Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
April 10, 2017
I had a stroke when I was 59 years old. My doctors saved my life, but they prescribed seven medicines to take for the rest of my life. I wasn’t comfortable with that. So, for the next seven years, I searched for answers to get healthy. It wasn’t until the age of 66 that I really learned how to get healthy. My life started at 66.
I’ve told my story many times. Now, I want to express my gratitude to those individuals and ideas, which made a difference in my life.
At the age of 66, I had the unbelievable opportunity to take a 5-day course at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshire Mountains. I thought this course was going to confirm what I had been learning since I had my stroke at the age of 59. The knowledge I gained from this 5-day course did nothing of the kind. It actually changed everything I had learned up to that point. It taught me a much healthier way.
On day “one” of the Nutrition Intensive for Health Professionals, Dr. John Bagnulo was the first speaker. He began his presentation with a discussion of ancestral nutrition. I had never heard of this before. John explained, in the easiest terms to understand, how our primal ancestors were basically healthy. He continued his talk with a description of primal societies today who were basically healthy with little or no chronic disease. Then, he revealed the secrets of a healthy life. So simple, even I could understand and absorb the immense meaning. I owe my health today to Dr. John Bagnulo.
Other instructors during those 5 enlightening days added more and more information for me to absorb. Another instructor who stood out was Kathie Swift, a nutritionist. Her clear and concise seminars helped me understand real food and what it meant to my body.
I immersed myself with this new knowledge, and I went home from Kripalu a changed man. My wife and I embraced a primal diet and lifestyle, and I continued my education. As a periodontist, I realized the significant benefits of this lifestyle not only for overall health but also for the specific health of the mouth.
I discovered the benefits of functional medicine, which helped me understand the underlying basis for disease. I enrolled in Functional Medicine University’s program to earn the designation of Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner in 2014.
Also in 2014, I enrolled in Mark Sisson’s program to earn a certification as a Primal Blueprint Expert. Later, this course was enhanced, and I earned the designation of Certified Primal Health Coach.
In 2015, I learned that Chris Kresser was going to introduce a year-long program called ADAPT. ADAPT is an acronym for Advanced Diagnostics and Personalized Treatment. I was one of about 180 students who enrolled in his newly launched program, which was intense and patient-centered. In 2016, I completed the ADAPT course, which taught me an enormous amount of relevant information.
All this knowledge showed me how to improve my life. Also, it gave me a method to integrate a program for my dental patients so I could treat their gum disease and their body in a more intelligent and holistic way.
Spreading The Word
I began to spread the word beyond my patients.
I wrote a dental education program that incorporated primal nutrition and lifestyle for the College of Integrative Medicine.
Also, I created a 5-part, 7-hour accredited continuing education course for dentists and dental hygienists called Beat the Beast of Dental Disease. This program would help dentists and hygienists understand the importance of primal nutrition and lifestyle for the dental health of their patients.
For the general public, I finished my book, Crazy-Good LIVING, which Elektra Press plans to release on July 15, 2017. In it, I describe primal nutrition and lifestyle from a dentist’s perspective. I incorporate my “4 Pillars of Health”, which are nutrient-dense food, restorative sleep, efficient exercise, and stress reduction.
My Life Today
I have come a long way since embracing the path of primal nutrition and lifestyle at the age of 66. I lost about 30 pounds, and I now only take two medications intermittently.
A functional medicine physician once told me that for every year of damage to one’s body, it would take one month of healthy living to repair that damage. I don’t know if his statement was evidence-based, but it made sense to me. Since my body was damaged for 66 years prior to becoming Primal, I calculated that it should take 5-6 years for me to make the change to health. At 70 years old, I am starting my 5th year of making that change. I can never go back to the way I was.
To all my mentors who have changed my life for the best, I want to say, “Thank You!” Whomever I can touch to make a difference in his or her life, will prove my journey worthwhile.