Volume 5, Issue 45 November 8, 2012
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Radiation exposure doesn't
have to cause cancer
You may have heard that radiation (like that used in X-rays) is toxic to cells. And you may know that in high enough doses, radiation can cause a cell to become cancerous. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that their exposure to radiation has gone up significantly in recent years. In fact, thanks to the ever-increasing use of CT scans, the number of Americans sustaining higher levels of radiation is doubling.

In a recent study, researchers at the University of California in San Francisco reported on the use of CT scans from 1996 to 2010. In that time period, they discovered that the use of CT scans went up by 300%. But that’s not all.

The total amount of radiation exposure to the average person from these scans doubled from 1.2 mSv to 2.3 mSv. The measurement “mSv” is a thousandth of a Sievert. A Seivert is a measurement of radiation dose. Exposure to one Seivert of radiation will increase your risk of getting cancer by 5.5%. So don’t get too alarmed. That means that exposure to 2.3 mSv confers an increased cancer risk of 0.0055%. That’s still very low. But keep in mind that this is just the average and they’ve spread it out over everyone who gets these scans. In that mix, there are some people who get much more than that.

There are an increasing number of patients who ended up with a “high” or “very high” annual exposure to ionizing radiation from CTs and other X-rays in a given year. Those proportions rose from 1.2% in 1996 to 2.5% in 2010. A high or very high exposure means one that totals out to more than 20-50 mSv. This would be the equivalent of about two-to-five CT scans. The number of patients who had an exposure greater than 50 mSv almost tripled from 0.6% to 1.4%. Any exposure greater than 50 mSv exceeds the maximum allowable annual occupational radiation exposure in the U.S.

In an interview with ABC, Dr. Smith-Bindman said that 30% or more of the CTs performed in the U.S. are not necessary, and do not improve any outcome. So one obvious thing that you can definitely do to protect you and your family is to discuss with your doctor whether you really need a proposed CT or not. Is it going to help determine what needs to be done? Is it going to provide critical information for decision making?

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If you and your doctor decide you must have a CT scan, there’s one other step you can take to protect yourself. You need to take the right nutrients.

Drs. Joseph Weiss and Michael Landauer published a review paper in 2003 out of the Office of Health Studies in the US Department of Energy. They looked at the ability of naturally occurring nutrients to protect against radiation damage to healthy tissues. Based upon this paper, I make the following recommendations to any of my patients who are going to have any radiation therapy. It would also be helpful for anyone who is going to get one or more CT scans. Here’s what I recommend:

            * N-acetyl cysteine – take one 500 mg tablet twice daily
* Unique E – Take one softgel twice daily
* Metagenics Ultra-InflamX Plus 360 powder – two scoops, two times daily
* L-Glutamine powder – 4 grams per day
* Coffee enema – once daily
* Selenium – 100 mcgm, three times daily
* Iodoral – 50 mg once daily
* Melatonin – 3 mg at bedtime
* Panax Ginseng – 1,000-1,500 mg per day

You can find all of these at your local health food store or online. Taking these nutrients before submitting your body to radiation can protect your body from the damage it causes. To be most effective, you need to start taking these about one week before the radiation exposure.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

REF: Phend, Crystal. “Imaging Boom Raised Radiation Exposures,” MedPage Today, June 12, 2012.

Smith-Bindman R, et al "Use of diagnostic imaging studies and associated radiation exposure for patients enrolled in large integrated health care systems, 1996-2010" JAMA 2012; 307: 2400-2409.

Weiss JF, Landauer MR. “Protection against ionizing radiation by antioxidant nutrients and phytochemicals,” SourceToxicology. 2003 Jul 15;189(1-2):1-20.

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