With the widespread availability and use of wireless technology we are now exposed to EMF emissions at varying frequencies and strengths for extended durations 1, and there are increasing concerns being raised about the effects of these emissions on our health. This is especially concerning for young people, who have up to ten times greater electrical absorption through their skull’s bone marrow than adults 3. This article explores some of these health effects and ways to minimise the impact of wireless technology.
According to an Australian Government report in 2012, there are over 8.67 million mobile phones owners in Australia4. Mobile phones use low powered radio transmitters that emit radiofrequency electromagnetic energy to communicate with a base station, and while leading authorities including the World Health Organisation (WHO) are yet to identify solid human evidence, they have not completely ruled out the effects of these electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions on our health 5.
In 2012 the prominent Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo wrote on The Punch:
“There are three undisputed facts about the link between mobile phones and brain tumours. Firstly, the jury is still out. Secondly, the number of mobile phone users is increasing rapidly and currently stands at over five billion worldwide. Thirdly, IF there is a causal link between exposure to non-ionising radiation and brain tumours, then the social and financial consequences would be devastating and on a scale never before witnessed in history. I see 10 to 20 new patients each week and at least one third of those patients’ tumours are in the area of the brain around the ear. As a neurosurgeon I cannot ignore this fact.”6
While scientific evidence is still emerging in this area, research on the effects of continual exposure to EMF’s appearing systemically is continuing to be explored.
EMF’s & Neurological Effects
Oxidative stress from EMF exposure have been noted in the brain and may be responsible for the initiation of numerous neurological effects including headaches, changes in sleep pattern, and disturbances of neurotransmitter release 7. (depression, anxiety)
Brain metabolic and neuronal activity can be assessed through brain glucose metabolism. In a study of 47 healthy participants, neuronal activity was measured with 50 minutes of mobile phone use. The authors concluded that brain glucose metabolism in the area closest to the antenna was significantly higher8. This result of increased neuronal activity from EMF exposure has been hypothesized in numerous in vivo and in vitro studies by changes in cell membrane permeability, calcium efflux, cell excitability, and / or neurotransmitter release 9 and blood-brain barrier integrity 10. [We need to question the relationship here to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, both of which have been linked to increased brain glucose]
EMF’S & Endocrine Effects
Beyond the impact of EMF’s on neurological function, the endocrine system has also been identified as being sensitive to the influence of EMFs. In males, EMF exposure from mobile phones were shown to have negative effects on sperm motility 11,12, semen quality, sperm count and normal morphology 13and an increased oxidative stress14. While in women whose primary residence was within 50 metres from low frequency EMF sources reported lower average birth weights 15. In female animal models there was a significant reduction in ovarian weight, decreased lutenizing, follicular stimulating and estrogen hormones with prolonged EMF exposure, which returned to normal once exposure was removed 16. Other animal models have found varying outcomes with EMF exposure on thyroid health17 and adrenal function 18-21, and in a study assessing 100 participants for EMF exposure, followed for 6 years were found to have significantly decreased levels of ACTH, cortisol and thyroid hormone levels22.
Inflammation & Oxidative Stress
Recently it has been suggested that a possible early biological response to EMF exposure is the formation and prolonged survival of reactive oxygen species and other free radicals 23, and a significant increase in inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-1beta and production of nitric oxide24. Beyond the brain, tissues shown to have greater EMF absorption include the detoxification organs – liver, lung and kidneys, and decreased liver enzyme activity 1, adding to the environmental toxin burden experienced in our patients.
Neutralizing the detrimental effects of oxidative stress from EMF exposure involves a robust prescription inclusive of herbs and nutrients which specifically target our body’s endogenous antioxidant pathways and supporting detoxification organs.
Simple tips to reduce exposure
- Use speakerphone or a headset when talking on your phone. Wireless and wired headsets emit less EMF energy than talking directly into the phone.
- Send text messages instead of talking on the phone
- If you are streaming or downloading, try to keep the phone away from your head and body
- Carry your mobile in a backpack, briefcase or handbag NOT in a pocket, bra or belt holster
- Don’t sleep with your phone in your bed or near your head
- Take off the headset when you’re not on a call (CDPH How to reduce exposure to radiofrequency energy from cell phones) 2
As an antioxidant curcumin is involved in the regulation of liver pathways, while also expressing anti-inflammatory properties suppressing inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 25. In vitro research has shown that curcumin was able to ameliorate pro-inflammatory cytokines and phagocytic depressed ability in cells exposed to EMF 24.
EGCG From Green Tea & N-Acetyl Cysteine *
Both N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and EGCG found in green tea were shown in vivoto protect liver tissue against EMF oxidative damage and enhance antioxidant enzyme activity 1. NAC and EGCG were effective in quenching oxidative stress caused by very low levels of EMF’s 26, as well as decreasing lipid peroxidation and nitrite oxide levels which affected antioxidant status1.
While research is continuing to determine the exact biological effect elicited by EMF’s or the extent of these effects, suggestions show an increased risk of some human diseases from consistent EMF exposure and increased oxidative response. Naturopathic support focusing on Nrf2 endogenous antioxidant pathways and detoxification organ support can assist in achieving a resilience to offset the load in patients affected by EMF exposure.
*Always consult a qualified practitioner and never self prescribe. At True Medicine we use only high grade, practitioner-only products to support optimal health outcomes for you.
- Ozgur E, Guler G, Seyhan N. Mobile phone radiation-induced free radical damage in the liver is inhibited by the antioxidants N-acetyl cysteine and epigallocatechin-gallate. Int J Radiat Biol. 2010;86(11):935-945.
- Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control. How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy from Cell Phones. California: California Department of Public Health.
- Gandhi OP, Morgan LL, de Salles AA, Han YY, Herberman RB, Davis DL. Exposure limits: the underestimation of absorbed cell phone radiation, especially in children. Electromagn Biol Med. 2012;31(1):34-51.
- Australian Communications and Media Authority. Report 3 – Smartphones and tablets. Take-up and use in Australia. Melbourne, VIC2012.
- Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. Mobile Phones and Health Yallambie, VIC: Australian Government; 2015.
- Teo C. What if your mobile phone is giving you brain cancer? 2012; https://cellsafe.com.au/blog/2013/03/07/what-if-your-mobile-phone-is-giving-you-brain-cancer-by-charlie-teo-neurosurgeon/. Accessed 15th November, 2018.
- Hossmann KA, Hermann D. Effects of electromagnetic radiation of mobile phones on the central nervous system. Bioelectromagnetics: Journal of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, The Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine, The European Bioelectromagnetics Association. 2003;24(1):49-62.
- Nora D. Volkow MDT, PhD Gene-Jack Wang, MD Paul Vaska, PhD Joanna S. Fowler, PhD Frank Telang, MD Dave Alexoff, BSE Jean Logan, PhD Christopher Wong, MS. Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism. Journal of The American Medical Association. 2011;305(8):808-813.
- Hyland GJ. Physics and biology of mobile telephony. The Lancet. 2000;356(9244):1833-1836.
- Söderqvist F, Carlberg M, Mild KH, Hardell L. Exposure to an 890-MHz mobile phone-like signal and serum levels of S100B and transthyretin in volunteers. Toxicology letters.2009;189(1):63-66.
- Erogul O, Oztas E, Yildirim I, et al. Effects of electromagnetic radiation from a cellular phone on human sperm motility: an in vitro study. Archives of medical research.2006;37(7):840-843.
- Fejes I, Závaczki Z, Szöllősi J, et al. Is there a relationship between cell phone use and semen quality? Archives of andrology. 2005;51(5):385-393.
- Agarwal A, Deepinder F, Sharma RK, Ranga G, Li J. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study. Fertility and sterility.2008;89(1):124-128.
- Agarwal A, Desai N, Makker K, Mouradi R, Sabanegh E, Sharma R. Effects of radio-frequency electromagnetic waves from cellular phone on human semen parameters, DNA integrity and reactive oxygen species levels: an in vitro pilot study. Fertility and Sterility. 2008;90:S337-S338.
- de Vocht F, Lee B. Residential proximity to electromagnetic field sources and birth weight: Minimizing residual confounding using multiple imputation and propensity score matching. Environment international. 2014;69:51-57.
- Al-Akhras Md-A. Influence of 50 Hz magnetic field on sex hormones and body, uterine, and ovarian weights of adult female rats. Electromagnetic biology and medicine.2008;27(2):155-163.
- Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Gledic D, Lazetic B. Evaluation of rat thyroid gland morphophysiological status after three months exposure to 50 Hz electromagnetic field. Tissue and Cell. 2003;35(3):223-231.
- Tiwari R, Lakshmi N, Bhargava S, Ahuja Y. Epinephrine, DNA integrity and oxidative stress in workers exposed to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) at 132 kV substations. Electromagnetic biology and medicine. 2015;34(1):56-62.
- Mortazavi S, Vazife-Doost S, Yaghooti M, Mehdizadeh S, Rajaie-Far A. Occupational exposure of dentists to electromagnetic fields produced by magnetostrictive cavitrons alters the serum cortisol level. Journal of natural science, biology, and medicine.2012;3(1):60.
- Kurokawa Y, Nitta H, Imai H, Kabuto M. Acute exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields with harmonics and transient components: lack of effects on nighttime hormonal secretion in men. Bioelectromagnetics: Journal of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, The Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine, The European Bioelectromagnetics Association.2003;24(1):12-20.
- Ghione S, Del Seppia C, Mezzasalma L, Emdin M, Luschi P. Human head exposure to a 37 Hz electromagnetic field: effects on blood pressure, somatosensory perception, and related parameters. Bioelectromagnetics: Journal of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, The Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine, The European Bioelectromagnetics Association. 2004;25(3):167-175.
- Eskander EF, Estefan SF, Abd-Rabou AA. How does long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affect human hormone profiles? Clinical biochemistry. 2012;45(1-2):157-161.
- Mannerling A-C, Simkó M, Mild KH, Mattsson M-O. Effects of 50-Hz magnetic field exposure on superoxide radical anion formation and HSP70 induction in human K562 cells. Radiation and environmental biophysics. 2010;49(4):731-741.
- He GL, Liu Y, Li M, et al. The amelioration of phagocytic ability in microglial cells by curcumin through the inhibition of EMF-induced pro-inflammatory responses. J Neuroinflammation. 2014;11:49.
- Zhou H, S Beevers C, Huang S. The targets of curcumin. Current drug targets.2011;12(3):332-347.
- Güler G, Turkozer Z, Tomruk A, Seyhan N. The protective effects of N-acetyl-L-cysteine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate on electric field-induced hepatic oxidative stress. International journal of radiation biology. 2008;84(8):669-680.
Article courtesy of Integria Healthcare Technical Support Team.