The Great Kanto Earthquake hit Tokyo and surrounding areas at noontime on September 1st, 1923. It lasted for somewhere between 4 to 10 minutes with a strength of 7.9 on the Richter scale. Upwards of 100,000 people were killed, the Imperial Palace burned and even the massive 93 ton, 40 feet tall ‘Great Buddha’ statue, which had sat placidly for nearly 700 years some 60 miles from the epicenter, slid forward several feet. The most lethal consequence of the quake were the fires that spread from domestic hearths, in use for food preparation at that time of day, to quickly engulf the wooden structures that housed them. Fanned by high winds, they developed into a huge firestorm that engulfed much of the city.

The Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tusnami of March 11, 2011  has yet to prove as lethal with some 13,000 confirmed dead and over 14,000 as yet unaccounted for. Because of the tsunami and absence of open fires, fire was not such an issue this time around. But, the interesting parallel with Kanto Earthquake is that, in the end, the most deadly aspect of the disaster might very well end up being the destruction of another energy source – the nuclear reactors that provide the electricity that has replaced fire.

Unlike the Kanto Earthquake, it will be years, more likely decades, before we will understand the consequences of this disaster. Outside the immediately area of the quake and tsunami, Japan seems to be settling into what one friend in Tokyo has described as ‘a new normal’ with rolling blackouts, reduced train schedules, supply chain disruption and the specter of untamed nuclear reactors releasing radiation into the air, water and food chain for years to come.

There has been some disturbing news that we too are now being affected by the radiation emanating from Japan. It is reported that the Environmental Protection Agency has collected data is showing that ‘‘milk and water supply samples from across the US are testing increasingly high for radioactive elements such as Iodine-131, Cesium-134, and Cesium-137’’. (http://www.naturalnews.com/ 032048_radiation_milk.html)

With the way the radiation is dispersed, it doesn’t appear that the East Coast is any safer than the West as milk in Arkansas and water in Philadelphia “contained the highest levels of Iodine-131 from Japan”. (http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffmcmahon/2011/04/10/…)

Of course, added to this are concerns about more local sources of radiation. Taken together it would seem that we all have a real incentive to investigate practical methods to protect ourselves. Fortunately, there are a number of measures people can take beyond storing up on potassium iodide, which is the FDA’s go-to method for protecting the thyroid gland in the case of nuclear contamination – but which also has its own drug side effects.

One of the simplest things we can do is start eating good quality miso. This is a fermented soybean paste, usually used to make soup, which is a staple of the Japanese diet. Originally, the idea that it protected against the effects of radiation was suggested by on the observations of a Japanese physician working with radiation victims near ground zero in Nagasaki. Decades later, research found that miso contains alkaloids that chelates heavy metals (that is, binds with metals to create an inert compound that can be excreted from the body). Other research showed that rats exposed to radiation had much higher rates of liver cancer and organ inflammation if they were not given miso compared to those that were.

Other common substances that are commonly used to chelate out metals and radioactive elements from the body are various forms of algae. These include chlorella (as single cell green algae), spirulina (a blue green algae) and kelp (a brown algae). Other readily available chelators are zeolites, which are porous aluminosilicate minerals often found in volcanic lava and modified citrus pectin, an altered form of a substance found in citrus, plums and apple peels.

Antioxidants, which protect the body from the effects of destructive free radicals, are also important. Aside from fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, some of the most common and effective ones are Coenzyme Q10, Vitamins C and D, krill oil, as well as an extract from grape seed known as resversatrol.

Perhaps the most powerful antioxidant is glutathione, which is made up of 3 amino acids. Other beneficial effects include detoxification of heavy metals and other harmful chemicals, regulating metabolic balance, and stimulating healthy immune response. It is important to use a form called liposomal glutathione since most of the other forms taken orally are easily destroyed during digestion.

Homeopathic remedies such as radium bromatum and X-ray have also been used to rid the body of radiation. These are not as readily available and need to be prescribed by someone familiar with homeopathic protocols.

Of course, any detoxification strategy necessarily is founded on a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, low on simple carbohydrates and artificial foods or additives. Healthy intestines and good bowel function also play an important role.