Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – Part 1
What are Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)?
Living in a complex, modern world has both its advantages of energy and time saving conveniences, but also a myriad of disadvantages such as lack of physical work and constant bombardment of electrical and magnetic fields surrounding our environment. Our homes and our offices are filled with wireless devices, ranging from cordless telephones, cell phones, to computers, laptops, and printers. How much do we know about these modern conveniences affecting our bodies on a cellular level? What are these electromagnetic fields doing to our environment and therefore our bodies as well?
Electric and magnetic fields, also known as electromagnetic fields (EMFs), are invisible lines of force that are created by electric charges. In other words, wherever there is electricity, there are also electric and magnetic fields or electromagnetic fields.
Sources with high voltage produce strong electric fields, which result from the strength of the charge and are easily shielded, weakened and blocked by objects such as trees and buildings. On the other hand, sources with strong currents produce magnetic fields, which result from the motion of the charge or the current, and are not easily blocked. The strength of both electric and magnetic fields decrease as you move further away from the source of the fields.
It is clear that escaping from electromagnetic fields is an impossible task for those of us living anywhere, but for the most remote regions of the world. Where escape is not possible, our next best solution is to learn and understand as much as we can about electromagnetic fields in order to combat its negative effects, and minimize the damage.
Primary Sources of Exposure to EMF
Electric and magnetic fields come from many sources such as transmission lines, distribution lines, internal wiring in buildings, currents in ground paths and electrical appliances such as refrigerators, laptops, hair dryers, electric blankets, etc. It is important to understand that fields can also interact with one another to increase or decrease their total effect, so that in one specific location the electromagnetic fields strength will depend on the distance and location of the major source, such as the distribution lines, as well as the distance and the location of the nearby sources, such as a refrigerator or a cordless phone base.
There are five major sources of electromagnetic fields exposure that we are surrounded by on a daily basis and they are:
- Electric fields (emanating from anything containing electricity including lamps, wiring, computer monitor, outlets, electrical appliances)
- Magnetic fields (a major source is the main power meter for the house, also electric clock radios)
- Power lines (both above and underground)
- Metal plumbing (older metal plumbing carries a current)
- Wireless communications (including cell towers, cell phones, wireless routers, cordless phones).
There is not much that we can do about public structures that have been put in place by regulatory bodies, such as power lines and metal plumbing, but there is certainly much that can be done on a personal level to devices in our home, or where we work.
It is also important to listen to your body and notice where and when you feel more fatigued than usual, a little more anxious, perhaps dehydrated after working on the laptop for a certain period of time? Some of these signs could be an indication that your body is telling you that you are being exposed to electromagnetic fields radiation and that it is slowly and surely wreaking havoc on your body.
Let us discuss further the inherent dangers involved in wireless communications. For those of us who rely heavily on cell and wireless phones on a daily basis this is of crucial concern as most of these forms of technology expose our bodies to both electric and magnetic fields.
Most people do not realize that the common cordless phone base is a major source of electromagnetic fields exposure in the home, and should never be placed in the bedroom, or on your desk where you can be continually exposed. Even while the phone is not in use, it is still transmitting constantly and therefore it is preferable that one uses a speakerphone or headset.
The other forms of wireless communication can all be decreased dramatically as they are linear types of radiation, therefore, any amount of distance or material between the source and you will help to reduce exposure. Walls are a significant barrier, especially if they are reflective, that is, it contains metal foil or metal paint.
Magnetic Field Exposure is Different from Electric Field Exposure
Magnetic fields are generated from many sources including power lines nearby, power meters, motors in the refrigerator, cordless telephone bases, laptops and your hair dryer—which emits greater magnetic fields than the refrigerator! Avoid using a hair dryer if possible. The only way to know with certainty whether the magnetic fields in your home is of a high level, is to test for it with a Gauss meter. Unlike electric fields that can be shielded, magnetic fields can pass through metal, even lead. There is one rather impractical solution and that is to completely encase the source and ground it.
In terms of laptops and other computer charging devices, you can shield against the electric field by using reflective material/metal, however, bear in mind that the magnetic field cannot be totally blocked. Therefore, avoid using the device(s) in close proximity such as on your lap. Also, because the charging devices are ungrounded, only use them when they are running on battery and not plugged in and charging.
Although it may seem impractical to only use the laptop when it is not being charged, once you begin to understand the effects electromagnetic fields can have on your body, you will appreciate that it is a small inconvenience to charge it when you take a break from your work, for example, to do adrenal breathing exercises, or your adrenal yoga, and return to work with it unplugged—it will become second nature within a very short period of time. However, as always do not let this become an obsession or over focus on it. It is important to make gradual and small changes so that they do not overwhelm you.
How Electromagnetic Fields Affect the Body
There has been debate as to whether electromagnetic fields can actually harm the body, however, with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifying electromagnetic fields as a Group 2B possible carcinogen, this debate can be laid to rest. EMF exposure impacts the body on many levels including the nervous system, the endocrine system, our genes, our immune system, and the brainwaves. They can affect inter-cell communication within the body resulting in dysregulation of the cellular structure that can be associated with many neurological and behavioral changes, cardiac arrhythmia including atrial fibrillation, altered cell growth, fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
What Causes EMF Sensitivity?
People who suffer from this have coined many different terms for the condition, such as electromagnetic sensitivity, electro-sensitivity, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, EMF intolerance, and microwave sickness. The increasing usage of cell phones, computers, laptops, e-book readers, smart meters, WiFi, Bluetooth, cordless phones, cell towers, and a myriad of other electrical conveniences in our modern day living are increasing our exposure to electromagnetic fields—an area that is so rapidly advancing that mainstream scientific research has not been able to keep up in terms of the damage it can do to our cells and therefore our bodies in the long term.
To comprehend why our bodies react to EMF it is necessary to first understand that the body is made up of 70 trillion cells interacting, and in order for the cells to be optimizing our health they need the necessary building blocks of nutrition, detoxification to eliminate waste, and oxygen for the cells to convert into adenosine triphosphate (a source of energy). EMF sensitivity is essentially damaged cell membranes—where the cell walls are weakened and the ultimate consequence results in nutrients leaking out and toxins remaining. When the cell membranes are damaged it can lead to many biological problems, including Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Cells communicate to each other via the use of their own electricity located within the cells. These signals however, are perturbed when external artificial EMF interferes with the communication.
The common symptoms that people complain of relating to EMF sensitivity range from: headaches, constant and long term fatigue, digestive disorders, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, memory disorders, metallic taste in the mouth, anxiety, heart palpitations and muscle twitches — many of these symptoms are also typical for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome sufferers.
EMF and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is a neuro-endocrinologic condition where the body becomes weak under stress. Stress comes in many forms: emotional (anger, anxiety, finances, relationships), physical (pain, exertion, excessive exercise), inherited (genetic, prenatal) and environmental (electromagnetic fields , toxins, weather, allergens). We are concerned with the environmental stress to the body that is caused by electromagnetic fields.
Why is it that not all AFS sufferers who are exposed to EMF react to it negatively? One possible answer to this is that EMF exposure is only one of the many toxic burdens that the body carries. Therefore, individual reactions vary with EMF exposure depending on the individual person’s overall toxic load. Those with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome already have a weakened constitution and any further stress on the body, in this case, daily EMF exposure, can make the symptoms worse. In light of this understanding, EMF sensitivity can be a sign that your body is under a heavy toxic load, be it environmental, nutritional or emotional/mental. In advanced cases of AFS the probability of concurrent sensitivity to electromagnetic fields along with severe weakness is higher. Some sufferers, as a result, cannot physically function normally when near a cell phone, electrical equipment and/or household appliances. In extreme cases, one has to live far away from modern civilization, such as in a remote forest environment to avoid EMF exposure in order for symptoms like heart palpitations and anxiety to subside.
© Copyright 2014 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Questions
How does EMF effect Adrenal Fatigue sufferers?
In early stages of AFS, no. The more advanced the weakness, the higher the risk.
What causes people to become EMF sensitive? Is it only in AF or can anyone be sensitive?
When your body continues to be stressed, the immune system slowly becomes weaker, and the extracellular matrix can become congested. That creates unwanted metabolites that can become toxic in the body, leading to inflammation. The more inflamed the body, the more cells are sensitive. You can become sensitive to food, chemicals, and EMF eventually. When you are EMF sensitive, most likely your body has some sort of AFS.
Electromagnetic forces are increasingly becoming a factor in overall well-being. How harmful can EMF be to the body? Does EMF start to build up over time to the point where it can start to pollute our surrounding unseen environment?
It can be very harmful, especially to those who have a congested liver, in chronic weakness, and have reactive metabolite overload. Some people cannot tolerate even a small amount.