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ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND HEALTH PT.5: HOW THE UNSEEN AFFECTS OUR CELLS

Mya Care Blogger 07 Dec 2022
ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND HEALTH PT.5: HOW THE UNSEEN AFFECTS OUR CELLS

This article covers Part 5 of this review, which concludes the series with tips on how we can best integrate man-made EMF into our lives while minimizing the potential risk of adverse effects.

  • Part 1 briefly introduces EMF and explains its importance in our lives as well as how it impacts the body. General health effects of EMF are also discussed in light of their potential underlying mechanisms.
  • Part 2 describes the fundamental differences between natural and man-made EMF, before proceeding to discuss the effects of common natural EMF exposures on health.
  • Part 3 begins to review the effects of everyday man-made EMF exposures in the context of health. Effects of EMF at the lowest end of the spectrum are discussed in this section, covering a broad range of common exposures from light bulbs to induction cookers.
  • Part 4 explores high to extremely high intensity EMF exposures, summarizing the potential risks related to cell phones, WiFi and more. Additionally, the safety of man-made EMF is discussed, alongside electromagnetic hypersensitivity (also known as microwave sickness).

5 Tips for Living Healthy with EMF

With the introduction of additional sources of EMF in the modern technological environment, it is important to understand the potential effects and what we can do to better adapt.

While the effects are still being investigated fully, it has become clear that EMF is capable of affecting the electrical component of living cells. This can induce a wide variety of effects that may enhance or detract from overall cellular health. For acute or intensive exposures, the cell tends to undergo stress due to disruptions in basic membrane signaling. This typically results in increased inflammation and a reduction in cellular resources, which can result in further signaling imbalances, growth abnormality, micro tissue damage and numerous other health effects.

The strategies proposed for minimizing the potential risks include buffering cellular resources, improving signaling integrity and reducing exposure to EMF. These can be achieved through simple yet effective means that are known to improve overall health and well-being, as detailed below.

1. Antioxidants

When negative effects have been observed in response to EMF, depletion of cellular antioxidants and nutrients are commonly seen as a result. In a study conducted in Finland, 194 participants with electromagnetic hypersensitivity reported an improvement in their symptoms due to making healthy dietary changes, taking nutritional supplements and exercising.[1]

Below are a few examples of antioxidant nutrients and foods that may help to protect against EMF, radiation and oxidative stress (inflammation):

Plant-Based Micro-Nutrients:

  • Melatonin is a potent antioxidant compound that the body makes and that is also present in a few wholefoods, including pistachios and walnuts. EMF is known to reduce melatonin production rates in the brain and body[2], which depletes available melatonin and contributes towards the potential for EMF to induce inflammatory cellular changes. It is theorized that this occurs as both a product of oxidative stress and the fact that the pineal gland may register EMF as light[3], directly interrupting the circadian rhythm and melatonin production. Melatonin was shown to protect against a wide variety of EMF-induced symptoms, including excess cellular calcium influx[4], inflammation[5], bone mineral loss[6], DNA, brain and kidney damage[7]. Reducing exposure to EMF, regulating one’s circadian rhythm and consuming melatonin-promoting foods can help to improve melatonin synthesis. Exercise, good sleep hygiene, stress management, spending time outdoors in the sun and improving the health of the gut microbiome are all conducive to regulating the circadian rhythm and enhancing the production of precursors to melatonin.
  • Resveratrol was shown to be protective for electrical workers exposed to high intensity EMF on a daily basis, through lowering resultant inflammation[8].
  • Catechins and epicatechins were shown to protect animal brain tissue from inflammation induced by low intensity EMF and cell phone radiation[9]. These nutrients can be found in green tea, quality dark chocolate, dark berries, apples, red wine, broad beans and apricots.
  • Procyanidins from lotus seed protects against cell death caused by low intensity EMF at a high magnetic field strength[10]. These can also be found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly red and purple carrots, potatoes and eggplants, as well as nuts, legumes, grains, herbs and spices.[11]

Vitamins:

  • Vitamin D was able to prevent immune-related changes provoked by cell phone radiation in groups of exposed rats, including protecting against immunoglobulin and white blood cell decline[12].
  • Vitamin E is specifically known to be an important nutrient for preventing resultant inflammation due to bodily fat oxidation. It was shown to protect against EMF-induced fat oxidation and helped to lower inflammation in rats[13]. It also has been shown to protect against thymic damage and changes after EMF exposure, protect the reproductive system of male rats[14] as well as preserve DNA integrity in electrical workers better than vitamin C[15].
  • Vitamin C is capable of preventing cell phone and computer-induced inflammation in the lens of the eyes[16] [17]. When used in combination with Vitamin E, Vitamin C served to preserve cells from EMF-induced cell death[18] and protect electrical workers from cardiovascular inflammation and damage to blood tissue[19]. In a small-scale study conducted on rats, Vitamin C helped to prevent WiFi-induced increases in cholesterol and dips in blood sugar levels[20].
  • B Vitamins deserve a special mention for supporting energy production, growth and overall metabolic stability. There is very little research conducted on B vitamin supplementation with regard to EMF exposure. However, there is plenty of research to show that most B vitamins work synergistically to preserve cellular health, protect against tissue damage and enhance regeneration. These effects are likely to be helpful in reducing the possible risks associated with EMF use.

Minerals:

  • Electrolytes. EMF has been shown in vitro to increase electrolyte uptake by the cell, which can potentially result in deficiencies or excesses. Magnesium has been shown to be the most depleted in rat studies by comparison to other basic electrolytes[21], however, potassium is also known to become depleted as a result[22].
  • Zinc was shown to ameliorate the adverse thyroidal effects of computer radiation on those who worked on computers daily [23], as well as EMF-induced lipid oxidation in the brains of lab rats[24].
  • Selenium is able to protect embryonic kidney cells in vitro from microwave radiation at 2.4GHz, through reducing oxidative stress and regulating cellular antioxidants[25]. At 2.1GHz, selenium was shown to prevent adverse reproductive effects in a small group of male rats[26].

Antioxidant-rich foods shown to be protective across studies:

  • Fish rich in Omega-3 Fats. Omega-3 fats served to protect against EMF-induced brain tissue damage[27] and adrenal gland enlargement in rats[28].
  • Garlic has been shown to protect rats against EMF-induced DNA damage in brain and vascular tissue.[29]
  • Rosemary and other Sage Family Herbs. A small study on rats revealed that rosemary is capable of partially reversing adverse reproductive effects in the testes induced by low intensity EMF exposure[30], as well as liver damage[31]. The antioxidant nutrients in rosemary are similar to those in other herbs across the sage family, including sage, thyme, basil and oregano.
  • Other. While research is scarce with regards to EMF, the majority of anti-inflammatory foods, teas, herbs and spices are known to offer beneficial effects on health that may help to reduce the potential negative effects associated with EMF.

Consuming a healthy balanced diet, high in nutritious plant-based foods, should be an equally important focus for enhancing nutrient uptake and regulating digestion.

2. Exercise

Moderate intensity exercise improves overall health by helping to maintain balanced metabolism.

  • Regulates Cell Growth and Communication. Physical activity regulates electrochemical communication between bone, muscle and other tissues through enhancing electrical pulses and neuroendocrine responses[32]. It also serves to promote optimal cell turnover by generating beneficial inflammation (which abolishes faulty cells from tissues), shifting metabolism towards muscle building and enhancing blood flow. These effects are known to contribute towards the anti-carcinogenic effects of exercise[33], which may further extend to the potential carcinogenic risk associated with EMF, especially cell phone radiation.
  • Improves Bone Strength and Regeneration. Exercise proved to enhance bone mineral density and formation in a group of men with osteoporosis. The results proved better with exercise than medical therapy using pulsed EMF at a beneficially stimulating frequency range.[34]
  • Enhances immune function. Exercise has been shown to increase white blood cell counts, enhance the distribution of immune cells around the body and improve their overall function. These may serve to combat the possible immune-suppressive effects of EMF. Additionally, one study highlights that these effects also collectively contribute to boost the ability of immune cells to suppress tumor formation and growth.[35]
  • Lowers Adverse Effects Associated with Ionizing Radiation. A review of studies highlights the potential for exercise training to reduce DNA damage, antioxidant deficits and inflammation related to ionizing radiation exposure.[36] As this form of radiation is known to be more harmful than non-ionizing radiation, it bodes well for protection against lesser forms of radiation.
  • Potentially Protects Against EMF-Induced Neuro-Inflammation. Three hours of cell phone radiation was shown to promote neuro-inflammation in rats. Exercise protects them by enhancing brain antioxidant activity.[37]
  • Helps Improve Electrophysical Cardio Parameters. Exercise was shown to improve various cardio health markers in rats after a heart attack, including overall heart function and calcium handling. The risk for arrhythmia was also reduced after intensive exercise in these rats.[38]
  • Serves As A Buffer Against Environmental Stresses. Physical activity has been shown to regulate several epigenetic changes induced by environmental risk factors for several states of disease, suggesting that it aids in buffering the body against environmental stresses[39]. This may prove helpful for improving outcomes in the case of Idiopathic Environmental Intolerances, which is often the preferred diagnosis for those with EHS.

3. Minimizing Exposure to Man-Made EMF

Keeping a Safer Distance. This is the first consideration to make with regard to using EMF technology. With the majority of EMF-emitting devices, close proximity substantially increases the field strength as well as the potential risk involved. For weaker fields (low to intermediate), close proximity usually refers to being as close as several centimeters (1-35cm), while for more intensive fields, 60-100cm can be similarly problematic. Moving away from the immediate EMF zone does not completely eradicate the field from having effects, but merely drops the intensity to less than 1-10%, depending on the device and field strength in question. As the long-term and accumulative effects of EMF exposure are a potential risk to health, it is still important to implement strategies to minimize overall exposure and to support general well-being.

Limiting Use of EMF-Emitting Devices. Further suggestions to help minimize exposure include:

  • Acquiring EMF-blocking devices that can help to reduce the effects of these devices.
  • Limit the broadcast time of wifi and Bluetooth transmitters, especially at night.
  • Convert to cables where possible.
  • Keep cellphones, tablets and computers away from the body as much as possible while in use.
  • Store such devices away from your body.
  • Switch these devices off as much as possible.
  • If exposed frequently, make an effort to take frequent breaks (every 30 - 60 mins) from EMF.

EMF and Light Restriction as Part of Sleep Hygiene. Data suggests that the body responds to EMF in a similar way to light. The circadian rhythm responds to light as a queue for metabolic stimulation, signaling for one to be awake and active. Hence, it is advisable to limit time on electronic devices as well as exposure to artificial light sources in the hour or two before going to sleep. Restricting mobile phone use before bedtime was shown to improve the quality and duration of sleep in healthy individuals, as well as enhancing working memory[1]and positive mood.[40] When the circadian rhythm is balanced, it also helps to regulate metabolism and reduce the potential risks related to EMF exposure. This demands spending time in the sun every day and receiving natural light while one is awake.[41]

Limiting Blue Light Exposure. For those who spend long periods of time on light-emitting electronic devices (e.g. computers, cell phones), blue light blocking glasses may be an option for limiting exposure of the eyes to blue light and reducing the resultant ocular inflammation.

4. Take Breaks That Aim for Charge Neutrality

Due to the greater charges observed in artificial EMF and polarization[2] , there are a few factors that may be complementary for resetting our bio-electricity:

  • Natural light. As with natural EMF, sunlight is non-polarized and typically scatters at random before neutralizing its inherent charge. As sunlight is a type of radiation that works towards neutrality with respect to whatever it encounters, it may help to dissipate any residual artificial EMF-related effects in the skin.
  • Making contact with natural ground. With regard to electrical currents, the term “earthing” or “grounding” comes to mind, wherein a current can be directed into the earth and neutralized. This may help, like natural light, to put an end to a polarized current generated as a result of being overexposed to intensive EMF.
  • Physical activity. Any form of movement begins to stimulate the musculoskeletal system in an electro-magnetic way due to the impulses released from bones and muscles when the muscles contract and relax. This can help to generate a counter current that may serve to balance potential bioelectrical changes that may have occurred as a result of EMF exposure.
  • Swimming. Water is able to absorb charge, which could theoretically aid in abating residual charges induced through excess EMF exposure. Immersing in water can also help to rehydrate the skin, which is known to become dehydrated through heating as a result of high-intensity EMF exposure.

‚Äč5. Developing Solar Awareness

As the radiation that accompanies large solar winds is known to affect heart rate variability and other aspects of our biology, it can help to know when the phenomenon occurs. This is especially pertinent to those with health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to these effects.

While there is no escaping such large scale eruptions from the sun, it can help to take precautions that help to lessen the effects and associated risks. Increased heart rate variability can often lead to heightened stress levels and exaggerated emotional responses that can both contribute towards faulty thinking and perception, as well as unanticipated health effects.

On days when solar activity is high, understanding these effects is useful for maintaining the right perspective and helping to calm any potential reactions. Actively remaining calm, managing stress and following the other tips listed here can go a long way towards managing possible negative effects of enhanced solar activity.

Solar EMF May Be Beneficial. It is important to note that solar activity may also be a positive thing, known to have a stimulating effect on brain activity. Historical periods of mass societal change, upheaval and reinvention were often preceded by intensive solar activity, being linked with enhanced creativity and new ways of thinking.

Conclusion

With the introduction of the modern technological environment, it is important to understand the potential effects of EMF and what we can do to better adapt.

While no firm conclusions have yet been drawn, it has become clear that EMF is capable of affecting the electrical component of living cells. Exposures at various intensities can induce a wide variety of effects that may enhance or detract from overall cellular health. The most attention has been given to the thermal effects of EMF, for which EMF device safety standards have been successfully implemented. Despite these regulations, preliminary evidence is starting to underscore the potential for non-thermal adverse effects; as well as electromagnetic intolerances which have been documented in a small percentage of the global population. Long-term studies and studies evaluating accumulative exposure at varying intensities are required to validate current safety standards.

Documented adverse effects of EMF point towards cellular stress due to disruptions in basic membrane signaling. These effects can be amplified by other environmental factors that achieve similar effects, including pollution. As with many of the health challenges we face today, minimizing the potential risk pertaining to excess EMF exposure demands improving overall health. Consuming a balanced diet high in antioxidant nutrients, exercising and limiting EMF exposure are all advisable for optimal well-being in today’s world.

Sources:

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