Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
May 30 2017
In my new book, Crazy-Good LIVING, I discuss my Four Pillars of Health. One pillar of health is efficient exercise. I explain how efficient exercise is made up of several activities. One effective activity is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The importance of HIIT and the body’s quick and positive response to it are amazing. HIIT will improve the health of your mitochondria and in turn possibly improve your overall health as well as gingivitis. It’s a matter of connecting the dots.
High Intensity Interval Training is the ultimate beneficial exercise for your mitochondria. You could perform this once a week for eight to twenty-six minutes in total. You might start with a warm up of two minutes before beginning the exercise cycles. Each cycle might consist of (1) seven to thirty seconds of all-out-to-exhaustion pedaling on a recumbent bike or sprinting outside, and (2) rest for about ninety seconds to regain your normal breath. This cycle should be repeated for two to eight times. Then, finish with a two-minute cool down.
I use a Nordic Track Classic Pro Skier®, a cross-country ski machine that is set up in my spare bedroom. Usually I use it once a week for four to six cycles depending how I feel that day. I warm up by “skiing” at a slow pace for two minutes. Then, I “ski” at the fastest speed I can muster for twenty-five seconds, and next I rest for ninety seconds. That completes one cycle, which I will repeat until done. At the end of my routine, I feel exhausted – but great.
Inside almost every human cell, there are little vessels called mitochondria. The only human cells lacking mitochondria are red blood cells.
Mitochondria are like batteries floating inside the cells’ cytoplasm. Some very busy cells may have thousands of these batteries floating inside each cell. Mitochondria produce all the energy the cell needs to do its work. The mitochondria also assist in ridding our body of toxic substances and flushing out old and no longer useful cells. In addition, mitochondria help genes function optimally.
Mitochondria need nourishment. If they do not get all the nutrients they require, they will not function properly. A nutrient-dense diet, as I recommend, is ideal to provide these necessary substances.
Compare mitochondria to batteries in a flashlight. If the batteries are strong, the light shines brightly. If the batteries are weak, the light becomes dimmer, even though it may still work. The weak flashlight just doesn’t live up to the standards expected of it. But if you replace weak batteries with fresh ones, the flashlight will function as it did when it was brand new.
If our cells’ mitochondria are not firing on all cylinders, individual cells may function, but the cells’ ability to do what they were designed to do will be compromised. Mitochondria must be kept fresh and strong for peak performance.
In this peer-reviewed paper, unhealthy mitochondria were associated with gingivitis and advanced stages of periodontal disease. In contrast, healthy and strong mitochondria might help prevent gingivitis, other forms of periodontal disease, and other chronic diseases.
Connecting The Dots
Connecting the dots is critical. Healthy mitochondrial function is critical to overall health. One method to improve our mitochondria is through efficient exercise. Healthy mitochondria are important for overall health but also could prevent gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease.
Two recent papers reveal the significant benefits of HIIT.
- In a study published in 2016, twenty-five sedentary men were divided into three groups: nine performed three weekly sessions of HIIT for twelve weeks; ten performed three weekly sessions of moderate exercise for twelve weeks, and six men served as the non-exercising controls during the study. The details of the study are described in this paper. The final results of this study showed that the men who performed HIIT after twelve weeks improved their biomarkers of heart health and metabolic health easier and faster than those who performed traditional exercise training.
- In this study published in 2017, HIIT improved mitochondria function better than other exercise programs tested.
Science shows healthy mitochondria promote overall health as well as oral health. Researchers have reported that HIIT is an efficient exercise program that could improve the health of the mitochondria within all the cells of the human body. In my opinion based on the published research, supporting the mitochondria through an efficient exercise program in addition to a nutrient-dense diet could go a long way to possibly supporting periodontal health and preventing gingivitis as well as other chronic diseases.