The Best Natural Ways to Defend Against Radiation Damage : An Exclusive Renegade Health Article by Dr. J.E. Williams

Tuesday Feb 21 | BY |
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An antioxidant compound called anthocyanin, found in wild blueberries, is shown to protect against radiation damage and slow down cellular aging.

Resident Medical Authority: J. E. Williams, OMD, FAAIM

When I started practicing, back in the early 1980s, treating cancer with radiation therapy was very popular. While radiation therapy was big, medical authorities offered no drug to treat the effects of the radiation poisoning itself. Accidental exposure most certainly didn’t have a manufactured cure either. For instance, the Russians had no solution after the Chernobyl disaster, and more recently, the Japanese government did not dispense any drug or synthetic product to its citizens during the nuclear meltdown last year.

So, people often asked me about what they should take to protect against the destructive effects of radiation, especially children of mothers receiving radiation therapy during the 80s. I always recommended selenium, Siberian Ginseng, and medicinal mushrooms, certain that they were effective. However, I had no clinical evidence or scientific proof that they worked. I had read that they were used in Russia or Japan, but really, I didn’t know if this was true or not. Eventually, I questioned my own advice, because when it came to radiation protection, I wanted the best for my patients, and myself.

So, to find a cure, I looked to where radiation levels from the sun were greater – the forest, high mountains, and ocean – to see how nature normalized radiation from the sun. Then, I looked to the laboratories to see what scientists were saying about nature’s cures. Indeed, in both places, I found there to be an abundance of natural compounds effective in lessening damage from both intense medical and accidental radiation exposure.

Before discussing these substances that can minimize tissue damage from medical radiation, we should understand what ionizing radiation is.

First, energy emitted from a source is generally referred to as radiation. And, the form of energy that exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space is called electromagnetic radiation. Examples include anything from radio waves and microwaves to heat or light from the sun (ultraviolet rays), X rays from an X-ray tube, and gamma rays from radioactive elements. In this energy spectrum, the highest frequency of electromagnetic radiation is called ionizing radiation – radiation with enough energy to remove electrons from an atom, causing the atom to be charged, or ionized. Gamma rays are an example of ionizing radiation and are produced from decaying radioactive material and from stars, also called cosmic rays. Both high-frequency electromagnetic radiation and particulate radiation (another specific form of ionizing radiation) are used in radiation oncology and affect mostly electrons (and, to a lesser extent neutrons and protons) to kill cancer cells. In the process, living tissue is destroyed.

How Exactly Does Radiation Damage Cells and Kill Living Tissue?

Radiation damages cells both directly and indirectly. It directly ionizes DNA and other cellular targets, changing their genetic makeup. On the other hand, radiation indirectly affects cells by producing reactive oxygen species (aka “free radicals”), which are destructive radicals that threaten the integrity and survival of normal cells. Antioxidants and thiol compounds, like glutathione, normally combat free radicals and facilitate tissue repair, but medical radiation and many drugs deplete normal levels of both.

The First Line of Defense: Antioxidants

Because cellular response to radiation depends in part on the levels of antioxidants (as well as the magnitude of DNA repair activity, the type and dose of radiation, and the body’s tissue integrity), the first line of defense in protecting cells from radiation damage is to use antioxidants.

Antioxidants can reduce injury to healthy cells, including tissue damage from medical radiation. New findings even show that some antioxidants induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells and also protect patients from painful side effects of radiation treatment.

For radiation protection via antioxidants, take vitamins A, C, E, and the trace mineral selenium. Vitamin E and selenium work synergistically to protect cells against radiation by increasing levels of glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase – all powerful antioxidants, while doubling the breakdown of toxic peroxide and reducing transformation of cancer cells. Vitamin E decreases chromosome damage in cells. A combined treatment with vitamins E and C also has protective effects.

Another powerful antioxidant is the hormone melatonin. In fact, it’s many times stronger than vitamins C and E, and has been shown to have radiation protective benefits.

Glutathione is also useful, but it does not absorb well when taken orally; intravenous or intramuscular injection is better. It can also be inhaled using a home nebulizer, and vitamin C and N-acetyl-cysteine help boost glutathione levels in the body.

The Second Line of Defense: DNA Repair Nutrients

As mentioned earlier, robust DNA repair activity is essential in counteracting the negative effects of radiation. In order to induce this repair activity, DNA repair nutrients are needed. Selenium is big in this category: it increases levels of antioxidant enzymes in normal cells and stimulates DNA repair in cells. Selenium is also an integral part of glutathione peroxidase, which destroys peroxides.

The Peruvian jungle provides another repair nutrient in the form of Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa), the inner bark of a vine that has DNA repair effects. A third nutrient is Quercetin, a flavonoid found in onions and citrus, which is a powerful antioxidant with DNA protective effects.

The Third Line of Defense and Repair: Phytochemicals

Since the integrity of the body’s tissue helps protect against the ill effects of radiation, cellular health is essential. In addition to antioxidants and DNA repair nutrients, cell strength is boosted by a wide range of phytochemicals (compounds found in plants), including flavonoids, polyphenols, carotenoids, and organosulfur compounds. Promising phytochemicals are aged garlic extract and anthocyanins, an antioxidant compound found in wild blueberries that protects against radiation damage and slows down cellular aging. Green tea polyphenols and resveratrol also have antioxidant protective effects against radiation. Genestein, an isoflavone compound found in soy, may also have benefits. Medicinal mushrooms can also be included in this category, as can blue green and other algae, like chlorella. Sea vegetables are an important source of iodine and vitamin K, both necessary for radiation protection. Common Japanese edible seaweeds include:

  • Nori
  • Kelp
  • Hijiki
  • Kombu
  • Wakame
  • Arame
  • Dulse

As I stated at the beginning of this article, there are no synthetic products that cure radiation. However, nature does manufacture an abundance of the best sources for radiation protection – compounds found in plants that have antioxidant protective and DNA repair benefits. Of course, avoiding or reducing radiation exposure in the first place is the wisest way to avoid radiation damage, but looking to the forest, high mountains, and ocean for a cure can give us more answers – especially when they’re backed up by scientific data.

Your Question of the Day: What have you been taught to use for radiation protection? Do you know anyone from Eastern Europe or Japan that has used certain natural products?

Kev’s Comments: Great article from Dr. Williams here… one thing to note, dairy products from Northern California are still showing up with Cesium 134 and 137. Whether this amount is substantial enough to cause health issues, I’m not sure, but it’s something to consider. You can read more here.


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Dr. J. E. Williams has over 30 years of clinical experience in the natural health world and has had over 100,000 patient visits over that time.

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These programs include how to improve thyroid function, how to read your blood tests, and how to support your adrenals naturally.

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Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. Derek says:

    Great article. Although I’ve heard selenium worked with iodine in the thyroid, I didn’t realize how important it was for radiation protection.

    Besides sea vegetables, ginseng, and medicinal mushrooms as mentioned, there are a few things that come to mind for radiation support.

    First is isolated Beta 1,3 glucan which is likely part of why medicinal mushrooms are effective.

    Lactobacillus rhamnosus cell wall fragments which was a treatment developed in Russia for immune support was tested on animals exposed to Chernobyl’s radiation showing benefit.

    I’m not sure of the effectiveness but I also hear that bentonite clay is capable of detoxifying some radioactive isotopes.

  2. Larry Fishman says:

    chlorella and possibly spirulina have been shown to be effective in treating radiation poisoning.

  3. michelle says:

    Hi all,

    Getting a dental x-ray on Thursday…
    Using oil of rosemarry, reishi, maitaki, chaga,
    american ginseng, chlorophyll, green tea, kelp, iodine and every antioxidant known to God and man. What am I missing? Any good topical for the skin? How would I use it if so?

    Thanks so much and blessings!


  4. michelle says:

    P.S…also using spirulina and chlorella

  5. Julia says:

    I recently learned that bee pollen is also good for protection against ionizing radiation. I take astaxanthin as well. I do eat sea vegetables, but not too much because I have a history of hyperthyroidism (which I have healed naturally over the years by myself).

    This is a valuable topic for me because I’m a speech pathologist working in hospitals and I routinely complete videofluoroscopic swallow evaluations (a video x-ray). We obviously wear lead gowns, but our arms/hands/legs and head are still routinely exposed, and we do need to put our hands directly in the beam to feed the patient. Also, I’m very petite and the lead gowns tend to fit too big so there’s more exposed areas because it’s not a snug fit. I have been looking for ways to mitigate these risks, so I’m always happy to read these radiation safety articles.

    Thanks for the info!

  6. hyesun says:

    david wolfe says miso helps detox radiation. i also take powdered zeolite and pyrophylite clays internally and take clay/epsom salt baths. and far infrared sauna.

  7. Sarah says:

    This article is good for repairing radiation damage, but one thing it doesn’t mention is what to do incase of a nuclear bomb or meltdown of a reactor in your area. In that case you want to take a non-radioactive form of iodine like KI or KI03. This is because radioactive iodine (I-131_ is the most lethal of all the radioactive isotopes and particles from a nuclear reaction. Your thyroid is the key player. Basically your thyroid runs on iodine, and can’t tell the difference between good and bad iodine. It will absorb as much as it can if available. In the case of a nuclear disaster, it will absorb the radioactive iodine unless you are saturated with good iodine. So for a true disaster you’d want to get some anti-radiation tablets. At Chernobyl, the scientists drank iodine as the reactor was melting in order to try to mitigate some of the effects. Again, note that this is only for an acute, you are in the path of the fallout event. Not for long-term or low doses of radiation damage. For that, this article explains it all!

  8. michelle says:

    A bit a go I mentioned my “dental x-ray”
    I just thought I should add that there will be multiple x-rays on Thursday, as I am getting a root canal…one of many..with a laser to clean the canal a bit more thoroughly. I have not been blessed with strong teeth, plus I ate way too much fruit at one time. I am worried because I have a brown spot in my left ear..the only brown spot on my body oddly enough. I have had so many dental x-rays. This info is very helpful and timely, thank you. I am also protective as I cured stage 4 lyme. I do look and feel extremely healthy. I count my blessings.
    Thanks once more!

  9. Barbara Wozniak says:

    Such powerful and significant info….which we all need about now. Thanks so much! I Am very grateful for this.


  10. Caryl DeHerrera says:

    Great article Kevin!
    Im really enjoying Dr. Williams, Thank you!
    I’m headed to the dentist tomorrow for a root canal, I heard someone say you can ask for an extra shield for your neck area. They don’t routinely use them but I’m asking.
    Have a Great Day

  11. Anne says:

    This comment is for Michelle. I was told I needed a root canal just before Xmas as I had a dead tooth but I decided to get the tooth out. Root Canal is possibly not the best option although realise that getting a tooth out seems quite radical for some. I’d read the articles from Dr Mercola see:

    and this one was just from a few days ago:

    I’d suggest you delay the procedure if you can to assess this. I’ve had my tooth out and will either have a ceramic implant done later or a removable denture.

    I believe the radiation part of the root canal therapy is just the tip of the iceberg. I consulted a number of dental practitioner until i found one that practiced healthy dentistry and would never do a root canal and he expertly removed my tooth and there was no pain whatsoever when the procedure was done.

    Hope this doesn’t confuse you too much.

  12. 1 says:

    I would go to a holistic Dentist if I was you.

  13. Jonathan says:

    I live in Europe, and here they have a type of medicinal clay (I think it is like bentonite) which I would think is great for radiation. I use it in baths, and also put some in my homemade soaps.

  14. Chandrika Purohit says:


    You must educate your readers about the dangers of root canals. You must read the book called AM I DEAD OR DO I JUST FEEL LIKE IT by Fred Hughes. The book is avalable from PROVEN HEALTH MANAGEMENT phone 866-291-5779. This book is an eye opener.

    After years of pain and infections – the moment I had two root canals extracted – my pain was gone instantly. I now have partial bridge placed in my mouth instead of root canals.

    I do know you have lots of information resources in preventing any disease but I strongly believe this is the best book about any degenerative disease and its causes.

  15. Lilith says:

    “are still showing up with Cesium 134”
    Sure they are!
    That thing is still leaking!!

  16. Karen says:

    I too would be interested to hear your thoughts on root canals, Kevin, as my dentist has said I will need one. I have heard lots of worrying things about them and am considering alternatives. Many thanks!

  17. Marc says:

    Hi Guys,
    The demo on the mineral content of the foods was great. How could I get one of those testers that you used in the segment?
    Great job,

  18. michelle says:

    Hi everybody:)
    Thanks so much for the info and the concern.
    I unfortunately would probably have to remove 90% of my molars…implants for the top molars often require sinus lifts…now we are getting really tricky
    Dr. Mercola says this about teeth with root canals:
    “Remember, as soon as your immune system is compromised, your risk of of developing a serious medical problem increases—and assaults on your immune system are far too frequent in today’s world.”
    I am very blessed to be a researcher that was diagnosed with stage 4 lyme. Now, you may think this is an odd statement. This major life threatening issue was a blessing in disguise as it caused me to travel…research…meditate…pray…take loans…travel…and come up with a complete protocol that cured me and has helped many others. I was in screaming agony in the evening for many months-2 frozen shoulders-etc…now I am a glowing, vibrant, and healthy woman. I run, workout, meditate, study and help others. I have had my saliva checked under a scope and it had a low amount of spirochets. Imagine with all these root canals. The trick is to be very pro-active…to work daily on building a robust immune system…keep a healthy ph, digestive tract, lymphatic, liver
    etc…It is a lifestyle. I am constantly learning, so I am eager to hear your thoughts.

  19. michelle says:


    I should say that I show no signs of Lyme…the cure word is not accepted:)

  20. Jennifer says:

    Okay, I was just told yesterday by a friend to STOP taking my iosol liquid iodine and STOP eating my kelp, dulse etc. BECAUSE of the problems in Japan. ARe we actually getting more radiation by eating this stuff??? Please answer! Thanks!

  21. Beverly says:

    We have to help each other and learn our bodies, no one knows you better than you. Please like my page on, thank you and God Bless

  22. Dawn says:

    I have purchased a DVD set of Health Seminars from Living Valley Springs Health Retreat in Queensland Australia. What an eye-opener!!
    Explanation of the nerves from the teeth up to the brain then down to the body and root canals and corresponding breast cancer. Root canals can cause lots of health problems. Learn about root canals before you have them….and preferably, don’t have them.

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