Radiological health expert Daniel Hayes, Ph.D., of the New
York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene suggests
that a form of vitamin D could be one of our body's main
protections against damage from low levels of radiation.
Writing in theInternational
Journal of Low Radiation, Hayes explains that calcitriol,
the active form of vitamin D, may protect us from background
radiation and could be used as a safe protective agent
before or after a low-level nuclear incident.
Biologists and pharmacologists who specialize in radiation
and health are keen to find an effective agent that could be
given by mouth, have few side effects and would protect us
against a suspected or impending nuclear event, whether an
accident, terrorist attack, or other incident.
In terms of protecting people from the long-term effects of
radiation, cancer formation would be the main focus. The
ideal agent would act by blocking DNA damage or by halting
the progression of damaged cells that might eventually grow
While a drug is yet to be found with such ideal
radio-protective properties, other researchers have
demonstrated that certain dietary supplements have at least
some of the desired properties. Hayes argues that vitamin D,
and in particular its biologically active form, could be the
key ingredient in radiological protection.
"Our general understanding and appreciation of the
multifaceted protective actions of vitamin D have recently
entered a new era," says Hayes, "It is now becoming
recognized that its most active molecular form,
1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, may offer protection against a
variety of radiation- and otherwise-induced damages."
Hayes has reviewed the various biochemical mechanisms by
which vitamin D protects users_ from the low levels of
natural radiation released by the rocks on which we stand
and the skies above us. He points out that calcitriol is
involved in cell cycle regulation and control of
proliferation, cellular differentiation and communication
between cells, as well as programmed cell death (apoptosis
and autophagy) and antiangiogenesis.
Calcitriol is the form of vitamin D that activates the
body's Vitamin D Receptor (VDR), which allows gene
transcription to take place and the activation of the innate
It is possible that several of the transcribed by the VDR
will help transcribe proteins that protect the body against
"Vitamin D by its preventive/ameliorating actions should be
given serious consideration as a protective agent against
sublethal radiation injury, and in particular that induced
by low-level radiation," concludes Hayes.
---------------------------- Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press
10 Nov 2008
Source: Daniel Hayes
Radiology / Nuclear Medicine / Cancer / Oncology, Genetics,
Nutrition / Diet,
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