Reducing the 137Cs-load in the organism of Chernobyl children with apple-pectin
As a complement of standard radioprotective measures, apple-pectin preparations are given, especially in the Ukraine, to reduce the 137Cs uptake in the organism of children.
The question has been raised: is oral pectin also useful when children receive radiologically clean food, or does this polysaccharide only act in binding 137Cs in the gut, blocking its intestinal absorption? In this case, pectin would be useless if radiologically clean food could be given. The study was a randomised, double blind placebo-controlled trial comparing the efficacy of a dry and milled apple-extract containing 15-16% pectin with a similar placebo-powder, in 64 children originating from the same group of contaminated villages of the Gomel oblast. The average 137Cs load was of about 30 Bq/kg bodyweight (BW).
The trial was conducted during the simultaneous one-month stay in the sanatorium Silver Spring. In this clean radiological environment only radiologically "clean" food is given to the children. The average reduction of the 137Cs levels in children receiving oral pectin powder was 62.6%, the reduction with "clean" food and placebo was 13.9%, the difference being statistically significant (p <0.01). The reduction of the 137Cs load is medically relevant, as no child in the placebo group reached values below 20 Bq/kg BW (which is considered by Bandazhevsky as potentially associated with specific pathological tissue damages), with an average value of 25.8 +/- 0.8 Bq/kg. The highest value in the apple-pectin group was 15.4 Bq/kg, the average value being 11.3 +/- 0.6 Bq/kg BW.