I cannot tell you how many women I speak to that have regrets about going the traditional chemo-radiation route. I have heard tales of finger nails turning black and blue and eventually falling off, mouth and esophageal ulcers, rotting teeth, heart damage, nerve damage, diabetes, hair loss, blistering skin from radiation burns, weight loss, weight gain…. and the list goes on. The good news is that your body can repair and heal from these toxic therapies, given specific nutrients.

Let’s start with the side effects of Radiation.

I witnessed my own mother receiving radiation burns as a result of radiation therapy for Breast Cancer. Her breast blistered, became red hot and was as hard as a brick. It remained that way for years.

Medical radiation might reduce the tumor load initially, but it is doing nothing to address the circulating stem cells which are responsible for re-seeding and fueling the growth of the tumor. In fact, increased radiation exposure has been shown to increase your Breast Cancer risk.

Clastogenic factors (CFs) were first described in the blood of persons irradiated accidentally or for therapeutic reasons. These factors radiation signare defined as mutagenic, since they break up chromosomes and often lead to the development of cancerous tissues.

But don’t despair and think that once you are radiated there is no hope for your body to repair itself. My friend from “down under”, Jillian Exton, has compiled a list of supplements based on clinical research that can help you overcome the side-effects of radiation. Her book, “What’s Your Plan”, is a must for anyone who has been through the traditional toxic therapies.

Jillian wrote this book after experiencing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She was searching for natural ways to manage the side effects of her treatment.  Discussions with her medical team on possible supplementation with various nutrients always resulted in the need for clinical studies and evidence, in order to make informed decisions. And so the seed for the book was planted.

Here are a few of the recommendations in her book on managing side effects of radiation:

  • Astragalus is an herb used in traditional Chinese Medicine to support the Immune System. It has anti-tumor effects and decreases organ damage from radiation. It increased survival in mice treated with radiation.
  • Bioflavonoids such as genistein and soy isoflavones have been shown to decrease the side effects of radiation, increase cancer cell death by reducing the caner cells’ ability to self-repair. These bioflavonoids also have anti-tumor properties.
  • Jillian's bookCurcumin is one of my favorite anti-inflammatory herbs and has strong anti-tumor properties. It has a very protective effect on radiation.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids are essential for decreasing inflammation and have well established anti-cancer benefits. A German studyconducted in 2011 demonstrated the protective effect on healthy cells but increased the effectiveness of the radiation on cancer cells.
  • Ginko Biloba Extract is an herbal that is high in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants in this extract decreased the blood markers of radiation exposure in people that were exposed to ionizing radiation because of their occupation.

I will add one of my favorite ways to overcome the effects of radiation…miso.  I don’t have a specific study on this, as I learned this years ago when I was studying and applying the Macrobiotic Diet by Mishio Kushi. After the horrific events of Hiroshima due to the nuclear bombing, radiation injuries were rampant. However, doctors noticed that the people that still had access to their daily cup of miso (fermented soy bean paste) had fewer radiation side effects compared to those without the miso soup.

Apparently the bacteria in the miso would bind the radiation and expel it form the body at a more rapid pace. More recent studies have shown that miso does have a protective effect from radiation.

If you are on a healing journey or you know someone that is suffering because of conventional cancer treatments, please share this information with them. Applying the principles in Jillian’s book may make their experience less traumatic and a little more pleasant. The next post will be about survival tips for chemotherapy.