Antioxidants May Protect The Body From CT Radiation

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March 29, 2011

Antioxidants may protect the body from CT radiation

Antioxidants may protect the body from CT radiation

Concern regarding increased cancer risk from exposure to ionizing radiation has resulted in some authorities questioning the wisdom of frequent X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans. However, in many cases, the benefits of these imaging procedures can outweigh their harm. At the Society of Interventional Radiology's 36th Annual Scientific Meeting held in Chicago this month, Kieran J. Murphy, MD, FSIR reports that a combination of antioxidants consumed prior to medical imaging studies involving ionizing radiation could help protect against their damaging effects.

Dr Murphy and his colleagues tested the effects of antioxidants on blood samples drawn from two volunteers. The antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and glutathione were administered to the samples prior to 2 Gy gamma irradiation and DNA damage was assessed. Additional samples were tested with higher concentrations of vitamin C prior to receiving diagnostic doses of ionizing radiation. The subjects then were given vitamin C, glutathione and uric acid orally for five days during which blood was drawn daily and subjected to CT radiation, and DNA injury to white blood cells was evaluated.

The researchers observed a reduction in DNA injury in blood samples treated with vitamin C and glutathione compared with control samples. Oral administration of the antioxidants also resulted in a reduction in DNA injury.

The trial is the first of its kind to evaluate the protective effect of antioxidants against CT radiation in humans. Dr Murphy, who is deputy chief of radiology at the University of Toronto and University Health Network in Toronto, explained that humans are 70 percent water, and when X-rays collide with water molecules, free radicals are produced. Free radicals react with cellular components, damaging the body's genetic material, which can lead to cancer.

"There is currently a great deal of controversy in determining the cancer risks associated with medical imaging exams," Dr Murphy stated. "Although imaging techniques, such as CT scans and mammograms, provide crucial and often life-saving information to doctors and patients, they work by irradiating people with X-rays, and there is some evidence that these can, in the long run, cause cancer."

"In our initial small study, we found that pre-administering to patients a proprietary antioxidant formulation resulted in a notable dose-dependent reduction in DNA injury," he reported. "This could play an important role in protecting adults and children who require imaging or a screening study."

"Pre-administering this formula before a medical imaging exam may be one of the most important tools to provide radioprotection and especially important for patients getting CT scans," he emphasized.

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Health Concern


The sinuses are air-filled sacs in the facial bones of the head. They have several functions, including warming incoming air and helping to form certain sounds. When the sinuses become infected and inflamed, the condition is known as sinusitis. Sinusitis ranges from a minor annoyance to a serious condition that might require surgery.

The four pairs of sinuses are listed below, in order from highest frequency of infection to least:

  • Maxillary sinuses, located in the cheekbone, right below the eye sockets
  • Ethmoid sinuses, located behind the bridge of the nose
  • Frontal sinuses, located in the lower forehead, in the middle of the head just above the eye sockets
  • Sphenoid sinuses, located behind the eyes

People with sinusitis often benefit from steam treatments and nasal saline wash. In addition, the following supplements are suggested to prevent infection:

  • DHEA —15 to 75 milligrams (mg) for three to six weeks, followed by blood testing to make sure optimal levels of this hormone are maintained. If symptoms of an infection are just beginning, 200 to 400 mg may be taken as soon as possible.
  • Lactoferrin —900 mg daily with meals, or 1200 mg at the first sign of infection
  • Melatonin —3 to 10 mg prior to bedtime, or up to 50 mg at the first sign of infection
  • Pure Gar garlic —9000 mg once or twice daily (eat other food immediately after ingesting the garlic to minimize stomach or esophageal burning.)
  • Kyolic aged garlic extract—3600 mg daily
  • Essential fatty acids —700 to 1400 mg of EPA and 500 to 1000 mg of DHA daily with food
  • Zinc—Dissolve two 24-mg lozenges in the mouth every two hours while awake, beginning at the first sign of symptoms. This should be continued for only a few days to avoid toxic side effects. Continue with 30 mg of orally ingested zinc daily.
  • Beta-carotene— 25,000 international units (IU) daily
  • Vitamin C—2.5 to 6 grams (g) daily
  • Vitamin E —400 IU of alpha-tocopherol and 200 mg or more of gamma-tocopherol daily
  • NAC— 600 mg twice daily with vitamin C
  • Propolis —500 to 1500 mg daily
  • Green tea —725 mg green tea powder extract. Use a decaffeinated formula if you are sensitive to caffeine.
  • Rosmarinic acid – 100 mg daily
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