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Protect Yourself From Radiation Exposure

By March 17, 2011September 23rd, 2015Healthy Living

Protect Yourself From Radiation Exposure


After seeing the devastation in Japan and the explosion of the nuclear reactors, we have received a lot of calls about radiation exposure. Many people are concerned about the health effects of radiation exposure to their thyroid gland. In an effort to present clear information about radiation exposure I thought I would do a blog post.

The substance of much discussion these days is Potassium iodide (KI) also known as potassium iodide salt. It is a substance naturally occurring in sea salt and other compounds. It is not radioactive and is used by the body to make thyroid hormone. Sea salt does not contain potassium iodide in sufficient quantities to use it in the event of radiation exposure.

In the event of radioactive iodine exposure, potassium iodide can be taken as a supplement to block the uptake of radioactive iodine. Upon ingesting potassium iodide, the thyroid gland sucks it up causing all of the iodine receptors within the thyroid to be filled. Once iodine receptors are full they are unable to absorb any more iodine even radioactive iodine. In this way radioactive iodine uptake will be blocked. Potassium iodide is only protective to the thyroid gland, and will block the uptake of radiation and in turn prevent the thyroid from developing cancer. It will not protect the person from any other damage induced by radiation exposure. Potassium iodide works best prior to a radiation exposure. It will not work after exposure has occurred.

Individuals at the greatest risk from radioactive exposure are pregnant women, infants, and children. Adults over 40 years old are at the least risk of developing thyroid cancer from radiation exposure.

Taking potassium iodide preventatively is not recommended. It is only recommended when public health officials make a statement or if exposure is thought to be eminent. Potassium iodide is available over the counter and does not require prescription by a physician. Many integrative practitioners use potassium iodide for treating thyroid disorders, and use it as a supplement.

Dosing is recommended within 3 hours of initial exposure and is broken down into age groupings. Each dose is for 24 hours and should be repeated until the risk of contamination is eliminated.

Adults = 130mg

Children 3-18yo = 65 mg

Infants 1mo-3yo = 32mg

Newborns up to 1 mo = 16mg

Side effects are minimal compared to the risk of developing thyroid cancer. People who know that they are allergic to iodine should not take potassium iodide, or in the case of autoimmune skin disorders. People with hyper-autoimmune thyroid disease should be treated with caution.

For more information on this topic please visit the Center for Disease control website on Potassium Iodide.

– Be Happy, Healthy, & Holistic

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.

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