Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
November 29, 2020 [printfriendly]
I’m outliving my original cancer prognosis by over two years now. My oncologist is surprised. Most of my family and close friends are impressed. I’m elated.
But my success would have meant little to me if it weren’t for the quality of life I am experiencing. Let me go into the details of my current path, others on a cancer journey, my future goals, the science supporting them, and the threads that connect all.
Although the obvious and continuing goal of my Unconventional Cancer Protocols is to heal my body, longevity without a quality of life would be worthless to me. If I have anything to say about my mortality, I want to “die young late in life”.
So, what does that mean?
It means that I want to feel relevant and robust with no debilitating incapacities until the day I die. That may be “pie in the sky” thinking, but that is my goal. A person has to have goals in life to keep moving on – at least that’s my belief.
To be and stay “young”, I need to keep my body metabolically flexible and physically strong. My mind needs to be clear and inquiring. I also must do whatever is possible to enhance the health and repair of my 30 trillion human cells and my 38 trillion microbial cells.
My efforts to stay “young” include:
- A nose-to-tail, animal-based diet (which provides all my body’s necessary nutrients and allows me to cycle “in” and “out of” ketosis to remain metabolically flexible)
- Mineral water and Himalayan salt for necessary electrolytes
- A healthy and diverse gut microbiome as well as an intact gut epithelial barrier
- A robust innate and adaptive immune system
- Optimum cellular health with enhanced ATP production
- 7-8 hours of restorative sleep
- Efficient exercise based on my physical limitations
- Reframing and coming to grips with emotional stress
Although I have an underlying, incurable bone marrow cancer, I feel great. I feel “young”. I have energy, a clear mind, and quality of life. My wife and I enjoy time together. And we get out of the house to spend time outdoors.
When my time on this planet is over, my hope is to have remained “young” until I transition from this life to my spiritual home. If I can stay young and leave this world late in life, I guess you could say I have been successful.
I actively am defying the odds of my diagnosis and prognosis.
Others on a Cancer Journey
Many patients on conventional cancer treatment are not “staying young” by my definition. Chemotherapy, radiation, and even immunotherapy can increase systemic inflammation, weaken the immune system, and result in a decrease in the quality of life.
This study published in November 2020 concludes that cancer patients on a specific immunotherapy do worse than those patients who were in the clinical trials, which originally proved the efficacy of such treatment. In that study, the authors suggested that patients in the real world who received the immunotherapy started off frailer than those participants in the clinical trials. Because of this underlying increased frailty, the real-world patients receiving this therapy had reduced survival rates.
However, the authors did not suggest the underlying causes of the observed frailty. I believe the etiologies of this weakened health state are common for most cancer patients.
My previous research suggests that real-world cancer patients have poor diets, weak immune systems, compromised gut health, and dysfunctional mitochondria. I believe I have had success along my Cancer Journey because I have improved these factors by adhering to my Unconventional Cancer Protocols. My Protocols have put my body into a uniquely healthier state than if I hadn’t followed them. I am confident that my efforts have improved my chances to stay “young” as long as possible.
One question you might ask is, “How do you measure your success?”
I measure my success by the robustness of my immune system. As I have described in previous Blogs, a strong immune system is vital for overall health and wellness. The biomarkers I check to assure my immune system is robust are:
- Level of Ketones while I’m in ketosis
- Level of Blood Vitamin D
- Standard deviation of my Glycemic Variability
- Alpha Diversity of my gut microbiome (i.e. variety of species and quantity of each species)
Cancer and aging have much in common. By assisting my body to heal from cancer, I also am enhancing my longevity.
Cancer is a disease of metabolic dysfunction, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, disturbance of stem cell repair, and a compromised immune system.
Aging is a process of metabolic dysfunction, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, disturbance of stem cell repair, and a compromised immune system.
In essence, addressing my cancer should enhance my quality of life and increase my longevity.
Once again, I want to make this clear to everyone who follows me:
Although my PET Scan from May 2020 shows no active cancer cells in my entire body, I am not in remission. I do not have a cure for cancer. Certainly, I am a “work in progress” with still an unknown prognosis going forward. But I am motivated and convinced that I am doing the best for my body.
I am only a study of N=1. No one is doing what I am doing for myself with my current medical challenge. That said, the following medical science encourages me and suggests that I am “right on” with my thinking and my current path.
My animal-based diet will keep me “young” by my definition.
This diet is very low in carbohydrates and allows fat to be burned as fuel. The metabolic process is called physiologic ketosis. When in ketosis, the liver produces ketones, which are clean burning fuels. That means ketones are easily used to create energy for brain, muscle, and heart cells with less creation of free radicals. Excess free radicals are bad.
Excess free radicals are unstable molecules that are missing an electron in their outer shell. They are destructive to all tissues in the body. They are produced as a byproduct of metabolism or by exposure to toxic elements. Excess free radicals will replace their missing electron by reacting with other healthy molecules. The result is called oxidative stress and can damage DNA, lead to cancer, and accelerate aging. They also can damage proteins (called sirtuins) that function to repair damage in DNA as well as proteins that naturally cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cells that are beyond repair.
In addition to reducing excess free radical creation, ketones stimulate endogenous antioxidant production (ex: glutathione, superoxidase dismutase, and catalase).
Other benefits of ketones include decreasing inflammation, improving sirtuin’s ability to repair DNA, maintaining proteins that control genetic upregulation and down regulation, and improving stem cell viability. Viable stem cells replace cells that have undergone apoptosis as well as increase longevity.
Other factors to help me “stay young” are functioning mitochondria and cell membranes. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy using a full-body mat can assist in cellular health. It can increase blood flow and oxygenation, improve ionic transport into and out of the cell membrane, enhance the millivoltage potential of the cell, and improve mitochondria’s ability to produce ATP.
The last factors to help me “stay young” are my garden of gut bacteria and my gut epithelial barrier. A diversity of species in my gut is necessary to support my immune system and overall health. An intact epithelial barrier is necessary to prevent the leakage of toxic substances into my blood circulation. I maintain my gut by consuming an animal-based diet, enhancing my cellular health, and including spore-based probiotics.
Connecting the Threads
I know I may sound silly by pursuing these efforts to “stay young” until I die. It is my basic desire to live a life of quality as best as I can. I’m never going to give up. Actually, being consumed with these desires and efforts makes me feel connected and vigorous.
Yet in a selfish and possessive way, I want to spend more and more quality time with my wife. Unfortunately, my adult children and grandkids live many miles away from me. And I wish I could have more quality time with them. I’m working on it.
Check out my new training on the Better Belly Blueprint! You can watch it HERE.