Sunday, March 20, 2011

Natural Remedies For Your Thyroid and Kidneys due to the Japan nuclear emergency

There's a radioactive plume coming from the failed nuclear reactors in Japan. Some alarm is rising over the effect of the radiation. In part the alarm is due to the decades of fearism about all things nuclear, and partly due to the real danger. It would seem in this case the real danger is much less than the panic some have been feeling. In any case there is some useful information available about surviving some of the effects of radiation releases.

For example there's been a run on "emergency potassium iodide" supplies, but here in the U.S. radioactive iodine is not a danger. As Dr. James Blumenthal, DC explains in the first video below, the danger zone is within a few miles of the reactor.

By the time the radioactive plume reaches the U.S. the radioactive iodine will have dissipated. One reason is the short half-life of radioactive iodine and the other is simple physics, that the plume will be spread out by the wind.

There are other radioactive isotopes in the plume, and those have much longer term effects.

Do not take emergency potassium iodide unless instructed to do so because it is only to be taken if there is a nuclear event within miles - not thousands of miles - from you! However, there are many natural remedies you can take and foods you can eat that will help your body deal with low-level radiation exposure, should it occur. In this video Dr. James Blumenthal, DC shares some of the most important information you need to know regarding low-level radiation and what to do about it, should it come to America from Japan.

3/15/11 Los Angeles Times Story regarding potential for low level radiation exposure to crops and farm animals:

Main Talking Points:

  • Do not take emergency potassium iodide - it will harm you
  • There is more to radiation than the radioactive iodine 131
  • Other radiation isotopes include uranium, plutonium and cesium
  • Radioactive iodine 131 has a half life of about 8 days
  • Radioactive iodine 131 is really only an issue for people next to a nuclear event
  • Uranium, plutonium and cesium have half-lives of about 30 years, so we need to be somewhat concerned about this form of radiation.
  • Radioactive iodine 131 could possibly affect people in America if they are iodine deficient, then supplementing with 100 to 150 micrograms (not milligrams) of iodine per day may be warranted
  • The supplement dose is 1/1000 of a dose of emergency iodine
  • We can get extra iodine by eating seaweed and seafood, or taking a health food store supplement, to increase our background levels of iodine, slowly, and naturally
  • If you have an autoimmune problem, or any thyroid issues at all, you must contact your doctor before taking any iodine supplement
  • For the other three radioactive elements, we can take glutathione supplementation and SOD.
  • The kidneys are at risk from radioactive isotopes, and one way to help them is to take baking soda between meals, a couple times a day.

Naturopathic Doctor Jennifer Fisher gives an overview of how best to protect and nourish the thyroid gland, which is susceptible to radioactive iodine. High does emergency potassium iodide tablets should never be taken unless a nuclear event occurs within miles of someone because such extremely high doses of potassium iodide will cause health problems. Dr. Fisher addresses this topic, and gives an overview of what the thyroid gland is, what it does, ways we can nourish it, and if we want to take supplemental iodine, how to do so.

Main Talking Points:

  • Do not take emergency potassium iodide - it will harm you
  • The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones call T3 and T4
  • The thyroid gland regulates the body's metabolic rate
  • The thyroid gland affects every cell in the body
  • Chemicals and pollution can adversely affect the thyroid gland, as can radiation
  • The thyroid "soaks up" iodine and iodide like a sponge; unfortunately, it will do so with radioactive iodine as well.
  • Cancer can be a result of radioactive iodine exposure
  • Hypothyroidism: low function metabolism
  • Hyperthyroidism: fast metabolism
  • Thyroid requires many nutrients to function properly, not just iodine or iodide
  • Best thing for the thyroid is to stop eating processed foods and to start eating whole, organic foods so that it can get all the nutrients it requires
  • Seaweed is an excellent food source of iodine and iodide; often eaten in miso soup
  • Never take emergency potassium iodide unless instructed to do so.
  • Supplemental iodine and iodide can be found in health food stores; the suggested dose is around 150 to 250 micrograms
  • If you have any concerns about your thyroid health, or any other health issues, consider a visit to a Naturopathic Doctor.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Higher Purpose: Japans earthquake and nuclear crisis asks us what we really want

What do we as a people really want? What kind of technological infrastructure do we really want? Recent disasters, by taking away specific parts of the technological infrastructure running our society, demonstrate their real cost. Is this a cost we really want to pay?

To recap - last Friday a tremendous earthquake struck off the coast of Japan, triggering a Tsunami that wiped out dozens of coastal towns despite the high seawalls. The Tsunami knocked out the backup power supply at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and with no electricity the cooling system at the power plant stopped running, leading to several explosions, fires, the containment buildings blown up, it's likely the inner containment structure has fractured, and the fuel rods are melting. Plumes of radiation are being unleashed out over the ocean and we could very well see radioactive clouds where I live in California. It's going bad to worse to impossibly worse. It's like a replay of last years oil spill disaster, just different details. The oil spill last year took several months to play out, and it demonstrated the icky consequences of our modern lifestyle. It appears this nuclear crisis will also take several months to play out, and it's demonstrating other icky consequences of our modern lifestyle.

Economists have this word: externality

Business leaders try to externalize costs - which is a fancy word for pushing the cost for something onto someone else so that you don't have to pay the cost yourself. An example is the health care costs of people being poisoned by exhaust from cars burning fossil oil based fuels. It's well known that the exhaust contains poisonous chemicals that cause a wide range of diseases, for example gasoline pumps have stickers warning that the pump dispenses material that is a known carcinogen. Do the oil companies pay for the health care costs? No.

That was an interesting detour - I want to discuss a question both disasters bring to mind: What do we as a people want?

When you turn on a light bulb, where does the power come from? Refrigerator? Washing machine? The computer you're reading this on? The car you drive around?

The power companies have given us an externality situation. We get to use electricity or gasoline without having to be aware of the real cost of supplying the power.

Our use of gasoline and diesel forced the oil companies to drill that oil well that blew up last year. Our use of electricity forced the electric power utilities to build the nuclear power plant that's blowing up right now.

What we see with both these disasters is the worst possible disaster scenario of both energy sources.

An offshore oil well blowing up and spewing crude oil for months into an area that supplies a huge percentage of the seafood we enjoy in the United States.

A nuclear plant blowing up and spewing radiation for what we expect will be months. Further Japan has shut down several reactor complexes because of the earthquake, causing rolling blackouts and a general shutdown of industry in Japan, disrupting sales of critical electronics components. There will be a ripple effect in the economy that could drive us into a world-wide recession or depression due to disruption of the supply chain.

One can point to the power suppliers - Maybe BP is stupid and liable because they did a horrid job of running their oil well safely - Maybe TEPCO is stupid and liable because they made bad mistakes for example putting the backup diesel generators in a place that got swamped by the Tsunami - or General Electric is stupid and liable for building a susceptibility nuclear plant design

All that's true, these companies could have made better choices and run their business with better safety in mind.

However that doesn't wash our hands of responsibility. Each of us who buy gasoline or use electricity are responsible for the existence of those companies. Those companies formed themselves in response to our demand for gasoline and electricity.

Another folly is the choice of building critical infrastructure in places we know are liable to have serious damage or other serious consequences. In this case the choice was to install nuclear power plants near a fault but really Japan is on the Ring of Fire and see's earthquakes all the time.

The planet and its processes (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornado's, weather systems, etc) are still much larger than human society has been able to "conquer". This earthquake demonstrates the power of Mother Nature - A fault needed to slip and shimmy a bit, but it destroyed the objects we built along the coast. The planet doesn't really know or care what we built upon it, the planet has geological forces that are playing out.

"We" build stuff, towns and highways and nuclear plants, then the planet yawns and stretches and destroys those things. By having those things taken away from us, it presents an opportunity to take a step back and look from a broader perspective. Are those things we really want anyway? Is the cost of having those things greater than the benefit we get from them? Is there a better place to put those things than a spot that's prone to earthquakes?

Do we really want a life where the consequences of the things we buy is a poisoned landscape with toxic air and water? Do we have to recreate the world the way it has been the last few years?

Maybe our history is asking us to rethink our society and the technological gizmos we use in our society?

See also:

Change starts "here"; Change starts with "you"; Change starts with "me"

Stand up for Real Change

This world doesn't have to become an uninhabitable nuclear radiation poisoned wasteland

Higher Purpose: Japans earthquake and nuclear crisis asks us what we really want

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