Here at SYB, we spend a lot of time talking about ways to reduce our exposure to EMF radiation so we can avoid its biological impact. But today I want to talk about EMF and nutrition. Can we make our bodies more resilient to defend against environmental toxins like electromagnetic fields? Can we protect ourselves from the inside out? Can we mitigate the exposure we inevitably have when we’re out in the world?
People often tell me that there is no point in trying to reduce their EMF exposure because it’s everywhere. Even if their home measures low, they’re exposed when they go to work, or the grocery store, or when driving on the highway. They simply can’t get away from it, so why bother?
If you’ve read our other articles at SYB or watched our webinars, then you know that the most important thing you can do is reduce the exposure inside your own home. What’s in your home contributes to the large majority of what you’re exposed to, and if you can have a low EMF environment where you spend the most amount of time, especially where you sleep, then you’re doing a tremendous amount to protect yourself.
It is true, however, that we have to go out into the world. Some of us work in an office building with many exposures, and our kids spend many hours every day in a school with WiFi, smartphones, fitness trackers, and numerous other radio frequency items.
This is why so many people say, ‘Why even bother!’. The good news, however, is that there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves on a cellular level against the exposure we do get. In this post, I’m going to tell you how to do just that.
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How EMF Affects Our Biology
In order to understand how to protect ourselves, we first need to understand exactly how EMF affects the body. While many critics claim that the science is inconclusive, the reality is that there are tens of thousands of studies demonstrating negative health effects from EMF exposure.
If you haven’t read our post on the health risks associated with cell phones, I suggest you do so to get a primer of the science. That article reviews how EMF radiation impacts your DNA, your nervous system, your brains, and the associated illnesses from long-term exposure.
Another significant way that EMF affects your body on a cellular level is through the activation of the cells’ voltage-gated calcium channels, or VGCC’s for short.
So what the heck are VGCCs, you ask? Specific cells in your body (mostly the muscle cells, glial cells, and neuronal cells) have proteins on their outer membrane that open and close to let in certain nutrients. The VGCCs are responsible for controlling how much calcium is let into the cell.
Calcium plays a critical role inside the cell, instigating certain processes like muscle contraction, synthesizing neurotransmitters, and supporting mitochondria function, to name a few. These cells will not be able to function optimally without enough calcium.
However, too much calcium can cause its own set of problems. Once inside the cell, elevated levels of calcium can rupture the outer membrane of the mitochondria. When excess calcium gets into the nucleus, it can negatively impact genetic material, which can interfere with cell death. Additionally, too much calcium inside the cell can cause excessive levels of oxidative stress.
Much of the work explaining this phenomenon has been done by Dr. Martin Pall, professor emeritus of Washing State University. Pall discovered that when excess calcium enters the cell, it can increase the synthesis of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is very important for healthy blood flow, and has a very important role in the body. When there is too much nitric oxide, however, it can combine with superoxide to create something called peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite is a potent oxidant. Oxidants create free radicals, which are damaging to the cells and tissues inside the body.
You’ve probably heard of antioxidants, and that you should eat foods that are high in them. Antioxidants are important to counter-act the pro-oxidants that are formed inside the body. Oxidants, or ‘pro-oxidants’, can be formed inside the body by numerous things like chemicals, heavy metals, stress, refined foods, air pollution, and yes, electromagnetic fields.
Pall has shown that EMFs artificially activate the VGCCs, allowing excess calcium to flood the cell, which ultimately leads to oxidative stress.
Symptoms & Health Problems
What kinds of problems can oxidative stress create? Well, pretty much anything. Most of our chronic health conditions today stem from underlying oxidative stress issues.
Oxidative stress damages the cells and tissues, and can result in numerous different symptoms and health conditions. When it comes to oxidative stress caused by EMF exposure, the most common symptoms that I see are:
- Numbness and Tingling
- Cognitive impairment
- A stabbing sensation
- Neurological issues
- Heart palpitations
In addition to these symptoms, research has shown that certain illnesses like cancer, leukemias, dementia, Parkinson’s, ADD/ADHD, infertility, and other serious conditions can all be linked to EMF exposure.
Though we understand the biological mechanisms that make EMF exposure so dangerous, some people have a hard time believing it could be so. How can you believe in something that’s invisible? You can’t hear it, smell it, taste it, or see it. It’s very easy to ignore something you can’t see and go about your day not having to think about it.
Not everyone has this luxury, however. The fact is, many people can feel EMFs. In fact, they can feel them so acutely that they can’t be out in public or their symptoms will be too severe. These people are known as electrohypersensitive, or EHS for short. EHS is actually a diagnosable disability in many countries. That alone should tell you that this is real!
But for those people that don’t feel it, and can’t see it, taste it, smell it or hear it, it’s easy to ignore. So the million-dollar question remains: Why are some people so sensitive when others are not?
It turns out there are numerous reasons why some people have symptoms from their exposures while others do not. Researchers have identified several ‘precursors’ or underlying issues that can make some people more likely to experience symptoms. These include:
- Physical trauma
- Emotional trauma
- Heavy metals
- High or chronic EMF exposure
- Mold exposure
In my work with clients, I have found this to be true. The most sensitive people I know have experienced at least one, if not numerous of these precursors. Unfortunately, in our modern, chemically based world, it’s difficult to not experience some of these issues. This is why the number of people experiencing EHS symptoms seems to increase daily.
Protect the Body From the Outside
The good news is that there is a lot we can do to protect ourselves from the EMF exposure that we do have. As we always say here at SYB, the best EMF protection is free. Your first line of defense should always be to reduce your use of EMF promoting devices, and create distance from devices you can’t control.
This is the best, most reliable, sure-fire way to protect your body. When you are exposed, your second line of defense is to shield from those sources. See our post here to understand this concept in further detail.
It’s also important to address any of the precursors listed above. Most of us have some areas that can be improved on. You may need to work with a qualified health care practitioner, as most of these issues require expert guidance.
How to Protect the Body From the Inside
Of course, we understand that there will be times when you simply can’t avoid, nor shield, from your exposures. In that case, it’s important for you to understand how you can protect your body from the inside out. The great news is that if you’re already incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, then you’re already making your body more resilient to the EMF exposure you encounter from day to day.
Antioxidants From Food
As you learned above, one of the primary ways that EMF affects your body is through oxidative stress. What combats oxidative stress? Antioxidants of course! And where do you get antioxidants? In a diet rich with brightly colored, deeply pigmented, fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Nearly all plants have some degree of antioxidants, but more of these helper molecules are found in the pigments of the plant. That’s why nutritionists like myself encourage you to add dark and brightly colored plants to all of your meals. Good choices include:
- Green-leafy vegetables
- Açaí Berries
It’s worth noting that not only are you getting antioxidants from a diet rich in these foods, but you’re also getting vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients that are critical for optimal health.
Most plant foods also contain decent amounts of fiber, and fiber is a key component for balancing blood sugar levels. The importance of balancing your blood sugar cannot be overstated. Balanced blood sugar is the foundation for healthy hormone levels, proper weight management, healthy response to stress, quality sleep, a positive mental outlook and cognitive function, and pretty much all other biochemical processes.
So no matter what your EMF exposure is, you should still be including some of these foods in every meal.
Another important consideration when you’re shopping for your nutrient-dense foods is how the food was grown. I strongly encourage you to choose organic foods whenever possible. Given the propensity for chemicals like pesticides and herbicides to increase health symptoms, choosing foods without these chemicals is a great step towards better health.
The Environmental Working Group puts out an updated list every year detailing foods highest, and lowest, in pesticide and herbicides. This is handy in helping you choose which foods are most important to purchase organic.
Once you have your diet dialed in, you may want to consider nutritional supplements for some extra defense. Given the high levels of EMF exposure many of us have, adding appropriate supplements to our regimen can be a good idea. *Please note that you should always speak with your health care provider before taking any supplements or changing your diet. Not all supplements or dietary choices are appropriate for all people.
In my research regarding EMF exposure and nutrition, there are a few supplements that really stand out. The fist would be magnesium. Research shows that between 50-80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium; a mineral that is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
Magnesium is also a calcium channel blocker. See the connection? EMF radiation artificially opens the Voltage Gated Calcium Channels. So taking a magnesium supplement can help to dampen this action. Other calcium channel blockers include Cat’s Claw and Witch Hazel.
In addition to calcium channel blockers, there are numerous antioxidant supplements on the market. Among my favorites include Astaxanthin, Vitamin C, Glutathione, Propolis, Powdered Greens and Hydrogen Water.
Because EMF exposure can also negatively impact the nervous system, I often recommend certain foods and supplements that offer nervous system support. These include Omega 3s found in cold water fish or fish oil, B-vitamins, phosphatidylcholine, lecithin, and Lion’s Mane.
Finally, I like to support the bodies own antioxidant defense system with foods like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, chocolate and green tea.
EMF & Nutrition: Conclusion
The unfortunate truth is that we’re going to be exposed to electromagnetic fields no matter where we live. Thankfully, nature has provided us with some powerful tools to help mitigate the exposures we can’t control.
It goes without saying that in order to be optimally healthy, you should also be implementing stress management techniques, exercise, sun exposure, relaxation, and human connections into your daily routine.
Combining these practices, along with a healthy diet, appropriate supplementation, addressing precursors, reducing your EMF exposure, and shielding where necessary will go a long way in keeping you healthy in this modern world.
Disclaimer: All content presented here is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information provided here should not be construed as medical advice, nor is it a substitute for personal care with your licensed medical provider. The contents of this website and program(s) are based on the research and opinions of Cathy Cooke, Whole Home and Body Health LLC, Shield Your Body, its colleagues and/or affiliates, unless noted otherwise.