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  • Writer's pictureDr. S. Rallis DC, ND

Radiation exposure? Here's what a naturopathic doctor would do.

Like most Ontarians, I was awakened this morning, by the bomb-shelter-like ringing of the #EmergencyAlert system.

I grabbed my wife's phone and read “people within ten (10) kilometres…#Pickering Nuclear Generating...radioactivity”

My mind lost it. Do we have enough water? Are we in the radiation-free zone? Where should we go? What should I do?

As the fog quickly lifted, I more clearly read, “NO abnormal release of radioactivity”...I exhaled. Then I started googling…

The alert was retracted, both incidents of which have sent twitter into an absolute tailspin of mostly #Homer GIFs and Ontarians demanding more answers on the sensitivity and reliability of the Emergency Alert System.


Beyond the initial panic of the alert itself, my first prevailing thought was, “What would I do (as a naturopathic doctor) if exposed to radiation?"

When our cells are exposed, the radiation is absorbed primarily by the water in our cells, resulting in the creation of reactive oxygen species or ROS for short. These in turn, damage the cell, including the protein structures and our cell’s DNA. Depending on the exposure, radiation sickness or disease can result.

While all antioxidants can mitigate these reactive oxygen species, one antioxidant, in particular, seems best suited to impact the deleterious effects of radiation exposure -#Gllutathione or GSH for short.

Thankfully, the danger at Pickering today was averted.

Nonetheless, let’s carry on with this theoretical exercise of radioprotective nutrients to consider.

N.B. All dosing is only conjecturing, as specific dosing would be based on transient vs. total exposure, ongoing exposure, patient age, size, health status, etc.

Just to reiterate, this exercise is theoretical.

My protocol would likely include:

1. Glutathione

Glutathione has an impressive track record as an antioxidant. This reference goes way back to a journal article published in Nature in 1978, “One major cellular sulphydryl constituent, glutathione (GSH), is apparently the major component in the interaction between radiation products and the cell, for cells unable to synthesise glutathione cannot be protected against killing by ionising radiation”

Dose: I would dose this intravenously. Probably about 1000-3000 mg per dose.

2. Melatonin

Melatonin protects the mitochondria and helps facilitate the glutathione pathway (see reference below).

“The antioxidant, melatonin, is particularly effective at protecting mitochondria by increasing the efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation, thereby reducing the leakage of electrons from the electron transport chain.8 The reduction of electron leakage decreases the formation of ROS from these electrons and, therefore, damage to mitochondria. Additionally, melatonin induces the levels of antioxidant enzymes, such as GPx and, more importantly, also increases GSH levels within the cell.

Dose: I would probably use cancer-sized dosing i.e., around 20 mg.

Botanicals I would consider:

3. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and holy basil (Ocicum sanctum) are definitely two to consider. Other botanicals such as garlic (Alium sativum) and coriander (Coriandrum sativum) may also protect against radiation exposure.


Ginger and radiation review article:

Radioprotective effects of holy basil:

Dosing: botanical dosing for each.

4. Antioxidant juice to consider. Carrots, Oranges, Ginger and Turmeric (Curcuma longa). If I was to make a juice to boost antioxidants, this is one formula that I would entertain. I would likely take Vitamin E, olive oil (Olea europaea) and resveratrol with this juice.

This list would likely form the basis for my recovery cocktail.

If I were to give this enough thought, I’m sure that I would modify this protocol. The good news is...I don’t have to.

The lights are still on, we’re all safe and we can all sleep soundly -at least until the next emergency alert.

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