Getting directions, scheduling the next book club meeting, unwinding with a game of Words with Friends…our cellphones become more important every day. That’s why new research from Switzerland is so alarming: Investigators report that cellphone radiation can negatively impact memory, reducing recall by 22 percent.
In fact, according to Stephen Sinatra, MD, an integrative cardiologist and expert in electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs), sensitivity to the EMFs emitted by cellphones and other electronic devices is causing an epidemic of sluggish thyroid.
“Energy waves emitted by cellphones and other electronics affect biological systems and wreak havoc on hormones,” he says. In one study, use of a cell for more than 120 minutes a day raised levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (an indicator of sluggish thyroid) by 39 percent. And evidence suggests that the risk rises as we age, since cumulative exposure to EMFs has tripled incidence of EMF-related health problems over the past decade. But despite how common problems are, Dr. Sinatra says the vague symptoms and lack of EMF awareness among physicians means nearly all women go undiagnosed.
Also of concern: Chronic exposure to EMFs blocks cellular detox. “The waves oscillate at frequencies that communicate with your cells,” says Diana Hoppe, MD, a women’s health specialist in Encinitas, California, who treats EMF sensitivity. “Your body recognizes these forces as foreign and defends against them by making cell membranes harder and less permeable. But this causes more toxins to remain in our cells.”
That leads to a host of head-to-toe health issues in addition to thyroid slowdowns: Researchers from Germany found that high levels of EMF exposure can suppress levels of serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter, by up to 68 percent, and can disrupt the normal cycles of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, making it high during the day and low at night.
What’s more, says Dr. Hoppe, “EMFs increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn can alter levels of estrogen and other hormones, triggering concerns such as brain fog, depression, and sleep problems.”
Are EMFs slowing your thyroid?
If you have daytime fatigue and two or more of the symptoms below, electromagnetic frequencies may be to blame:
- Brain fog
- Muscle spasms
- Achey joints
- Heart palpitations
Experts agree that tests and devices that can measure EMF exposure aren’t always accurate — and they can be expensive. Instead, consider trying these simple strategies to drastically lower your exposure to EMFs, enhancing your energy, mood, and mental clarity.
The Fast, Natural Fix
“The EMFs emitted by cellphones, smart TVs, and other electronic devices not only interfere with the electrical impulses our cells use to communicate, they also create unstable molecules that damage cells,” explains Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of Zapped (Buy on Amazon, $15.99). Luckily, it’s easy to outwit EMF hazards to enhance energy and mental clarity.
Studies show a 15 percent drop in EMF absorption for every millimeter a cellphone is away from your body, so texting significantly reduces your risk. And when you’re using your phone to make a call: “Keep the phone a centimeter from your head to virtually eliminate your exposure,” advises Sinatra. “Or even better, use speaker mode.” He adds that Bluetooth headsets increase EMF exposure, but certain corded headphones are safe.
Move Your Router
Keeping WiFi routers out of your bedroom or simply turning them off at night can reduce your exposure by 100 percent during the eight hours you’re sleeping — that’s important, says Hoppe, because the brain is most sensitive to EMP disruption at night.
Also: IF you charge your cellphone overnight, do it outside your bedroom. The reason: EMFs emitted by cellphones and electrical outlets impair production of the sleep hormone melatonin and dull the body’s ability to slip into restorative sleep.
“That’s worrisome, because the brain clears itself of toxins during sleep, and impairments can lead to brain fog,” says Gittleman. “Plus, melatonin has an antioxidant action that defends cells against EMF damage.”
If you do keep your phone in your room, Gittleman advices placing your phone at least six feet away from your bed and switching it to airplane mode, which blunts the devices ability to send and receive electromagnetic signals. Finally, consider moving your bed so the headboard is at least three feet from any outlet in use.
Switch Up Your Car Settings
Many of us use a smartphone to get directions when we drive. The problem: “The phone has to work harder to get a signal through the metal vehicle, so it produces more EMFs — and more reach you,” cautions Hoppe. “Use the phone’s speaker rather than routing it through Bluetooth devices, which emit additional EMFs.”
Carry Your Phone Away From Your Ear
Holding your phone one inch from your ear when you talk cuts EMF exposure by 75 percent, according to researchers at the University of utah in salt Lake City. Magda Havas, PhD, an EMF expert who has studied the effects of these fields on humans, animals, and plants, also recommends keeping your phone in your purse instead of carrying it on your body, and setting it to airplane mode with both WiFi and Bluetooth turned off unless you need them.
Try a Magnesium Supplement
EMFs raise the risk of health-sapping magnesium shortfalls, warns Carolyn Dean, MD, author of The Magnesium Miracle (Buy on Amazon, $16.26). “EMFs are stressors, and stress depletes the body’s stores of the mineral.” That’s a problem, since magnesium is key to the function of the thyroid gland as well as to the body’s ability to absorb energizing nutrients. Plus, at least 18 percent of women over 40 are already defiecient in the mineral, so they’re even more vulnerable to EMFs.
Dr. Dean advises asking your doctor for a blood test to check your magnesium levels, and if they’re low, consuming 600 mg. daily — a dose that will help improve your resilience to EMFs. Top sources include chocolate-covered almonds (180 mg. per handful) and pumpkin seeds (168 mg. per handful).
Prefer to supplement? Dean advises taking 600 mg. to 900 mg. a day of liquid magnesium chloride like Nutricology Magnesium Chloride Liquid (Buy at VitaCost, $13.16) — a highly absorbable form of the mineral.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Heal Your Thyroid.