The Swiss Medical Weekly published the results of an important study in its November 12, 2004, issue verifying that apple pectin was seen to reduce the Cesium-137* uptake in Ukrainian children after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. The study was conducted at the Belgrade Institute of Radiation Safety, in Belarus, led by V.B. Nesterenko. It was performed to see if orally administered apple pectin was effective in binding Cesium-137 in the gut for food contaminated by radiation, or if eating “clean,” non-contaminated food was enough. The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving children from contaminated villages near the disaster area.
Abandonded school in Chernobyl.
Children with moderate and high Cesium-137 loads (groups 2 and 3) received apple pectin, a food additive, for 16 days. Apple pectin significantly decreased 137Cs loads in these groups (39% and 28%, respectively). ECG alterations improved, while cardiovascular symptoms and hypertension did not change in any group.
The pectin intake reduced the Cesium-137 by 39% and 28% in the groups with moderate and high radio-contamination; however, the absolute reduction was higher in group 3. The treatment duration of 16 days appears to be too short to lower the Cesium-137 burden more effectively, especially in children with high Cesium-137 contamination at baseline.
Fruit pectin commonly used to make jams and jellies.
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* Cesium-137, or radiocaesium, is a radioactive isotope of cesium that is formed as one of the more common fission products by the nuclear fission of uranium-235 and other fissionable isotopes in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons.