Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
July 20, 2020
I was listening to the news the other day. Many of my friends suggested that tuning into the TV news channels was the first thing I did wrong. And I get them. So much stress and hatred and divisiveness out there in our precious “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”!
So, I was told from my television set that I’ve “gotta” get used to living with COVID-19. That includes all of us in the US. What the hell?
I’m not stupid. I’m a realist. But to get used to this pandemic as if it will be our buddy? Well, it may be our buddy if you think of it as a wakeup call to get our internal health into better shape.
First of all, one of the problems with our civilized society is that “we are told to get used to something that is not pleasant and not wanted”.
Second, we need to understand that we can start proactive and personal efforts to strengthen our body to fight this “killer”. No one will do this for us. Not the government. Not the health insurance industry. And not manmade chemicals.
For the most part, all of these attempts might be applied with the greatest and most admirable intentions. However, real health can occur only by strengthening our immune system naturally.
Fortunately, we are Free to make decisions for ourselves. And we are Brave to make these decisions based on our DNA blueprint, our food supply, and our lifestyles.
All humans share approximately 99.9% of the same genetic code or blueprint. The other 0.1% make you “who you are” and me “who I am”. What’s fascinating is that our genetic blueprint knows exactly what it requires to keep us alive and thriving. Our DNA blueprint also knows what it can’t tolerate.
At one extreme, our DNA requires us to drink, to breathe, and to consume certain nutrients to carry out our daily biological functions.
At the other extreme of the pendulum, our DNA knows what it cannot endure without killing us. For example, our DNA code cannot handle poisons or constant irritants to our body that cause continuous inflammation. In between these extremes, our DNA can deal with almost everything.
Obviously, we wouldn’t prevent our body from getting water to drink, air to breathe, or food to eat. Yet we keep insulting our body at the other extreme with chemicals and irritants that damage our body, which our DNA blueprint has no means to remove or neutralize.
More specifically, most of us continue to eat certain foods that tear into our gut like a splinter that keeps stabbing our finger in the same puncture wound. Our DNA blueprint cannot save us from these constant insults time after time. Are we either too ignorant to stop these insults or too stupid to ignore the consequences until it is too late?
You can’t fool mother nature. Just give your body what it needs and avoid what it never evolved to tolerate. To me, this is so simple. Why doesn’t our society get it? Doing this will improve the most important power we have to fight external invaders to our body – our immune system.
I’ve spoken about our immune system and living in a petri dish in past Blog articles. I want to review the immune system in simple terms and to reemphasize the steps to take to get our body into the marvelous healing machine that it was designed to be. An all-encompassing intelligent power has created our body to be self-sufficient, protective, and reparative.
We deal with infections and remain healthy based on the strength of our immune system. It is a complex biological process that identifies any invader to the body, mounts an appropriate defense, rids the body of that pathogen, and remembers that individual attacker if it attempts to invade us in the future.
The immune system is our “biological armed forces”. The method of action to mobilize these “armed forces” is fascinating, complex, yet not completely understood. What we know is this: the mucous membranes; a healthy, intact gut; and a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet are the principal actors as this drama plays out.
The immune system takes its cues from the gut microbiome, which lies on the mucous layer of its mucous membrane.
The “mucous membrane” lines the body cavities and tubular organs including the gut and respiratory passages. It’s an epithelial barrier that secretes a protective mucous layer. The mucous membrane makes up about 4,300 square feet in the human body. That’s like the square footage of a large home.
Approximately 38 trillion microbes cover the mucous membranes. The far majority of these living organisms are in the gut. In the gut, the microbiome is several layers thick. And this ocean of microbes talks between themselves and among all the other microbes located on all other mucous membranes in the body. It’s like a huge communication network that alerts the entire population of microbes to what’s happening on their turf simultaneously.
Practically all pathogens and irritants that enter the body must pass through the mucous membranes. The microbiome sitting on the mucous membranes becomes aware that there may be strangers in its midst. The friendly microbes have a unique and critically important role to play. They are the neighborhood watch group. They signal the immune cells in the epithelial barrier that there is something foreign that has just invaded and needs to be eliminated.
The gut microbiome and its mucous membrane are the central command center for the entire body. About 70-80% of the body’s immune system is located in the epithelium of the mucous membrane of the gut. When there is an invader anywhere in the body, the microbiome associated with its local mucous membrane relays messages to the gut microbiome. Then, the gut microbiome alerts the gut immune system that there is a pathogen or toxic element that needs to be removed. Effects from the gut immune system travel to all corners of the rest of the body directing all areas to react to the invasion.
The beneficial microbiome also communicates with the immune cells located in the lymph tissues throughout the body. All immune cells become involved with the fight to remove the invaders. This communication system rivals the most complex systems created by man. The human body is an amazing machine operating beyond comprehension.
There also are complex feedback loops to temper the immune system’s fight and eventually bring it back to a non-inflammatory state.
7 Critical Steps to Get Healthy
Be respective of your DNA blueprint. Give your body what it needs and avoid whatever it doesn’t want. This way, you will strengthen your immune system.
As I explained, our immune system is critical for fighting infections and maintaining overall wellness. This includes oral health. Boosting your immune system is the best and least expensive medical insurance you could “buy”. If you reinvigorated your immune system, think how much less you would have to spend on medical as well as dental care. To do this, you need to be proactive and start ASAP:
1. Consume nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods. Various ways of healthy eating provide necessary nutrients while avoiding over-processed carbohydrates, added sugars, unhealthy fats, chemical ingredients, and other irritants to the gut. I have created Al’s Better Belly Blueprint to be a source of healthy eating.
Subscribe HERE for my new weekly newsletter called, “Belly Bites with Dr. Al”. This newsletter will have a link to my new Blog post, discuss stuff I’m doing and recommending, and relate how I am progressing with my Unique Cancer Journey. As an extra added bonus, I’ll send you the PDF of the new launce of my Dr. Al’s Better Belly Blueprint.
2. Maintain a healthy gut. Consume specific probiotics, prebiotics, amino acids, and immunoglobulins to (1) improve the population and quality of the gut bacteria, (2) restore a healthy mucosal layer, and (3) repair damage to the epithelial gut barrier., Dr. Al’s Better Belly Blueprint includes a specific spore-based probiotic to help this happen.
3. Sleep restoratively. Sleep about 7-8 hours a night starting between the hours of 9 PM to 11 PM. Make the room dark, cool, and quiet.
4. Exercise efficiently. This includes a combination of (1) some aerobic exercise a few days a week, (2) brief, high-intensity interval training 1 day a week, (3) strength training 1-2 days a week, and (4) non-exercise movements during the course of every day.
5. Reduce stress. Meditate; practice yoga; try diaphragmatic breathing; and experiment with progressive, total body muscle relaxation. Emotional stress will damage the gut microbiome and cause “leaky gut”, which will lead to significant and ongoing chronic systemic inflammation. This will tax the immune system to the extent that the immune system will be compromised and unable to mount an aggressive attack when needed to destroy serious invading pathogens.
6. Get out in the sun. Sun exposure creates Vitamin D in your body. This vitamin regulates the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorus and facilitates normal immune system function. It also improves your resistance against certain diseases. For a short period of time daily, try to expose as much of your skin to the sun based on your skin type, the time of day, the season, and your geographical location. Your blood level goal for “25 Hydroxy Vitamin D test” is about 40-60 ng/ml. Toxicity usually does not occur until the blood level is above 150-200 ng/ml. If you can’t get adequate Vitamin D from sun exposure and food, then consider taking supplements of Vitamin D3 along with Vitamin K2. Other minerals and vitamins are required for proper biological functions of Vitamin D. These are available from a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet.
7. Practice effective oral hygiene. Your gut bacteria and your mouth bacteria “talk” back and forth. Make sure you brush your teeth at the gum margins, floss and clean the surfaces between each of your teeth, and scrape the topside of your tongue to remove odor forming bacteria and microscopic food remnants. Have your biological dentist examine your mouth for any hidden areas of infection in the gums or the bone. Any infection in your mouth will continuously weaken your immune system.
If COVID-19 does anything for us, it should be to kick our butts into the recognition of how unhealthy we are. I am here if you need me. You could schedule a 50-minute Virtual consult with me to go into a more in-depth and specific discussion. Here is a link to my website to book it:
This was a great post! We needed a positive idea. Thanks so much.
Thank you, Dr. Dannenberg. We need to be reminded of these basic things.