Keller: Your electronics are hurting your body

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How much time per day do we spend exposed to Electro Magnetic Fields while using our phones, laptops, tablets, or televisions? There are many publications detailing the risks that Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs) have on our health. However, because the physical effects of EMFs are not immediately obvious, few people take up concern. This has led to a disturbing lack of information on the detrimental effects of EMFs in the informative media.

Studies have shown that EMFs work by activating voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). These are the channels in the outer membrane of the cell. Essentially, a plasma membrane that surrounds all of our cells. When the VGCCs are activated, they open up and allow calcium to flow into the cell. It’s this excess calcium in the cell which is responsible for most, if not all, of the biological effects of EMFs. When your VGCCs are exposed to EMFs they open up, allowing abnormally large volumes of calcium ions into the cell — about 1 million ions per second, per channel. This turns out to be absolutely critical, because when there’s excess calcium in the cell, a number of things happen. Not only do we get excess calcium signalling, we also get increased NitricOxide (NO). While NO has some beneficial health effects, massively excessive NO reacts with superoxide. Superoxide levels also rise in response to increased intercellular calcium. Together, they form peroxynitrite, which is an extremely potent oxidant stressor. While not a free radical, peroxynitrites break down to form reactive free radicals, both reactive nitrogen species and reactive oxygen species (ROS) including hydroxyl free radicals. We get both, because we get hydroxyl radicals and carbonate radicals and NO2 radicals. All three do massive damage to our health since they are negatively effecting our immune system. Many studies have shown massive changes in the structure of neurones, including cell death and synaptic dysfunction.

When the VGCCs are activated in the brain they also release neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones. Hence, consequences of chronic EMF exposure to the brain include the following: Anxiety, Depression, Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, negative cardiac and reproductive effects, and ultimately cancer.

The heart is very sensitive to EMFs, particularly the pacemaker cells of our heart, as they have the highest density of VGCCs. Consequently, we find that EMFs tend to trigger the following conditions such as:

  • Cardiac arrhythmias associated with sudden cardiac death;
  • atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter
  • premature atrial contractions (PAC’s)
  • premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)
  • Tachycardia (fast heartbeat) and
  • brachycardia (slow heartbeat).

Other areas effected by this change in our VGCCs are in the reproductive system, particularly the male testes. Studies have linked the low-level electromagnetic radiation exposure from cellphones to an 8% reduction in sperm motility, and a 9% reduction in sperm viability. A primary consequence here is impaired or reduced fertility.

How Can We Limit Our Exposure to EMF’s ?

Limiting our cell phone usage, and exposure to other common products that produce or radiate electromagnetic fields can definitely be beneficial to our overall wellbeing.  A simple remedy is to turn off your Wi-Fi each night. Other unnecessary periods of exposure include carrying your cellphone on your body (such as right in your pocket) and using a laptop directly on your lap.  You can get cellphone pouches that are shielded on one side, providing a barrier between the product and your body. You can also use your cellphone with a headset, or just on speaker phone. Work towards hardwiring your devices at home so you don’t have to be exposed to constant Wi-Fi signals, and be conscious of unnecessary radiation from even banal devices, such as cordless mice, keyboards, and wireless printers.

Another easy way of reducing exposure is to simply shut off the electricity to your bedroom at night. This typically works to reduce electrical fields from the wires in your wall. Use a battery-powered clock, ideally one without any LED lights. If you still use a microwave oven, consider replacing it with a steam or convection oven, which will heat your food just as quickly, but with far less radiatory risk. Next to induction stovetop burners, microwave ovens are likely the largest EMF polluters in your home. Never sleep with your phone in your bedroom unless it is in airplane mode (and especially not under your pillow), though even in airplane mode it can emit some signals.

Certain Nutrients May Help Protect Our Body From EMF Damage

While making changes to our physical environment is of the utmost importance, there are a few nutritional interventions we can consider to help protect our body from EMFs. Including:

  • Magnesium: As a natural calcium channel blocker take as much as 1 to 2 grams of magnesium per day.
  • Molecular hydrogen: Studies have shown molecular hydrogen can mitigate about 80 percent of the damage caused by EMFs because it targets the free radicals produced in response to radiation.
  • Nrf2: You can activate Nrf2 by consuming Nrf2-boosting food compounds such as sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables, foods high in phenolic antioxidants, the long-chained omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, carotenoids (especially lycopene), sulfur compounds from allium vegetables, isothiocyanates from the cabbage group and terpenoid-rich foods.
  • Spices: Spices rich in phenolics, specifically cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, rosemary and turmeric, have exhibited some protective effects against peroxynitrite-induced damage.

Modern life may make you feel as though technology is an unstoppable force, and often that can leave us feeling as though we have to accept the damages that come with that technological advancement without question or concern. But the greatest riches you have in life come in the form of your health and overall wellbeing, and taking some steps to reduce modernity’s impact on your health will help you and your family live a long, happy life.


Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.