Honey Can Prevent Tooth Decay

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 13, 2022

Are you experiencing tooth decay?

If you eat processed sugars and a standard American diet, your teeth may start to decay or lose their protective coating (the enamel). This can happen to the best of us! But don’t worry. I have a natural solution to help protect your teeth. And the best part is, you probably have this in your pantry right now!

If you’ve been following my blogs for a while, you know I frequently tout the superpowers of raw honey, and this blog is no exception. I’ve discussed the many biological benefits of raw honey. Here are a few of my Blogs, which I have dedicated to honey: HERE, HERE, HERE.

Now hear me out because I know the idea of using a “sugary” substance like honey sounds counter-intuitive. But it works, and I’ll tell you why! We’ll start by looking at how the dental industry has attempted to control tooth decay.

 

Dentistry & the Prevention of Tooth Decay

There are many ways that dentistry has attempted to control tooth decay.

For example, the dental profession has been …

  • Educating patients about the harm of added sugars in the diet.
  • Emphasizing efficient oral hygiene techniques.
  • Promoting antimicrobial toothpastes, mouthwashes, and gels to kill offending microbes.
  • Recommending chemicals and mechanical methods that destroy the dental biofilm known as dental plaque.

However, rarely does the dental profession discuss the important causal relationships of a damaged gut microbiome, an unhealthy gut epithelial barrier, and the consumption of toxic substances in foods – all affecting the health of the mouth.

For me, I have taken a path of discovery to come up with the causes of tooth decay and methods to prevent it.

  • First, I looked at the evolution of our species.
  • Then, I investigated the relationship of the health of the gut and systemic manifestations of an unhealthy gut.
  • Finally, I searched the published research to discover how to prevent tooth decay without collateral damage.

In my conclusion, I have taken the controversial path of making statements that go against conventional protocols. Conventional protocols are promoted by pharmaceutical and supplement companies, by dental manufactures of “gadgets”, and by my dental profession. And I have published numerous blogs about these subjects over the past several years.

But again, this Blog is about a specific natural animal product known as raw, unprocessed honey and its ability to prevent tooth decay. Let’s dig in.

 

The Process of Tooth Decay

According to the Global Burden of Disease 2015 study, 3.5 billion people worldwide had dental conditions, predominantly untreated dental decay[1]. Overall, the global burden of untreated tooth decay for primary and permanent dentitions has remained relatively unchanged over the past 30 years.[2]

Tooth decay is the demineralization of the enamel and root surfaces of a tooth because of acids around the tooth. These acids may come from specific foods we eat and drink. However, the primary source of demineralization comes from the acids that are produced by specific pathogenic bacteria within a growing unhealthy dental plaque that surrounds the tooth root and the enamel surface.

The oral cavity may harbor over 700 microbial species, including bacteria associated with dental diseases and those that possess health-promoting properties[3]. These commensal bacteria can buffer acidic pH, reduce gingival inflammation, or inhibit the growth of pathogens.

When the acid level around the tooth falls below a pH of 5.5 for an extended period, tooth decay begins. Several potentially pathogenic bacteria in the dental plaque can produce these acids when these specific bacteria overgrow as they feed on simple sugars. Also, when acidic foods are eaten frequently, their acid levels can initiate and hasten the demineralization process.

The sugar-fermenting, decay-producing species Streptococcus mutans is the main causative bacterium of dental decay. However, DNA- and RNA-sequencing studies of decayed areas in the mouth have revealed multiple microorganisms being involved in the decay process.[4] The oral microbiome in a healthy mouth differs from the human microbiome in a mouth exhibiting tooth decay and periodontal disease.[5]

The demineralization process starts with damage to enamel and dentin, but this process can be reversed by the uptake of calcium and phosphate in the diet that is available in the saliva that flows in the mouth 24/7. However, repeated demineralization over a prolonged period leads to the formation of dental decay.

 

Raw Honey & Tooth Decay

A recent article titled Antibacterial and Antibiofilm Effect of Honey in the Prevention of Dental Caries: A Recent Perspective was published on 9/2/22 in the journal Foods. It reviews the current research about tooth decay and the benefits of raw honey.

Raw honey is a product of honeybees. Raw honey is not filtered or pasteurized. And it certainly is not the honey you can buy in a grocery store in a plastic squeeze bottle that looks like a bear. Raw honey is readily available from local beekeepers.

Honey is a super-saturated solution of sugars (up to 80% of the product’s total composition) enriched with over 200 biologically active components including amino acids, peptides, proteins, enzymes, acids, lactones, minerals, and polyphenols.[6]

The most current research shows that raw honey can decrease the virulence of several specific bacteria which are related to tooth decay as well as periodontal disease. Honey’s antibacterial activity has been considered one of the most important biological properties that makes honey a functional food.[7]

The antibacterial effects of honey are related to its low pH and water activity and a high sugar content (osmolarity), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), gluconic acid, polyphenols, and various peptides.[8] All these factors are present in every type of honey to varying degrees.

It is important to note that Grobler and his associates showed that honey does not cause demineralization in the tooth structures after 30 min in contact with teeth despite its low pH.[9] In fact, raw honey is able to remineralize the enamel surface in vitro, as shown in two studies published in 2021.[10],[11] And a peer-reviewed study has shown that honey has significant promise in the management of dental decay.[12] Specifically, nine clinical studies have shown that honey is effective as an anti-cariogenic agent.[13]

 

My Conclusion

The facts are published. You be the judge. Raw honey helps to prevent tooth decay. You could use it on your toothbrush just as you would use any healthy toothpaste. You could place some raw honey in your mouth, swish it around, and then swallow it to get a coating throughout your mouth as you would with a mouthwash.

Although I think and do research “out-of-the-box”, the published medical papers clearly show that this is not so much “out-of-the-box” thinking. The scientific evidence shows that what would appear to be a “sweet dessert” is much more that a sweetener to satisfy a “sweet tooth”. It is really a preventative and healing medicine.

Let me know your thoughts. If you prefer a toothpaste that is healthy to the oral microbiome and commercially available, I recommend Revitin.

 

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28792274/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31327369/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30534599/

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25435135/

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26811460/

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26593496/

[7] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224421006129?via%3Dihub

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31817375/

[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8185500/

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34531338/

[11] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Vijayapriyangha-Senthilkumar/publication/351107672_IJDOS_Citation_Vijayapriyangha_Senthilkumar_Sindhu_Ramesh_Remineralisation_Potential_Of_Grape_Seed_Ginger_Honey_-An_In_vitro_Study/links/6087c348907dcf667bc73803/IJDOS-Citation-Vijayapriyangha-Senthilkumar-Sindhu-Ramesh-Remineralisation-Potential-Of-Grape-Seed-Ginger-Honey-An-In-vitro-Study.pdf

[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31977042/

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9455747/table/foods-11-02670-t002/?report=objectonly

 

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

Victim or Survivor  

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 6, 2022

 

My 4-year cancer journey has led me down many different paths …

  • In September 2018, I was given a diagnosis of incurable bone marrow cancer with a prognosis of 3-6 months to live.
  • In August 2019, I fractured many bones on my right side at the same time and was placed into a hospice hospital to die.
  • In September 2019, I revoked hospice and returned to thriving.
  • In May 2020, my PET Scan showed no active cancer cells in my body.
  • In June 2021, I contracted severe COVID with lingering long haulers, which reactivated my bone marrow cancer.
  • After February 2022, I experienced numerous pathological bone fractures because of the reactivation of malignant myeloma, which was eroding the inside my bones.

Most of these events easily could have made me feel like a victim.

I am only human. And being human, I have had significant but short bouts of depression. But I owe my strength to my wife, Sue, who always has been there to lift me up by my bootstraps and out from the abyss of depression.

She and I are a team, and she has helped me regain my focus whenever necessary.

 

Current Challenges

Sue has been in the hospital since 10/9/22. That’s 4 weeks and counting. She has seen some success only to be minimized by further complications. It almost seems like she was moving 2 steps forward and then 1 step back.

But finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She just was moved into the Rehab Center located in the hospital. This Rehab Center is one of the best in South Carolina.

After going through extensive physical and occupational therapy, she finally will get out of the hospital and move into our new apartment. I excitedly have been preparing our new home for her return to me and to our life together.

But there is another wrinkle.

I had a CT scan of my brain on 11/1/22, which showed progression of a new mass of myeloma cells invading my right parietal bone. This new development is the manifestation of the damage to my immune system from COVID, which I contracted at the end of June 2021.

But I’ve been here before. I’ve had dire prognoses from the first day I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. So, I have experience along the road less traveled.

Once again, my journey is being tested and challenged. Once again, I could ask myself, “Am I a victim, or am I a survivor?” But once again, my quick and easy answer is, “I am a survivor!

 

Positivity

I have learned throughout my life and certainly during my cancer journey that attitude is critical to success. A positive attitude is not Pollyanna thinking. There is science that demonstrates that patients with a positive outlook have more healing success physically and emotionally than those who have negative and destructive thoughts.[1],[2]

Norman Cousins, MD, wrote about healing and a positive attitude.[3] His writings have revolutionized modern approaches to mind, body, and spirit.

In contrast to a person with a positive attitude, I know a woman who has a terrible attitude. She has many medical issues but is self-sufficient and lives by herself in her own home. She exudes negative energy. She is upset with her life. She hates where she lives. She says terrible things about people who try to show her caring and empathy. She turns almost everyone away from her. Her circle of friends seems to be dwindling and not supportive only because she turns them off. She will never heal physically and emotionally. She is going down a deep and dark hole that could have been avoided if she only had a different attitude toward life.

 

Stressing vs Coping

Stressing is when you apply emotional pressure to yourself, and you become worried and agitated.

Coping is when you successfully manage stressful circumstances and make the effort to solve them. By coping, you can master, minimize, reduce, or tolerate the stress.

Your attitude dictates if you stress excessively or if you cope effectively.

Stressing can get the better of us. And experiencing too many life’s bumps within a brief time often creates a sense of lack of control. This perception contributes to the development of anxiety, depression, and self-victimization.

Coping strategies for stressful life changes can help you keep a positive self-image and assist your body in healing.

Here are some coping mechanisms which may help:

  • Thoroughly research your options and solutions.
  • Lower your expectations.
  • Ask others to help or assist you.
  • Take responsibility for the situation.
  • Engage in problem solving.
  • Seek emotionally supportive relationships.
  • Maintain emotional composure.
  • Challenge previously held beliefs that are no longer valid.
  • Directly attempt to change the source of stress.
  • Distance yourself from the source of stress.
  • View the problem through a spiritual perspective.

Coping is a process rather than an individual event. Combining several of these coping strategies will provide the best results.

And the most important coping strategy appears to have emotionally supportive relationships with others. This is what I have enjoyed with my wife, Sue.

Here are some stress-reducing activities to help your ability to cope:

  • Eat nutrient-dense, animal-based meals as I describe in my Better Belly Blueprint and Eat As If Your Life Depends On It.
  • Exercise efficiently.
  • Sleep restoratively.
  • Take brief rest periods during the day to relax.
  • Take vacations away from home and work.
  • Engage in pleasurable or fun activities every day.
  • Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga, prayer, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Avoid use of caffeine and alcohol.

 

Victim or Survivor

Your attitude affects how you deal with life-changing stresses. Do you allow them to overwhelm you and make you a victim? Or do you force yourself to cope with these changes in such a way to enhance your quality of life and assist your body in healing?

If you view yourself as a victim, you will never overcome what you perceive is devastating your life. As a survivor, you always will improve your situation no matter how dire it might be. Even individuals near the end of life can prepare positively for their transition.

There is a series of audio tapes that was developed by the Monroe Institute and Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. These tapes help an individual who is dying to transition in a positive way. They also aid caregivers who are tending to the person who is dying.

If you are in a situation when death is imminent or anticipated, I highly recommend these audio tapes to ease the transition from life to death. As a person enters the last moments of conscious life, his or her mind continues to function. The mind is the manifestation of thought, perception, emotion, determination, memory, and imagination that takes place within the physical structure of the brain.

As a matter of fact, the mind can still hear when other signs of death have occurred.[4] To this end, the Monroe Institute[5] produced this specialized audio series with guided imagery for the caregiver and the dying person to listen to even after “death” has clinically occurred. The series is called, Going Home, and here are three links to these audio tapes HERE, HERE, HERE.

 

I Am a Survivor

In all my writings, I have emphasized that my goals are to heal my body as best as possible and to maintain my quality of life for as long as I can. To this end, a positive attitude has helped me accomplish these goals. I do not have a cure for any disease or cancer. But I have developed my series of Protocols to reach these goals. And I have been successful in managing these goals.

My current challenges are just challenges that require me to cope effectively and make the best of the situations that confront me. I am not in denial. I am a realist. But I know that a positive attitude can help prevent me from being a victim and help assure me of being a survivor.

I look forward to continuing my virtual coaching and consults, to creatively writing and publishing my blogs, and sharing my ideas of a healthy way of eating and living to all who want to listen and learn from one who has been to the edge of death and has returned triumphantly.

How do you cope with the hurdles that life throws your way? Do you see yourself as a victim or a survivor? Share your stress-reducing activities in the comment section – I’d love to hear them!

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124958/pdf/10.1177_1559827614550277.pdf

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Norman-Cousins-Books/s?k=Norman+Cousins&rh=n%3A283155

[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-67234-9?fbclid=IwAR1wWgWCtFDAV7BUtc8YV0NGUVucjiSpzZ-bkkihE5P3eHjwE8a4kBNAlaQ

[5] https://www.monroeinstitute.org/

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

When Bad Things Happen to Good People
– Dedicated to My Wife, Sue

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

October 23, 2022

If you have been following my Cancer Journey, you know that I have extolled the virtues of my wife, Sue. She has been my pillar of strength, my motivation, and my sounding board for many, many years.

In August 2019, I entered Hospice because of a series of pathological bone fractures. As you know, it is very rare to enter hospice and then be able to revoke it. I attribute my health today to Sue. She gave me some tough love while I was in Hospice in September 2019. All this was happening as Charleston was preparing for Hurricane Dorian. By the beginning of October 2019, Sue helped me to redirect my cancer journey and revoke hospice.

She is an amazing woman who also has guided me to restore my quality of life. I love my wife. I owe my success to her.

Now she is needing my strength.

 

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

On Sunday, 10/9/22, Sue was having trouble catching her breath. She never complains about any medical issues no matter what they may be. But on that Sunday evening, she was in the bedroom changing her clothes. When she emerged, she looked pale. In a quiet voice she said, “I can’t catch my breath.” I asked her if she wanted to go to the emergency room.

She quickly answered, “Yes!”.

I immediately knew it was bad.

I called the ambulance which arrived within minutes. I couldn’t accompany her to the ER because of my bone fractures.

After a couple of hours, the ER doctor called me and said that Sue apparently was having internal bleeding and possible kidney failure. They were going to admit her to the ICU as soon as a bed was available. The physician thought she would be transferred that evening to a downtown hospital.

Early Monday morning after being transported, Sue was seen by a myriad of medical specialists in the ICU. She was hooked up to various monitors and an IV.

And then the tests began.

Needless to say, it has been a harrowing experience for her. Although she is an RN, it’s scary when the tests are being performed on YOU! And it’s scary when you don’t know what is wrong. And you don’t know what you don’t know.

It seems that many medical complications were contributing to her need to be in the ER that Sunday evening. It took a week before all the physicians had integrated all the results of all the tests to come up with a medical plan to restore my wife’s health.

I visited her in the ICU for a few hours a couple of times. However, I am not able to be with her physically in her hospital room every day. So, writing about her as I am doing now is cathartic for me.

As of this writing, it appears that she in turning the corner and beginning to improve. She was transferred out of ICU and into a cardiac room on 10/16/22. Sue tells me that she is starting in-hospital physical therapy soon. However, she is not stable yet, and her medical team is working diligently.

The plan is for Sue to stay in the hospital for a few more weeks while she undergoes physical therapy and continues to stabilize her overall health.

 

We Go Back a Long Way

Sue and I have spent decades together. She and I were married in 1969. That’s longer than most of you who are reading this have been alive. We met in the 9th grade. Sue tells the story about telling her mom after she met me in the 9th grade that she was going to marry me someday.

Both of us grew up in Baltimore, MD. While in dental school in Baltimore, I was in the “early commissioning program” for the Air Force. Both of our children were born in Baltimore while I was in dental training.

After I completed dental and specialty graduate school, the Air Force sent us to the Charleston Air Force Base in SC where I was the Chief of Periodontics for my 2-year obligation. Since we loved Charleston, Sue and I decided to make the city our new home. I went into private practice for the next 44 years but stopped seeing clinical patients when I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2018.

We currently have two adult children and 3 amazing grandchildren – two of which are in college now. How time flies!!

Sue and I have built a beautiful life together. Like all love stories, we’ve had our challenges, and this latest one has been hard.

I cherish my wife. Sue means EVERYTHING to me!

 

Changes Are Coming

When Sue finally is released from the hospital, there will be some new and great things happening. As the chapters of a great novel introduce the reader to a new situation, our new life chapter will introduce us to elder living and internal discovery …

  • We will sell our home and move into an independent senior living facility just a few miles from where we live today.
  • As a surprise for Sue, I purchased a Sleep Number Climate 360 Smart Bed with adjustable frame from the Sleep Number Store in North Charleston, SC. And let me tell you that all the transactions were handled on the phone with the store Manager, Erin. Erin is the most customer friendly, efficient, empathetic individual I have met in a long time.
  • As a team, Sue and I will continue to help one another.
  • Our new living environment will be supportive to her and my medical issues as well as provide many varied social activities.
  • I will continue to provide all the services I currently offer on my website – they just will be coming from our new location. By the way, I may get preoccupied with learning mahjong and playing bingo. 🙂
  • And I will be enthusiastically praising the virtues of an animal-based diet with all the residents I meet at our new location as well as the head chef.

 

P.S.

One day before I published this Blog on my Website, Sue took a turn for the worse.

She is now in the SICU, Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

I am waiting to hear from her medical team.

 

 

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

Teeth Whitening
– the INS & OUTS –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

October 16, 2022

 

Several subscribers to my free weekly Newsletter, Belly Bites, have asked questions about how to safely whiten their teeth. I first wrote about this topic years ago, but I wanted to share an updated version with you.

There are more whitening options than ever before, and some of them are even dentist recommended! Does that make them a safe choice for your mouth? Does a whiter smile indicate better oral hygiene? The ads would certainly like us to think so.

Let’s look at some of the “ins” and “outs” of teeth whitening. Then, you make the choice that’s right for you.

 

How Whitening Works

Most whitening methods use a form of bleach (like carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) to remove stains that are considered unsightly. Other whitening methods are basically chemicals that have various degrees of abrasiveness to “polish” away the stain.

Many dentists offer an in-office, teeth-whitening procedure that uses a peroxide gel and a proprietary blue light to whiten your teeth quickly and effectively.

Some tooth whitening procedures done in the dental office also incorporate ozone to enhance the process.[1],[2]

 

Why Whiten Your Teeth?

People have different reasons to whiten their teeth.

Certainly, if a person wants to get a “brighter and whiter smile” for a special occasion like a wedding picture, then (for all the right reasons) have your teeth whitened with an in-office, teeth-whitening procedure that will produce a beautiful result relatively quickly. (Your mouth should be examined by a dentist to be sure it is healthy before this procedure is done.)

If you just want a brighter smile than you currently have, teeth-whitening may be for you – either an in-office procedure or an over-the-counter product.

If you want a “brighter and whiter smile” all the time for your natural teeth, you may need to repeatedly “touch up” your newly created white smile. This can be done with gels that are applied to the teeth with bleaching trays or bleaching strips that adhere to the front surfaces of the teeth to be whitened. I will discuss a potential problem with frequently repeated “touch up” measures later in this article.

However, these bleaching procedures will only lighten the surface of natural teeth. They will not change the color of existing filings, crowns, or veneers. So, after you lightened your natural teeth with a bleaching procedure, any “artificial” surfaces on your teeth would look “darker” compared to the natural teeth.

Also, if you have deep internal discolorations in your tooth or teeth, whitening procedures generally will not work as well for you.

Remember, teeth have a natural color. Chalk-white, which is the goal of some people, is not a natural tooth color.

 

Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth

There are some natural ways to whiten teeth.

Baking soda made into a paste with filtered water could be used with a toothbrush. The paste should be applied to the enamel of the teeth and scrubbed with your toothbrush for a few minutes and then rinsed off with water. The baking soda is salty-tasting and slightly abrasive. It could be used a couple times a week. It will remove some stain on the surface of the enamel, but it will not get the teeth as white as a chemical procedure done in a dental office or with at-home chemical whiteners. Be aware: if you aggressively brushed this baking soda paste into the gum surface or exposed root surface, it could be too abrasive and cause irritation to the gums and sensitivity to the root surface.

Another method would be to mash one strawberry into a small bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Use this paste as I described above for the baking soda paste technique. Strawberries contain malic acid, which has stain-removing qualities. This paste also could cause irritation and sensitivity as I previously mentioned.

There have been anecdotal reports using activated charcoal. However, activated charcoal is a “binding agent”, which has been shown to attach to various beneficial nutrients and interfere with their absorption into your body.[3] Also, there is no clinical research to substantiate the broad claims made by companies marketing charcoal toothpastes.[4]  In addition, the excessive abrasiveness of activated charcoal could possibly damage or remove the outer layer of the tooth, which is the enamel. If some of the enamel is removed by activated charcoal, a more yellow under-layer of the tooth called dentin will become exposed. The exposed dentin will stain more easily than the enamel and could cause tooth sensitivity. And the lost enamel will never “regrow”.[5]

 

Teeth-Whitening is Not Permanent

Any whitening procedure will not last. Natural foods that have staining capabilities like tea, coffee, red wine, blueberries, and the like will continue to stain the enamel of the teeth. So, if these stains cannot be removed by normal brushing or the natural teeth-whitening methods I described above, then additional “teeth-whitening” chemical procedures may need to be repeated indefinitely.

 

Potential Harm to Teeth & Gums

Peroxides used in the chemical whitening procedures could weaken the enamel. However, eating nutrient-dense foods will allow natural remineralization of any damaged enamel surface. It is possible that peroxides could cause significant gum irritation or root sensitivity. Most of these uncomfortable side effects will resolve in a short period of time. These side effects rarely last a long time.

As I already described, activated charcoal could permanently remove some of the enamel causing discoloration and sensitivity.

 

Potential Harm to Overall Body Health

Peroxides may be a problem, which was explained in an article published in the Australian Dental Journal in March 2017.[6] This is the first research study that investigated the systemic effects of 9% peroxide whitening gels placed into bleaching trays and then inserted on the upper and lower teeth in the experimental group. The trays were worn by 23 subjects in this study for 30 minutes each night for 14 consecutive days. Blood samples were taken before the study began and then after the 14-day trial. The blood tests showed a significant increase in three specific biomarkers for systemic oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a chronic process in the body that could contribute to disease in virtually every organ.[7] Excessive oxidative stress leads to chronic inflammation, which can lead to various chronic diseases over time. The cause of the observed oxidative stress in this study was probably due to peroxide that was either (1) swallowed and then entered the gut or (2) permeated through the gum tissues and then entered the blood system.

Therefore, frequent long-term use of at-home bleaching protocols using peroxides might eventually lead to chronic diseases because of oxidative stress.

 

Summary

There is no health benefit to whitening teeth. This is a cosmetic procedure that creates a cosmetic result. But the result is beneficial to a person’s self-esteem.

Here are a few caveats:

  • Teeth-whitening protocols can cause tooth root sensitivity and gum irritation that is usually short-lived, but in rare cases may last a long time.
  • Whitening is not permanent. Eating foods that stain the teeth will darken the teeth again. Therefore, more “teeth-whitening procedures” will be required to regain the whiter tooth color.
  • Teeth-whitening will not “whiten” existing dental fillings, crowns, or veneers.
  • Using peroxide gels in trays or strips on a repeated basis over a long time may cause oxidative stress and result in various chronic diseases.

So, whitening your teeth for a special occasion won’t do irreparable harm. However, I’d think twice before engaging in these whitening treatments on a regular basis. You can learn more about ways to maintain the health of your mouth HERE.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8690856/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29402954/

[3] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-4557.2004.tb00647.x/abstract

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28599961

[5] https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/do-charcoal-toothbrushes-work

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27091347/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4044300/

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

Our Kids Are Suffering
– One Answer Is In Their Food –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

October 9, 2022

 

The number of children struggling with chronic illness is on the rise, with between 10-20 million children in the US affected with conditions such as obesity, asthma, allergies, and behavioral problems like depression or ADHD. The CDC defines chronic illnesses as “conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.”[1] This does not take into consideration other issues that develop during their formative years, such as problems with their jaw development.

Children get their first source of nutrients directly from their mother. We now know mothers shouldn’t drink alcohol, smoke, or eat certain food items (ex: seafood with high levels of mercury) while pregnant. But it’s time we consider the impact the Standard American Diet has on the fetus. These dietary habits affect the fetus and its development. We’re seeing more and more kids born with a compromised body with which to begin their life journey.

Then, our kids’ poor food choices are causing damage to their precious body that may be irreparable. Parents may be the culprits, and then there are the school lunch programs that emphasize non-nutritious meals. Obviously, food is not the only ingredient for a healthy body. But food is our natural source for the nutrients that are required by our body to function optimally.

So, this blog is devoted to the food element that may be causing our kids to suffer and how you can set your kids up for success.

 

Mom’s Diet & Lifestyle Choices

This study[2] suggests that a significant number of pregnant women are not meeting recommendations for vitamins D, C, A, B6, K, and E, as well as folate, choline, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc even with the use of dietary supplements. Almost all pregnant women in this study were at risk of excessive consumption of sodium, and many were at risk of excessive consumption of folic acid and iron. Improved dietary guidance to help pregnant women meet but not exceed dietary recommendations is warranted.

So, what would consist of a healthy diet?

An animal-based diet eating nose-to-tail with some plants that are low in oxalates, phytates, and lectins as well as avoiding excessive linoleic acid are ways of eating that provide all the nutrients required. Most importantly, these nutrients are in their proper biologically available ratios and are absorbed by the body.

Excessive consumption of carbohydrates should be stopped. The International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention published an article in 2020 titled, Possibilities of reducing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and increasing natural resistance to the disease via nutritional intervention.[3] In this paper, the medical doctors and scientists reported that increased carbohydrate intake …

  • Increases the risk of infectious diseases
  • Increases the vitamin needs of the body
  • Contributes to viral replication
  • Interferes with the physiological function of the immune system, thus significantly reducing the body’s defense capacities

Also critical for moms is to avoid processed foods and supplements which contain added chemical ingredients that can damage the gut microbiome.

Certainly, pregnant women must avoid poor lifestyle choices like smoking and drinking alcohol as I mentioned previously.

In addition, there is concern about fluoride in the water system. Moms consuming large amounts of fluoride may have babies with lower IQs. In this study[4], maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years.

 

Starter Foods Are Critical

After birth, our precious ones may develop poor immune systems and poor jaw development because of a lack of breastfeeding.

Poor Immune Systems

The first “milk” produced by mom is colostrum.[5] This starts the baby with all the essential nutrients to develop a robust immune system. The continuation of breast feeding maintains all the essential factors for the baby to grow healthy.

Also, the act of breastfeeding helps to form the proper development of the child’s jaw.

Poor Jaw Development

Although genetics play a role, our environment has been the dominant contributor in the development of the jaw. There appear to be three major external factors that are affecting the size and shape of our jaws. They include:

    1. A decrease in breastfeeding
    2. A decrease in nutrient-dense foods
    3. An increase in soft foods

A. Decrease in breastfeeding

Breastfeeding provides the ideal mechanical stimulation in the mouth for the jaw’s normal development. When infants breast-feed, they form a deep attachment to the breast. They open wide and take in enough breast so that the breast is pressing up against their palate. Babies do not merely “suck out” the milk, but instead place their tongue around the breast in a U-shaped pattern. In a wave-like motion they “milk” the breast to receive its nourishment. Two developmental actions take place: (1) a rhythmic action of the tongue “milking” the breast, which presses on the palate, and (2) the subsequent action of swallowing. Both actions play a critical role in proper stimulation and development of the dental arches, palate, jaw, and muscles. As the baby grows, the breast continues to conform to the baby’s mouth.[6]

When bottle-feeding replaces breastfeeding, the bottle’s unnaturally shaped nipple does not fill or conform to the baby’s palate and therefore does not stimulate any widening of the palate to ensure room for future teeth. Also, the infant must create greater suction forces to suck out the milk from the bottle than would be necessary to feed from mother’s breast. This forceful action causes the cheeks to draw in, putting pressure on the gums and alveolar bone, affecting the position of the teeth. As the baby grows, the shape of the bottle’s nipple doesn’t change and cannot adapt to the developing mouth of a growing child, further compromising normal bone and muscle development.

B. Decrease in nutrient-dense foods

Nutrient-rich food sources began to decline after agricultural farming provided a significantly increasing proportion of processed foods to our diets. The lack of necessary nutrients in over-processed grain and sugar products compromised healthy bone metabolism.[7],[8]

Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist, published Nutrition and Physical Degeneration in 1939. In his book, Dr. Price documented numerous observational examples of primitive people who had healthy dentitions and others who had various dental problems including gum disease, tooth decay, and poor jaw development. He identified that those with healthy dentitions generally ate nutrient-dense foods, and those with unhealthy dental conditions regularly consumed diets high in flour, sugar, processed vegetable oils and processed foods. Dr. Price implicated a lack of both fat-soluble vitamins and trace minerals to be the most important deficiencies causing dental problems.

Since then, there have been numerous observations among hunter-gatherers and primal societies who have relatively healthy bodies with little or no chronic disease. Those societies that continued to eat their natural diets had healthy dentitions, while those who abandoned their traditional diets and began to eat a “Western” diet developed dental problems and even produced offspring with an increasing number of dental abnormalities.[9]

C. Increase in soft foods

Soft food sources, which reduced the physical stimuli on the jawbones and muscles of the jaw, increased after agricultural farming.

Processed grains and starchy foods provide a soft diet. The Industrial Revolution (1760-1820) brought about increased development of processed foods and other mass changes in dietary consumption including heavy reliance on sugar as a staple.[10]

Recent research has demonstrated that softer diets create fewer mechanical stimuli to the muscles and bones of the jaw resulting in a slow decrease in the jaw’s density and dimensions over the course of time. Jaws don’t need to be as strong or as large if the foods are less hard and less strenuous to chew. Rather than occurring over an evolutionary timescale, the change to the mandible was happening on an individual level as each child was growing up.[11]

 

Typical Kid’s Diet

I remember when I was in practice treating periodontal patients in a general dentistry office. There were many times when moms would bring their children into the office to be treated for tooth decay. These mothers could not understand why their kids were getting cavities in their teeth. Yet these moms were sipping on a can of Mountain Dew. Go figure!!!

As babies become children and teenagers, their diet often comprises of highly processed carbohydrate foods, added sugars and sugary drinks, fried foods, and vegetable oils.

  • Their day may start with cereal for breakfast. Possibly juice, a Pop-Tart, or a donut.
  • Then there may be processed carbs for lunch, or a burger or chicken sandwich with fries, a soda, and some cookies.
  • And the last major meal of the day may consist of a pasta dish with sugary sauces, a salad with sugary vegetable oil salad dressing, a soda, and a sweet carb dessert.
  • And interspersed during the day they enjoyed several snacks of crackers, processed nut butter spreads, chips, popcorn, sweet desserts and candies, and some more soda.

So, our kids are suffering, and diet is at the center of their poor development and their potential for chronic diseases later in life.

 

Kids’ Nutritional Needs

For the first time, the 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) includes guidance for feeding infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months old. These evidence-based guidelines emphasize the vital role of foods rich in iron and zinc (including meat). Iron-rich red meat, such as beef and lamb, are ideal first foods to help meet an infant’s nutrient needs starting at approximately 6 months old. And this 2022 article published in Nutrition Today explains the importance of introducing animal meat immediately following breastfeeding.

In another 2022 article published online by Cambridge University Press, the authors showed that animal-based foods improved the physical growth in 6 to 24-month-old children.

When it comes to physical development, this 2021 study shows that kids on a vegan diet were 1.2 inches shorter on average, had smaller and weaker bones, were three times more likely to be deficient in B12, and twice as likely to be deficient in iron than kids who ate an animal-based diet.

And when it comes to performance in school, here is an interesting study which was published in 2013. It was a controlled study of Kenyan children in school. Those kids who were given school meals which were animal-based excelled in school tests while those children who were given plant-based lunches in school performed less well in school testing programs.

Animal-based foods not only provide healthy development of children and adults, but they also have a positive effect on mental health. The authors of this 2020 peer-reviewed paper state that those individuals who avoided meat consumption had significantly higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety, and/or self-harm behaviors.

 

Concluding Thoughts

  • Pregnant moms need to be aware of the water they drink and the foods they eat. Their lifestyle and food habits directly affect the developing fetus.
  • Excessive consumption of carbohydrates is harmful to the body’s ability to function properly.
  • An animal-based diet consumed nose-to-tail along with very specific plants can provide the necessary nutrients for pregnant moms as well as their children growing up to become healthy adults. ALL the nutrients essential for human health can be obtained from organs, meat, animal fats, fruit, and raw dairy.
  • Staying properly hydrated with natural spring water replete with trace minerals is important.
  • There are many defense chemicals in vegetables that could be harmful to kids like oxalates which can rob them of minerals, lectins which can damage the gut microbiome and trigger systemic inflammation, or digestive enzyme inhibitors that can mess up digestion.
  • In my newest book, Eat As If Your Life Depends On It, I describe how I came up with my Better Belly Blueprint way of eating and how you could comfortably transition into this new lifestyle diet. It is based on the volume of a plate of food consisting of at least 70% animal foods and less than 30% specific healthy plants. There even is an interactive 3-day food journal for you to complete to monitor your new lifestyle way of eating.

[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2022/02/10/fact-check-more-than-40-children-have-chronic-illness-cdc-says/6639320001/

[2] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2736174

[3] https://nutriintervention.com/possibilities-of-reducing-the-spread-of-the-sars-cov-2-virus-and-increasing-natural-resistance-to-the-disease-via-nutritional-intervention/

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31424532/

[5] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/22434-colostrum

[6] http://www.brianpalmerdds.com/bfeed_oralcavity.htm

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19968914

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3402009/

[9] https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/nutrition-greats/francis-m-pottenger-md/

[10] https://www.eufic.org/en/food-production/article/food-production-1-3-the-evolution-of-meeting-nutritional-needs-through-proc

[11] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16421925

 

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

My Cancer Journey
– Withdrawal from Percocet –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

October 2, 2022

According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 3 million Americans and 16 million people worldwide suffer from addiction to opioids, whether it be in the form of prescription medications or illegal street drugs. It’s easy to brush that number off and think, “Well, that will never happen to me.”

While in active practice, I regularly prescribed opioids to my patients following periodontal surgeries (prior to my use of Laser Assisted Regeneration).

As a doctor, you might think I knew everything there was to know about these medications. I did my due diligence and shared the potential side effects with my patients. However, I recently got to experience the repercussions for taking these medications firsthand, and it was nothing like I had expected.

In my last cancer journey update, I explained my biggest challenge since being in Hospice in 2019. It was intense pain caused from pathological bone fractures. And since February 2022, I had to deal with this increasing pain in various ways. I tried all my unconventional methods first, but eventually, one of those ways was taking a narcotic medication.

 

Narcotic Pain Medicine

My oncologist prescribed Percocet, which included 7.25 milligrams of oxycodone and 325 milligrams of acetaminophen. I began taking half-a-tablet every four hours. Half a tablet equaled about 3.6 mg of the narcotic.

But in short time, that wasn’t enough.

I had to increase the dose to a whole tablet every four hours. In addition, I was taking 800 milligrams of Advil every eight hours. And to enhance the narcotic, I was taking 100 milligrams of gabapentin along with the Percocet.

That’s a lot of stuff. And I’m not into all these synthetic medicines. But the degree of pain left me little choice. At least, that was what I thought.

Unfortunately, I got hooked on Percocet. Not addicted, but dependent. There is a difference between addiction and dependency.

 

Narcotic Dependency

Dependency means that a person’s body requires the drug to function and would have uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if the drug were discontinued. Fortunately, I didn’t become addicted. Addiction would mean a person lost control over the use of the drug and continued to take it compulsively to get “high”.

It may only take several weeks after taking a narcotic on a regular basis before dependency settles in. Then the trouble begins. The normal dose starts to be not enough to mitigate the pain. Increasing doses and more frequent dosing seems to be necessary to obtain the original results. And more important than that, the narcotic never stopped the pain. It only dulled the pain for a very short time.

Unfortunately, dependency on Percocet can be the gateway to opioid abuse by some patients. Patients can become addicted to oxycodone and eventually move to more potent drugs like heroin or morphine.

And then there are the side effects. Percocet can cause …

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dysphasia (trouble swallowing)
  • Flushed skin
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Headache
  • Mood changes
  • Stomach ache

In addition, while oxycodone interacts directly with the areas of the central nervous system (CNS) that regulate your perception of pain, these interactions also affect other CNS functions including:

  • Balance and coordination
  • Body temperature
  • Brain functioning
  • Digestion
  • Respiration

Problems with oxycodone develop as your system adapts to the effects of oxycodone. When this happens, the brain and CNS become dependent on this drug to regulate the systems it affects. So, if you’ve been taking oxycodone on a regular basis, and then stop taking it altogether “cold turkey”, these systems are left in a state of imbalance and unable to function normally. In the extreme, oxycodone could kill you. So, dependency is bad.

The biggest question I should have asked myself before starting Percocet was, “Why do I think I need this narcotic in the first place?”

While the narcotic may have eased the intense pain at first, it never stopped the pain entirely. I should have considered other combinations of non-narcotic options instead of the narcotic option. I should have been much more careful and proactive.

 

What to Expect When Tapering Off Percocet

If you become dependent on a narcotic, your most prudent step moving forward is to get off the opioid!

So, how do you do it?

You could do it “cold turkey” or you could “taper off”. Tapering off the drug makes all the sense in the world.

If you’ve only been on oxycodone for two weeks or less, tapering may not be necessary since you most likely are not yet dependent. Stopping the narcotic “cold turkey” would not cause any withdrawal symptoms.

But if you had already developed a dependency for the drug, then your prudent option would be to taper off. If you stopped the drug “cold turkey”, you could be in for some serious and painful withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately, you will still have some withdrawal effects when you taper off. But these symptoms would be far less uncomfortable. Tapering off oxycodone gives your body the time it needs to adjust to the absence of the drug.

Withdrawal effects can take the form of:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Chills
  • Cramping or diarrhea
  • Flu-like feeling
  • Headaches
  • Heart pounding
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Shallow breathing
  • Skin-crawling
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Tremors

The half-life of oxycodone is around 3-5 hours. This means that the original dose will be processed in your body into half the dose in about 3-5 hours. At this rate, you can expect to get rid of the first dose you took in about 15-25 hours. However, a saliva drug test will continue to be positive for about 48 hours after the last dose.

Even once the narcotic is out of your system, the dependency complications continue until your body adjusts properly.

 

How to Taper Off Oxycodone

The right way may be different for each person. Here are guidelines to taper off …

  1. Decrease the milligrams of the narcotic you take each time by approximately 30% for several days. So, if you normally took a 7.5 mg tablet at a time, you could start taking a 5.0 mg tablet at a time.
  2. After the first few days, start spacing your doses farther apart. For example, instead of taking a dose every four hours, change to every five hours. Follow this dosage schedule for another few days.
  3. Next, extend your dosage times even farther apart for several more days. So, if you were taking oxycodone every five hours, extend it to seven hours.

Keep repeating the above three steps until you’re completely weaned off the drug.

 

My Personal Experience

I knew that Percocet could cause constipation.[1] To prevent that, I took Senokot S with every dose of the narcotic. Senokot S combines the natural vegetable laxative ingredient senna with a stool softener to help avoid constipation.

However, one side effect of the narcotic was significant and very uncomfortable for me. It was dysphasia, which is difficulty in swallowing. About 55% of people taking prescribed narcotics develop dysphagia.[2] After several months of being dependent on Percocet, I developed dysphasia. That’s when I knew that I had to withdraw from Percocet dependency.

I started my tapering process beginning with 7.5 milligrams of Percocet. I then reduced the dosage to a 5.0 mg tablet. And then I split the 7.5 mg tablet in half to equal 3.75 mg. Finally, I split the 5 mg tablet in half to equal 2.5 milligrams.

While tapering off, I experienced general aches and a runny nose – both of which were mild. More uncomfortable for me were sweats and then chills and then sweats again. Also, headaches as well as feeling agitated were common and very unpleasant.

When I began my withdrawal process by tapering off, I noticed my dysphasia problem starting to go away. The dysphasia and the side effects from withdrawal for the most part disappeared after about a month of the tapering-off process.

Now, I can tell you that I am no longer on a narcotic medication and my body has become clear of all withdrawal symptoms.

My pain from the various pathological bone fractures is under control. These fractures have healed. And I no longer require any pain medication.

In the future, if I were to need pain medication, I would seriously consider all non-narcotic options before attempting any narcotic protocol.

 

My Thoughts

If you are a medical practitioner who can prescribe narcotics, educate yourself of all the subtle and not-so-subtle consequences your patient might experience. Be upfront and candid with your patient. He or she most likely has no idea what to expect short-term or long-term.

If you are the patient who begins to take narcotic medication for pain control, be completely aware of all your non-narcotic options before taking the narcotic. If you need the narcotic, be sure you also have a withdrawal plan in place as soon as you can get off this body-altering and addictive medicine.

If you or someone you know is struggling with dependency or addiction to narcotics, know you’re not alone. Here’s a resource for additional information and assistance: SAMHSA treatment finder at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment.”

 

[1] https://www.gastroenterologyandhepatology.net/archives/may-2016/effects-of-opioids-on-esophageal-dysfunction/

[2] https://www.gastroenterologyandhepatology.net/archives/may-2016/effects-of-opioids-on-esophageal-dysfunction/

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

Better Belly Blueprint Recipes
– Instant Pot Osso Buco Stew –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

October 2, 2022

 

Instant Pot Osso Buco is made from beef shank with marrow bone that is cooked at high pressure in an Instant Pot for an hour. All the tough connective tissue eventually melts into a flavorful, rich broth. And the meat is rendered tender. The result is a “fall off the bone” meat stew that is amazing.

My recipe is tweaked to fit my requirements for a delicious Carnivore stew. But I have included “optional ingredients” that adds flavor but deviates off the strict carnivore diet program.

The “optional ingredients” include some spices, an onion, and a little balsamic vinegar.

 

Ingredients

  • Beef shank (about 3 pounds)

  • Himalayan Salt
  • White pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of Ghee
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • Garlic powder (optional)
  • Rosemary (optional)
  • Oregano (optional)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 2 cups beef bone broth

 

Preparation

  1. Dry the beef shanks with a paper towel
  2. Season the beef shank with salt and while pepper to taste
  3. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” and wait for it to signal “Hot”
  4. Place about 4 tablespoons of ghee in the Instant Pot
  5. Sear the meat on both sides (about 3 minutes per side)
  6. Remove the meat and set aside for later
  7. Add onion into the pot with the Ghee (add additional Ghee if necessary) and cook until onion is soft and translucent (about 3-4 minutes)
  8. Mix in garlic powder, rosemary, and oregano
  9. Pour in balsamic vinegar, cook until the balsamic vinegar is reduced to at least half, and use a spatula to scrape any browned bits off the side of the pot
  10. Add beef bone broth and stir
  11. Add the seared beef shanks back into the pot
  12. Select “Pressure Cook” on the Instant Pot Panel
  13. Select “High Pressure” on the Instant Pot Panel and cook for 60 minutes
  14. Plate and serve as a delicious meat stew

 

 

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

My Cancer Journey  
– Berberine as a Medicine –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

September 25, 2022

If you know anything about me, you know that I am constantly digging for information to tweak my 11 Unconventional Cancer Protocols. In that regard, I’m a geek. However, this is a great way to be when you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Once again, I’m embarking on an experiment where N=1. And I’m the guinea pig!

This time, I’m researching a chemical called berberine. And I’m looking at it through the lens of a medicine and not a nutritional supplement.

  • A medicine is a compound for the treatment or prevention of a disease. Medicines have benefits as well as side effects.
  • A nutritional supplement is a product containing one or more ingredients that is taken to remedy a deficiency in one’s diet by providing the missing nutrient or nutrients.

 

Berberine

Berberine is a plant-based alkaloid that has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for over three thousand years. This alkaloid is found in roughly 500 species of plants. It is extracted from many parts of the plant including the root, stem, leaves, fruit, and bark. Some plants that contain berberine are European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, philodendron, and tree turmeric. Berberine consists of nitrogen­-containing substances which have been used to support immune function as well as to reduce inflammation, infection, high blood sugar, gut dysfunction, cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Animal and human researchers are continuing to delve into berberine’s methods of action. These scientists are uncovering the powerful effects that berberine plays in many pathways of the body including acute diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.[1]

The numbers of revealing published studies prove to me that berberine’s methods of action are basic for overall health as well as the interruption of pathological pathways. I’m not suggesting that berberine is a cure-all for disease. But it appears to be a chemical that has significant potential for wellness.

 

Berberine’s Anti-Cancer Effects

My special interest lies in the medical studies relating to the cancer fighting effects of berberine.

Berberine has the potential to be an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent as well as an effective immunomodulator. Published peer-reviewed research suggests that berberine may become widely used in clinics for cancer therapy.[2]

Specifically, berberine demonstrates anti-tumor activity by interfering in multiple features of tumor development.[3],[4],[5]

Berberine prevents cancer cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis and controlling the cell cycle as well as autophagy. Berberine also hinders tumor cell invasion and metastasis by down-regulating metastasis-related proteins. In addition, berberine is beneficial in the early stages of cancer development by lowering epithelial–mesenchymal transition protein expression.[6]

The therapeutic efficacy of berberine has been reported for specific cancers …

  • bone
  • breast
  • colon
  • cutaneous
  • intestine
  • liver
  • oral
  • pancreatic
  • prostate
  • thyroid

 

Berberine & Multiple Myeloma

My research uncovered pertinent clinical studies showing that berberine can kill human multiple myeloma cells.[7],[8],[9],[10]

In one animal study[11], berberine treatment significantly suppressed the growth of multiple myeloma tumors. A 66.7% inhibition of tumor growth was noted at day 14 in the experimental group, which was treated with berberine (50 mg/kg) every other day for 2 consecutive weeks.

 

Side Effects

Berberine is generally well tolerated at recommended dosage levels. In clinical studies at 500 mg 2-3 times daily, side effects were generally mild but included nausea, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distension and/or abdominal pain. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

 

Interactions

Berberine may interfere with the absorption of tetracycline, cyclosporine, and related antibiotics.

In addition, berberine produces significant inhibition of CYP3A enzymes in humans. Because most drugs are metabolized by these enzymes, it may decrease the clearance of many medications, thereby enhancing their effect.

People on oral diabetes drugs should monitor blood glucose levels if taking berberine since berberine by itself will decrease blood glucose levels. Because of this, patients may need to adjust the dosage of their diabetes meds.

Other interactions include:

  • Berberine might slow blood clotting. Taking berberine along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
  • Berberine might lower blood pressure. Taking berberine along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.
  • Berberine might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking berberine with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.

 

My N=1 Experiment

After reviewing the published science, I concluded that berberine might hold some promise for me.

Caveat: I do not recommend that anyone tries my protocol. This is my own experiment. It has not been proven or approved by the FDA to cure cancer or any disease.

However, I am going to use this product in my personal experiment and share the results as they become available over time. Here’s how I started my individual study …

Based on my weight, I started consuming 3 grams of berberine every other day on 9/12/22. There is some research that suggests that it is best to cycle in and out of dosing berberine. So, my N=1 experiment will be for me to take 3 grams of berberine every other day for three weeks. After that, I’ll give my body at least one week to recover and rebalance itself. Then, I’ll return to cycling on and off my berberine regimen. Every four weeks, I’ll have my blood work checked at my cancer clinic to see if there are any positive or negative changes. The tests my oncologist orders include:

    • CBC (Complete Blood Count)[12]
    • CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel)[13]
    • SPEP (Serum Protein ElectroPhoresis) with immunofixation[14]

 

My Emotional State

If you’ve been following my cancer journey, you know I have been experimenting with my way of eating, my gut health, and my methods to improve the robustness of my immune system. And my experimentation has included some successes and a few major setbacks.

My new protocol with berberine is just another of my N=1 experiments.

Today, I am confident in telling you that I am doing extremely well!

It is my pleasure to report that once again I have outsmarted my doctors’ prognosis. I am not only on the mend, but I am also beginning to thrive again.

Since my diagnosis in September 2018 of incurable bone marrow cancer with the dire prognosis of 3-6 months to live, I’ve learned so much.

I’ve learned that …

  • No matter how bad things seem to be, you can improve them
  • Everything you put into or onto your body affects every cell in your body
  • If you can improve the function of your immune system, you can prevent and heal most diseases
  • You are in control of your interpretation of the world around you – your attitude will guide you to your success

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839379/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6996556/

[3] https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/ol.2015.3494

[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/labinvest201771

[5] https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2019/RA/C8RA09172B

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8658774/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7098108/

[8] https://bmcsystbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1752-0509-8-82

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086496/

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24843889/

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7098108/

[12] https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/complete-blood-count

[13] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22058-comprehensive-metabolic-panel-cmp

[14] https://n4vu.com/faq/what-is-the-difference-between-spep-and-immunofixation/

Buy My Book

Crazy-Good Living

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

Personal Hygiene
– A State of Balance: Part 2 –
   

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

September 18, 2022

 

 

In case you missed it, in last week’s blog we looked at chemicals in our personal hygiene products that can be wreaking havoc on our skin and penetrating into our body tissues. Since your skin serves as a protective barrier, efficient and effective personal hygiene habits are a must to maintain that healthy barrier.

Unfortunately, common hygiene products for the skin, the hair, and the mouth aren’t only unnecessary, but they can be harmful because of the toxic chemicals that make up their ingredients. Yet, if you immediately stopped all the chemical products, most likely you would notice some uncomfortable changes.

If you stopped showering with unhealthy soaps and shampoos, your skin and hair will probably feel a little greasy and dirty at first. You may become aware of some body odors, which may not be pleasing immediately. It will take time for the good bacteria that interacts with your skin and sweat to repopulate to a healthy balance. But eventually, your body will adjust if your diet and gut microbiome are healthy.

It may take a few weeks for you to get the surface of your skin in balance. For others, it may take many months. Stick with it. With a healthy gut microbiome and diet, offensive body odors will be a thing of the past. You may not be familiar with your own natural body odors, but they are pleasant and neutral to the senses.

Beware of products that are used in commercial hair and nail salons as well as “health” spas. These chemicals may be highly toxic. However, more health-conscious commercial salons and spas are popping up all over. Be sure to inquire about the products they use. Be proactive.

Let’s talk about specific personal hygiene actions to consider for various areas of your body:

 

Skin

The best way to clean your skin is to use filtered water and a washcloth. Water with a washcloth will rinse away dirt and dead cells without stripping vital oils from your skin. Just a few minutes in the shower is enough to do an efficient job. Longer showers might dry out your skin.

While cleaning your body, don’t forget to clean the “folds” in your skin. For example, the folds of skin around your ears and belly button will harbor potentially pathologic microbes if you forget to clean these hidden surfaces. And don’t forget the folds of skin around the genital areas.

If you want, you could use a mild cleanser instead of just water. One mild-cleanser method is “oil cleansing”, which is done with pure oils and a washcloth dampened with warm water. The oil will lift excess sebum (the oily substance produced by glands on your skin), clean out clogged pores like blackheads and whiteheads, remove dead skin as well as toxic pollutants and makeup, and will help hydrate the skin.[1]

Two perfect oils to use are either olive oil, avocado oil, or both mixed together. In the shower, place the oil on a moistened washcloth and wash your body. Don’t scrub hard. Then rinse. Be sure to have a slip-proof mat on the shower floor so that you don’t slip on an oily surface.

In addition to oil cleansing, you could use “dry brushing” to remove additional dead cells. It is an effective way to remove dead skin cells and dirt from the surface of your skin, while also promoting the production of healthy oils. Dry brushing is simple to do. Use a natural fiber brush with a long handle to brush your dry skin. Be sure to be gentle and avoid any areas of skin irritation.

  1. Start at your feet and move up your body.
  2. Brush your skin using wide, circular motions.
  3. Use light pressure in areas where your skin is thin and harder pressure on thicker skin, like the soles of your feet.
  4. Brush your arms after you have brushed your feet, legs, and mid-section. You should brush upward towards your armpits.
  5. After dry brushing, take a shower to help remove the dead skin cells.
  6. Following your shower, you could apply various natural oils to moisturize your skin (ex: olive, avocado, or coconut oil).

If you are concerned that your skin microbiome may be damaged, you may be interested in Mother Dirt, which makes products to help restore the normal microbiome to your skin if necessary.

Speaking about the skin, here is my take on tattoos. They are loaded with potentially toxic chemicals – and even some heavy metals. Dyes in tattoos have been linked to skin cancer.[2] I wrote about tattoos way back in 2017.

 

Armpits

If you want to use a deodorant, I recommend using coconut oil. It acts as a moisturizer as well as a mild antimicrobial. In addition, when you use a small amount, and rub it into the armpit area, it is absorbed quickly and does not leave a slimy or uncomfortable feel. If you want a little more antimicrobial protection, add a “dab” of baking soda to the coconut oil before you apply it to your armpits. This will not stop you from sweating, but sweating is a biological process that is necessary.

Humans are designed to sweat, but a metabolically healthy person will not produce offensive odors. Therefore, a commercial deodorant would be unnecessary.

However, if you still prefer a commercial deodorant product, Pretty Frank is a company you may want to investigate.

 

Mouth

Read my 4 Steps to a Healthy Mouth, where I discuss why and how to have a healthy mouth.

You only need water to brush your teeth correctly and effectively. You could add a pinch of Himalayan salt to the water. You also could brush after you dip the toothbrush bristles into a little baking soda, which will neutralize excess acid in the mouth as well as remove superficial stains on the surface of your teeth.

If you’re looking for a commercial toothpaste, one of the best which is healthy and helps balance the oral microbiome is Revitin.

Here is another substance you can use as a toothpaste, but it may surprise you.

Research has shown that raw honey is effective at removing potentially harmful bacteria and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.[3],[4] Honey has over 200 known biologically active substances[5] – yet many more probably will be discovered in the future. While all raw honey is effective, most of the medical research has shown the superiority of Manuka honey because of some of its unique, biologically active compounds.[6],[7]

If you want to use a mouthwash occasionally, use some coconut oil and swish it around for a minute or so. Then, spit it out (called Oil Pulling). If you use coconut oil as a mouthwash, be sure to spit it out into a napkin or paper towel and throw it in the trash. If you spit coconut oil into your sink, it could clog up the pipes! By the way, raw honey is also an excellent choice for a mouthwash.

 

Hair

In Part 1, I mentioned several caustic elements that are in many commercial shampoos. You may be using some shampoos that include these unhealthy chemicals. There are better choices.

In a moment, I’ll make a suggestion which may surprise you. But to help you transition from a caustic and damaging shampoo to a healthier solution that I’ll describe below, you may want to choose from these more healthy and biologically compatible shampoos:

Now, for the surprise. Here’s a better choice to clean and revitalize your hair – raw honey.

Raw honey is a natural humectant that retains moisture and is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other biologically active ingredients. To use honey as a shampoo, simply mix some raw honey into half-a-cup of warm water. Apply the mixture to your hair like you would any traditional shampoo, and then rinse well.

Now, before you doubt me and my extraordinary claims about honey, consider this: the emollient properties in honey smooth out your hair follicles, and when combined with its humectant properties, it locks in shine and can restore the natural luster of your hair. Who doesn’t want great looking, healthy hair?

 

Nails

Use a gentle nail brush to get to those surfaces that can trap foreign matter. Also, cutting nails regularly is an important personal hygiene activity. This will help maintain cleanliness as well as prevent hangnails, breakage, and other potential damage to your nails.

 

Hands

If you use the conventional antimicrobial products to wash your hands on a regular basis, you will severely damage the skin on your hands and around your nails. This has become a problem currently because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emphasis on antimicrobial hand sanitizers.

You only need to wash your hands for 10-20 seconds with cold or warm water to remove pathogenic species.

Here’s a better idea. Think about washing your hands frequently with raw honey and water. Just like using honey as a shampoo or a toothpaste, honey is a perfect cleanser. It helps to fight infection and to prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Just lather up and wash for 10-20 seconds. It does not matter if you use cold water or hot water.[8]

 

Vagina

If you have vaginal concerns, eating a nutrient-dense diet and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome are important.

If you have an infection called “vaginal candidiasis”, applying only honey to the area[9] or applying a mixture of honey and yogurt[10] has been shown in medical studies to be as effective as, but safer than, using fungicides or other antimicrobial chemicals. Although all raw honey has demonstrated significant healing qualities, I would recommend Manuka honey because of the abundance of published scientific research, which I discussed earlier.

 

My Thoughts

Our human machine is protected to some extent by an external barrier. I’ve discussed some of the barriers that protect us as well as some of the products we place on our body that may or may not help to protect us. Personal hygiene is personal.

I’ll repeat what I said in Part 1: Specific guidelines to avoid toxic elements that could enter the body remain a priority. Anything that disrupts the natural microbiome should always be avoided. Our body functions and thrives by homeostasis – an intricate state of balance. I have given you some of my thoughts, but this is far from complete.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research. Take the time to investigate the ingredients in your personal care items. Experiment and figure out what works for you. Save this blog for reference later. And remember, everything in your body is connected.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27815985

[2] https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/960976

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Honey+in+oral+health+and+care%3A+a+mini+review

[4] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1349007918300975?via%3Dihub

[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0102695X16301843?via%3Dihub

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28901255

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4837971/

[8] https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-370

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3814582/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26153168

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.

 

Personal Hygiene
– A State of Balance: Part 1 –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

September 11, 2022

 

You know me. I’m all about a healthy gut, oral health, and a nutrient-dense eating lifestyle. These lead to the creation of a robust immune system and overall wellness. But let’s get into another subject that has to do with the external covering of our body. I’m talking about the barrier that prevents toxic elements from penetrating into our body.

What we put on our body and what we avoid putting on our body directly affect what gets absorbed through our skin. And what gets through our skin eventually impacts every cell to some extent.

So, let’s clean up and protect our external surfaces efficiently, appropriately, and in a non-toxic manner.

I’ve divided this into two parts. This week in Part 1, I talk about the barrier and some toxic products we might place on it. Next week in Part 2, I’ll talk about several healthy methods and biocompatible products to clean and protect this outer barrier.

 

Our External Barrier

Our external surfaces are dependent on the health of our gut and the health of the microbes that live in harmony all over our body.[1],[2] Our skin is a protective barrier with its specific microbiome.[3] Numerous studies in the past have demonstrated the critical importance between gut health, our immune system, and the surface health of our body.[4]

Today, we are faced with a dilemma. Living in a civilized society encourages some very bad habits. They include high stress levels, too little sleep, poor food choices, too much or too little exercise, and frequent use of antibiotics and antimicrobial products in general. All these will damage the gut microbiome and negatively affect our skin resulting in all types of irritations, infections, dryness, and unhealthy sweating. In addition, many of the products we use on our body have toxic elements that can penetrate our body. We need to be proactive and make changes that improve our overall health and our skin.

A nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory diet, stress reduction, restorative sleep, and efficient exercise should be part of your healthy lifestyle. These also will improve your gut microbiome, which affects all your tissues including your skin.

Always remember that the outer layer of your body acts as a protective barrier.

 

Skin

Conventional soaps, which are made by mixing fat or oil with an alkali such as lye, can damage skin by raising its pH, obliterating healthy bacteria, and stripping away vital oils.[5]

Unfortunately, soap can also contain some really bad stuff. Here are 11 harmful and toxic substances that may be in your favorite skin soap as well as other products:

  1. Cocamidopropyl Betaine
    This is a synthetic detergent that increases spreading and wetting properties. It is used to increase the foaming action. It can cause rosacea, eczema, skin irritation, and eye irritation.
  2. Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene
    These chemicals help extend a soap’s shelf life, but they are carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and could cause liver damage.
  3. Diethanolamine
    This chemical ingredient can cause liver and kidney cancer. Interestingly, it is banned for use in self-care products and cosmetics in the European Union because of its organ toxicity.
  4. 1,4 Dioxane
    This chemical may damage the kidney, brain, and liver. This compound is listed as a probable human carcinogen. Research has shown that it easily penetrates the skin, and excessive exposure has been linked to organ toxicity. The FDA does not require 1,4 Dioxane to be listed on labels as it is a byproduct of the manufacturing process rather than an ingredient in and of itself.
  5. Formaldehyde
    It is added to a product to prevent bacterial growth. Yet, this is a well-known carcinogen and toxic substance, which may cause asthma, skin irritation, and nerve damage.
  6. Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone
    These preservatives in some soaps can be irritating to the skin and can cause skin sensitivity and allergic reactions.
  7. Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
    These are additional preservative chemicals added to soaps commonly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. However, parabens can disrupt hormones and negatively affect fertility and reproductive organs, as well as harm birth outcomes and increase the risks of developing certain types of cancer. They are also a common cause of skin irritation.
  8. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG compounds)
    These may be added to soaps as thickeners, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Often, they may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which have been shown to be cancer producers and trigger allergies.
  9. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES)
    These chemicals are surfactants and serve a dual purpose: acting as both a foaming agent and a detergent that removes fat, oil, and grease. They have been linked to skin irritations and allergic reactions. They bond with other common soap ingredients, resulting in nitrosamines, which are known as human carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
  10. Synthetic Fragrance
    This sounds great but is manmade and harmful These man-made scents may be hormone disruptors and create allergic reactions. Most of the synthetic chemicals used in fragrances are petroleum-based and are known to be detrimental to human health.
  11. Triclosan and Triclocarban
    These are antibacterial agents but interfere with the body’s thyroid hormone metabolism and may be a potential endocrine disruptor. In 2017, these were banned by the FDA and will no longer be allowed in hand and body soaps in the U.S.

Healthy skin has a pH around 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Conventional soaps to clean your skin may have a pH as high as 11. Continuous use of soaps will damage skin by developing increased dryness, itching, irritation, and inflammation. Some of this damage is a result of the soap destroying the natural oils produced on the skin. And without these protective oils, the skin will continue to crack, tear, and stay irritated. The ultimate result is that the natural protective layer of the skin will fail to function properly, and toxic elements will be able to penetrate the body easily.

Instead of soap, you might be using conventional bodywashes and shower gels. These are made with surfactants or emulsifiers, which are closer to the skin’s natural pH. However, soaps, bodywashes, and shower gels will destroy the vital oils that skin requires to be healthy.

Much like the gut, which must be balanced with healthy bacteria, the skin is healthiest when its trillions of microbes are in balance. If you strip away all these healthy microbes with antimicrobial products and lather up with unhealthy, chemically-infused lotions, you will seriously damage the external layers of skin. Then, toxic elements in the environment could be absorbed through your skin into your circulation.

 

Armpits

Deodorants are designed to prevent odors. Frequently, antiperspirants are included in deodorants to prevent sweating. While there is controversy about the biological harm from antiperspirant deodorants, I believe we should avoid the daily application of any chemicals on our body because of their potential transdermal effects once within our body.

 

Mouth

Here is a little-known fact. The only area of the body where a hard structure pierces the skin and enters the sterile bony structures is the tooth. Think about this for a moment. Can you imagine the potential havoc that could occur if infection were to slide down the tooth into the jawbone?

But the body has a solution.

The tooth pierces the gum tissue and anchors itself in the jawbone. The body created a “healthy biofilm” to protect this susceptible area to prevent bacteria from traveling down the tooth into the bone. There are other protective structures under the gum that can alert the immune system to fight infections. But first, this protective and healthy biofilm is the initial defense. It is called dental plaque.[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] It serves at least three main functions:

  1. Allows necessary nutrients and minerals from the saliva to enter the root of the tooth to remineralize it as necessary 24/7
  2. Produces hydrogen peroxide to kill any potentially pathogenic microbes in the mouth from getting to the gum/tooth margin
  3. Buffers the acidity around the gum/tooth margin to maintain an acid level of no more acidic than pH 5.5 to prevent demineralization of the root surface

So, dental plaque is healthy – until it’s not.

What makes it unhealthy?

Unhealthy changes in the garden of friendly bacteria in the gut, systemic inflammation because of a “leaky gut”, poor diet, and a compromised immune system play critical roles in the development of unhealthy dental plaque. All these areas must be addressed to have a healthy mouth. But proper oral hygiene is also vital for overall health and wellness.

Because I want to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth, I rarely use a mouthwash. The daily use of an antimicrobial mouthwash will kill bad bacteria as well as good bacteria. Killing good bacteria daily will compromise the health in your mouth and the rest of your body.[12]

Think of using an antimicrobial toothpaste or rinse daily as overkill. Just like it would be overkill to burn down your house to eliminate a few roaches in the basement.

The garden of bacteria in the mouth is as important as the garden of bacteria in the gut. You don’t want to destroy their healthy balance. The saliva, healthy dental plaque, and a healthy gut microbiome play important roles in maintaining homeostasis in the mouth.

When it comes to commercial toothpastes, most may be loaded with unhealthy ingredients. I wrote about some of the harmful ingredients in toothpaste in Just Because It’s In Toothpaste Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe and Toothpaste –  Misleading and Confusing.

 

Hair

Conventional shampoos are loaded with chemicals that can cause harm to your hair and scalp. Here are some of the toxic ingredients you’ll want to avoid in a shampoo. Be sure to check the ingredient list before you buy:

  • Sulfates – Sodium lauryl and laureth sulfates are foaming agents and can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a probable carcinogen.
  • Certain preservatives – This includes parabens which are linked to breast cancer and hormone disruption, as well as DMDM hydantoin, which releases formaldehyde and is linked to hair loss and scalp burns.
  • Artificial fragrances – The term fragrance is a catchall for thousands of chemicals including hormone disrupting phthalates, as well as skin irritants and allergens.
  • Petroleum products –They are known to be potential cancer-causing agents as well as hormone disruptors.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) – This is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, which are found in many packaging materials. It’s also found in toiletries and feminine hygiene products. BPA may interact with hormone receptors, such as those for your thyroid, which can alter their function.

Here is a caveat: Beware of all dyes for hair coloring. Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and para toluenediamine (PTD) are the most basic ingredients in any chemical hair dye. PPD is mixed with an oxidizer and gives the result that helps in changing color. However, if the oxidation process is not complete, it can lead to allergic reactions. PTD is less reactive but can cause dermatitis. Another toxic chemical is ammonia and its byproducts such as ethanolamine, diethanolamine and triethanolamine.

 

Nails

You probably have no idea how unhygienic long nails can be. Dirt, food remnants, and pathogenic microbes can easily find a home between the nail and your skin.

 

Hands

Many contagious viruses and bacteria are transported by hands. It is one of the most common means to transmit disease to others as well as yourself.

 

Vagina

As I described above, using soaps and other conventional cleansers is damaging to the surface tissues including the vagina. Douching, another common cleansing method, is a dangerous practice. Douching affects the pH balance of the vagina, which is usually between 3.8 to 4.5. It reduces acidity and therefore encourages bacterial infections by damaging the balance of the normal vaginal flora. The vagina has its own ecosystem which includes lactobacillus species, which create lactic acid. Lactic acid kills potentially pathogenic bacteria in the vagina. Lactobacillus bacteria also naturally produce hydrogen peroxide, which continues to kill pathogenic bacteria in the vagina.

 

My Thoughts

Personal hygiene is personal. But specific guidelines to avoid toxic elements that could enter the body remain a priority. Anything that disrupts the natural microbiome should always be avoided. Our body functions and thrives by homeostasis – an intricate state of balance.

In Part 2 next week, I’ll present some thoughts about methods and products to use on this critical outer barrier of your body.

But my discussion is far from complete. Do your own research. Always keep in mind that anytime you introduce any toxic substance to your body internally or externally, you are taking a giant step backward and ultimately altering that state of balance.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29332945

[3] https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2022/03/22/unraveling-the-role-of-the-skin-microbiome-in-health-and-disease/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983973/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9407174

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126660/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28476771

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4132376/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034904/

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11039053/

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2147593/

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1007%2Fs11906-017-0725-2

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my Free “Belly Bites” Newsletter and receive your free copy of Dr Al’s “5 Things That Could Be Impacting Your Health Right Now” HERE.