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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #102 - March 2011
Issue #102 - March 2011
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #102. It's my mission to help you find optimal solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter please send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address. 

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my first eBook, “Here Comes The Sun: Preventing Chronic Disease With Vitamin D.”

In this downloadable book that you can read on your computer or eBook reader like the iPad or Kindle, I delve into the role Vitamin D plays in preventing chronic disease. I examine 5 of the most serious and common diseases—breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. For each disease I look at its occurrence and how optimizing Vitamin D levels can prevent or reduce it.

In this eBook you will learn:

* The best test for Vitamin D status.
* How to interpret your test results.

* The best form of Vitamin D to take.

* The symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity.

* How to prevent chronic disease with Vitamin D.

If you or someone you know is faced with the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis you should read this book. I’ve been collecting research material for the last 5 years; that work has now come to fruition. 

When I publish this eBook, the cost will be $9.95. All current subscribers to my Naturopathic News email newsletter receive a 40% special discount if they preorder. For $5.95 you can have this eBook as soon as it’s published. Just send me an email with the subject, Discount Special.

There’s been a lot in the news over the last 2 weeks about the ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi facility located 30 miles inland from the northeast coast of Japan. This facility houses 6 nuclear reactors numbered 1-6. On Friday March 11 a 9.0 earthquake and resultant tsunami struck Japan.  At the time of the earthquake reactors 1-3 were operating, reactors 4-6 were on shutdown for maintenance. 

The reactors at the Daiichi complex are Mark 1 boiling water reactors, made by General Electric. (There are 23 Mark 1 reactors in the US-including Peach Bottom # 2 and #3 in Lancaster, PA.) Enriched uranium is the fuel source for all of the reactors. Nuclear fission—the splitting of atoms—is used to generate heat, which boils water to make steam that drives turbines to produce electricity. In addition, Reactor #3 has a highly-dangerous "mixed-oxide" (MOX) fuel present in six percent of the fuel rods. According to the Nuclear Information Resource Center (NIRS), this plutonium-uranium fuel mixture is far more dangerous than typical enriched uranium -- a single milligram (mg) of MOX is as deadly as 2,000,000 mg of normal enriched uranium. 

You’ve probably heard concern about the reactor fuel rods in the compromised reactors. These fuel rods are 12 foot long zirconium tubes that contain pellets of enriched uranium. These fuel rods sit within a steel containment vessel, housed within a concrete containment building. The fission process within the rods produces a large amount of heat. To control this process these fuel rods are immersed in water. The water acts as both a heat shield and a radiation shield. The cooling system pumps water through the system. Trouble starts when power is disrupted and the fuel rods are no longer covered in water. Heat builds up. Radiation is no longer being shielded. More importantly, the rods themselves begin to oxidize on exposure to air. Hydrogen gas is produced—thought to be the cause of the multiple explosions that have occurred. Explosions have breached parts of the containment system allowing radiation to be sent into the environment.

A related issue pertains to the spent fuel rods. After about 6 years of operation the fuel rods are no longer operational and they have to be replaced. They are highly radioactive. They are stored in spent fuel rod pools, covered in water. At the Daiichi site these spent fuel rod pools are located in each of the reactor containment buildings as well as a separate common pool. With lack of power the same safety issue arises. The fuel rods overheat, give off radiation that isn’t being shielded, and break down further on exposure to air. Because the containment buildings have been breached by the hydrogen explosions, these spent fuel rod pools are another source of radiation. Over 1900 metric tons of spent fuel is being stored at the complex. And there’s another 260 metric tons of fuel in the reactors themselves. It only took 180 metric tons to cause the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Disaster Timeline
March 11—A 9.0 earthquake triggers a tsunami which smashes through Japan’s eastern coastline. The power was cut to the nuclear reactors at the Daiichi complex due to the earthquake. The backup diesel generators for reactors 1-3, located in the basement of the facility, were flooded by the tsunami and went offline. A “state of emergency” is declared due to a cooling systems failure.

March 12—Explosion at Reactor #1 that collapses the outer wall of the structure. Eight times the normal radiation levels were reported outside and 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1's control room. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) releases radioactive material from Reactors 1 & 2 to relieve pressure.

March 13—The cooling system at Reactor #3 fails. TEPCO releases radioactive material from Reactor 3.

March 14—A second hydrogen explosion is reported. This time at Reactor #3. The cooling system at Reactor #2 stops working. Water levels almost empty.

March 15—A third hydrogen explosion occurs along with a fire at Reactor #2. TEPCO reports that fuel rods inside Reactor #2 may be melting. Radioactive core of reactor is damaged. Radiation levels rise. Explosion at Reactor #4. Reactors 4, 5, and 6 are overheating.

March 16—The US tells citizens to move at least 50 miles away from the Fukushima District. Radiation leaked from 4 out of 6 reactors.

March 17—Helicopters are unable to drop water into the reactors in an attempt to cool them. This is due to the high radiation levels.

March 18—Radiation levels in an area 20 miles from the complex are 200 hundred times background level. Temperature levels at Reactors 5 and 6 continue to rise.

March 19—Radioactive contamination has been detected in spinach, milk and other foods from farms up to 90 miles away from Fukushima Daiichi. Radioactive iodine is detected in Tokyo’s water supply. 

March 20—Reactors #5 and #6 are placed into cold shutdown. This should limit the possibility of further danger there. Power restored to reactor buildings # 1 and 2. But cooling systems for the reactors and the spent fuel pools aren’t operational yet.

March 21—Reactors 2 & 3 were smoking. Cooling pumps for Reactor 2 are not working.
TEPCO said radioactive iodine about 127 times normal levels and radioactive cesium about 25x above the norm were detected in seawater 100 meters off the Fukushima nuclear plant.

March 22—Tokyo tap water too radioactive for infants to drink.

March 23— TEPCO says it is continuing to pump seawater into the various spent fuel pools of Reactors 1-4, all of which had allegedly run dry.

March 24—World radiation sensors indicate the radioactive fallout from Fukushima may be as much as 73% of the radioactive Iodine-131 emitted from Chernobyl, and up to 60% of the radioactive Cesium-137 released by Chernobyl.

March 25—Core breach in Reactor #3. There is a long vertical crack in the wall of the stainless steel containment vessel of the reactor core. Water radiation levels inside Reactor 3 are 10,000 times normal. Remember, Reactor #3 contains plutonium (MOX fuel). Radioactive water is also present in Reactors 1, 2, and 4.

Summary of Damage
Reactor #1—Roof is blown off. Fuel core is damaged. 70% of fuel rods may be damaged.

Reactor #2—Containment structure damaged. Fuel rods exposed, maybe melted.

Reactor #3—Roof blown off. Reactor core breached.

Reactor #4—Roof damaged. Fuel rods totally exposed. Extremely high radiation levels present.

Reactors 5 and 6—In cold shutdown. It is unknown the extent of damage to fuel rods.

The spent fuel pools of units 2, 3 and 4 have been drenched with hundreds of metric tons of seawater. Unit 4 continues to receive water. Though this effort is designed to reduce the possibility of further meltdown by cooling the fuel rods and spent fuel pools it causes its own problem. The hot fuel rods have evaporated the sea water leaving a salt crust on the rods. This crust actually prevents proper cooling leading to further damage to the rods.

What is the source of radiation risk coming from the Fukushima complex? There are over 200 radioisotopes that can be released from the radioactive processes occurring within the nuclear power reactors. A radioisotope is the radioactive form of a naturally occurring element.  Often you’ll hear the term half-life in reference to radiation or radioisotopes. Half-life is the estimated amount of time it takes for a substance undergoing radioactive decay to decrease by one half. A half-life of 8 days, which is the time period for Iodine 131 means that after 8 days, there is half the radiation left. After another 8 days, there is one quarter of the radiation left (½ x ½), etc. 

Here are some of the most health significant radioisotopes, and the effects they have:

Iodine-131 (I-131)—The thyroid normally uses non-radioactive Iodine to make thyroid hormones. When I-131 is present in the environment after a nuclear accident it is absorbed and concentrated in the thyroid gland. There it can cause thyroid cancer, thyroid tumors, and inflammation. To prevent this from happening you can try to saturate the thyroid gland with non-radioactive Iodine, thereby preventing most of the radioactive I-131 from being absorbed by the gland. This is what Potassium Iodide is used for. 

Caesium-137 (Cs-137)—Half-life of 30 years. Cs-137 is water soluble and mimics the action of Potassium in the body. Potassium is necessary for the function of all cells in the body. When Cs-137 is absorbed it is therefore distributed throughout the whole body, more so in the muscles and bones. Cs-137 exposure can be treated with the chemical Prussian Blue.

Strontium-90 (Sr-90)—Half-life about 29 years. Strontium is a trace mineral important in bone health. Sr-90 is absorbed in the bones and the bone marrow. It causes bone cancer, cancer of nearby tissues, and leukemia.

Cobalt-60 (Co-60)—Half-life of 5 years. It is man-made and does not occur naturally in the environment. Cobalt is a trace mineral that shows up as part of vitamin B-12. Co-60 is absorbed by the liver, kidney, and bones and can cause cancer. 

Plutonium-239 (Pu-239)—Half-life of over 24,000 years. Meaning that it takes 24,000 years for one half of the radiation to dissipate. Plutonium may be the most toxic substance known. Inhaled Plutonium is very dangerous, causing lung cancer. Once inhaled it can pass into the bloodstream where it moves throughout the body and into the liver, bones, and other organs. Plutonium that reaches body organs stays there for decades due to its extremely long half life and continues to expose the body to radiation, leading to cancer.

The first thing to recognize is that there is NO safe level of radiation exposure. This means that all ionizing radiation causes damage to some extent. That’s why all the public announcements qualify their statements by saying no ‘immediate’ or no ‘short-term’ risk. Or the risk is ‘minimal’. Obviously it depends on how these terms are defined. .Anyone who says there is no harm from this radiation being released into the environment is not being truthful. 

It is very confusing when looking at radiation exposure to comprehend what danger is being described. So many different units of measure and acronyms are used that it almost is impossible. I’ll define a few in common terms that you might have heard in the last 2 weeks:

Radiation Units
Rem—1 Rem is equal to 1 unit of exposure to an X-ray

Sv—1 sievert = 100 rems. 1 millisievert (mSv) = 1 thousandth of a sievert. Measures the effect a dose of radiation will have on the cells of the body.

Becquerel—Rate of radioactive decay. Sometimes used in defining safe limits in food and water.

Reference Scale:
One full body CT scan = 10 mSv
One mammogram = 1 mSv
400 mSv = average dose needed to cause radiation sickness
8 Sv = Fatal dose 
50 mSv = Maximum allowable annual dose for US radiation workers

Radiation Effects
LOW DOSE EXPOSURE (100 mSv or less). Immediate effects are not usually seen. 
Possible symptoms by affected organ:

Thyroid gland-Radioactive Iodine-131 is taken up by the thyroid gland and causes cancer.
Lungs-Plutonium particles are inhaled into the lungs and cause lung cancer.
Bones-Radioactive Strontium can damage bone marrow and cause leukemia or bone cancer.
Reproductive System-Genetic damage can be passed onto children.
Whole Body-Radioactive Cesium 137 is inhaled or ingested and causes various types of cancer.

A high dose of radiation over a few minutes or hours can cause acute radiation syndrome which begins immediately.

Short term effects:
Hair-Falls out within a week.
Brain-Nervousness, confusion
Stomach/Intestines-Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lining damage
Skin-Burns, which can lead to infection
Bones-Marrow cells begin to die
Whole Body-Fatigue, dehydration

Long term effects:
Cell damage, which makes people susceptible to leukemia and other cancers, as well as sterility.

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has joined the list of major nuclear disasters of the last 30 years, rating just behind Chernobyl.

1979 Three Mile Island
Three Mile Island is a nuclear power plant (two reactors, TMI-1, TMI-2) located in Middletown PA on the Susquehanna River, just south of Harrisburg. On March 28, 1979 TMI-2 suffered a partial meltdown, bringing about the worst known nuclear accident in the United States. Due to a cooling system malfunction and human error water levels dropped and the fuel rods were exposed in TMI-2, leading to a partial meltdown of the reactor core. This led to a significant release of radioactivity, including I-131, into the environment. It took 11 years to remove the nuclear fuel from TMI-2. 

1986 Chernobyl
The Chernobyl nuclear plant is located in northern Ukraine. On April 26, 1986, while a test was being conducted, Reactor #4 exploded. 180 tons of nuclear fuel burned releasing an excessive amount of radiation into the environment. This disaster was worse than it should have been due to the fact that there was no containment building. As amazing as that seems, these nuclear reactors weren’t built with a protective containment building. So when the test went wrong and the explosion ensued, there was little to prevent radiation release. One measure of just how much radiation was released is the finding that the incidence of thyroid cancer in the region is now 500x greater than pre-1986 levels. Currently there is an “Alienation Zone”, a 19 mile zone of worst contamination surrounding the Chernobyl site where everyone was evacuated.

Apologists for nuclear power point to the fact that there have only been three major nuclear accidents in the last 32 years (that we know of). Somehow this is supposed to underlie the safety record of nuclear power. They say we have the best technology, the safest operation; that we don’t make the same mistakes. I say that wherever nuclear power plants are operated by people human error will cause problems, leading to potentially horrendous consequences. Consider the history of just one nuclear power plant. 

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant-An accident waiting to happen?
In 1970 Pacific Gas and Electric proposed building a nuclear power plant at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County in southern California. Even though there were four known seismic faults nearby, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant was going to be built at a cost of $320 million dollars. In 1971 another fault was discovered only 3 miles away, seismic retrofits were carried out at an additional cost of $5 billion dollars. In 1981 it was discovered that these seismic retrofits were done backwards as the engineers had read the blueprints backwards. A retrofit of the retrofit was carried out for another $2.2 billion dollars.
In 2008, another fault was discovered less than 1 mile away from Diablo Canyon. Three dimensional seismic studies of the plant were ordered by the state of California but have still not been carried out. Recently it was admitted that the emergency coolant pumps had been out of operation for the past 18 months. For 1½ years the valves were stuck on the emergency coolant pumps. If there had been an accident requiring emergency cooling, say an earthquake from the fault less than 1 mile away, the pumps would not have been able to cool the fuel rods. A meltdown would then have occurred. 


Do Not take Potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is only effective when used during a 1-2 day time period of exposure. It is only effective for exposure to I-131. Remember I-131 has an 8 day half-life. It was just about 8 days before the first radiation reached the west coast of the US. It is not safe to take Potassium iodide on your own as you can cause thyroid disease. Talk to your naturopathic physician if you have concerns about this.

Do consider adding traditional Japanese foods to your diet. When the US dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 there were some survivors. Japanese doctors examined these people to see what might account for their survival. It was observed that these survivors ate a traditional diet—miso, sea vegetables (seaweeds), and brown rice. I commonly recommend these foods in their organic forms. If you want to increase your health, whether we’re dealing with nuclear fallout or not, start eating these foods. When it comes to miso in particular only buy organic and not pasteurized. Miso is a live food which loses its benefit if it’s pasteurized or cooked. If you’ve never eaten seaweeds, dulse is a tasty one to start with. 

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is an ongoing story with almost daily updates. Stay tuned to this by checking for updates on my Facebook page. If you have specific questions that weren’t answered by this newsletter shoot me an email and I’ll help you out. I hope you found this special issue of Naturopathic News interesting and useful.

Here are some pages that are of particular interest:

Store: There are 321 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn’t one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.

Newsletter: Here you will find all 102 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.

Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, “No Deaths From Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids Or Herbs”.

Come join my fan page at 
Help me bring information, news, and stories about natural medicine to the Facebook community. 

For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking website. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college. 

Facebook pages help you discover new artists, businesses, and communities as well as those you already love. On my fan page I post discussions that you can join in with and relay breaking health news related to disease prevention, clinical nutrition, and ways to make you healthier. 

I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. See you there!

As is often the case, a recent new patient asked if I would review their choice and use of supplements and herbs. Why does this happen so often? For many, taking a vitamin or herb is their introduction to natural medicine. Their desire to be healthier drives them to take supplements and herbs. The death, pain, discomfort, and side effects experienced with over the counter and prescription drugs compels people to look elsewhere. It’s very different with supplements and herbs which, when used correctly, have an incredibly low risk of harm.

Some people take this to an extreme and take every supplement or herb that someone tells them is ‘good for them’. It might be a clerk, an internet ‘expert’ source, or a friend who is marketing the latest or greatest fad. Most of these individuals or companies have no professional training or experience in the medical use of the supplements or herbs that they’re selling. The people they’re selling to come into my office with 5, 10, 15, or more supplements that they’re taking. Sometimes it’s been so long since they started taking them that they don’t remember why they’re doing it. When I ask, they can’t tell me what, if anything, a particular product is doing for them. Yet, they can be quite fearful of stopping any of these items, as if their health would careen off a precipice without them.

Why do I think my approach is any different? Partly, it’s because of my background. I’ve literally been working with nutritional supplements since 1974. That’s 36 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Beginning in 1980 I started working with Western and Chinese herbs. The quality of herbs used and how they’re combined together has the greatest effect on the efficacy of the final product. Because I’ve grown, identified, harvested, and produced medicinal herbal products I recognize a good formula when I see one.

Licensed naturopaths like me receive the most extensive academic and clinical training in the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines of any professional in the United States. Nothing can substitute for such hands on experience, especially when you see, and are responsible for, the results of your treatments. Very different from the clerk in the store, or coworker who’s part of a MLM scheme. 

What I’m offering to is easy access to this experience and training. Both for you and your family. If you have questions about the supplements or herbs you are taking, or are thinking about taking, now is the time to ask. Send me an email with the brand and name of the product you’re taking. Let me know that you want to bring the bottles in at your next visit, so I can see what you’re taking. Start a discussion on my Facebook fan page. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, or what isn’t. We’ll fine tune what you’re taking to maximize effect and eliminate waste. 

Let me hear from you and we’ll get started. 

It just happened again the other day. A patient sent me a copy of the Vitamin D test she just had done. With frustrating results. The wrong test was done. After all these years, and all the information available, MDs and laboratories still order the wrong test. What a waste of money and time. 

For a long time I looked for a home Vitamin D test. One that would be simple, easy, and accurate to do on your own. I finally found one. ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton OR. ZRT emphasizes research and technological innovation. 

Until now, venipuncture blood serum has been the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. ZRT has developed and refined Vitamin D testing in blood spots. A few drops of blood from a quick and nearly painless nick of the finger, placed on a filter paper to dry are all that is needed. The total 25 (OH) Vitamin D is then determined by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This method has been shown to be as accurate as the assay standard.

Ordering A Vitamin D Test 
ZRT allows anyone to order a Vitamin D test kit for $95 plus shipping and have it sent to their home. ZRT will let me prepay for kits and send them to my office for $55 each, plus $8 shipping. I am charging $65 per kit for patients to cover the total. 

If you are interested in getting a Vitamin D test done through my office please prepay so I can order you a kit. Then you can either pick it up at my office or have it shipped to your home. Once you’ve taken the sample and sent it back to ZRT it’s only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the mail arrives.

If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, most accurate way to do it ourselves. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for prevention of disease and maintenance of health.

I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.

Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It’s a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices. 

To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.

That’s it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you’ve thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know. 

Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP
580 E. 3rd. St.
Williamsport PA 17701
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