April 11, 2012

The hidden danger in flying
the airlines don’t tell you about

A lot of people look forward to retirement so they can travel the world. It’s a great time to visit all those places you always dreamed of visiting. But there’s a danger in traveling you need to know about. And, if you take the right inexpensive nutrient, you can travel worry free.

When you fly, the airplane takes you into altitudes you normally would never experience. Most people don’t realize that these high altitudes have very high levels of ionizing radiation (the damaging kind of radiation, much like nuclear). That means you expose your body to dangerous radiation every time you go up in a plane.

This radiation can directly damage your DNA. It can split chromosomes by the high energy “bullet.” Then the fragment of the chromosones could attach to another chromosome. We call this “translocation.” This type of DNA damage can directly lead to cancer. So, it’s good to know of a safe nutritional remedy that might protect you when flying and nuclear catastrophe.

In this study, researchers assessed 82 airline pilots for dietary niacin intake and DNA translocation damage. Since pilots are in the radiation-filled higher altitudes a lot, this study wanted to compare niacin intake with DNA damage. Those in the highest niacin group had a 42% less rate of translocation. The data was particularly significant in those eating a low red meat or processed meat diet, and high amounts of whole grains.

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Here’s the kind of study I really enjoy in our challenged world. Millions of people fly. Some fly a lot, like pilots. Here’s a chance at real protection. But ionizing radiation includes nuclear as well, like that seen in Japan. That meltdown exposed millions of Japanese and billions worldwide to higher levels of radiation. Some people are exposed to lots of X-rays and CT scans. All of these types of radiation can cause translocation damage to your DNA. So everyone needs protection.

The study emphasized niacin in your diet. It’s possible that supplemental niacin can work as well. But you know me ... I always stress food first. Non-animal sources of niacin include brewer’s yeast, bran from grains and brown rice, paprika, peanuts, and sun-dried tomatoes. There are lots of animal sources. Liver is packed with niacin. Fish also has abundant niacin. For meat eaters, make sure you’re eating more cold-water fish than red meat.

Ref: Br J Nutr. 2010 Oct 8:1-9.

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