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March sees Brain Tumour Awareness Month, its aim to raise recognition of the disease and funds for research into its causes. Around 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year, and their incidence is on the rise. This means one in three people in the UK knows someone who is affected by a brain tumour.
In this article, you’ll learn about the links between invisible electromagnetic fields, otherwise known as EMFs, and brain tumours. Read on to discover more.
EMF is the term used for the energy associated with the use of electricity and some forms of lighting. As their name suggests, they’re a combination of electric and magnetic fields.
EMFs are graded as low-level, or non-ionising, and high-level, known as ionising.
High-level EMFs are emitted by x-rays, gamma rays, and sunlight, and they’re known to damage cells’ DNA. Governments set limits for the safe maximum exposure to these EMFs.
Low-level EMFs are produced by devices like microwaves, computers, smart meters, computers, mobile phones, power lines and Wifi. They’re generally believed not to damage cells directly, but they may have an indirect or cumulate effect. In any case, their impact hasn’t been studied in humans over the long term.
Brain tumours occur when cells in the brain grow abnormally due to mutations in their DNA.
Children living near power lines with higher-than-average EMF emissions were found to have an increased risk of cancer 1.
Because of this and other studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified EMFs as ‘possibly carcinogenic’ to humans. The link was particularly strong for glioma, a rare malignant type of brain cancer.
Research suggests EMFs affect melatonin levels. This hormone is released by your pineal gland, a pea-sized gland sitting in the middle of your brain. Melatonin controls when you fall asleep and when you wake up. When your eyes sense light they send a message to your pineal gland, reducing melatonin release, so you feel less sleepy. Melatonin levels should therefore be higher at night when it’s dark than during the daytime.
It appears from research that exposure to EMFs reduces the amount of melatonin produced by the pineal gland. This may result in problems sleeping, or insufficient quality sleep.
Melatonin is involved not only in regulating your circadian rhythm, but it’s also a potent antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, and it appears to support cardiovascular health, too 2. Beyond this protective role, melatonin seems to act as an antitumour agent, preventing cancer cells from dividing 3. Scientists know the pineal gland is involved in maintaining healthy brain cells because when it’s absent, the incidence of brain tumours increases.
It’s thought the pineal gland may sense EMFs as light, and therefore it reduces melatonin production, believing it’s still daytime. Many scientists have noted an increase in cancer rates among those who habitually have irregular sleep/wake cycles, like shift workers and airline personnel. Lack of sleep disrupts the immune system and encourages chronic inflammation, both of which increase cancer risk.
In addition, when cells are exposed to EMFs, even low-level ones, they appear to increase free radical production, contributing to oxidative damage to their DNA. Exposure to EMFs activates the stress response, being connected with feelings of depression and anxiety, even at low levels.
Nowadays it’s impossible to avoid spending huge amounts of time surrounded by EMFs, be it from working on your laptop, using your phone, or simply watching television. Wifi is everywhere and electrical currents run all around your home.
The further you are from appliances, however, the more EMFs diminish. For example, if you carry your phone in your bag rather than your pocket, and use earbuds or the speaker facility when talking, your exposure to the EMFs from your phone will be less.
Switching off wifi and other electrical appliances at night, and not sleeping with your phone in your bedroom are other sensible moves to reduce EMF exposure.
You can check the EMF levels in your home by using an EMF meter. There are many devices available aiming to shield you from EMFs, from laptop or phone shields to personal protection blankets and household shields, like special paint and window film.
If you would like to explore ways you can reduce your exposure to EMFs as well as protect your cells’ DNA from damage using diet and lifestyle measures, I can help. Contact me today to start your journey towards optimal health.
Would you like natural support for your brain health and reducing EMF exposure? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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