How to Counteract Environmental Radiation

How to Counteract Environmental Radiation

As we have watched Japan surmount the insurmountable in these past few weeks, we have been in genuine awe of the courage, organization and strength of the people as they struggle to cope and get back on track. There are many ways to help. I made my donation to the Red Cross and have recently been inspired by other efforts being made by charities such as Charity Buzz and EMI’s Ebay auction to raise money for Japan. Itunes, meanwhile, has released a Songs for Japan Album.

As there is still so much uncertainty as to what will ultimately transpire at the Fukushima plant, and what the human and environmental impact will be, we asked some of the doctors we work with if there is really anything that can be done to protect ourselves against varying degrees of exposure to radiation. Below, Dr. Lipman gives us his two cents.

Love, gp

From Dr. Frank Lipman

You need to distinguish between a large dose of radiation exposure due to leakage when you are near a nuclear plant and the slow chronic exposure that many people fear because winds could blow some radiation into the West Coast of North America. This will be dispersed and diluted and therefore the doses and exposures are much smaller.

The fear is that, after a nuclear event, radioactive iodine may be released into the air and then breathed into the lungs. When radioactive materials get into the body through breathing, eating, or drinking, we can become “contaminated.” If we become “contaminated,” the glandular system (breasts, ovaries, prostate and in particular, the thyroid gland) quickly absorb this radioactive iodine and it then damages the thyroid in particular. The important thing is to get inorganic, non-radioactive iodine into your body in a safe supplement form because if there is enough inorganic, non-radioactive iodine, the radioactive iodine has nowhere to bind in our bodies. That is, the more iodine we have in our body, the less chance there is of the thyroid taking up the radioactive iodine and it passes through us without causing much harm. It is essential to ensure that we have adequate iodine levels.


  1. Start incorporating seaweed, such as hijiki or kelp, into your diet as these are great sources of iodine.

  2. Drink miso soup. A study after World War II was done and found to protect against radiation.

  3. Incorporate red fruits and vegetables in your diet as these contain lycopenes which have been shown to have anti-radiation properties and are good antioxidants.

  4. Supplement with Chlorella, a great superfood which protects against radiation.

  5. Take a good antioxidant formula.

  6. Iodine deficiency appears to be quite common, so supplementation is usually indicated. But it is essential that this be done under the care of a knowledgeable practitioner. To find a Practitioner, try FunctionalMedicine.org

Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC, where he combines the best of Western medicine with age-old healing techniques from the East. He is the author of the recent REVIVE: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again (2009) (previously called SPENT) and TOTAL RENEWAL: 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).