After the recent nuclear accident in Japan, many people began searching for clear guidelines about how to protect ourselves from radiation. The risk of airborne radiation reaching the United States has been declared “low” by the National Cancer Institute; all the same, it never hurts to know the best preventative measures.

The most common medical recommendation is taking iodine.  If there are proper levels of iodide in the body, this leaves no room for radioactive iodine to be absorbed.

Iodine is excreted and recycled through the body in 1 to 2 days so it is most important that you have good iodine stores during exposure.

The biggest risk of radioactive iodine is thyroid cancer; taking iodine has been proven to prevent thyroid cancers caused by radiation exposure but it will not reduce your risk of all cancers and all side effects of radiation exposure. 

Additional preventative measures include:

Eat Seaweed

We believe in using the least invasive and most natural therapies first. Taking iodine supplementation alone will actually cause a disturbance in thyroid functioning for about 15% of the population; eating FOODS with iodine will not do this.

Incorporate seaweed into your diet- kelp, noribladderwrack, wakame and other sea vegetables. Nori, specifically, is available in seasoned sheets for easy snacking and are even in certain varieties of crackers.

The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission recommends that adults (150lbs) consume two to three ounces (wet weight) of sea vegetables per week, or two tablespoons daily, to protect from radiation toxicity.

This should be increased fourfold during or after direct exposure to radiation. Recommendations should be adjusted appropriately for weight in treating children.

Seaweed extract and iodine supplements

Make an appointment for a physician to see if low dose supplementation is appropriate for you.  High doses are unsafe for thyroid health under normal conditions, but in the event of an accident, they may be used to treat severe radiation exposure.

Other natural remedies:

Rosemary: the oils and anti-oxidant properties of rosemary have been shown to reduce the ill effects that radiation has on our cells. This can easily be added into your diet as an herb or can safely be taken in tincture extract.  Contact your physician for dosing guidelines.

Caffeic acid: found in apples, citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables. Also found to mediate ill effects of radiation. This is another reason to eat your fresh fruits and vegetables!

Epsom salt baths: another way to keep your body balanced after general radiation exposure. Dissolve 1 pound of sea salt or rock salt and 1 pound of baking soda in a hot bath — as hot as can be tolerated — and soak into the water until the bath becomes cool. This usually takes about 20-25 minutes. Adding bentonite clay or baking soda to the bath adds to the radiation detoxification effect.