Mike Adams — Natural News May 19, 2015
One of the most amazing chapters in the true history of healing foods comes from the final chapter of World War II, in the aftermath of the United States’ dropping of two atomic bombs on civilian populations in Japan. Millions of innocent civilians were exposed to extreme levels of ionizing radiation, and rates of cancer immediately skyrocketed thereafter.
Yet some people seemed to be immune to the effects of harmful radiation… even people who were less than a mile from the epicenter of the atomic bombs. What was different about these people? As you’ll learn here, they were all consuming miso, a staple of the Japanese diet made from fermented soybeans, rice and salt.
Miso, as you’ll see here, winds its way through the history of nuclear accidents and atomic bombs, always serving as a healing food with extraordinary properties that come from the fermentation process, not the soy itself. (Fermenting soy radically alters its chemical properties, changing it from an estrogen-mimicking food to an anti-estrogenic food.)
Miso and Nagasaki
A study published in the journal Toxicologic Pathology entitled “Beneficial Biological Effects of Miso with Reference to Radiation Injury, Cancer and Hypertension” details some of this enlightening history:
When the 2nd atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945, physician Tatuichiro Akizuki, along with 20 employees, was taking care of 70 tuberculosis patients at “Uragami Daiichi Hospital” (St. Francis Hospital) about 1.4 km away from the hypocenter. However, these people including Dr. Akizuki did not have any acute radiation disease. Dr. Akizuki considered that this was the result of consuming cups of wakame miso soup (miso soup with garnish of wakame seaweed) every day. Later, this was translated into English and became known in the West. In the Chernobyl of nuclear power plant accident on April 26, 1986, in the Ukraine, many Europeans consumed miso soup as a preventive measure for radiation diseases. Therefore, Dr. Akizuki can be considered to be the first person in Japan to point out radioprotective effects of miso for maintaining health.
What Dr. Akizuki concluded is that drinking miso soup before radiation exposure offered a significant radioprotective effect, effectively blocking the negative effects of radiation poisoning.
Radioprotective effects created by the fermentation
The study mentioned here, published in 2013, was conducted by Japanese researcher Hiromitsu Watanabe. In it, he tested various types of miso on mice exposed to ionizing radiation. He was looking to answer the question of whether soybeans themselves have a radioprotective effect, or if the protection comes from something created by bacteria during the fermentation process (miso is made from fermented soy).
The answer was clear: “The mechanism of the radioprotective effect of miso is considered to be closely related to substances produced during fermentation stage,” Watanabe explains.
It’s the bacteria, in other words, that generate substances which have a radioprotective effect as documented in the study. As he explains in the study, “The cytokine-like substance in miso may conceivably play an important role in the protection and/or the recovery and repopulation of critical tissue elements when they are given prior to and during radiation exposure.”
“The Cancer Prevention Diet”
This idea is further supported in the book entitled “The Cancer Prevention Diet: The Macrobiotic Approach to Preventing and Relieving Cancer” by Michio Kushi. In it, he relates this story from a courageous woman who used miso and the macrobiotic diet to survive extreme radiation poisoning due to atomic bombs:
Radiation Sickness in Hiroshima
In 1945 Sawako Hirago was a ten-year-old schoolgirl in Hiroshima. In the atomic bombing on August 6, she was exposed to severe radiation that burned her face, head, and legs. The burned parts swelled up to nearly three times their normal size. In the hospital, doctors feared for her recovery because one-third of her body was burned. Her mother gave her palm healing therapy over the abdomen every night, and Sawako ate the only food available, two rice balls and two daikon radish pickles each day. Inside the rice balls was umeboshi (pickled salted plums).
Although the medical doctors gave up on her, Sawako survived: “My mother didn’t show me a mirror until I was cured. However, I was able to see my hands and leg, which were very dirty and had a bad, rotten smell. On the rotten spots there were always flies. When the skin healed, I broke it because it was itchy; finally it became a keloidal condition. I didn’t see my face until it was finally cured. However, sores remained on my nose and pus remained on my chest. My hands and chest had masses of skin which remained until I was twenty.” Because of her disfiguration, Sawako was ridiculed, nicknamed “Hormone Short,” and told she could never marry or have children. After completing school, she became a high school physics teacher and met a young chemistry teacher who ate very simply. The couple married and attended lectures by George Ohsawa, the founder of modem macrobiotics in Japan, and he said that only people practicing macrobiotics would survive future nuclear war.
After talking with Mr. Ohsawa, Sawako gave up the modern, refined food that she had been eating since her survival and started eating brown rice and other foods. To her surprise, her problems including anemia, leukemia, low blood pressure, falling hair, and bleeding from the nose, started to clear up. Within two months, she was elated: “My face became beautiful.”
Sawako went on to have seven healthy children and raised all of them on brown rice, miso soup, vegetables, seaweed, and other healthy food. Source: Sawako Hiraga, “How I Survived the Atomic Bomb,” Macrobiotic. November/ December 1979.
A similar story of miso and the macrobiotic diet is also related from Russia, in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident:
Diet and Radiation-related Cancers in Russia
In 1985 Lidia Yamchuk and Hanif Shaimardanov, medical doctors in Chelyabinsk, organized Longevity, the first macrobiotic association in the Soviet Union. At their hospital, they have used dietary methods and acupuncture to treat many patients, especially those suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and other disorders associated with exposure to nuclear radiation. Since the early 1950s, wastes from Soviet weapons production had been dumped into Karachay Lake in Chelyabinsk, an industrial city about nine hundred miles east of Moscow. In particular they began incorporating miso soup into the diets of patients suffering from radiation symptoms and cancer. “Miso is helping some of our patients with terminal cancer to survive,” Yamchuk and Shaimardanov reported. “Their blood (and blood analysis) became better after they began to use miso in their daily food.”
Meanwhile, in Leningrad, Yuri Stavitsky, a young pathologist and medical instructor, volunteered as a radiologist in Chernobyl after the nuclear accident on April 26, 1986. Since then, like many disaster workers, he suffered symptoms associated with radiation disease, including tumors of the thyroid. “Since beginning macrobiotics,” he reported, “my condition has greatly improved.”
Radioprotective foods and conventional cancer treatment
The idea that miso may offer radioprotective effects against extreme radiation exposure has also given support to its potential use as an adjunctive therapy for cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments.
While oncologists are likely to dismiss the idea outright — they don’t believe in any healing foods, nutrition or protecting healthy cells at all — the concept has real scientific merit. This study entitled “Radioprotection of Lung Tissue by Soy Isoflavones” concluded that “soy isoflavones showed the potential to enhance radiation damage in tumor nodules and simultaneously protect normal lung from radiation injury.”
The study was based on non-fermented soy, which is different from miso. But because miso is made by fermenting soy, many soy isoflavones persist during the fermentation and are present in the resulting miso.
The conclusion of the authors was that non-fermented soy isoflavones protect healthy cells from radiation damage:
Soy isoflavones given pre- and post-radiation protected the lungs against adverse effects of radiation including skin injury, hair loss, increased breathing rates, inflammation, pneumonitis and fibrosis, providing evidence for a radioprotective effect of soy.
They also conclude that soy might be useful to use alongside radiotherapy to both increase the toxicity of radiation to CANCER cells and decrease the toxicity of radiation to HEALTHY cells. The cancer industry, of course, has zero interest in any of this, since toxicity and cell damage is central to the industry’s repeat business model of recurring cancer. But for those individuals who wish to practice dietary habits that may help prevent or reduce the damaging effects of ionizing radiation, fermented soy in the form of miso may be an intelligent and practical choice.
It’s clear that additional scientific research is desperately needed in this area. What if cancer radiotherapy could be made less toxic and more effective at the same time? Shouldn’t modern medical science investigate this further?
The longer the fermentation, the better it worked
Another important realization from the science is that longer fermentation times for the miso resulted in greater therapeutic value in test subjects.
This is documented in detail in this study on the radioprotective effects of miso. As the study details, three different miso products were tested:
1) Miso fermented for just 3-4 days
2) Miso fermented for 120 days
3) Miso fermented for 180 days
After testing these three grades of miso, two key realizations were learned:
1) ALL miso provided a radioprotective effect in the study.
2) The 180-day miso provided the most potent radioprotective effect.
“A delay in mortality was obvious in all three miso groups,” says the study. But it also warns that once the radiation exposure is too great, even miso cannot stop the mortality rate. Extremely high radiation doses, in other words, were able to override miso’s protective effects and cause mortality in a few days, regardless of how much miso was consumed. What dose caused this? 15 Gy (gray). The “gray” unit describes the amount of ionizing radiation absorbed by tissue. 15 Gy is equal to about 15,000,000 microsieverts or 1.5 million millirems. If you absorb 1.5 million millirems all in a short time span, you’re dead no matter what.
Why I don’t eat soy, but I do eat organic miso
Personally, I don’t eat soy. No soy burgers, no soy protein, no soybean oil and not even steamed edemame. But I do eat small quantities of miso from time to time because fermented soy is unique. It’s not the same food as unfermented soy.
If you eat miso, make sure it’s made from organic, non-GMO soybeans. Soy is one of the most commonly genetically modified crops, so you have to choose organic to avoid the GMOs. You also have to be careful not to over-consume miso. The fermentation process can create glutamic acid as one of its products, and for those who are highly sensitive, even a little glutamic acid can cause a headache. Tomatoes and seaweed also contain glutamic acid, so if you’re able to eat those without any problem, then you’re probably not sensitive to it.
Miso comes in different grades based on fermentation duration. The longer the fermentation time, the higher the grade and the more expensive the product. There’s obviously a point of diminishing returns on this, too: beyond 180 days of fermentation, there’s unlikely to be any additional measurable benefit to the miso. Even fermentation of just 3-4 days produces significant beneficial properties.
Where to get freeze-dried organic miso powder
Understanding the need for radioprotective foods, we’ve sourced a very limited supply of what may be the most pristine source of freeze-dried organic miso in the United States. We offer this as a nourishing food, without any claims of curative effects or radioprotection (see below).
This is medium-grade miso (it’s yellow in color) that balances fermentation time with affordability. It’s entirely made in the USA, using these U.S.-derived, certified organic ingredients: organic soybeans, organic rice, salt, organic Aspergillus oryzae (fermenting agent).
We’ve laboratory-verified this miso powder to meet our A+++ high standard published at LowHeavyMetalsVerified.org. The product is certified kosher and it’s vegan, too. Because it’s freeze-dried, this powder retains nearly all the color, taste, texture and nutrients found in the original fermented miso. As a powder, it has an extended shelf life and very high portability.
We cannot claim that this miso will have the same radioprotective effects of the miso products described in the studies listed above. They are not from the same manufacturers of miso, and they may differ somewhat in their molecular composition. So we are offering our miso purely as a health-promoting FOOD, and not as some sort of magic bullet defense against nuclear accidents or nuclear war. Radioprotective effects may exist in this miso, but before I would be comfortable making such claims, I would need to have it tested and documented in the lab first. Because I’m not willing to subject mice to radiation just to see how quickly they die, this study is probably never going to happen. (I don’t condone medical experiments on animals.)
Nevertheless, if you wish to enjoy a delicious source of organic miso, which is part of the health-promoting macrobiotic diet, we offer this honest, lab-verified yellow miso in a convenient freeze-dried format. At the very least, you’ll enjoy a nutritious source of health-supporting nutrients found in organic miso.
Quantities are extremely limited, and we were only able to source a few hundred kilos of this material, so it won’t last long in our store. As usual, it’s extremely difficult to find clean, quality sources of anything these days. That’s why we always run out of the “good stuff” so quickly. We simply refuse to lower our standards and sell the garbage bulk products you’ll find on Amazon.com and elsewhere.
To my knowledge, the Natural News Store is the only operation in the world that tests every single batch of everything we sell for heavy metals. We are GMP-compliant, USDA certified organic, exhaustively documented and routinely audited by the FDA and the state of Texas. I believe you will not find a more pristine supplier of premium-quality healing foods anywhere on the planet.
A simple, 10-minute miso soup recipe
2 cups of water
4 tsp of Yellow Miso Powder
2 tablespoons sliced scallions (optional)
1 egg (optional)
Directions: Bring the water to a boil, then turn heat to low, add miso powder and stir well. Avoid boiling miso soup for very long after adding the miso, or it will lose its flavor