I was recently at the dentist and given the option of having my teeth radiographed. Although I visit the dentist annually, I do not always get my teeth radiographed for the simple fact that x-rays and gamma rays are known human carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). You have the option of asking your dentist to X-ray your teeth every other year or perhaps as little as every 5 years. Luckily, my dentist is very understanding when it comes to my concerns and, since I have never had a cavity under his care, is happy to space out my X-rays.
So, do X-rays cause cancer? The American Cancer Society (at www.cancer.org) quotes on their website:
Yes. X-rays and gamma rays are known human carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). The evidence for this comes from many different sources, including studies of atomic bomb survivors in Japan, people exposed during the Chernobyl nuclear accident, people treated with high doses of radiation for cancer and other conditions, and people exposed to high levels of radiation at work, such as uranium miners.
What can we do to protect ourselves? Other than spacing out voluntary exposure to X-rays, we can take vitamin C everyday. A study from the Journal of Research Comminications in Molecular Pathology and Pharmacology [PMID:9029674] showed that mice, when given a diet high in vitamin C, were able to mitigate any free radical damage caused by the X-ray both in the initial stages of radical scavenging but also in the cellular redox processes. This means that having high levels of vitamin C in the body can help protect you against both acute X-ray assault as well as long lasting oxidative stress.
Some dietary sources of vitamin C (in order of highest content to lowest)
- Red bell peppers
- Guavas (note: you may want to avoid this if you have Type 2 Diabetes due to its high sugar content)
- Tomatoes (cooked)
- Papaya (note: you may want to avoid this if you have Type 2 Diabetes due to its high sugar content)
What about taking a Vitamin C supplement?
Due to modern day farming practices and longer food storage times, the vitamin C content was a lot higher in an orange picked in the 1950s compared to an orange picked in 2014. With this being said, many people find it necessary to supplement their diets with vitamins and minerals. When it comes to vitamin C, I'm happy to report that any brand will do. The reason behind this is that ascorbic acid (the molecular name for vitamin C) is incredibly easy to compound, thus making it inexpensive for many companies to make. Therefore, it's ok to buy this brand from any supplement company, not just a professional brand. The only time I would look into buying vitamin C from a professional brand is if you have many food allergies or sensitivities, as generally only the professional brands ensure they make their products gluten, dairy, soy, corn and egg free.
If you are unsure about dosing, ask your Naturopathic Doctor or an Integrative Medical Doctor. Click here to find a list of practitioners of Integrative MDs and NDs in Canada.
Yours in health,
Yours in health,