After the catastrophic earthquake hit Japan early in March and crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, sending radiation into the air, ocean and groundwater, discussions over radiation in the atmosphere and its effects surfaced, raising concerns all over the world. Although initial fears have waned, the latest discovery of high levels of radiation found in seaweed near the Fukushima plant have brought the focus back on the effects of nuclear toxins on humans and what can be done to ensure our health and safety.
NaturallySavvy.com turned to Dr. Carolyn Dean, medical director for the Nutritional Magnesium Association and a naturopath with over 30 years experience, for natural ways to detox the body of radiation. Dean says we are surrounded by radiation in our daily lives. "Radiation travels through substances," she says, "So according to its wavelength, it's able to travel through everything except lead, which means that it is inevitably found in our bodies."
X-rays, whether they are diagnostic or therapeutic, are a large source of radiation, and Dean suggests making sure that the x-rays we are exposed to are absolutely necessary. Airline travel also means a certain level of exposure. "People need to realize a total body x-ray scan may have the radiation of 100 chest x-rays." She says people should think more than twice about routine x-rays. "There should be a reason to have x-rays. There should be other tests that don't have side effects. I tell people to get ultrasounds rather than x-rays and thermograms instead of mammograms." Dean suggests x-rays as a last resort.
Of course it is impossible to be radiation-free, and there are people who are undergoing chemotherapy or whose jobs require frequent flying or work in professions where exposure to radiation is high. Radiation puts a strain on the immune system, causing abnormal cell replication and affecting DNA. If the cells keep replicating abnormally, it can turn into cancer. Radiation also affects the thyroid gland, which is important for sending hormones into the body and controls many of the body's functions such as metabolism and temperature.
There are a number of ways you can treat your body holistically. Dean says clay is a natural way to detoxify and actually neutralizes radiation in the body. The medical expert suggests mixing half a cup of clay powder with a quart of water and to create a clay bath. Similarly a bath with Epson salts is an excellent way to detoxify and de-stress. Consuming sea salt, baking soda, thyme tea and activated charcoal can help eliminate or neutralize radiation as well. Eating seaweed (5 to 10 grams a day) can also help protect the body from iodine 131 absorption, which is a radioactive hazard found in nuclear products. "Taking iodine when you're exposed to a meltdown is a way to protect the thyroid. But too much iodine can also harm the thyroid," cautions Dean. High doses of iodine are not meant to be long-term treatment and she suggests choosing two or three things natural methods instead of relying solely on iodine supplements.
It's important to remember that there are nuclear plants all over the world, and unfortunately, we are exposed to radiation even if we are not living in an area that has had a meltdown. "I like to say to people," says Dean, "We've had radiation around us. It would be best to think we're adapting somewhat to these toxins, poisons. I tell people not to get too worried or fearful. I'd like to think we're adapting and not to get too freaked out."
Be sure to consult your doctor or naturopath for medical advice before beginning any treatment. For more information: