Question: With clouds of radiation drifting eastward from the nuclear disaster in Japan, how can we protect ourselves holistically from radiation sickness?
Answer: Many people have asked me what, if anything, they should do to prepare for the possibility of increased radiation exposure. Here are my suggestions, based on my understanding of the research on preventing and treating radiation sickness. For this article, I want to thank the many people who have written to me to help me sort out the voluminous research on this subject.
First, because there is no clear evidence of current danger that I know of, we should do now only what is safe, inexpensive and otherwise healthy. This includes our nourishing traditional or GAPS diet, with liberal amounts of good fats, broth, lacto-fermented vegetables and greens. Special foods that have been shown to counteract radiation sickness include naturally fermented miso, beets, kombucha and sea vegetables, such as kombu.
Fermented cod liver oil at a minimum dose of 1/2 teaspoon or 2 capsules is important. Next, detoxifying baths with a cup of Epsom salts every couple of days is an inexpensive aid to boosting magnesium levels, relaxing muscles, and aiding the elimination channels.
As for medicines, at this point I recommend the safest and most proven aids in radiation exposure, which are vitamin C in the form of the highly absorbable liposomal C; the herb eleutherococcus, otherwise known as Siberian ginseng; and a seaweed called modifilan, a brown seaweed that is rich in a chemical called fucoidan, which studies have shown has great promise in combating radiation exposure. This seaweed contains liberal amounts of iodine, so the more toxic potassium iodide need not be taken at this point.
The doses of these medicines are as follows:
Liposomal C: one teaspoon a day in any liquid, half that dose for children younger than five.
Eleutherococcus from Mediherb, Pure, Herb Pharm or other vendors: one tablet twice a day for adults, half that dose for children younger than five. For children unable to swallow pills, the tablets can be dissolved in hot water and mixed with any liquid. For tinctures, use as directed on labels and half dose for children.
Modifilan: three capsules twice a day for adults, one capsule twice a day for children younger than five. It can be mixed with any soft food, like applesauce.
All these medicines can be obtained online or you can call our office (415-334-1010), and we will send them out.
As for potassium iodide, this is a much more aggressive measure, and many people will have some trouble with the high doses that are suggested. But, if public health authorities say it’s time, then it should be used—but only then, in my opinion. In that case, the dose is 130 mg of KI for adults and women who are breastfeeding; 65 mg for young people ages three though eighteen; children who are adult size should take the adult dose, and infants and children between one month and two years should take 32 mg; newborns to infants one month old should take 16 mg. The best source is either from your local pharmacy or by ordering Iodoral online.
Hopefully, this tragedy will be resolved soon. In the meantime, our hearts go out to the workers risking their health and lives to contain the damage, and to the people of Japan, who have endured so much. It is my hope that this event will lead to a needed change of awareness in our culture.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2011.