Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
August 7, 2022
Many of us are metabolically unhealthy, and don’t even know it! Take me for example. 5 years ago, I thought I was the “senior poster boy for good health”! Yet, I still developed an incurable cancer. Now, research has given us more information than ever before about what the cause of life-threatening illnesses and chronic diseases might be.
Heed my warning:
We are a sick society plagued with metabolic dysfunction resulting in an epidemic of dental diseases and life-threatening chronic diseases.
Now, don’t worry. I’m not going to go all “doom and gloom” on you. With this knowledge comes power. Current science is pointing its finger to one element in our food that shares most of the blame for causing metabolic dysfunction. This blog will help you understand what to look out for, and how you have the unique opportunity to prevent debilitating chronic diseases.
To completely understand this, we need to answer 4 questions…
- What is metabolic dysfunction?
- How do I know we are a sick society?
- Why are we so sick?
- What can you do about it?
What Is Metabolic Dysfunction?
Metabolic dysfunction is the inability of the body to cycle in and out of burning fat and burning carbs efficiently for energy. Most people are addicted to processed carbohydrates and eating unhealthy fats. These individuals depend on a constant inflow of high carb and unhealthy fat meals and snacks. They also eat frequently to maintain their energy throughout the day.
Metabolic dysfunction can lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of specific health conditions that often precede most serious chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes to name a few. The symptoms of metabolic syndrome include elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar and fasting insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist, low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and high levels of triglyceride.
How Do I Know We Are A Sick Society?
The facts don’t lie …
- The United States is the highest spending country worldwide when it comes to health care.
- The U.S. Health System ranks dead last among the 11 high-income countries in the world.
- The first and close-second leading causes of death in the U.S. are heart disease and cancer, which are chronic, debilitating, yet preventable diseases.
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) stated that 60% of Americans live with at least one chronic disease, and chronic diseases are responsible for 70% of deaths each year in the United States. In addition, at least 72% of our society is overweight or obese.
- In a 2019 issue of the journal, Metabolic Disorders and Related Disorders, a peer-reviewed study showed that 88% of the US population is metabolically unhealthy.
- In 2010, a published paper demonstrated that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gum inflammation (gingivitis).
- In 2015, the CDC published their results in the Journal of Periodontology. It showed the prevalence of severe periodontal disease (periodontitis) was estimated to be 47.2% for American adults. For adults 65 years old and older, the prevalence jumped to 70.1%.
- The CDC reported that approximately 91% of U.S. adults aged 20–64 had dental caries in permanent teeth. The prevalence increases to 93% for those above 65 years old.
Why Are We So Sick?
The major culprit in metabolic dysfunction is our consumption of excess linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid (LA) is an 18-carbon polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. It is the only essential omega-6 fatty acid and must be obtained from the diet. From linoleic acid, other omega-6s can be created by the body using various enzymes.
When we ingest high levels of linoleic acid, our body accumulates it, and serious damage occurs.
High concentrations of LA are found in all vegetable and seed oils. Also, specific vegetables, nuts and seeds, processed foods, most sauces and salad dressings, and animals like chicken and hogs that have been fed corn and soy products have high levels of LA.
Today’s eating lifestyles tend to be extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids, causing an imbalance that leads to increased inflammation. While the healthiest ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat intake is 1:1, the Standard American Diet is around 15:1 or even higher.
My friend, Paul Saladino, MD, speaks about the hazards of excess linoleic acid in our diet. He is shouting it out to tens of thousands of people who follow him.
Also, Joe Mercola has written extensively about the biological harm to our body from excess linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid can accumulate over time in the body to eventually set in motion serious chronic diseases which manifest years or decades later …
- LA incorporates itself into the cell membranes of cells causing significant damage.
- LA damages fat cells and their mitochondria.
- LA is considered worse than sugar for your immune system and overall health.
- Recent studies have shown that unsaturated fat intake is associated with increased mortality from COVID-19, while saturated fat intake lowers your risk of death.
Here’s one way that linoleic acid causes damage to the body:
Excess linoleic acid accumulates in the body’s fat cells. Inside the fat cells, LA breaks down into metabolites called OXLAMS (Oxidized linoleic acid metabolites). The OXLAMS damage the mitochondria in the fat cells. In turn, the fat cells stop normal cell division, and the fat cells begin to swell until they “burst”. In essence, we get “fatter”. When the swollen fat cell bursts, free fats are released into the circulation. After the swollen fat cells burst, they send out inflammatory chemicals which signals the rest of the body to become insulin resistant. All this leads to serious chronic diseases.
What Can You Do About It?
Beginning today, remove all excess linoleic acid from your diet. The first step is to avoid all vegetable and seed oils. Next, don’t eat nuts and seeds, which are high in linoleic acid. You also need to read the ingredients in packaged and processed foods where linoleic acid could be lurking.
Most of the foods you may eat in restaurants are loaded with linoleic acid hiding in the vegetable oils used for food preparation and in the sauces and salad dressings that are added to food.
By following my Better Belly Blueprint, you automatically will avoid excess and dangerous linoleic acid.
In my new book, Eat As If Your Life Depends On It, I described how and why I blended keto, paleo, and carnivore ways of eating into my Better Belly Blueprint. This way of eating is ideal for humans to survive and thrive. I also included a 3-Day Food Journal to help you document what you are eating currently so that you can make appropriate changes. In addition, I suggested a week-by-week method to transition into this eating lifestyle. I explained many of the physical changes that you might experience during the adaptation period as you transition into this healthier lifestyle as well as what you can do to avoid them.
Bringing It All Together
We now know that excess linoleic acid is a major factor that causes life-threatening chronic diseases. A prudent person today has the unique opportunity to prevent future debilitating chronic diseases, which currently plague most of the population.
My new book, Eat As If Your Life Depends On It, will be available shortly. It also brings all these healthy concepts into one place with one ideal way of eating for the human species.
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