Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
March 23, 2020
First, an update about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and me. I am in the high-risk group because I’ll be 73 years old in April, and I’m challenged with incurable bone marrow cancer. So, I am staying away from people and washing my hands more than ever. Also, I’m adhering strictly to my Unconventional Cancer Protocols to support my immune system. Remember, the immune system is the body’s “armed force” to protect us from harmful invaders including COVID-19. And the gut is the center of our immune system.
Chronic diseases start in the gut. And cancer is one of those chronic diseases. Do you know the method of action starting from the gut leading to chronic disease?
Think about the gut like the hub of a bicycle wheel. Consider the pathways from the gut leading to the rest of the body like the spokes of the wheel spreading out from the hub to its rim.
If the hub of the wheel were broken, then the spokes connecting the hub to the bike’s rim would become weakened. If enough spokes became weakened, then the outer rim could collapse. If the rim broke down, then the wheel would cave in. The entire bicycle would no longer function.
And so, if the gut were to become damaged, then the pathways leading to all the body’s structures would be affected. Ultimately, all organ systems could suffer.
Based on my analogy, the gut is like the hub of the wheel. The circulatory and nerve pathways (like the spokes of the wheel) lead from the gut to all cellular structures in the body. These pathways feed the body’s ability to function properly. If the gut becomes compromised, then anything and everything along the paths can break down. The ultimate result could be the development of chronic diseases.
The nutrients we consume and the toxic substances we avoid determine the health of our gut. The gut can become compromised from non-nutritious and harmful foods as well as from environmental irritants. Also, sleep, exercise, and psychological stress affect gut health. Once the inside of the gut breaks down (including its garden of bacteria and the mucus layer), the outer epithelial barrier could fail.
The outer epithelial barrier is only one cell layer thick. It separates the contents of the gut from the rest of the body. Importantly, the gut is the most highly regenerative organ in the human body. And the gut regenerates its barrier epithelium every five to seven days. It has amazing self-healing potential. This is critical to understand.
However, continued failure of the integrity of this barrier allows junk to enter the circulation (i.e. Leaky Gut) along with cascading inflammatory events stemming from our immune system. The immune cells are just outside the epithelial barrier. The circulatory and nerve tissue complexes are the pathways for the immune system’s inflammatory chemicals. These biologically active chemicals spread out in all directions to anatomical structures. Over time and with continued disturbances in the gut, chronic diseases can emerge.
Who will take responsibility for your health and welfare? No one but you! Certainly during this time of COVID-19, all of us must take the charge. We have to be proactive as well as reactive:
- We must be sure that our diet is nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory. If not, we will suffer the consequences.
- We must be effective in removing and avoiding toxic elements as best as we can. If not, we will suffer the consequences.
- We must take measures to assure that the garden of gut bacteria and the internal workings of the gut are in balance. If not, we will suffer the consequences.
If we do our part, then the gut barrier should function and regenerate properly. If there is leakage, it can repair itself.
In my recent blogs, I wrote about how I discovered the Carnivore Diet, which is a healthy diet based on our body’s physiology and ancestral evolution. (For detailed references, I refer you to the recently released book by Dr. Paul Saladino titled, The Carnivore Code. It is a treasure trove of information.) I’ve also written about the large number of toxic elements that can harm our gut. (Check out my Blog Page to read more.)
If we’re doing the right things for our body, we may want to determine if our gut barrier is functioning properly. To do this, we need to know if we have a leaky gut and to what extent it might be “leaky”.
Gut Permeability Test
There are several biological tests that claim to detect a “leaky gut”, or more specifically “increased and abnormal intestinal permeability”. All of these tests have their problems and are not 100% reliable. One test that is used in Europe is the “PEG 400 Gut Permeability Test”. The test consists of drinking a tasteless liquid made up of various molecular sizes of polyethylene glycol (PEG) that is mixed into 250 ml of filtered water.
The PEG 400 Gut Permeability Test is a 6-hour test. To perform the test, you fast for 3 hours before starting the test. Probably the best time to start the test is immediately after waking up in the morning. Prior to starting the test, you urinate. Then, mix the PEG liquid into 250 ml of filtered water and drink it. For the next 2 hours, don’t eat or drink. Thereafter, you can. Just after drinking the PEG/water concoction, you begin collecting all urine until exactly the 6-hour mark. At the completion of the test, record the total volume of urine, and then pour a small sample into the 20 ml collection bottle, which is included in the test kit. That’s it. You’ll pack up your urine specimen with the necessary paperwork and send it off to the lab by FedEx.
The rationale for the PEG test is that the consumed liquid contains a mixture of inert, water-soluble molecules of different sizes, which may or may not pass through any “holes” in the gut barrier. There is a range of normal permeability of the gut barrier. Those molecules of the PEG that are large should not pass through an intact barrier. The test determines which molecules of the PEG get through the damaged barrier – all of which are reported in the test results. The bottom line is that the PEG Test reportedly helps to determine if you have a “leaky gut” and the extent that your gut is “leaky”.
Results of My PEG 400 Test
Unfortunately, I was not aware of this test until recently. So, I didn’t have a baseline when I started my Cancer Protocols in September 2018. But, better late than never.
I submitted my first urine sample on 3/1/20. That is 2 months after I started the Carnivore Diet. But it was only 5 days after I received both of my regularly scheduled immunotherapies at the Cancer Clinic. I sent the sample to BioLab Ltd.; the turnaround was 16 days.
My report clearly suggested that I have increased intestinal permeability. (Here is the PDF of my test results.) However, I have no way to know if I had more severe permeability at the time I was diagnosed in 2018 or when I started the Carnivore Diet at the beginning of 2020.
Clearly, I was hoping that I would not have a leaky gut. After I received more detailed evaluation and interpretation of my results, I learned that my limited permeability was not severe but was of concern although I was cautioned that I should not rely completely on this test. However, I will use this result as my “baseline” to compare with future tests.
So, after I got over the disappointment, I reevaluated my diet. I was using MCT Oil and eating zero-carb, high-fat, low-protein cheese – both to improve my fat consumption. As of this writing, I gave them up completely. Hopefully, eliminating these potential irritants to my gut will improve my gut barrier.
My goal is to have an intact gut barrier as best as I can. However, I realize that my immunotherapies could be the culprits for any increased intestinal permeability. Because my blood chemistries are improving and my cancer cells are decreasing, I’m not going to make any changes with my immunotherapies or my other cancer protocols. As I have mentioned many times, my Unconventional Cancer Protocols support healthy repair by my body. Why would I want to change them?
I’ll give my gut about a month to respond to my dietary changes, and then I’ll retest. Once I get the new results back from the lab, I’ll be writing about them.
Wish me luck!