The recent run on potassium iodide supplements in health food stores and pharmacies highlights many issues that
I have with the American psyche. We are proactive to a point, but often our actions are misguided and based upon
emotion much more so than logic. While it makes sense for all of us to have potassium iodide (KI) on hand in case of
exposure to radiation, there is no benefit from anyone actually taking these massive dosages of iodine right now. In
fact, it is likely to do more harm than good.
The Benefits and Risks of Potassium Iodide
There is no question that potassium iodide is indicated when someone is exposed to significant amounts of nuclear
radiation. But, even then it is a lot like giving someone a bulletproof vest in a gunfight. Yes, the vest can protect against
a fatal bullet to the chest, but what if the bullet hits them in the head or severs a major artery in a leg? Potassium
iodide protects against radioactive iodine being accumulated within the thyroid gland, but it will not protect the
damaging effects of other radioactive particles.
When used for radiation exposure the dosage recommended is generally quite high to saturate iodine stores and
its benefits are very short lived. The dosages of KI recommended are generally 130 mg. However, taking these high
dosages of KI when there is no radiation exposure is potentially harmful. Taking too much iodine (i.e., dosages in excess
of 1,000 mcg per day) may inhibit thyroid hormone secretion, especially in individuals with hypothyroidism. Increased
dietary intake of iodine is also associated with acne-like skin eruptions and other side effects. If you want to take iodine
preventatively, take it everyday in the range of only 150 to 300 mcg (.15 – .30 mg). Daily intake at these levels will
likely saturate iodine stores in a safer manner.
So, if I am saying that the focus on potassium iodide is misguided, what do I recommend in its place? First, let me
clarify my stance on KI. There is no question that it should be used when there is significant radiation exposure.
However, it is doubtful that the U.S. mainland will ever see high levels of radiation that would necessitate KI therapy
due to what is taking place currently in Japan. Instead, what makes the most sense is to take a more “whole body
armor” approach. What I mean by this term is that there are steps that we can all take to reduce the effects of lowlevel
radiation as well as offer additional protection in the event that a nuclear catastrophe occurs. Keep in mind that if
radiation exposure is severe enough, there is little that can be offered in terms of protection. But, protecting against the
accumulation of effects of low to moderate levels of radiation is something that we should all be trying to address.
There are three key supplements that are essential in any health promotion plan: a high-potency multiple vitamin and
mineral supplement; a high quality “greens” drink; and a pharmaceutical grade fish oil.
A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is one that provides optimal levels of all essential vitamins and
minerals. “Greens” drinks are commercially available products containing dehydrated barley grass wheat grass and/or
algae sources such as chlorella or spirulina. These foods are power-packed full of radiation-fighting phytochemicals.
Enriching Greens® from Natural Factors® is the specific product that I endorse. Take 1-2 servings daily of the powdered
version. For a pharmaceutical grade fish oil, take 2 capsules daily of my RxOmega-3 FactorsTM.
March 23, 2011
During these times of uncertainty regarding background radiation, I would recommend some specific foods and a
couple of other supplements. The foods that are helpful include:
• Good sources of water-soluble fibers, such as vegetables, pears, oat bran, apples and legumes
• Garlic, legumes, onions, eggs, whey protein and other high sulfur content foods
• High flavonoid content fruit, e.g., blueberries, blackberries, cherries, raspberries, citrus, etc.
• Soy foods and sea vegetables
• High carotene content root vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes and yams
• Cabbage family vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage
• Artichokes, beets, spinach, dandelion greens, and herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and mustard
As far as additional supplements, I would recommend taking a flavonoid-rich extract like green tea, grape seed,
Pycnogenol® or Ginkgo biloba – at a dosage of at least 100 mg daily, but ideally 300 mg. Flavonoids appear to reduce
the formation of clastogenic factors. These factors exist in the blood of patients either accidentally or therapeutically
exposed to radiation and may persist for over 30 years. They are associated with an increased risk for radiation-induced
cancers. Chernobyl workers given ginkgo extract for 2 months had clastogenic factors disappear from their blood. The
workers were followed for one year and it was found the anti-clastogenic effect persisted for 7 months in most cases. I
believe that other flavonoid-rich extracts may offer the same sort of benefits and I would recommend their continued,
indefinite use in anyone exposed to significant levels of radiation.
Lastly, I think it is a good idea to take advantage of the adaptogenic and health benefits offered by such herbal tonics
as Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Panax ginseng and rhodiola. Though any one of these
adaptogens would be useful on their own, I prefer combination formulas like my Serenity Formula. Take two capsules
daily for maximum benefit. Two capsules provide the following:
Sensoril® Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) powdered extract (root/leaf) 250 mg
Minimum 8% withanolides 20 mg
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) powdered extract (root) 150 mg
0.8% Eleutherosides 1.2 mg
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) powdered extract 5:1 (aerial) 150 mg
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) powdered extract (root) 75 mg
3.5% Rosavins 2.6 mg
I generally recommend this formula to help people experiencing chronic stress or adrenal exhaustion, but it is
also a valuable every day tonic to a better life. In particular, I love the research on Sensoril®, a patented extract of
ashwagandha. It is impressive. Sensoril works with the body’s natural biological systems to help restore balance and
normalize body functions. Among other things, Sensoril:
• Helps counteract the negative effects of stress
• Increases resistance to fatigue
• Promotes improved sleep quality and higher energy levels
• Helps promote mental clarity and concentration
These are effects most of us could use during these stressful times.
The message I wanted to convey in this article is that you should be proactive in protecting your health. However,
don’t be fooled into a false sense of security just because you are taking potassium iodide. In fact, at this time, you are
likely doing more harm than good. Take a more comprehensive, rational approach.