This is the third installment of the Natural Radiation Prevention series. Our previous article discussed about the causes of radiation illness, where we introduced the iodine-131 radioactive substance. Today, we will cover more about this material, its impact on human health, and how we can prevent its negative effect in our body.
Before you read the contents of this article, please take note that the information provided herein has not been approved by FDA and it is for education purpose only. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice, which we recommend, if and when you suspect you may have been in contact with any type of radioactivity. Please read our full disclaimer statement at the bottom of this web-page.
Because of our thyroid’s great affinity for iodine, radioactive or otherwise, it is therefore important for us to prevent and protect from the exposure to iodine-131 should a nuclear event takes place.
The standard form of iodine used in nuclear power plants to protect workers against radiation exposure in case of a leak is potassium iodide (also called KI). It is a salt of iodine. It is also the kind of the stable iodine you hear recommended on television or internet. But potassium iodide is not the only form of stable iodine available. There are a variety of food grade sources which are rich in natural form of iodine that works just as well. More on that later in this blog.
How much of potassium iodine should I take?
According to CDC website (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp), the following doses of iodine are recommended immediately (within the first 3 hours and no later than 10 hours after exposure) after have been exposed with radioactive iodine:
Adults (younger than 40 years old) – take 130 mg for one day should be sufficient, unless there is evidence of continued radioactive exposure. Most of the iodine will be absorbed within the 24 hour period. Please take notice that almost all iodine supplements come in microgram (mcg) while the recommended dosage for thyroid blockage needs to be in milligram (mg).
Adults (older than 40 years old) – should only take the stable iodine supplement if you have been exposed to large dosages of radiation. Reasons – older adults are the most likely to have allergic reactions to iodine and least likely to develop thyroid cancer. So, take the supplement with care, preferably under supervision of a physician.
Adolescents, between ages of 12 and 18, who are over 150 lbs, should take the full adult dosage. If less, then take the children dosage of 65 mg.
Children, between ages 3 to 12, take 65 mg.
Infants, between 1 month to 3 years, take 32 mg (half that of children dosage)
Pregnant and nursing moms should take one dosage of KI at 130 mg only. Nursing moms should consider suspending breastfeeding temporarily.
Ideally, the best time to take supplemental iodine is an hour or so before exposure, or immediately upon exposure, for maximum protection. Take it too soon in advance, and it will begin to clear the thyroid before the radioactive iodine enters the body, thus diminishing its effectiveness. (Iodine pretty much clears the thyroid in about every 24 hours.) Take it too late, and the radioactive iodine will have already been taken up by the thyroid, in which case there will be little benefit. One thing to keep in mind is that a good liquid form of iodine, such as is available at most health stores will be taken up by your body almost immediately after ingestion, thus allowing you to wait until the last possible second.
Please consult with your physician and WHO or CDC websites for further details.
Again, allow me re-iterate that there is no such danger for taking the potassium iodide at this time within the U.S., despite of latest info out of Japan to date. And that KI is limited to only thyroid protection and it is hardly a good method to prevent radiation contamination. Furthermore, taking a higher dose of iodine, or taking iodine more often than recommended, does not offer more protection and can cause severe illness or even death.
I would caution and recommend refraining from taking KI if you have thyroid illnesses such as Grave’s disease or have previous allergy reactions to iodine or are already taking medication with high levels of iodine. Please consult your medical health provider for guidance.
What if I cannot find potassium iodide, can I get iodine from other sources?
The simple answer – YES! Due to panic buying at this time, there is a shortage of KI country-wide. But you can get just as good of protection as KI with natural sources of iodine.
As a matter of fact, the best way to PREVENT radioactive-iodine (Iodine-131) damage is to “pre-fill” your thyroid with natural iodine so that there is no “room” for the radioactive iodine to be absorbed by your thyroid as you become exposed. While taking natural sources of iodine, highlighted below, they give off very little if at all any side effects, taking prophylactic potassium iodide too soon before exposure offers no protection, besides it may cause unnecessary increased risks.
The most common source of natural iodine worldwide is the seaweeds. It is abundantly available in the oceans. Seaweeds in the form of Kelp, Dulse, and Irish Moss all can protect us from a wide range of toxic elements in our environment including radiation by-products, converting them into harmless salts that our bodies can eliminate. Natural iodine in seaweeds can reduce a very high percentage of radioactive iodine-131. Seaweeds are so effective that even the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission recommends that people consume two to three ounces of seaweeds a week (or 2 tbsp. of algin supplements a day) for maximum protection against radiation poisoning.
A good colon cleanse formula that contains substantial amounts of apple pectin and clay is a great antidote to iodine-131. Apple pectin actually draws radioactive waste from your body and passes it out through your colon. We love our Nature’s Sunshine formulas that contain both of these ingredients — Bowel Detox, Everybody’s Fiber, and Heavy Metal Detox. Believe it or not, apple pectin was actually used in the aftermath of Chernobyl to reduce the load of radioactive cesium in children. Algin is another excellent agent to draw out foreign metallic agents.
Additionally, you may want to supplement with ample of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K (such as Chlorophyll) as they are known to provide proper elimination of old and unhealthy cells from our body (under normal circumstances or due to radiation exposure). Vitamin D also supports DNA repair.
In the next blog, I will discuss natural remedies for other radioactive substances, such as cesium, plutonium, and strontium.