Saturday, March 12, 2011

Help, Kelp?! What to Do with Japan's Radiation (Possibly Heading Our Way)


While I'm sure you've heard of the nasty earthquake in Japan - not sure you've heard that Japanese nuclear reactors spewed significant amounts of radiation that may be heading our way here in America. 

Learn about this now: IODINE. Talk to your doctor about protecting your thyroid with supplemental iodine, my friends. Taking supplemental non-radioactive iodine prevents your body from taking up radiactive iodine. You know I'm not a fear monger, so let's roll up our sleeves and talk prevention, and the role of this preventive micronutrient.

First, a prayer for the Japanese and their arduous, terrifying few days. May all beings experience peace. As the jet streams send OVER THE NEXT WEEK the radiation to Canada and the Western US, may all do what they can to learn how to manage it as safely as possible.

Second, there is not time for a slowly-formulated, methodically-researched, evidence-based plan (the type of plan I favor). It's pull yourself up by your bootstraps with what we know, and what we've learned from previous accidents. Let's turn instead to expert opinion on WTF we're to do about the sitch.

I've read estimates that potentially significant radiation is to hit us here in the Bay Area, according to Dr. David Brownstein (but he has not yet provided sources). We really don't know. I don't know his sources and cannot find confirmation. Let's hope they're an overestimate!
Risks of radiation are listed right here.

If you are flush with iodine, it is far more difficult for radioactive fallout to bind inside of us.
Who are the thought leaders I turn to in times like these?
  1. Dr. David Brownstein
  2. CDC

I don't totally trust the CDC because they are a government agency and often respond too slowly to be helpful. However, here is the CDC's recommendations on iodine to prevent damage from radioactive iodine fallout.
  • Adults and breastfeeding women should take 130mg of potassium iodide (available at health food stores)
  • kids 3-18 should take 65mg of potassium iodide
  • kids 1 month to 3 years should take 32 mg

The World Health Organization states that the radiation released is not significant, yet 9 people have tested positive in Japan as of 10:30pm PST on March 12, 2011 for severe radiation exposure. Let's hope we've seen the worst of it.

Yesterday I was on the phone with my grandfather to wish him a happy 92nd birthday, and he warned me (before it hit the news) in his entirely cogent, commanding, MIT-graduate voice that there was tremendous danger with the Japanese nuclear reactors exploding or otherwise releasing nuclear fallout into the atmosphere. Thanks, Gramps, for the heads up.

Dr. David Brownstein does not recommend starting the iodine now, he suggests we start 1-2 days before the the expected fallout. The oral potassium iodide lasts for 24-72 hours, so duration depends on how long we remain exposed. Follow the news, as he suggests, and plan accordingly. Keep checking back here to see what's next.


Non-radioactive iodine, such as the potassium iodide recommended by the CDC is relatively safe. Excess doses can cause palpitations and uncomfortable sensation of the heart beating but is usually tolerated well. Most of us are iodine deficient unless you mindfully take a supplement. You can also call my office at 510-893-3907 and check your urine iodine level if you have the luxury of time before the nuclear fallout arrives. Iodine is found naturally in sea vegetables, but you probably cannot get enough through food sources to prevent damage.


Thanks to Helayne Waldman for connecting me with Dr. David.


Share any concerns or questions you have here in the comments section, and please spread the word to your loved ones on the West Coast.

8 comments:

Jessica Wilson said...

Dr. Brownstein mentions combinations of iodine/iodide available through health care practitioners ("Potassium iodide can be found in many health food stores. Combinations of iodide/iodine can be obtained from holistic physicians. Iodoral, Iodozyme HP, and Lugol’s solution are examples of this form of iodine"). Does your office carry any of these?

Anonymous said...

Homeopathic kelp, fucus vesiculosus, likely to be any help?

Anonymous said...

Homeopathic kelp, fucus vesiculosus, likely to be any help?

lael said...

Thank you, Sarah. Will repost immediately.

tracie said...

i used to test my iodine levels, by putting a stain of the tincture .2 on the inside of the thigh, and leave a silver dollar size over night, if it disappears, you are deficient. I am a vegetarian, so I don't have to worry about sushi or fish being contaminated, but definetly seaweed, which is also a good source. We are here in Miami, what happens to the rest of the ocean, does it dissapear at some point, get washed out? Thank you for your help, I posted it to my friends. This is only the beginning of much necessary change. We should move towards a Vegetarian Diet to prevent alot of the diseases the creatures are having in these times. Tracie

Ellen said...

You talk about the west coast of the U.S. What about those of us in Hawaii?

Anonymous said...

What if you have no thyroid?

glittermama said...

How long does it take for Kelp to get into the system. I took 660mg last night and it made me feel weird. Kelp and iodide had sold out here in Austin TX yesterday.

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I'm an organic gynecologist, yoga teacher + writer. I earn a living partnering with women to get them vital and self-realized again. We're born that way, but often fall off the path. Let's take your lousy mood and fatigue, and transform it into something sacred and useful.