Anti-radiation pill containing antioxidants is a new line of research.Work is in progress in a few centres.But no pill which was clinically found effective is available yet. There are a few instances of anti-radiation pills with unproven benefits getting marketed through advertising campaigns. I have been keeping track of one such formulation called BioshieldRadiation since July 2009.The promoters of the pill did not publish any result showing its effectiveness in any peer reviewed journal. They made presentations at conferences and started issuing press releases to promote the pill. They advertised the pill at an attractive website. Auntminnie.com a trade journal uncritically published an interview with the promoters of the pill.A few physicians endorsed the pill and started prescribing it.This may lead to unbridled use of CT scan for screening. Physicians may assure the patients not to worry about radiation dose if they consume the anti radiation pill
You can access the press releases
dated March 28,2011 Accessed on November 24,2011
dated June 30,2009 (Accessed on November 24,2011
dated April 8, 2011 Accessed on November 24,2011
Finally USFDA issued a warning letter to the company
http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/ucm253423.htm April 28,2011
The original Bioshieldpill.com carries this message “This domain name expired on 11/16/2011 and is pending renewal or deletion”.
The British Medical Journal accepted my article on Anti-Radiation Pill to be published as a feature. They decided against publishing it after two years of protracted correspondence! Presently the company is marketing the pill as non-drug supplement.
Recently there was discussion in Radsafe news group on another Anti radiation pill produced by Dr Chris Busby for the children of Fukushima. Mr George Monbiot exposed Dr Busby in an article in the British Newspaper The Guardian.
I should have sent my article to The Guardian in July 2009. Error of judgement! I thought the best place to discuss the issue is a medical journal
On November 5,2011 I published an article on Anti Radiation pill as a PTI Feature
VOL NO XXVII (45) November 5, 2011
Anti-radiation pill: None Yet
Anti radiation pill containing antioxidants is a new line of research.
A company based in Nashville, USA, persuaded people who undergo regular or occasional exposure to ionizing radiation to consume BioShield-radiation, its anti-radiation pill, claiming that it reduces the harmful effects of radiation. Instead of publishing its finding in a peer reviewed journal; the company published press
releases and presented papers at conferences.
Since the pill is a cocktail of antioxidants, the company believed that it did not require any approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. FDA thought otherwise and slapped a warning letter against the pill. After listing a few uses of the pill published in the company’s website, FDA warned that the company’s products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for those uses. Since then the company advertised that it is coming up with a new website!
The company was eyeing a global market. It has been selling the pill on line. It made unproven claims and recommended debatable protocols. Eric Barnes of Auntminnie.com, a trade journal uncritically published the claims of the promoters of the pill.
The company claimed to have set aside 115,000 doses or a four-month supply for 1000 adults, to be shipped to workers and people living close to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
———————————————————————————————————…..due to high demand, the product currently has limited availability and interested individuals are asked to restrict their on-line purchase to no more than three bottles in one order”, the press release implored. The company may have successfully created a consumer demand.
“The efficacy of antioxidant strategy for biological radiation protection in humans against low doses of radiation has not been tested”. Dr K N Prasad, an inventor of the pill admitted He clarified that direct experiments with radio-protective antioxidant formulations cannot be performed in humans for ethical reasons. How did they recommend when and how many pills a person should consume to ensure safety against radiation? The query went unanswered. The company is making unproven claims; the protocols it recommends are equally debatable.
Prasad suggested that the implementation of the proposed recommendation of boosting antioxidant levels may allow prospective studies among radiation workers to determine its efficiency in reducing health risks of low doses of radiation in present and future generations. Such a study will benefit the company; the pills’ sale will reach astronomical scales! For statistical reasons, to get reliable results, probably millions of workers may have to eat the pill.
The researchers did not publish any study on the beneficial effects of BioShield Radiation. Till it is done, the company’s claim will remain just that; a claim!
Wearing lead aprons, using short exposure times and keeping sufficient distance are methods to control radiation exposure from any source of ionizing radiation. The biological advantage, if any, arising out of consuming the anti radiation pill is yet to be proved .The unproven “biological” benefit is not as robust as time, distance and shielding which offer safety from a source of radiation.
In an interview to AuntMinnie.com Dr.James Ehrlich MD, an advisor of PMC claimed that Dr Michael Kufner and colleagues from the University of Erlangen tested the radiation protection powers of BioShield, both in vivo and in vitro. According to him, ingesting BioShield before scanning led to reductions of 20% to 30% Double Strand Breaks (DSB) compared to identical scans acquired without the product. Again, there are no publications in journals…
Fred Mettler Jr, Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Service, New Mexico VA Health Care Services, and colleagues examined chemical radio-protectants, including antioxidants and conceded that there is, promising research, and that they are, still not the standard of care in medicine. But years of research would be needed to prove their efficacy and to assess their long-term toxicity on humans.
The company referred to three “professional publications” on its web site; the authors of these articles set up the company and are promoting the pill.
“Based on published data on antioxidants and radiation protection, it is possible to develop a non toxic, cost effective mixture of antioxidants (dietary and glutathione-elevating agents) that can provide biological protection against radiation damage in humans. Indeed, such formulations referred to as Bio-Shield are available commercially’’, Dr. Prasad, a co-founder of the company wrote in one of the articles.
The British Journal of Radiology appears to have lowered its bar while allowing the author to describe how BioShield may be used as an anti-radiation pill by patients receiving diagnostic radiation doses, radiation workers, frequent fliers and by populations living in regions with high background radiation. It is surprising how a paper which promoted the product escaped the attention of the reviewers.
The camaraderie between the company and some cardiologists may lead to unbridled use of CT scan units. Three physicians, Matthew Budoff, Associate Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, .James Adams, Medical Director, CT Scanning Centre, Cardiovascular Associates of Marin and San Francisco Larkspur, CA, and Stephen Raskin, Director, Cardiac Graphics, Highland Hospital, Alameda County Medical Centre, Oakland, CA endorse the pill. The endorsement now vanished with the website.
High radiation dose is a disincentive in cardiac CT screening. CT protagonists may assure the patients that radiation damage is no reason to worry if they consume BioShield-Radiation! This assurance is not scientifically substantiated. Physicians endorsing the product are already prescribing it.
One of them, Dr. Budoff is a member of a task force of the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE), which promotes cardiac CT screening of all males between age 45 and 75, and females between 55 and 75. (Please see
(http://www.theheart.org/collection/The-SHAPE-guidelines.do). SHAPE’s guidelines are not supported by mainstream specialists.
Yet another company is trying to sell calcium containing vitamin pill to the “children of Fukushima”. Obviously its aim is to scare innocent public and persuade them to buy their pill. Popping such pills before and after radiation exposure surely will benefit the company and not the consumers of the pill.