ECCM's Radiation Protection Recommendations
Disclaimer: All recommendations on this site are for information purposes only, you should talk to your primary care doctor before following any of the advice listed below.
Recommendation Bias: Our practice feels strongly that the best medicine is prevention. Therefore, we take a very conservative stance and monitor new information closely. If information is uncertain, we prefer to err on the side of being over cautious. When reading the following recommendations, please keep that in mind.
Here is an FAQ from UC Berkeley on their calculations. They feel milk and water consumption is relatively safe so far. However, caution is warranted where people make comparisons between particles (radionuclides) and background radiation. Click here for specifics.
***Click here for links to live radiation monitors and updates on the Japan radiation situation and how it is affecting the US
The following are simple precautions that can greatly reduce your risk of adverse effects from the current situation:
- Update 4/3/11: For now, we recommend that higher risk individuals (children, pregnant mothers, etc.) avoid all local dairy products except for aged dairy that was made before March 11 (see links section above for details), or that is greater than 80 days old regardless of when it was made. The same goes for locally produced egg yolks. One imaginative strategy is to freeze dairy products for 80 days (the time it takes for the radioactive iodine to completely dissipate). So long as radioactive iodine is the main contaminant, the dairy products, eggs, etc. are safe after that period of time. A low iodine diet can be found here for those who are concerned and would like to avoid foods that accumulate iodine. However if you follow this diet, it is prudent to supplement with a small amount of iodine from a safe source (e.g., possibly iodine supplements). The dosage should be discussed with your doctor.
- Minimizing outdoor exposure until a couple of weeks after the reactors have stopped emitting radiation, or until they are buried in cement may be prudent for small children and pregnant women. However, please note that we have not seen many radiation spikes in the LA area (there have been a few disturbing ones, but short lasting). The problem is these are unpredictable given that the reactors are melting down. If you are indoors a lot, remember to supplement with additional Vitamin D.
- Completely avoid anything that falls out of the sky: rain, snow, etc.
- Completely avoid leaf/dust blowers (in Los Angeles they are everywhere).
- Use a HEPA filter in your house. HEPA filters were originally built to remove radioactive particles form the air. They can greatly improve your indoor air quality and reduce the level of radioactive particles. Note that HEPA filters are not all created equally. We recommend and use the IQAIR filters in our office and homes.
- If there is an explosion at reactor 3 and we get fallout reaching the US then you should consider taping up any air gaps (or taping plastic over the windows) in your house and not turning on any sources of outside air such as your air conditioning or heat. Space heaters are ok.
- Use a variety of the herbs or nutrients (recommendations below). Studies have shown they can be extremely protective against radiation damage. Many are things that are easily accessible. We recommend extreme caution if iodine is going to be used in high doses. It is much safer to use Dr. Horn's alternative strategy.
- Reverse Osmosis is the best solution to remove any radioactive components from water. RO is readily available in stores as well. However, we do not recommend it for long term consumption unless there is a real long-term threat to the water supply. Activated carbon filters are ok for longer term use and will remove a good amount of radioactive iodine, but not other radioactive particles.
Iodine (from potassium iodide): This does not protect anything but your thyroid from radioactive iodine. It will not shield your thyroid from radiation in general.
- 3/24/11, updated 3/30/11: Given that radioactive iodine is one of the large contaminants being released from the Japan reactors, and that they are arriving in the US in small amounts, we feel it is prudent to consciously begin building up the non-radioactive iodine levels in your body in a slow and controlled way through the regular intake of iodine rich foods such as: iodized salt, seaweed (not from the pacific), whole eggs, navy beans, whole potatoes (including the peel) and turkey breast. We do not feel it is warranted or wise to take high doses of potassium iodide at this time. Here is a link to extensive and reliable information on iodine in general.
- Here is a link for a good seaweed soup recipe.
- Note: Radioactive iodine has a half life of ~8 days, so it will clear out within a couple of months after the reactor is shut down.
- Caution: If you have hypothyroidism, you could further damage thyroid function by taking large doses of iodine. Some people react badly to iodine, similar to an allergic reaction. It can cause migraines, rashes, throat problems, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, panic attacks and so forth. Also note that you really should be taking this before radiation exposure for optimal effects. We suggest increasing non-radioactive iodine content through sea vegetables, iodized salt, etc. and only if there is an emergency to take the high dose pills, but not before then.
- Further Note: Per Dr. Horn, if you are sensitive to iodine or can't get it because people are hoarding it, start eating millet regularly (only after you know there is radioactive iodine in the air). Millet can powerfully block uptake of iodine by the thyroid (enough to produce a goiter over time). Short term intake is ok.
- Other foods he recommends to help reduce or block iodine uptake by the thyroid include Brassica vegetables (raw is best) such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, collard greens, kohlrabi, radish, turnips, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, and rutabagas. Also soybeans, rapeseed (canola), mustard, skins of peanuts, almonds, bamboo shoots, lima beans, flax seeds, and cashews.
- If you are breast feeding, thyocyanates (for example in Canola and Brassica vegetables) can inhibit iodine from getting into the breast milk. Thyroid. 2002 Oct;12(10):897-902. You can directly administer non-radioactive iodine to your baby. See below for a discussion of dosages.
Iodine Dosage in Radiation Emergency:
- Again: potassium iodide is only used to protect the thyroid and only then from radioactive iodine ... we still have the rest of our bodies to think about. Fortunately there are many things we can do to minimize the damage.
- CDC recommendations can be found here
- Wikipedia discussion can be found here
- From our office: Those taking Tri-Quench: (1) Adults: 5 drops per day [100 mg iodine] (2) Children 3 to 18 years old: 2-3 drops per day [50 mg iodine] (3) Children between 1 month and 3 years: 1 - 1.5 drops [25 mg iodine] (4) Infants under 1 month: 2/3 of 1 drop [12.5 mg iodine]
- Those taking Lugol's Solution: (1) Adults: 0.8 mL [100 mg iodine] (2) Children 3 to 18 years old: 0.4 mL [50 mg iodine] (3) Children between 1 month and 3 years: 0.2 mL [25 mg iodine] (4) Infants under 1 month: 0.1 mL [12.5 mg iodine]
Plant components seem to be some of the most powerful substances at protecting against radiation damage. In reviewing the available peer reviewed research, we found a number of impressively effective herbs and herbal components. Again, these all have studies showing potent radioprotective effects:
- The following are herbs or other substances that are readily available and have studies demonstrating their radioprotective effects: Crataegus, resveratrol, milk thistle, curcumin, citrus flavanoids (particularly from citrus aurantium), caffeine (green tea and coffee), Rooibos tea, ferulic acid (esp. apples), licorice (real licorice), lycopene (tomatoes, watermelon, etc.), sesame oil and mint. A simple anti-radiation tea would be green tea with mint and citrus peels steeped together. You could also throw in some hawthorne berries (crataegus). Don't underestimate how strong these can be, but they require regular consumption.
- There are other herbs that have strong radioprotective effects, but cannot be obtained from stores. If you are interested in an herb formula that has been designed for radioprotection and DNA repair, then contact us (the formula contains 15 different herbs).
- Dosages for herbs and supplements should be discussed with your health care provider. They are very individualized. Many herbs and supplements have other effects that your health care provider will take into account when making type and dosage recommendations.
Certain nutrients have also shown powerful radioprotective effects. Some of these include:
- Omega 3's and Phosphatidyl Choline (help to strengthen cell walls and prevent radiation damage), Calcium and Magnesium (help protect against strontium 90), Inositol, Brewers yeast (helps to repair damage from radioactivity and is radioprotective), Pantothenic acid (radioprotective, and can increase survival in someone exposed), Vitamin C, E, Beta Carotene, Flavanoids, Iodine, Melatonin, Olive Oil.
- Any sea vegetables not coming from the pacific ocean
- Also, drinking a lot of mineral water (hard water), is very important so long as it is not from an area that was hit by nuclear fallout.
Some simple suggestions for pregnant or breastfeeding women (only use in consultation with your OBGYN or Pediatrician).
- Sea vegetables, olive oil, sesame oil, omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil (this might have to be eliminated soon depending on the pollution in the ocean), Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, mint tea (moderation). Juicing can also be helpful using apples, carrots, tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables (local might be problematic if you are experiencing radiation fallout).
Other prudent precautions if radiation is in fact detected in elevated amounts
- Seal up air cracks with duct tape to minimize air entry. If necessary tape plastic sheeting over windows.
- If you have to go outside, wear long sleeves, hats and especially important are masks (N95 Rated), etc. to minimize exposure. The one we use is here.
- You should have your earthquake kit anyway, but make sure you have sufficient canned food and water. We recommend a 1 week supply.
- Get a geiger counter. This allows you to check your local air and food supply. There are several good ones. Here are some (at various prices through amazon).
- Note: It is very unlikely that you will need to do any of this, though if you can afford the geiger counters they might be worth the investment to check food (especially seafood), water, air, etc.