Lipoic acid, a cofactor in the metabolism of pyruvate, is another interesting relative of the B vitamins. It is not essential in humans, but it does have some medicinal effects and is safe. It helps protect the liver and aids in detoxification, particularly for the effects of radiation. This vitamin can be taken at levels of about 100 mg. daily for these effects.
The sulfur-containing amino acids have a protective and detoxifying effect. L-cysteine, the primary one, may help neutralize many heavy metal toxins and toxic by-products (aldehydes) of smoking, smog, alcohol, and fats through its precursor role in the formation of glutathione, a tripeptide essential to the action of several important enzymes, particularly glutathione peroxidase. Since glutathione itself is not very stable or thought to be well utilized as an oral supplement, L-cysteine appears best utilized for this protective purpose. Methionine, another sulfur-containing amino acid, also has mild detoxification and protective functions.
Fiber, both the insoluble type, such as wheat bran, and the more soluble psyllium husks, encourage natural detoxification in the colon, binding toxins and reducing absorption of metals. Another chelating fiber is the algin molecule, sodium alginate, that comes from seaweeds. It can be utilized as a supplement to decrease absorption of minerals, especially the heavy metals and radioactive metals used in nuclear power plants and medical testing. The chlorophyll-containing algae, such as chlorella and spirulina also provide this chelating effect, though more mildly than the alginate extracts. Several studies have shown a decreased absorption of radioactive strontium (Sr90) as well as barium, silver, mercury, cadmium, zinc, and manganese with the use of oral alginates. Two other nutrients that are popular in antioxidant and antistress energizing formulas are the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and dimethylglycine (DMG). Although there has been little supporting research on the oral use of these nutrients, many people who take them describe improved energy and mental clarity.
Regarding radiation exposure, the first suggestion is to avoid it whenever possible. Minimize irradiating medical tests. Particularly avoid medical body scans, which may require injection of radioactive metals such as cobalt 60, iodine 131, or technitium 90. With x-rays, shield the thymus gland, an important immunological organ in the upper chest. When dental x-rays are taken, ask the dental technician for a thyroid (neck) screen. The dentist should have a lead "thyroid collar" available. Do not live near a nuclear power plant or an industry that employs radioactive wastes or toxic chemicals. Also, do not eat fish caught from waters containing effluents from these factories. Frequent high-altitude airline flights increase radiation exposure. Avoid irradiated foods that may be treated with nuclear waste containing cobalt 60 or cesium 137. We do not "officially" know the effects of consuming treated food, but I am not overly optimistic. (See Chapter 11, sections on Food Irradiation and 88 Survival Suggestions.)
With any radioactive iodine tests or exposure to iodine fallout, take kelp or iodine for several weeks before and after the test to occupy the iodine-binding sites (unless, of course, this will interfere with the test) so that the least amount of the radioactive element will stay in the body.
Strontium 90 competes with calcium and also lowers vitamin D. Taking extra vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium plus kelp and algin, pectin and lecithin, and L-cysteine may reduce absorption and speed elimination to prevent strontium 90 from getting stored in the bones.
Radiation causes many undesirable internal reactions, especially in the most prolific tissues, such as the gastrointestinal tract and skin. Radiation therapy may affect the appetite, tastes, and the ability to eat. Radiation is cumulative, and many things may add to it, from color TV and microwaves to x-rays and fallout exposure. We need a good protective program! When living in areas with high background radiation, it is wise to take higher amounts of antioxidants regularly.
Several writers have offered guidelines for protection against the effects of radiation. Paavo Airola, in How to Get Well, suggests a plan of high amounts of vitamin C with rutin, extra pantothenic acid, brewer’s yeast, yogurt, vitamin F or essential fatty acids, inositol and lecithin, and lemon juice or lemon peel. Stuart Berger’s guide-lines in The Immune Power Diet include extra potassium, 1200 mg. of calcium, and 800 mg. of magnesium in addition to his usual environmental protection plan of 4–6 grams of vitamin C, 600 IUs of vitamin E, 100 mg. of zinc, and 20,000 IUs of beta-carotene. In The Complete Guide to Anti-Aging Nutrients, Sheldon Hendler recommends vitamins C and E, niacin, and copper to protect against the effects of x-rays and environmental toxins.
In addition to radiation, this program will also help against environmental pollutants, including a number of toxic chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide from the air, various pesticides and volatile hydrocarbons, food additives such as nitrites and sulfites, and toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. Cigarette smoke is a big problem, mainly for those who choose to smoke or cannot quit. (A Nicotine Detoxification program is offered in Chapter 18.)
A number of herbs and food extracts can be used to help detoxification and decrease the risks from environmental pollution. The algins, mentioned earlier, help clear metal and radiation toxins. Fibers such as wheat (or oat) bran and psyllium seed husks help to increase toxin elimination. Alfalfa, rich in chlorophylls and vitamin K, may help reduce tissue damage with radiation exposure. Apple pectin also helps bind and clear intestinal metal and chemical toxins. In The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine, Daniel Mowrey recommends a formula for environmental pollution including alfalfa, algin (from seaweed or algae), wheat bran, apple pectin, and kelp. These help to decrease the toxicity of chemical and metal pollutants; in addition, this high-fiber formula helps to reduce cholesterol levels and is often useful in treating colds and flus, where bowel elimination is so important. Extra vitamin E and fish oils containing DHA and EPA as well as an antioxidant formula with additional vitamin C may make this formula work even better. Of course, we as a culture must pay heed. Even our potential healing sources (water, food, oils, etc.) can become toxic if we do not care for Earth’s environment.
The table on the following page concentrates on the nutrients that protect against damage by toxins and free radicals. These nutrients offer protection by providing immune support, antioxidant and anticancer effects, and detoxification. The amounts listed are daily totals, usually taken in several portions over the course of the day.
Environmental and Radiation Pollution Program
|Vitamin A||10,000–15,000 IUs||
|Vitamin D||400 IUs||
|Vitamin E||800–1,000 IUs||
|Vitamin K||500 mcg.||
|Thiamine (B1)||25–75 mg.||
|Niacin (B3)||150 mg.||
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||1,000 mg.||
|Pyridoxine (B6)||50–100 mg.||
||L-amino acids|| 500 mg.|
|Cobalamin (B12)||100–200 mcg.||
|Folic acid||800 mcg.||
||Lipoic acid||100 mg.|
||Chlorophyll||6 tablets or 2 tsp.|
||Sodium alginate||300–600 mg.|
|Vitamin C||6,000 mg.||