If you've ever seen a superhero comic book or movie, you've probably seen at least one of the characters exposed to an extremely high dose of radiation and as a result, he/she emits light and develops superhuman abilities.
Okay let's get back to reality and understand some facts for a minute or two.
Firstly, it's highly unlikely that getting exposed to massive amounts of radiation will enable you to glow in the dark, leap over skyscrapers, or fly at supersonic speeds. No, you'll probably die instantly or in a pretty short time at least.
Secondly, you may not have experienced nuclear fallout or became locked inside an experimental radiation unit…but wherever you are right now reading this, your body is exposed to radiation from many different sources.
Sure you may not be feeling anything. This is because radiation is everywhere and has been everywhere since the beginning of time itself. Examples of radiation you might be exposed to as you read this, are the:
- life-giving rays of light coming from our sun...
- side walk you're walking on...
- apple you're eating...
- watch and clothes you're wearing...
- water you're drinking...
- plane you're flying in...
- grass you're sitting on...
The list literally goes on and on. We cannot avoid radiation because we are conceived in, develop and grow-up in a universe where radiation is one of the constants of life. You could actually say it's necessary for life to exist…but this is where this article starts getting interesting.
What is radiation exactly?
Well, radiation refers to an emission of ionizing energy, such as neutrons, photons, and high energy charged particles like gamma rays. There are a number of different types of radiation, including cosmic radiation from space, terrestrial radiation which is emitted by radioactive elements in the ground, and man-make radiation such as that released by the detonation of an atomic bomb.
You see, the kind of radiation we experience daily is the tiny amounts emitted from natural elements found in our earth as well as the features and creatures that make our world what it is.
Of course some man-made objects like clothing and many others emit radiation themselves. Still it's not the large amounts that could potentially kill you or at least do some serious damage. The real concern lies with our everyday exposure to objects like computer laptops (sitting literally on our laps), excessive use of cellphones, airport security scanners and living in close proximity to nuclear power stations where a meltdown has occurred.
This form of man-made ionizing radiation does one main thing to the human body: it weakens and breaks up DNA, either damaging cells enough to kill them or causing them to mutate in ways that may eventually lead to cancer. At extremely high doses, radiation causes cell death, through a process called thermalization, which basically cooks a cell from the inside out.
Radiation Exposure Risk
Radiation exposure risk is measured in units called milisieverts (mSv), which take into account the type and amount of radiation, and which parts of the body are exposed. Radiation dosage units are measured in millirems (mrem), and they are used to calculate the results of radiation exposure from objects like x-ray machines in hospitals.
The list below describes amounts of ionizing radiation only because when it comes to non-ionizing radiation, only ultraviolet rays are cancer-causing agents (Ref 1):
- A short full-body dose of 10,000 mSv (1,000,000 mrem) radiation would cause immediate illness and subsequent death within a few weeks.
- Short-term doses greater than 1000 mSv (100,000 mrem) over a long period are likely to increase the risk of cancer development in future.
- 50 mSv (5,000 mrem) is thought to be the lowest dose at which cancer may occur in adults. It is also the highest dose allowed by regulation in any one year of occupational exposure.
- 10-12 mSv (1,000-1,200 mrem) in one dose is the equivalent of a full body CT scan.
- 3 mSv/yr (300 mrem) is the typical background radiation from natural sources in North America, including an average of almost 2 mSv/yr from radon in air.
- 2 mSv/yr (200 mrem) is the typical background radiation from natural sources, including an average of 0.7 mSv/yr from radon in air. This is close to the minimum dose received by all humans anywhere on Earth.
- 0.01-0.03 mSv (1-3 mrem) is typical radiation from a single coast-to-coast airplane flight. However, high-mileage frequent flying (100,000 to 450,000 miles per year) can range from 1 to 6 mSv (100-600 mrem) per year.
The chances of the average person being subjected to a single massive dose of radiation in their lifetime is extremely rare. However, the more radiation you are exposed to on a regular basis may very well increase your chances of developing cancer. Your body is constantly fighting a tug-o'-war with cancer and the key is to ensure your body is winning as much as possible.
According to Warren Matthews, Xtend-Life Chairman: "The only way that I know of to avoid cancer is to live a lifestyle that ensures that you have more 'anti-cancer promoters' than 'cancer promoters' in your body. For those people who have a higher than normal exposure to carcinogens such as people living in regions such as Chernobyl this requires a greater degree of effort."
"Anti-cancer promoters can be in a form of nutrients found in a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables. Only problem is that it is difficult to get enough of them in the modern diet, particularly as many peoples diets include processed foods in which some of the components are suspected to be 'Cancer promoters".
This is where good quality supplements such as Total Balance may play an important role in promoting good health and be helpful to make up for some of these deficiencies.
We cannot avoid radiation altogether but we can take preventative measures to ensure that we don't expose ourselves to more radiation. The cliché of 'everything in moderation' may be true in regard to many things, but when it comes to radiation, less is definitely more!