. Because they bind heavy metals, algae should therefore be consumed after exposure to any type of radioactive contamination. – From Shirley’s Wellness Cafe
Protective and Detoxifying Herbs
- Cilantro (has been shown to remove heavy metals from the blood stream)
One thing you can do, right now, to save a big bunch of cilantro is make a pesto out of it. There are a couple of recipes at the link, but this is my favorite pesto recipe EVER. It uses garlic and pumpkin seeds, which are two radically healthy ingredients, too. And delicious.
Best part? Make a few batches of it and freeze the excess. It’ll keep for months and months in the freezer.
In fact, this headline states Rosemary Found to Offer Best Protection Against Radiation Poisoning. That speaks loudly enough, don’t you think? In addition to eating the herb fresh or dried (and cooked into dishes), you can also find rosemary extract or tincture in just about any natural health food store.
- Gingko Biloba
Both of these herbs are cited on the NIH.gov site (surprise!) as excellent protection and treatment for radiation. There are several other plants listed in this compilation of studies, but I didn’t want to overwhelm. Here’s the link to the studies if you want to read more. The actual name of the paper is: Radioprotective Potential of Plants and Herbs against the Effects of Ionizing Radiation.
This plant has excellent detox abilities, in that it’s very effective at whisking away free radicals. But it’s also great for your liver and keeps it functioning properly, which is what you want in order to eliminate any toxins that might be in your body.
You can pick fresh dandelion and eat them in salads, but if you’re concerned about radiation, this may not be the best option. (As the radioactive particles would have fallen on the plants, as well.) Check your natural health food store for dandelion root to make a tea with, dandelion tincture, or even dandelion greens in the produce section.
Other Natural Treatments for Radiation Exposure
- Bentonite Clay
Not only can you bathe in this to help pull toxins from your skin. Bentonite clay, for example, is used by Russian nuclear workers (slathered on their skin) before working with nuclear material.
However, you can use it internally, safely, in moderation to help pull out toxins and absorb radiation. Bentonite clay is used in traditional medicine for treating heavy metal poisoning.
It’s been difficult to find any kind of recommendation on how much clay to take at a time, but I did find one commenter say she takes 1 tsp a day with good effect.
- Miso Soup
One of the main ingredients in miso soup is kelp, but it also includes mushrooms (which have their own health benefits, as well). You can buy dried miso at stores like Whole Foods and snack on the soup for months.
To be honest, this one’s a bit of conjecture on my part. But boron (which is in borax) is used for radiation shielding on an industrial level. If you’re particularly concerned about radiation entering through the skin, take a bath with 1/8 c. borax mixed in the water. It’s actually a fantastic skin softener, so you’re not hurting anything. Let yourself air dry, as to not wipe off all the borax.
- Sunflower Seeds
According to another Natural News article, both apples and sunflower seeds contain a pectin that’s adept at cleansing the body from residual radiation. (They also mention that the glucosides in buckwheat add protective measures against radiation if eaten before exposure.)
- Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal, taken internally, removes toxins and poisons from the body. In fact, it’s kept in nearly all emergency rooms at this point to help mitigate the effects of poisoning. According to WebMD, there is also some scientific evidence that it lowers cholesterol. Here’s more on how to take activated charcoal internally.
I actually just bought a giant bag of activated charcoal last month, which I ordered from More Than Alive, but it’s also available at most natural food stores. Please note, activated charcoal and charcoal briquettes are two vastly different things. Please do not eat your barbecue charcoal.
Final Thoughts on Radiation Exposure
We’re exposed to radiation every day, via the sun. There’s really no escaping it. However, the vast majority of the information I’ve gathered above will help with that, too.
One last thing that’s made me feel exceptionally good is having a decent water filter. If you have the extra cash, I really would recommend getting a Berkey. Not only do I feel secure knowing my water filter is very adept at cleaning out toxins and bacteria and the like, but I also picked up (for free) the fluoride filter for it.
I ordered mine from More Than Alive (aff link), which had the best prices on Berkey filters I could find.
Finally, here are a few more resources you can peruse for your own edification:
Natural News articles on:
- Gingko biloba protection against radiation
- Rosemary protection against radiation
- Apples, buckwheat, and sunflower seeds protect against radiation
- Bentonite clay for heavy metal detox
- Top 10 Natural Ways to Remove Heavy Metals
- Activated charcoal for detoxification
Radiation Network comprises Geiger counter results from across the nation. You can monitor the latest radiation levels (currently, there doesn’t appear to be all that many stations) as they increase or decrease.
Does Radiation Exposure Concern You?
How are you feeling about everything that’s going on right now in Japan? Are you concerned about nuclear fallout reaching where you live?
Do you have any detox and protective measures to add to this list? Any ideas are welcome!