What Is Radiation? How Does It Affect My Body?

March 24th, 2011


The earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, potential radiation exposure from the damaged nuclear plants and its potential life-threatening effects has been a hot topic on people’s minds. How does this radiation affect our bodies and is there really anything we can do to protect ourselves.  Partial understanding of an issue can lead to misinformation, confusion and unwarranted conclusions and fears. So we thought we would help you to get a better understanding of exactly what radiation is, what different kinds of radiation exist that we get exposed to, and the potential of each kind of radiation to cause us harm.

What is Radiation?

Radiation is basically the outflow of energy from an emitting source. So, anything from the outflow of energy from our bodies in the form of heat, to electrons from a radioactive source like radioactive iodine, or the heat from the sun, to your cellphone signal, to the signal from a radio station is radiation.

Because the nature, source and energy of these various radiation sources are so vastly different, certain sources are more likely to cause cancer more quickly than others and some may have little or no definitive cancer risk associated with them.

Types of Radiation

The types of radiation that can cause the most damage over the shortest periods of time are the high-energy (high frequency) sources like those from radioactive sources and X-ray machines and perhaps even UV exposure from the sun. These sources are known to cause cancer  if the dose we are exposed to is high enough over time and data indicates that our exposure is probably cumulative, meaning that if we were exposed to the sources multiple times, our risk is the sum of our total exposures not just the latest exposure period.

Lower energy sources like visible light, infrared, microwave, and radio frequency are less likely to cause cancer but it is not known, if constant exposure to even these lower energy sources, is not without risk.  Thus the questions about constant cellphone use.

How Does Radiation Cause Cancer

At least for the higher energy sources of radiation, it is known that they can disrupt the structure of the molecules that make up the cells of our bodies. They do this by removing electrons from the stable, healthy, molecules, thus making them unstable, and threatening the DNA building blocks of our entire bodies.  When DNA is disrupted, cells can replicate inappropriately, thus causing cancerous cells, which can lead to organ dysfunction and possibly death.

The radiation sources that can cause this kind of damage are called “ionizing” radiation sources because they are strong enough to remove electrons from healthy, stable cells, possibly causing them to change to cancerous cells.

The lower energy radiation sources are referred to as “non-ionizing” radiation sources and are much less likely to cause cancer (at least over short periods of time).

The risk that radioactive substances in the air, that have made their way from Japan to the western coast of the U.S, would be in high enough doses and last long enough to cause measurable damage that would lead to cancer, are probably, quite low.

But in the case where a radioactive accident were to occur in the United States, the closer one is to the accident, obviously, the higher the risk.  Then it is very important to know what can be done to protect ourselves from what might be a real risk.

So in the event that we become exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation like those the Japanese are now exposed to, it would make a lot of sense, to implement the following regimen:


  • Consume 2-3 grams a day of vitamin C 
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption 
  • Decrease meat consumption. Increase fish consumption
  • Reduce sugar consumption
  • Eat five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, especially broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower
  • Increase fiber consumption via whole grains and flax seed fiber
  • Take one drop a day of Lugol’s Solution or 1 tablet a day of Iodoral, both of which are sources of both iodide and iodine (many conventionally trained physicians think that this level of iodine supplementation can interfere with thyroid function, though we do not see this belief supported in the literature, and in fact, this level of iodine supplementation may be very protective against breast and prostate cancer. Furthermore, these levels are lower than the levels of potassium iodide recommended by the government, so obviously there is some kind of disconnect here)
  • Take 5000 IU daily of vitamin D-3

Take 1500 mg daily each of curcumin and green tea extract with a minimum of 30% or more of EGCG

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S

Everyone at MigreLief is deeply saddened by the tragic events in Japan and our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan, their families, friends and all victims of this terrible tragedy.  In an effort to help, MigreLief will be contributing a portion of this months sales to assist in the relief and recovery efforts.

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