Overcoming Radiation Pt 2 – Miso


Miso belongs to the highest class of medicines, those which prevent disease and strengthen the body through continued usage.
— Dr. Shinichiro Akizuki,
Director, St. Francis Hospital, Nagasaki

When Hiroshima was destroyed by nuclear bombs, a physician named Tatuichirou Akizuki, was treating 70 tuberculosis patients at St. Francis hospital only a mile from the epicenter. Neither he, nor his staff of 20, nor his patients suffered the effects of the radiation. Akizuki attributed this to the wakame miso soup all of them consumed daily.

The University Hospital, also a mile from the epicenter, served a modern diet of white rice, sugar, refined flour products…but no miso. Its 3,000 patients suffered terrible radiation burns and leukemia.

Later, when Chernobyl had its 1986 meltdown, word on miso had already spread so many Europeans took to eating miso soup. Here we are again, with Fukushima, miso is back in the limelight. But does it really work? Will any miso do?

For those asking, “What is miso?” – it’s a natural living fermented food containing vitamins,probiotic microorganisms, salts, minerals, plant proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes and fat. Miso also contains saponin inhibiting lipids peroxide, trypsin inhibitor, isoflavon, lecithin, choline, and prostaglandin E . Its an alkalizing food that provides energy throughout the day. Many drink it in the morning instead of coffee.Think of it as a probiotic condiment, usually made of soybeans but can also be made from other beans, wheat,rice,oats and even peanuts. While there are several varieties, for the purpose of radiation protection, we’re most interested in barley miso aged for three years.

Dr. Watanabe (see below) states,

It is considered as a food with health-promoting benefits, such as effectiveness in relieving fatigue, regulation of the intestinal function, digestive supplement, protection against gastric ulcer, decrease of cholesterol, decrease of blood pressure, whitening ability, prevention of diseases associated with adult lifestyle habits, apoplexia cerebri, accumulation of brain metabolism, protection of aging, healing radiation damage and prevention of cancers for biological effects.

Scientists and physicians confirm miso can protect us from cancer, even when caused by ionizing radiation.

In The Cancer Prevention Diet (pg. 335) we read;

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.”

Over a 25-year period, the Japanese Cancer Institute tested and tracked 260,000 subjects. These were divided into three groups; those eating miso daily, those eating it 2 or 3 times a week, and those who never ate it. Those who never ate miso had a 50% higher cancer rate.

Another study showed that miso soup protects against breast cancer risk, but other forms of soy do not.

Then there’s the case of a California surgeon, Dr. Evelyn Waselus, who, having read about how Dr. Akizuki used miso as a plaster over radiation burns, used it as a plaster over her own breasts after a double mastectomy. It took away the terrible pain. Now she uses miso in her practice with outpatients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. Her patients don’t lose their hair ( there’s a direct relationship between intestinal villi and our hair). She uses three-year barley miso to restore their beneficial “gut flora”. Her external plaster for patients in radiation treatment combines miso and aloe vera.

Dr. Kazumitsu Watanabe, professor of cancer and radiation research at Hiroshima University investigated the radioprotective effect of miso by testing small intestine cells of lab mice. These cells absorb nutrients and are particularly sensitive to radiation, which can easily destroy these cells. Radiation damage to these cells in humans  is seen as severe diarrhea after exposure.

When the mice were exposed to lethal x-rays, of those consuming miso 60% survived. Only 9% survived from the group that wasn’t fed miso. Dr. Watanabe went on to test different kinds of miso and discovered that the greatest radiation protection came from 3-year aged miso, with 2-year providing good results, and less impressive results shown as the age declined down to newly made miso.

Researchers at Hiroshima University concluded that people who eat miso regularly may be up to five times more resistant to radiation than those who don’t. Akihiro Ito, head of one of the research teams found that it eliminates toxins from the body by stimulation of circulatory and metabolic systems.

You can read Watanaby’s study here.

How to Use Miso

Use as a condiment, just a few teaspoons daily per adult since it has a high salt content. I love making a very simple soup/beverage. Never heat it, first make your basic broth and add the miso only after removing the pot from heat. I even let it cool down a little just to be sure I don’t “kill” the beneficial organisms. My simplest quick soup: heat water over the stove, add a pinch of powdered ginger, a few dashes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or a quality soy sauce), a tsp of onion or garlic powder, stir and remove from heat. When its at drinking temperature, I take up to a tablespoon of miso and hold it in the broth while rubbing it with another spoon (its a thick paste) until it’s mixed smoothly into the broth. If you have green onions, chop a few to float in the soup.

You can experiment with adding other wonderful ingredients to your broth; astragalus root (immune system enhancer); instead of powdered ginger, simmer chopped fresh ginger; medicinal mushrooms like shitake or reishi; seaweeds (if you can find them grown away from radioactive ocean dumping)…the alginate in seaweeds helps remove internal radionuclides. And check out miso recipes on the web. Its delicious!

Although it does lose flavor over time, it will keep for up to a year in your refrigerator. If you discover blue or white mold, just scrape it off, it’s fine. However, if you discover pink mold…toss it out.

This is just one of the delicious options available to ward off the nuke demons…stay tuned for part 3 where we unlock Kombucha.

Sources for aged barley miso


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About dcoda

An herbalist for over 40 years, ten years spent alone in the Ozark Hurricane Creek Wilderness Preserve, working with its brilliant botanicals. I'm an instructor and co-founder of the Ozark Herbal Academy which offers training in medicinal and edible plants through hands-on workshops and online courses.

Posted on April 22, 2011, in Conditions, Radiation and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dear Elle – the miso soup prepared by the people of Kyushu contains the seaweed of Aritake Bay. It is regarded as the finest in Japan. This might be the clue to its medicinal properties. Near Nagasaki, it would have been a staple food for the people there and helped them heal from the radiation sickness. I have no doubt, as I have enjoyed this miso soup for 17 years from a family restaurant run in Perth by people from Kumamoto (on the Bay). Jamo Jamo!

  2. Further to my theory, the Hiroshima people who consumed wakame miso soup also had amazing results for their health. Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is the local seaweed available (as it is in other parts of the world – we harvest lots of it from Tasmanian waters). The connection to radiation sickness is obvious – seaweed is a rich source of iodine; and taken early enough can neutralise the organic damage from radioactive iodine created by these bombs.

    Hey, it’s good for you anyway. Never turn up the chance to eat a seaweed salad!

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