2023 New Year’s Resolutions
– This Year MAKE Them Happen! –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

January 8, 2023

It’s another New Year! Are you ready to make changes in your life? Are you ready to declare your New Year’s Resolutions just like you’ve done in past years?

New Year’s resolutions are made with good intent. But most New Year’s resolutions never get fulfilled. Why is that?

  • Many are not specific enough.
  • And many don’t include a game plan to succeed.
  • Then there are those people who lose interest in their pursuit.
  • While others come up with unreasonable goals.
  • And then there are some resolutions that are lists of material “wants” and “needs”, which really mean nothing in the end.

What is reasonable, achievable, and specific?

As I see it, it might be the improvement in health. When you are healthy or at least healthier than when you started your journey, you are moving in the right direction. It’s also the best and least expensive health insurance you can have.

I think you should cherish your body. Your body is your castle. Keep it clean, neat, and simple. And you’ll reap the benefits for the rest of your life.

So, what are these resolutions I recommend as New Year’s Resolutions?

I’ve written many Blogs about wellness with an emphasis on various elements to wellness. I’ll link to a few of my blogs that you can read in more detail for each of the lifestyle changes listed below. As you read them, be sure to click on the cited, peer-reviewed medical articles, which I have included in those posts to support my positions.

Back in October 2021, I wrote a Blog about the 15 Tactics for Wellness. They are still as good today as they were back then. See if they resonate with you.

But my recommendations for specific lifestyle changes which I discuss in this article are more specific. If you make these essential lifestyle changes, they will produce lifelong benefits.

  • Are you up for the challenge?
  • Are you ready to make your 2023 New Year’s Resolutions have staying power?
  • Are you ready to take the plunge and make the biggest commitment to your life and well-being?

I say, “Let’s go for it!”

 

Essential Lifestyle Changes

Mouth Health

Your mouth could be a source for infection and inflammation coursing through your body without you knowing it. It’s like a splinter in your big toe that never gets removed. Although there may be no swelling or pain, any irritant in your mouth could be a causative factor for severe consequences in other areas in your body.

Blog Links:

 

Diet

What you eat and absorb, and what you avoid, make all the difference in your overall health. Include animal-based foods in your way of eating. The volume of a typical plate of food should consist of at least 70% animal products nose-to-tail and less than 30% healthy plants.

Start avoiding all vegetable and seed oils, which are liquid at room temperature but may be hidden in most processed foods. These oils contain unhealthy levels of linoleic acid and are highly inflammatory.

Exclude processed grains and any gluten products. Remove all processed sugars from your food choices. Eliminate any plants that have moderate to high levels of antinutrients which can damage your gut and prevent nutrients from being absorbed. (Many of these antinutrients are Phytates, Lectins, and Oxalates.) And keep your consumption of carbohydrates to low levels.

Blog Links:

 

Gut

Learn how to improve the garden of microbes in your gut and repair any damage that may exist in your gut lining (i.e., Leaky Gut). Also, know your Alpha Diversity, which is a biomarker of the number of diverse microbes in your gut. The greater the “diversity”, the better your gut microbiome can crowd out unhealthy pathogenic bugs. An overgrowth of unhealthy microbes in the gut can damage your gut lining, create a leaky gut, and ultimately cause many chronic diseases.

Blog Links:

 

Stress

Chronic emotional stress is the most understated and misunderstood cause of many diseases – and that includes periodontal disease as well as cancer. Know the emotional stresses in your life and learn to reduce or remove those that you have control over. You already know that it is not as simple as turning “on” or “off” an electric switch. However, those stresses which are out of your control need to be understood but not allowed to overwhelm you – once again, not so easy to do!

Blog Links:

 

Spiritual

Believe in a power that is greater than you. I am not suggesting that you become a religious zealot or subscribe to a specific religion. I am suggesting that there is an energy source that may hold dominion over the universe and that you should investigate what that means to you.

Blog Links:

 

Exercise

Exercise efficiently – don’t overexercise and don’t become a “couch potato”. You’ll read that the science clearly shows that high intensity exercise that lasts a very short time but allows you to enter an anerobic state briefly will produce superior health results compared to most other exercise programs – many of which are longer in duration and frequency. This type of training is called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and can be performed with little to no “fancy” equipment.

Blog Links:

 

Sleep

Sleep restoratively so that your body can repair and refresh itself.

The regulation of sleep is processed by the sleep/wake cycle, which is called the circadian rhythm. This is the 24-hour internal clock in our brain that regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness by responding to light changes in our environment. Changes in the earth’s environmental light are the result of earth’s rotation around its axis. This has helped humans internally adapt to changes in our environment.

Sleep is critical for life. The lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can produce damaging effects on a variety of essential day to day functions. Memory consolidation, body healing, and metabolic regulation occur during the sleep cycle. This sleep-wake cycle can influence eating habits, digestion, body temperature, hormone release, and other bodily functions. The lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can negatively affect a person’s ability to properly function and can result in many chronic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and many other chronic diseases.

Blog Links:

 

Let’s Get Started

Making changes is hard; there’s no doubt about it. Many of us start out with the best intentions but tend to lose steam as life gets in the way. If that sounds familiar, I invite you to book a free, no obligation consultation with me. I’ll help you figure out a plan around what matters most to your health and structure it to fit within your busy schedule.

Give it a try. What do you have to lose? Worst case, we’ll have a good conversation, and you’ll walk away with some tasty new recipes to try. I’m only working with a limited number of clients for January; so, please reserve your spot ASAP.

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What’s Really Behind
Periodontal Disease?

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

December 11, 2022

Periodontal disease is prevalent in our society.

  • 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gum inflammation (gingivitis).[1]
  • 47.2% of American adults had advanced periodontal disease (periodontitis) while 70.1% of adults aged 65-years-old and older had periodontitis.[2]

Are you at risk of developing it? And if so, is there a way to avoid it? Read on, and I’ll tell you what’s really behind periodontal disease. I’ll even give you some tips on how you can reduce your risk.

 

Underlying Causes of Periodontal Disease

For example, three important facts were recently discussed in a couple of peer-reviewed medical journals. One paper was published in October 2022[3] and the other was published in November 2022[4]. The facts are …

  1. The last 25 years have brought a paradigm shift from periodontitis regarded as an infection in the gum tissues around the teeth to an overreactive response of the immune system!
  2. Those with periodontal disease often have overloaded their immune system before they developed periodontal disease with unhealthy habits. Two unhealthy habits were eating unhealthy fats and processed sugary foods. These and other poor food choices have led to the development of chronic diseases related to the disturbance and dysfunction of the gut and of the immune system!
  3. Emotional stress has been implicated as an important causal factor in periodontal disease.

 

The Gut & The Immune System

Our gut is a tube – like a plumbing pipe. What is inside the tube is isolated from the rest of the body. Our body produces a variety of enzymes to break down ingested food. The process of digestion changes the food we eat into the smallest molecular nutrients. These basic nutrients are allowed to slowly penetrate the lining of the gut to get into your circulation to give the body all the nourishment it requires to be healthy and stay healthy.

To assist our digestion and the overall function of our gut, about 38 trillion microbes make the gut their home. These microbes help with …

  • Breaking down food into bioavailable nutrients
  • Creating their own bioactive substances to support the health of the gut and the rest of the body
  • Signaling the immune system when they sense something is not right in the gut

However, if potentially pathogenic microbes in the gut begin to overgrow, then these bad guys could erode the healthy lining of the gut. The integrity of the gut lining would break down, and stuff inside the gut that should never enter the circulatory system would begin to leak out. Also, certain elements in the food we eat could damage the integrity of the lining of the gut.

This pathological change in the lining of the gut is called a “leaky gut”.

Ultimately, the elements that get into the blood system from the leaky gut can spread far and wide in the body. These elements are toxic to the body. And this toxic waste can cause chronic systemic inflammation affecting every organ system in the body. And it increases a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases and autoimmune diseases. But the manifestations of these diseases may take months, years, or decades to make themselves known.

Below is a graphic of a healthy gut and a “leaky gut”. The picture to the left shows a normal, healthy gut with a balance of good bacteria within the top light blue area and a healthy mucous layer protecting the one-cell-layer-thick epithelial barrier below. To the right is a picture of a “leaky gut” where unhealthy bacteria and toxic elements are breaking down the mucous layer and weaking and penetrating the epithelial lining (the red-colored cells) on their way to affecting the entire body.

 

 

All along, the person with a chronic leaky gut could be having a variety of symptoms that seem to be unrelated to the gut. And one of the results of this chronic systemic inflammation is an increase in the risk of periodontal disease.

This inflammation could cause the mouth’s healthy garden of bacteria and immune system to become unhealthy resulting in periodontal disease. The infection and inflammation from periodontal disease could spread into the jawbone, blood vessels, nerve canals, and soft tissues of the body. Debilitating and life-threatening diseases could occur just from this leakage of infection and inflammation from the mouth into the body. According to Alessio Fasano, MD, probably all chronic diseases start with a leaky gut. And dental diseases are chronic diseases.

Below is a graphic of a healthy mouth and a “leaky mouth”. The picture on the left shows a normal, healthy tooth in the jawbone. To the right is a picture of periodontal disease (the red area) beginning to penetrate the jawbone on its way to affecting the entire body.

 

 

Poor Food Choices & the Gut 

A diverse garden of microbes in the gut and the mouth are important to maintain health. The gut or mouth microbiome should never be indiscriminately destroyed. For example, when the garden of bacteria in the gut is compromised from the use of systemic antibiotics and gut dysbiosis occurs, an increase in periodontitis and jawbone loss from around the teeth has been observed in a recent study using mice.

Biologically available, animal-derived nutrients in their natural and balanced ratios with other symbiotic elements can supply our body and our gut with all the nutrients required to thrive. These animal sources can maintain a diverse garden of microbes in the gut. It’s important that these animals must be organically and compassionately raised and humanely slaughtered.

Regenerative rotational farming and animal grazing using no chemicals are methods to provide healthy animal products for our consumption. Some fruits and a very select number of vegetables can be healthy and included in your lifestyle eating plan.

However, many vegetables, processed fats and oils, added sugars, grains, and almost all nuts and seeds contain “antinutrients” that potentially are damaging to the gut, encouraging chronic systemic inflammation, and leading to chronic debilitating diseases – and these include dental diseases. The potentially damaging foods should be avoided if you want to be proactive for the health of your mouth and for your overall wellness.

Here are several resources to help explain how the foods we eat can benefit the health of the gut and the overall health and wellness of the body.

  • This seminal paper published in 2021 explains the evolution of the human species over 2.5 million years.
  • The International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention in Budapest, Hungary publishes Case Reports of their successes with their patients. This clinic has treated over 6,000 patients with severe and sometimes “incurable” chronic diseases and cancers. Their patients have been treated and sometimes cured using a strict animal-based diet with no supplements and no prescription drugs. Go to their website and then click on “Scientific Work and Articles”. The doctors at the clinic state that a healthy gut and intact gut lining are essential for success with their patients.
  • This peer-reviewed article describes the critical importance of a healthy gut.

 

Stress & the Gut

Stress can cause serious damage to your gut and eventually to your mouth.

Stress is one of those things that most people know about, occasionally think about, and often never do anything about. Yet stress can be one of the most important factors that can destroy your body slowly without you knowing it – until it’s too late.

Let me introduce you to a patient whom I will call Emma.

Emma is a 30ish-year-old woman who came to the dental office with the complaint of sore, bleeding gums. From a dental standpoint, there were no obvious causes for her oral problem. She had very little dental plaque around her gum tissues. And her dental x-rays did not indicate any active periodontal destruction in her jawbone.

Below are a “before photograph” and an “after photograph” of Emma’s mouth. They may seem disturbing because they look unnatural. However, the photography was done with the lips pulled back to show the teeth and gums for better viewing.

Here is how Emma’s mouth looked when she first came to the periodontal practice. You are looking at her red and swollen gum tissues around her teeth:

 

 

Since there were no obvious dental reasons for these lesions, she was referred to her medical doctor to check for possible systemic diseases that could be the cause. But no systemic diseases were discovered.

Emma eventually explained that she was continuously dealing with emotional and sexual abuse inflicted by her employer!

Finally, Emma was convinced to quit her current job with her abusive employer and found a new job out of state.

Four months later, she returned to the periodontal office. From the time she originally was seen until the time she returned after her move, she did not receive any medical or dental treatment for her mouth lesions. Her only treatment was the 100% removal of her emotional stress.

Here is the picture of her mouth after she returned to the office. All the gum lesions were gone – no soreness and no bleeding. Her original mouth condition was caused by severe emotional stress; her cure was the direct result of eliminating this stress from her life:

 

 

Unfortunately, most people who experience emotional stress from whatever sources are unable to reduce that stress completely. But Emma is a real-life example of a person who suffered the manifestation of severe psychological stress and healed completely after totally removing that stress from her life.

Emotional stress damages the gut microbiome, increases intestinal permeability (i.e. Leaky Gut), and increases systemic inflammation as a result of the immune system trying to heal itself.

If you were able to reduce your stress levels, you could improve your gut health and lower the levels of inflammation circulating in your body. That would improve your immune system’s ability to fight the fight that it is designed to fight.

Here are some studies that demonstrate how stress affects the gut …

  • This study published in 2013 looked at 37 military troops. They were involved in prolonged and intense combat-training. As expected, this training induced increases in stress, anxiety, and depression. However, the results also showed gastrointestinal symptoms, pro-inflammatory immune activation, and increased intestinal permeability – all resulting from acute stress.
  • In this study published in 2017, 73 soldiers were subjected to intense military training, which created significant emotional stress. No matter what these soldiers ate, stress caused unhealthy changes in the gut bacteria and the way bacteria metabolized nutrients. These changes resulted in increased markers of inflammation and leaky gut.
  • In this 2019 peer-reviewed paper, researchers used a mouse model to study the effects of stress. The investigators divided the mice into a control group and an experimental group which were subjected to severe emotional stress. This research showed that stress can cause negative and long-term changes to the gut microbiome by altering the composition and behavior of specific gut bacteria. These changes in the garden of gut bacteria could lead to destructive changes in the body’s immune system. Changes to both the gut microbiome and the immune system could make the mice more vulnerable to many chronic diseases.

The results of these three studies help explain how Emma’s stress affected her gut microbiome, her immune system, and ultimately her gum tissues. And when Emma was able to completely remove the emotional stress that affected her gut and immune system, the lesions in her mouth resolved. For Emma, these immune system changes were not permanent, probably because the stress was completely removed in short order.

 

My Thoughts

What we put into our body affects the gut. Our lifestyle choices and how we deal with stress affect our gut. And the health of the gut affects the immune system which affects the entire body. And that includes the health of the mouth[5],[6].

It only makes sense to me to understand why gum disease is not just a disease of improper oral hygiene. While an efficient oral hygiene program at home is very important, there is much more to the story. Prevention and treatment of periodontal disease must address the underlying causes which include unhealthy food and lifestyle choices, emotional stress, damage to the gut and its epithelial barrier, and the resulting dysfunctional effects on the immune system.

Do you have questions? I am here to help you. Check out my consultation services and coaching programs if you are interested.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=20437720

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4460825/

[3] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00005-022-00662-9

[4] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10266-022-00768-8

[5] https://aap.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/JPER.21-0374

[6] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2021.752708/full

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What’s In Our Blood?
SURPRISE!

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

July 31, 2022

 

We’ve talked at great length about your gut health being an indicator of chronic illness, but have you given much thought to what’s in your blood? Recent studies have shown that it’s not as sterile as we once believed! So, what does this mean for you?

 

What’s In Our Blood?

Our circulatory system contains microbes that were never believed to be there because old methods of culturing bacteria would not grow them. But recent DNA sequencing methods reveal that each milliliter of blood contains around 1,000 bacterial cells. These cells are dormant in the blood and can reside in healthy individuals. But they can be revived.

When iron is available in the blood, the dormant bacteria may be revived and can begin secreting lipopolysaccharides (LPS). LPS are molecules on the cell walls of gram-negative bacteria that stimulate the immune system which in turn creates inflammation. LPS is a highly toxic element. And systemic inflammation is a major initiating factor in the manifestation of practically all chronic diseases.

Researchers who published their study in 2016 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface[1] stated, “We think bugs are involved in all these diseases”. They observed that the addition of tiny concentrations of bacterial LPS to both whole blood and platelet-poor plasma of normal, healthy donors led to marked changes in fibrin and caused progression of chronic inflammatory diseases.

The body normally keeps levels of free iron in the blood low to keep bacteria dormant and block their growth.

Another group of researchers published a paper in 2022 in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.[2] The authors explained that these dormant bacteria come from the gut and the oral cavity. Microbial translocation into the bloodstream can occur via different routes, including through the oral and/or intestinal mucosa. As I said, these contribute to chronic inflammation.[3]

The authors of that study also described how science has developed equipment that is sensitive enough to find microorganisms among the body’s own cells. Studies in both animals and humans have shown that bacteria can be in tissues and organs like the liver, adipose tissue, and brain tissue. Often these findings are linked to disease. For example, researchers have found bacteria and fungi in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, bacteria have been detected in cancerous tumors.

However, there is controversy about the ultimate relevance of these blood microbes. Some researchers have concluded that the same bacterial groups often seem to recur in healthy individuals. In other words, these scientists suggest that a level of microbes in the blood of healthy individuals may be normal.[4]

 

Leakage of Microbes into the Circulatory System

As I said, the research suggests that microbes can enter the bloodstream via different routes, including through the intestinal mucosa as well as the oral mucosa.[5] And there is easy access to the bloodstream when there is a “leaky gut” and when there is a “leaky mouth”.

 

Healthy Gut – Leaky Gut

Below is a graphic of a healthy gut and a “leaky gut”. The picture to the left shows a normal, healthy gut with a balance of good bacteria within the top light blue area and a healthy mucous layer protecting the one-cell-layer-thick epithelial barrier below. To the right is a picture of a “leaky gut” where unhealthy bacteria and toxic elements are breaking down the mucous layer and weaking and penetrating the epithelial lining (the red-colored cells) on its way to affecting the entire body.

 

 

Healthy Mouth – Leaky Mouth

Chronic systemic inflammation caused by a “leaky gut” will affect the mouth. This inflammation could cause the mouth’s healthy garden of bacteria and immune system to become unhealthy resulting in periodontal disease and tooth decay. If periodontal disease or tooth decay becomes severe, teeth could be lost. Infection and inflammation could spread into the jawbone, blood vessels, nerve canals, and soft tissues of the body. Debilitating and life-threatening diseases could occur just from this leakage of infection and inflammation from the mouth into the body. This is called a “leaky mouth”.

Below is a graphic of a healthy mouth and a “leaky mouth”. The picture on the left shows a normal, healthy tooth in the jawbone. To the right is a picture of periodontal disease (the red area) beginning to penetrate the jawbone on its way to affecting the entire body.

 

 

When it comes to periodontal disease, there is a specific bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis. This is an aggressive gram-negative bacterium with some unique qualities. One of these qualities is that it can enter cells and become dormant.[6],[7] It also can bind to red blood cells and enter the circulatory system. In fact, the red blood cells protect P. gingivalis from contact with circulating phagocytes from the immune system without affecting its viability. In this way, P. gingivalis could be transported to other organ systems to reemerge and cause serious diseases.[8]

 

Unique Treatment to Destroy P. Gingivalis

For the six years leading up to my leaving private practice in 2018, I was using a unique laser (PerioLase Laser) to treat advancing periodontal disease. This laser uses a wavelength of 1064 nm (nanometers). It is the 1064 nm wavelength that enables the laser to selectively kill P. gingivalis that resides in the periodontal tissues and blood around the tooth without harming healthy cells.[9],[10],[11]

The beam from the PerioLase Laser also can penetrate epithelial cells where P. gingivalis can enter the cell and become dormant. The laser will destroy the dormant virulent bacterium without destroying the cell.

In addition, the laser beam can stimulate precursor bone cells in the jawbone around the periodontally damaged teeth to regenerate damaged bone.

Millennium Dental Technologies is the company the developed the laser and the clinical protocols. The procedure is called LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure). Recently, the name of the procedure was changed to LAR (Laser Assisted Regeneration), which emphasizes the regenerative capacity of the laser beam.

Here is a video simulation of the LANAP (or LAR) procedure in action:

 

 

Final Thoughts

The high level of chronic disease in the US population could be partly due to dormant bacteria in the circulatory system, which has gone undetected until recently. Some of these microbes may be bound to red blood cells, which offer protection to these bacteria. Some of these microbes may embed themselves into blood cells, which can transport these potentially virulent bacteria to other organ systems. And some of them may be floating freely in the bloodstream.

While some researchers believe that there may be a normal level of microbes living in the bloodstream of healthy individuals, my guess is that these microbes may be the culprits in the development of serious chronic diseases.

 

[1] https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2016.0539

[2] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2022.892232/full

[3] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2022.892232/full

[4] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2019.00148/full

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9110890/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4557090/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772519/

[8] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jre.12388#

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772519/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8860761/

[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15389740/

 

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Dental X-rays
Why? What Kind? How Often?
 

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

July 24, 2022

When you go to the dentist, do you ever wonder …

  • “Why do I need dental x-rays?”
  • “What kind of dental x-rays are necessary?”
  • “How often do I need to have dental x-rays?”

Let’s talk about all these questions.

 

Why?

Dental x-rays make visible what the naked eye cannot see.

Think about this:

If you noticed that your car was making a funny noise, you might want to go to the mechanic to check it out. When you got to the auto shop and the mechanic put your car into the bay, he probably asked you a few questions. He then asked for you to pop open the hood so he could do a few diagnostic tests. But you then told him, “No. I don’t want you to do any tests, I just want you to tell me what is wrong with my car!”

How silly would that be?

Of course, the mechanic would need to do some diagnostic tests to determine what was wrong and how he would attempt to fix it.

So dental x-rays are those “diagnostic tests” that the dentist needs so he or she can see what is going on that is not visible with just an oral exam.

Even more importantly, the proper dental x-rays may show areas of disease and damage that you as a patient are not aware of. There may not be bleeding, pain, or swelling. But there may be serious things going on in your teeth and jawbone that could cause irreparable damage to your body if not detected and treated early.

So, dental x-rays are necessary to see what the eye cannot see by itself.

 

What Kind?

There are many kinds of dental x-rays for different purposes. The most common are …

  • Bitewings
  • Periapicals
  • Full-mouth series
  • Panoramic

Other specialized x-rays include …

  • Occlusal
  • Cephalometric
  • Cone Beam CT Scan

 

Bitewings are x-rays that show the upper and lower teeth coming together in the back of the mouth. They help the dentist look for tooth decay between the teeth that are touching one another. They can be taken as “horizontal” or “vertical” bitewings. The “vertical” bitewing can also identify the level of jawbone between the teeth.

Here is an example of vertical bitewings:

 

Periapical x-rays show the jawbone that surrounds the complete tooth. These x-rays can help identify damage to the jawbone from excessive wiggling of the teeth (bruxism), an abscess from a dying tooth, periodontal disease, and other lesions in the bone.

Here is an example of a periapical x-ray of the lower front teeth:

 

A Full-Mouth Series (FMX) are various individual x-rays of all the teeth in the mouth. An FMX consists of bitewing x-rays of the back teeth and periapical x-rays of all the erupted teeth. This complete set of x-rays gives the dentist a comprehensive view of all the teeth.

Here is an example of an FMX:

 

A Panoramic x-ray does not show the detail around the individual teeth as an FMX. But a panoramic x-ray shows the sinuses of the upper jaw, the condyles, and more of the entire jawbone than can be seen in an FMX. This type of x-ray helps the dentist to evaluate bone structures and the position of the wisdom teeth, other impacted teeth, and various types of lesions that could be present.

Here is an example of a panoramic x-ray:

 

Other x-rays include …

Occlusal x-rays show the view of the teeth as if you were looking down at the chewing surfaces of the teeth of the upper jaw and of the lower jaw. They can show the alignment of the teeth in the dental arches.

A Cephalometric x-ray is used by orthodontists to evaluate the alignment and spacing of the teeth. It can also help the dentist evaluate the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and other facial structural issues.

A Cone Beam CT Scan is unique. All the other x-rays show the teeth and jawbone in a two-dimensional relationship. A Cone Beam CT Scan is a three-dimensional image that is more accurate than 2-dimentional x-rays since it allows the dentist to view any area in sections of 360 degrees.

 

How Often?

You may not need dental x-rays every time you go to your dentist.

Certainly, our primal ancestors never had a “dental cave” to go to where x-rays were taken. And for the most part, our primal ancestors had healthy mouths.

This is a photograph of a lower jaw from 300,000 years ago. It is from one of the oldest known Homo sapiens. This individual had no tooth decay and no jawbone disease.

 

But we are not our primal ancestors. We live in an environment with chemicals that can be toxic to our body, with emotional stress that can damage our gut and oral microbiomes, with ways of eating that include poor food choices, etc.

Our environment and lifestyle choices can damage our mouth without us being aware. So, x-rays can help you and your dentist determine if there is something potentially harmful going on that needs attention.

The first time you see your dentist, an FMX and panoramic x-ray could be extremely helpful to determine if there are issues of concern. These x-rays would become a baseline of the health or disease existing in your mouth.

Thereafter, x-rays should be taken on a “need only” basis.

For example, you may need x-rays once or twice a year if …

  • You have a history of frequent areas of decay
  • You have active periodontal disease
  • You have “dry mouth” (from specific diseases, medications, surgery, cancer treatment, etc.)
  • You have crowns, bridges, implants, existing root canals or other existing dental procedures
  • You are emotionally and chronically stressed
  • Your choices of food encourage tooth decay (sodas, sugars, grains)
  • You do not follow an efficient and effective oral hygiene program
  • You are a smoker
  • You have a metabolic disease or an unhealthy gut

But you may require a Cone Beam CT Scan. If you have potential lesions in the jawbone from necrotic teeth, poorly extracted teeth, or other reasons, then your biologically oriented dentist may suggest this three-dimensional scan. In addition, if you have an area that is going to be replaced with a dental implant or have airway obstruction, your dentist may need the information that can only come from a Cone Beam CT Scan.

Just like with your overall health, you are in control of your dental health. If you are following the Better Belly Blueprint style of eating, taking good care of your mouth, and have no medical or dental issues, you probably don’t need to do x-rays at every checkup! But you’ll want to make sure you are seeing a biologically oriented dentist.

If your dentist pushes the issue, you have every right to refuse provided you are taking care of your mouth; eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods; and maintaining a healthy gut. If you need a second opinion or guidance, I’m happy to help. You can set up a consultation with me HERE.

 

My Thoughts About Dental X-Ray Radiation

Think of this:

Every day, we’re exposed to radiation. It comes from the sun, our cell phones, and riding in an airplane. Yet when you get a set of four Bitewing X-rays, the total amount of radiation is less than an average daily dose of radiation in everyday life. And if you took a 7-hour plane ride, you would be exposed to approximately the amount of radiation from 16 small dental X-rays.

To protect you from any scatter radiation, the dentist will drape a lead apron over other parts of your body.

In addition, most dental offices use “digital dental x-rays”. Digital x-rays require less radiation to capture a high-resolution image than the traditional x-rays used several decades ago. Digital dental x-rays may reduce radiation exposure up to 90% from that of traditional dental x-rays years ago.

Also, digital x-rays allow …

  • The images to be available on a computer screen a few seconds after being taken.
  • The images to be enhanced and enlarged many times their actual size.
  • These images to be electronically sent to another dentist or specialist.
  • The dentist to easily compare the current image to an image taken in the past to determine changes.

Infrequent dental x-rays do not expose you to large amounts of low dose ionizing radiation. But if your dentist does not need x-rays to diagnose a potential problem or an existing problem, you would be better off not having routine x-rays unless there is a medical reason as I described above.

 

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Eat To THRIVE
Is There One “Diet” That Fits All?

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 22, 2022

 

For many, a terminal cancer diagnosis is the end of the road. When I was given 6 months to live, I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. My methods were, and still are, unconventional by today’s standards. But they worked! One of the biggest components to my success is my diet.

The Standard American Diet[1] isn’t good for any of us. It causes inflammation and many health problems. In contrast, my diet on paper looked great before my diagnosis with multiple myeloma. Since then, I’ve learned to make subtle adjustments that made all the difference.

To be healthy, exceptional, and empowered, we must eat not only to survive, but to THRIVE. Don’t fall for the gurus claiming to have created the “best diet” or categorically demanding you to “eat this to cure…” That’s not how it works.

Instead, let’s look at which nutritional factors really matter, backed by both science and evolution.

Our species has evolved over the last hundreds of thousands of years to dominate the animal kingdom. One main reason for this success has been the consumption of specific foods. And our DNA has evolved to be the blueprint which guides us.

So, to answer the question, “Is there one diet that fits all”, I respond with a resounding, “YES!”

A “diet that fits all” follows the guidelines of our DNA. But this lifestyle way of eating is not strict in many aspects. It allows for significant variation within its basic requirements.

Let’s take a journey – a journey of our species over hundreds of thousands of years. And let’s investigate our most basic human blueprint – our DNA.

 

Human Journey

Humans have evolved for approximately 2.5 million years. For the first 2 million years or so, our ancestors primarily ate elephants and other very large animals – predominately the fatty tissues as well as muscle meat, organs, and collagen parts. In addition, they perfected ways to crack bones to savor the bone marrow and brain tissues.[2],[3] Then, as large mammals began to diminish around 300,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens turned to medium-sized animals. But all along, our human ancestors were predominately carnivores who relished fat.

And now this fact has been proven by a group of researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel and at the University of Minho in Portugal. They published their cutting-edge research in March 2021 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

The researchers stated, “It is hard to convince a devout vegetarian that his/her ancestors were not vegetarians, and people tend to confuse personal beliefs with scientific reality. Our study is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.”

The investigators used genetics, metabolism, physiology, morphology, and archaeology of tool development to settle the question: “Were Stone Age humans specialized carnivores or generalist omnivores?

The scientific team came to this conclusion: Stone Age humans were specialized carnivores until about 20,000 years ago. Then, some plants were brought into their diet.

The scientists based this statement on facts:

  • Human stomach acidity is extremely acidic, indicating a meat diet in which the acid not only would kill harmful bacteria that was decaying meat but also would break down animal protein.
  • Human fat is stored in large numbers of small fat cells like other carnivore predators, whereas omnivores have few but large fat cells. Humans can make use of these high fat reserves by rapidly turning them into fatty acids and ketones for energy when needed.
  • Areas of the human genome are closed off to enable a fat-rich diet, but the areas of the omnivore genome are open to enable a sugar-rich diet.
  • Archaeological evidence supports a meat-based diet.
  • Stable nitrogen isotopes in the bones and teeth of prehistoric humans point to consumption of meat with a high fat content.
  • Specialized tools for obtaining and processing vegetable foods only appeared more recently along the evolutionary continuum.

 

Our DNA Blueprint

99.9% of each of us is the same![4],[5]

But for the most part, what makes you the person you are and what makes me the person I am is the remaining 0.1% of our DNA. Modern man (homo sapiens) has gone through a lot over the course of evolution. Life was harrowing.

About 100,000 years ago, the average lifespan was between 30-35 years.[6] Early deaths were caused by infant mortality for various sanitary and medical reasons. Then there were uncontrollable virulent infections, accidents, tribal warfare, being eaten by wild animals, and a host of environmental factors that we aren’t exposed to today. Over the course of many millennia, our DNA has been slowly mutating and is continuing to evolve and perfect itself.[7],[8]

As the basic blueprint for our existence, our DNA knows what it needs, and it certainly knows what it does not need. So, don’t fool with this genetic motherboard.[9]

At one extreme in our Blueprint, our DNA is very clear about what it requires to stay alive. At the other extreme, it is just as forceful in telling us what it can’t tolerate.

Basically, she says, “Give me what I need, and you will thrive. But force me to deal with toxic elements which I cannot destroy, and which accumulate in my body, then you will die.”

It’s that simple. In that regard, all humans are the same.

 

One Extreme

At one extreme, our basic needs are clear. We must breathe clean air; eat nutritious food; and drink untainted water. Neglect any of these three requirements, then surely we will be doomed.

 

The Other Extreme

At the other extreme, our blueprint is just as clear. If we put toxic substances into our body on a continuous basis, we will suffer. Make no mistake about it. If we insist on challenging our DNA by putting stuff into our body repeatedly that we never evolved to detox, digest, or rid itself of, then our human machine will suffer, deteriorate, and die.

 

Everything In Between

Our DNA Blueprint is the written story. But how the story can be told and will unfold is controlled by our environment and lifestyle. We have many options between the extremes of our blueprint.

Our food and the way we live can “turn on” or “turn off” our genes. If we have a genetic predisposition to a disease, we can manipulate our environment and diet to “turn off” those bad genes. Although our genes are our blueprint, we can do things to improve our future health or sickness.[10] The way each of us lives our life will determine to what degree we survive and to what degree we thrive. All of us can flourish by making choices that will improve our overall health. And Health is Empowering!

 

A Diet for All

Starting about 12,000 years ago, farming slowly ushered in what would become a dramatic change in the human diet and in human development. Over time, farming forced humans to eat more and more processed foods and less and less nutrient-dense, animal-based foods. These abrupt changes along with various agricultural and food processing chemicals have been major factors in the development of chronic diseases. And these changes are contrary to “Mother Nature” and go against our DNA Blueprint.

An animal-based diet consists of eating muscle meat, organs, cartilage, bone marrow, and animal fat from animals which have been grazed on organic grasses and humanely treated and butchered. An animal-base diet also includes some fruits and a few vegetables that are low in antinutrients.

Antinutrients are chemicals created by plants that our body does not digest completely and can accumulate to become toxic to our gut and our overall wellness. The majority of these antinutrients fall into the categories of phytates, oxalates, and lectins.

I’ve detailed my thoughts on this type of diet in my mini eBook titled, Better Belly Blueprint. Generally, 70% or more of the volume of a plate of food should consist of animal products, and less than 30% could be some plants that are low in anti-nutrients (i.e., phytates, oxalates, lectins).

This way of eating is not a “diet” that comes and goes. It is a lifestyle. It is the one diet that is right for almost everyone. It provides all the nutrients our body requires in a bioavailable form. It is the one diet that our DNA requires for survival and overall wellness. However, in rare circumstances, some individuals cannot eat this way because of unique medical dysfunctions.

This way of eating offers many options, but it adheres to the concept that humans have evolved as omnivores leaning toward carnivores. All foods that conform to this way of eating are totally acceptable.

 

Your Choice

If you are doing well, feeling healthy, and you have no medical issues that you want to improve, then continue doing what you are doing. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Now, I say that with a caveat. What if you could feel even better? Maybe you don’t have cancer, but you do experience an afternoon slump post lunch on a regular basis. Or you’ve been noticing that you feel more stressed than usual. More fatigued. Occasional stomachaches or headaches. Listen to those small cues. Your body will nudge you when something is off. If you ignore those nudges, they can escalate into bigger issues.

Just because you don’t have any health problems now, that doesn’t mean you can neglect your diet or go on autopilot. Take it from someone who has been in hospice ready to die but has come back from the edge. Don’t wait until your body is screaming at you.

If you want to improve your overall wellness, your energy levels, and your physical and mental being, consider an animal-based diet along the lines I have described – approximately 70% animal foods and 30% fruits and a few select vegetables. Be mindful of where your food comes from. You don’t have to change your ways overnight. Start incorporating small changes and take notice of how you feel.

As a matter of fact, 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 explains the importance of introducing animal meat immediately following breastfeeding.

At the end of the day, it’s all about feeling your best and becoming your best.

I’m available if you need me. I offer one-on-one coaching, and I share the wealth of information I’ve learned on my cancer journey on my website through blog posts.

 

[1] https://drdanenberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Standard-American-Diet.pdf

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S104061821500097X?via%3Dihub

[3] https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/5/10/eaav9822.full.pdf

[4] https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/fact-sheets/Genetics-vs-Genomics

[5] https://www.amacad.org/publication/unequal-nature-geneticists-perspective-human-differences

[6] https://medium.com/@frederic_38110/gerontology-how-long-will-you-live-4c9fd2704377

[7] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-evolution-dna-natural-selection-dna-genetic-mutation-why-a8641536.html

[8] https://humanorigins.si.edu/education/introduction-human-evolution

[9] https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-dna

[10]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6275017/

 

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Just Because It’s In Toothpaste
Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe
– Xylitol, Nano-hydroxyapatite, Fluoride, Activated Charcoal –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 8, 2022

If you want to put something into your mouth, it should be compatible and healthy. Not just for your mouth, but also for the rest of your body! If it’s not, then why would you subject yourself to potential harm?

  • Would you drink water that contains lead?
  • Would you gargle with gasoline?
  • Would you eat arsenic?

Of course, you wouldn’t since you know that these elements could kill you.

But what if you didn’t know what you didn’t know?

What if you were told something is beneficial but the potential harm was not disclosed and intentionally hidden from you?

You’d be more than angry – you’d be irate!

So, let me bring this reality to you.

 

Teeth & Dental Plaque Are Unique

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 move down the tooth into the jawbone? Your jawbone could rot, and you could die.

But the body has solutions.

The body created a “healthy biofilm” to protect this susceptible area to prevent bacteria from sliding 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” and is composed of several hundred bacteria is a state of balance.

This natural biofilm serves at least three main functions. Healthy dental plaque …

  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 decay of the root surface.

So, you don’t want to disturb or destroy this healthy dental plaque. Proper oral hygiene using a healthy toothpaste will not remove the thin layer of healthy dental plaque. Proper oral hygiene will only remove any excessive, unhealthy dental plaque.

 

Four Potentially Toxic Ingredients in Toothpastes

Four specific ingredients in various toothpastes are promoted as healthy and disease fighting.

  • Xylitol
  • Nano-hydroxyapatite
  • Fluoride
  • Activated Charcoal

But most people are confused about these ingredients because there are many published scientific papers that proclaim the benefits of them for the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease. But the far-reaching damage that these additives may cause to other parts of your body as well as to the garden of balanced bacteria in your mouth is not disclosed. And you need to be informed before you decide to use them in your mouth or to avoid them.

 

Xylitol

Xylitol will prevent a specific mouth bacterium (Strep mutans) from growing. Strep mutans is one of the bacteria that is responsible for tooth decay. But in a healthy mouth with a balance of bacteria, Strep mutans is part of the homeostatic community in healthy dental plaque without causing any harm. To destroy Strep mutans could disrupt the overall balance of bacteria and create an unhealthy overgrowth of other microbes.

Xylitol also prevents healthy dental plaque from forming and attaching to the root surface near the tooth/gum margin.[1] But healthy dental plaque is protective as I described above.

In addition, xylitol can damage the gut microbiome and create GI (gastrointestinal) disturbances.[2]

 

Nano-hydroxyapatite

Hydroxyapatite is the calcium-phosphate mineral structure of tooth enamel. Nano-hydroxyapatite has a much smaller size than hydroxyapatite and can adhere to the existing hydroxyapatite in teeth and “fill in holes”. The effect is that it can reduce root sensitivity and mineralize and repair early tooth decay. Nano-hydroxyapatite is marketed as the healthier alternative to fluoride.

However, several medical papers have shown that “nano” particles can penetrate other cellular tissues in the body and become cytotoxic.[3] They also have the potential to damage the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut.[4],[5],[6] All “nano” particles have the potential to do more harm than good. Much unbiased research still needs to be done in this area of medicine before I am convinced that medical nanotechnology is unconditionally safe and proven effective.

 

Fluoride

For years, dentistry has been a proponent of fluoride in water and in toothpaste. The ideas are that fluoride will kill oral bacteria and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. And the American Dental Association (ADA)[7] and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)[8] still believe this to be the case.

However, much of the current science demonstrates potential overall harm when fluoride accumulates in the body. The IAOMT (International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology) put together this detailed paper describing the harm of fluoride. And the IABDM (International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine) published this paper about their position on fluoride and republished this paper on the ingestion of fluoride.

 

Activated Charcoal

Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon that is created by burning wood or other organic material. This charcoal can be burned again at higher temperatures to produce “activated charcoal”. Activated charcoal can bind to toxic elements primarily in the gut. It doesn’t remove toxic elements in the mouth and does not prevent tooth decay or gum disease as promoted by some dental product companies.[9] Activated charcoal can also bind to essential nutrients to induce vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, constipation, and even vomiting.[10],[11]

In toothpaste, activated charcoal also is promoted to help whiten teeth. However, it is abrasive and 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”.

If you are interested, I published a blog on teeth-whitening ideas a few years ago.

 

Summary

When selecting a toothpaste, you shouldn’t use one with potentially harmful chemicals that may act as “Band-Aids” to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even if some research suggests that these elements may have benefits, they still should not be used if other science shows that they can cause harm.

Choose a toothpaste with no harmful elements and one that can enhance the healthy balance of the garden of bacteria in your mouth. My choice is Revitin.

There are very specific methods to stop tooth decay and gum disease. And they don’t involve chemicals to disturb natural processes in your body. In fact, these methods not only will prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but also assist in overall health and wellness. In this PDF I published, I describe the 4 Steps to a Healthy Mouth.

Tooth decay and gum disease are results from poor diet choices, an unhealthy gut, and inefficient oral hygiene protocols. You wouldn’t paint a rusted pipe with Rust-Oleum to hide the rust. And you wouldn’t take an aspirin to treat appendicitis. You would figure out the cause of the rusty pipe or the appendicitis and treat both correctly.

That’s the way you must approach the problems of tooth decay and gum disease. Treat the real causes of these diseases and repair the damage these diseases have created in the mouth.

Don’t rely on Band-Aids like Xylitol, Nano-hydroxyapatite, Fluoride, or Activated Charcoal to solve the problem.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31361368

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537870/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31349397/

[4] https://particleandfibretoxicology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12989-020-00349-z

[5] https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/4/1942

[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969721001443

[7] https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/fluoride-topical-and-systemic-supplements

[8] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-proposes-updated-standards-fluoride-added-bottled-water-maximize-health-benefits-while

[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32112023/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482294/

[11] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-4557.2004.tb00647.x

 

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Better Belly Blueprint Recipes
– Sautéed Soft-Shell Crabs –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 1, 2022

 

My soft-shell crab recipe does not include any flour, which is typically used to coat these delicacies before they are sautéed. And what a delight they are!

But they are only available for a short period of time. It’s all about timing.

As crabs grow, they must shed their shells, just as a snake sheds its skin to grow. The crab will develop a soft shell underneath its hard shell, then puff itself up to break the hard shell to make room for the new outer skeleton. Crabs that have just shed their hard shells expose a soft, delicate shell that hardens within hours. So, to obtain soft-shell crabs, you must harvest a crab just within the small window of time after it breaks off its old shell and before the new shell hardens.

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Fresh soft-shell crabs

 

 

 

(I remove the gills on the right and left of the crab which are under the top soft shell)

 

  • 1 Beaten egg
  • Sprinkle of Himalayan salt
  • Grass-fed, grass-finished butter to sauté (approximately 2-3 tablespoons – enough butter when melted to cover entire saucepan)

 

Preparation:

  1. Dry soft-shell crabs with paper towels
  2. Add butter to saucepan and melt on medium heat
  3. Dip each crab into beaten egg and then place in saucepan to begin sautéing
  4. Sprinkle salt on surface of crabs
  5. Sauté for 5 minutes
  6. Turn over crabs, and sprinkle salt on surface of crabs

 

  1. Sauté for additional 5 minutes
  2. Plate crabs
  3. If you desire, pour remaining butter in saucepan over plated crabs
  4. Enjoy!

 

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Animal-Based Foods & Snacks
Online Sources & More *
   

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

April 3, 2022

You know the importance of eating well. We all do. But do you know how to choose the best options?

Is this you? …

  • You want to emphasize an animal-based diet for yourself and family.
  • You want the best organic, pastured, grass-fed and grass-finished meat products.
  • You also want to include healthy snacks.
  • You want the convenience of online shopping.

If this is you, then this blog is “just what the doctor ordered.”

Here is where I’m going in this paper:

  • The science behind animal-based diets
  • Ruminant Animals
  • Other Animal Sources
  • Regenerative farming – the method of raising these animals
  • Online sources

 

The Science

Our diet (the foods we eat and the foods we avoid eating) has a major impact on our quality of life, health, and longevity. The food we eat directly affects the gut microbiome.[1] And a healthy gut is critical to prevent chronic disease.[2]

I have written about the research supporting an animal-based diet, which is based on the evolution of the human species, medically controlled trials, and published patient case reports. An animal-based diet will provide practically every nutrient your body requires in a bioavailable form with all its symbiotic elements in place and in the correct ratios.

  • Read the seminal paper published in 2021 about the evolution of the human species over 2.5 million years which got us where we are today. Humans are the most intellectual and dominant animal on earth, and the authors’ story is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary.
  • Watch this 15-minute video by Brian Sanders about meat, the benefits to the environment, and feeding the world. This short talk about how we got where we are today will be the basis of his soon-to-be released documentary film, Food Lies.

 

 

  • Investigate some of the human studies (HERE, HERE) that clearly prove that healthy red meat does not cause cardiovascular disease or cancer. On the contrary, consumption of healthy meat and organs is inversely correlated with these chronic diseases.
  • Read this controlled study of Kenyan children who excelled in school when they ate animal-based foods and did poorly when they ate predominantly plant-based foods.
  • Look through the results of this study, which showed that total meat intake is positively associated with increased life expectancy. The study included an analysis of 175 contemporary populations.
  • Study this 2022 paper which showed that animal-based foods improved the physical growth in 6 to 24-month-old children.
  • Peruse the case reports from the Paleomedicina Clinic in Budapest, Hungary where over 5,000 patients with severe and sometimes “incurable” chronic diseases and cancers have been treated and sometimes cured using a strict animal-based diet with no supplements and no prescription drugs. Go to their website and then click on “Scientific Work and Articles”.

My Better Belly Blueprint describes and outlines a healthy and doable animal-based way of eating. It is a way of eating for a lifetime.

A typical “plate of food” following the Better Belly Blueprint consists of at least 70% animal foods from nose-to-tail and no more than 30% raw honey, fruits and a select group of vegetables – no nuts or seeds.

 

 

Ruminant Animals

The ideal muscle meat options come from ruminant animals – cattle and sheep. I wrote about them in my blog, Beef & Lamb – My “Go-To” Meats. Also, these ruminant animals provide high quality organ options – and organs are replete with numerous nutrients our body craves. In addition, the kidney fat (suet) from beef and lamb is healthy and a great source if you need to increase your fat content with the meals you prepare. I wrote about animal fat HERE.

However, your local farmer or butcher may not carry these foods. And if they do, they may not be from grass-fed, grass-finished animals. Fortunately, there are viable options at the click of a key on your computer. I’ll suggest many online sources at the end of this article.

 

Other Animal Sources

I am not including animal products like seafood, chicken, or pork for your regular, daily consumption. These options for animal protein do not have the nutrient density like ruminant meats. If you were to eat them occasionally, then that would be OK. They provide variety which is important.

When it comes to seafood, the healthy options would be wild caught, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies – never farmed fish. Other healthy seafood choices include oysters, clams, crab, etc.

When it comes to chicken and pork, there is another problem in addition to the lowered overall nutritional density. Today’s chickens and hogs are usually fed corn and soy products. These products are high in linoleic fatty acid – even if these animals are organically fed. The linoleic fatty acid accumulates in the meat, skin, fat, and organs of the chicken and pork. When you consume these animals that have been fed corn and soy products, the excess linoleic fatty acids accumulate in your body and specifically in your fat cells. These omega-6 fatty acids are inherently unhealthy in excess quantities. Therefore, I do not recommend chicken or pork as part of your routine way of eating if they have been fed soy or corn products. If you eat them once every other week, then they probably will not affect you significantly.

 

Regenerative Farming

Throughout the US, there are organic farms that practice regenerative farming and grazing of cattle and sheep. These farmers treat their animals humanely and allow them to graze on the pasture without any added chemicals.

Regenerative grazing is a principle-driven agricultural practice of building healthy soil by managing livestock on perennial and annual forages, and in a way that supports human and ecosystem health, farm profitability, and community and food system resilience.[3],[4],[5],[6]

Several of these regenerative farms and co-ops of regenerative farmers provide grass-fed, grass-finished animal products for shipping directly to you in dry ice.

But you may have had a difficult time purchasing the healthy meats, organs, and even snacks for your way of eating. I have assembled online sources that can provide these healthy foods.

 

Online Options

I’m listing online sources which provide animal meats and their organs and fats as well as snacks. I have not personally ordered from most of them. I am fortunate that I have local sources where I purchase grass-fed, grass finished beef and pastured lamb. But I have ordered organs and suet online from White Oak Pastures and US Wellness.

 

Meat Sources:

 

Snack Sources:

Most likely, you will not crave snacks when you eat the way I have already described. But sometimes you or your family members may want a snack to take along on a trip or at some other time. Why not make the snack a healthy one?

Some snacks can be made in your kitchen. Examples would be hard boiled eggs, homemade beef jerky, and homemade liver jerky. But you may not want to go to the trouble of cooking.

So, here are some online sources to buy animal-based snacks. However, you will need to check the ingredients of those products you investigate. Some will have sugar, unhealthy oils, and spices that are high in anti-nutrients. Obviously, you’ll need to choose the appropriate snacks.

 

There is so much misinformation out there. When I try to decipher what is real or what is inaccurate when it comes to human nutrition, I attempt to take a broad view with a perspective that spans hundreds of thousands of years. Our primal ancestors are examples of how we have become the dominant species on earth. By duplicating the nutrients which they consumed will allow us to continue to thrive going forward. And an animal-based diet is our best means to recreate the success of our primal ancestors.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524347/

[2] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2022.01.002

[3] https://pastureproject.org/

[4] https://vetsustain.org/work/regenerative-agriculture-practices-provide-benefits-for-ruminant-health

[5] https://www.transformationholdings.com/agriculture/regenerative-agriculture-managed-grazing/

[6] https://countryfolks.com/transition-to-small-ruminant-regenerative-grazing/

 

Schedule a ”30-Minute Free Consult” with me to answer some of your questions and determine if we are a good fit for a coaching program! CLICK HERE.

 

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* NOTE: The statements I make in my publications are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. To support the claims I make in my writings, I cite various medical articles and studies that have been peer-reviewed and published in different medical journals worldwide.

Better Belly Blueprint Recipes
– Frothy Keto Chicory Coffee –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

April 3, 2022

 

Here’s a flavorful twist for a great cup of coffee – chicory coffee. Less caffeine than a cup of only coffee and smoother with less bitterness than a cup of Joe. If you have been to Café Du Monde in New Orleans, then you probably are familiar with their chicory coffee.

I use Mayorga Café Cubano coarsely ground coffee and organic ground Chicory. I also add MCT Oil and heavy whipping cream from pastured, grass-fed cows.

When my wife and I want coffee in the morning, I make enough Frothy Keto Chicory Coffee for both of us. That’s all I have until my first meal around 2PM in the afternoon.

Look at the ingredients. The fats in the coffee keep me in ketosis until my first meal. If your body is not used to these quantities of healthy fats, you must start slowly. Use smaller portions of heavy cream and MCT Oil at first. Or else, you and the toilet may take center stage for the rest of the day. So, gradually increase the amount of fats until you reach the suggested measures in my recipe. Or use whatever amount of fat that is perfect for you.

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Preparation:

  1. Grind beans to coarse grind
  2. Place ground beans, chicory, baking soda, and salt into French Press
  3. Boil water and wait 1 minute after boiling
  4. Add about 1/3 of the water to the French Press carafe and stir to mix coffee grounds and chicory thoroughly with the water
  5. Add the remaining water, stir, place the plunger, and set timer for 3.5 minutes
  6. While coffee is brewing, add heavy cream and MCT Oil into a 4-cup measuring cup
  7. Slowly press the coffee grounds and chicory to the bottom of the carafe after the 3.5-minute brewing time
  8. Pour the chicory coffee into measuring cup
  9. Blend mixture until well mixed and frothy using a stick blender
  10. Share and enjoy with your spouse or a friend. Put the remainder into a Thermos-type container to keep warm.

 

 

Schedule a ”30-Minute Free Consult” with me to answer some of your questions and determine if we are a good fit for a coaching program! CLICK HERE.

 

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.

 

Animal FAT
– Let’s Talk About It –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

March 27, 2022

Organic, Grass-fed, Grass-finished Beef Suet

What if I told you there was ONE magic ingredient to boost cognitive function and improve overall health and wellness? You wouldn’t believe me as this superfood element has been villainized for decades.

The superfood element is animal fat. It has been essential for the evolution of human life as well as the development of our unique brain.

If you have read or listened to the media surrounding food and nutrition, you undoubtedly have been inundated with misinformation that animal fat is the cause of many chronic diseases and a shortened lifespan.

You’ve been repeatedly told that “fat makes you fat” and that “animal fat causes cardiovascular disease and cancer”. Both statements are false if the animal fat comes from grass-fed, grass-finished animal sources that have consumed their organic, natural foods that are not tainted with chemicals of any kind.

Animal fat provides energy and is needed for hormone production and functional cell membranes. And animal fats can fight the battle of the bulge. Without healthy animal fat, we would be less satiated after a meal, and we would become hungrier more quickly. And animal fats, especially saturated palmitic and stearic fats, help reduce the excess storage of fat in fat cells.

In addition, animal fat helps the absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals.

Below is a 22-minute video by Paul Saladino, MD (author of the Carnivore Code). He discusses the importance of saturated animal fats, especially long chain saturated fats (palmitic, stearic) which are found in beef and lamb. They are the healthiest among all fats. In this video, Paul also discusses the harm of excess linoleic acid, which is a polyunsaturated fat that is present in excess in vegetable and seed oils as well as chicken and pork if they have been fed corn or soy products.

 

 

Is Animal Fat Healthy?

In an article published in the 2017 edition of The Lancet, saturated fat was specifically shown to be healthy. The authors also explained how high carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality. Yet, total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality. And saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke.

Slowly, the world is relearning that animal fat is healthy. As I already stated, the animals must be fed a natural diet, humanely raised and butchered, and not injected with any chemicals.

In this 2020 article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the authors wrote in their abstract …

The recommendation to limit dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has persisted despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Most recent meta-analyses of randomized trials and observational studies found no beneficial effects of reducing SFA intake on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and total mortality, and instead found protective effects against stroke. Although SFAs increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, in most individuals, this is not due to increasing levels of small, dense LDL particles, but rather larger LDL particles, which are much less strongly related to CVD risk. It is also apparent that the health effects of foods cannot be predicted by their content in any nutrient group without considering the overall macronutrient distribution. Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of CVD. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods.

 

Types of Fatty Acids in Animal Fat

A study published in 2016 identified the percentages of the various types of fatty acids in both US grass-fed beef compared to US grain-fed beef. Here is a table from the published paper:

 

 

How Did Animal Fat Get Vilified?

The vilification of animal fat began in 1958 when Ancel Keys began his research for the Seven Countries Study, which eventually was published in 1978. However, Denise Minger researched the real truth about Ancel Keys’ research, and various papers have been published which have debunked as well as supported Ancel Keys’ research.

Ancel Keys wanted to prove a direct correlation between heart disease and fat intake. This theory is known as the lipid or cholesterol hypothesis. Ancel Keys suggested that the ingestion of saturated fat (which can raise blood levels of cholesterol) would clog up your arteries, leading to heart disease.

Ancel Keys reported on 7 countries. He attempted to show a direct correlation between fat intake and rates of heart disease. However, the eventual research looked at 22 countries but only included the 7 countries that supported his hypothesis the most. For example, excluded from the 7 countries were the cases of Denmark, France, and Norway where their diets were rich in fat, but the occurrence of heart disease was low. Also, data was excluded from Chile, where the diet was low in fat, but the occurrence of heart disease was high.

His ongoing research was widely debated, then accepted, and eventually picked up by the health industry. By 1961, the American Heart Association recommended that butter should be replaced with polyunsaturated seed oils, and that animal fats should be avoided. The aim was to lower cholesterol levels. And in 1980 the US government issued dietary guidelines to cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol.

There were many problems with Ancel Keys’ research. Some of them are below …

  • A significant weakness was that the research was observational and did not involve controlled trials. The data could not scientifically support a causal relationship between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease – the results only showed a correlation.
  • Also, there were many lifestyle factors of the participants in the study that could confound the basic assumption that saturated fats were unhealthy.
  • Another significant problem was the source of the animal fat. If the fat came from animals which consumed grains, were conventionally raised with added chemicals, and inhumanely slaughtered, their fat would have been inherently unhealthy.
  • In addition, the food diet questionnaires which the participants had to fill out were dependent on the recollection of the individual participants.
  • Finally, in the days of the study, the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease might not have been completely accurate and often other diseases were misdiagnosed as cardiovascular disease.

 

How to Get Animal Fat in the Diet

My Better Belly Blueprint lays out a way of eating, which provides the necessary nutrients including animal fat for a healthy diet. A typical “plate of food” for a healthy person following my Better Belly Blueprint would consist of at least 70% animal-based foods and no more than 30% selected plant-based foods by volume on the plate.

There is no direct weighing of the food or amount one should force himself or herself to eat. You eat when you’re hungry to the point you feel comfortably full but not stuffed. The fat in the diet helps your body become satiated. You also drink water replete with trace minerals whenever your thirsty. And you drink until your thirst is quenched.

This is a high fat, moderate protein way of eating. Your goal is to eat about 2 grams of fat for every 1 gram of protein until you feel full. The high fat content can be eyeballed. For example, if you are making eggs or cooking ground beef or ground lamb, you could add extra ghee or tallow (or suet) to your preparation of the food. If you make a soup with bone broth, you could add additional ghee or suet to the soup. If you can tolerate dairy, triple crème brie offers up to 4:1 ratios of grams of fat to grams of protein.

The amount of carbs you consume depends on the number and types of selected plants you choose.

Here is a graphic that shows the grams of total fat and protein in ghee, beef tallow (or suet), beef ribeye, lamb loin chop, ground beef, ground lamb, eggs, triple crème brie, and raw gouda cheese. To increase the fat-protein ratio measured in grams for any given meal, you can add ghee and/or tallow (or suet) to the food preparation.

 

 

Here are links you may find helpful …

  • This is my recipe to make homemade Ghee.
  • This shows how to use Suet and provides links to purchase frozen suet from online sources.

Many people eating this way may only want to eat once or possibly twice a day. Again, you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are comfortably full. There is no specific “breakfast”, “lunch”, “dinner”, or “snack time” that you must adhere to.

Personally, I cycle in and out of ketosis. On the days I am in ketosis, my carbohydrate intake is less than 25 grams daily. When I cycle out of ketosis and become a carb-burner, my grams of carbs may be over 125 grams those days. This cycling helps my body stay metabolically flexible.

 

In Summary

Many people whom I speak with are shocked when I emphasize that animal fat needs to be included in their diet. I personally was confused when I learned the health benefits of animal fat. But what I learned is that you “can teach old dogs new tricks”.

My earlier “education” of animal fat was that it created health dangers and needed to be avoided. Today, many nutritional supplement companies and healthcare professionals that I have great respect for are still condemning the consumption of animal fat and animal products.

It is encouraging that medical controlled studies now are being published that clearly state and prove that animal fat is healthy and even critical for overall health and wellness. But it will take time to change people’s minds. And the food industry has an ulterior motive to continue the false claims that animal fat is the villain and must be avoided and substituted with their polyunsaturated and highly processed food products.

Don’t just take my word for it. Try a little experiment for yourself. For the next two weeks, consciously add more healthy animal fat into your diet and monitor how you feel. One of my favorite brain-boosting breakfast tips is to blend a spoonful of ghee into your coffee. The trick here is to use a frother or stick blender so you get that rich, cappuccino-like texture. You can find more high fat, nutritious recipes here.

Let me know how it goes! Drop me a line in the comments section or send me an email with your results.

 

Schedule a ”30-Minute Free Consult” with me to answer some of your questions and determine if we are a good fit for a coaching program! CLICK HERE.

 

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.