Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS ● Nutritional Periodontist
March 12, 2018
I get inspired about things to which others may just respond with a yawn. Well, it’s the geek in me coming out. For example, here is a study, which was published in July 2017, that gets me inspired – inspired enough to write a protocol for a double-blind study, which will be fully funded by a US company.
According to Dr. Figueredo and the other authors , their paper was the first published research that showed IBD could directly affect the gum tissues in the mouth.
What is IBD?
IBD is the acronym for inflammatory bowel disease. This term relates to a group of chronic intestinal diseases characterized by inflammation of the large or small intestines. The most common types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. IBD creates endotoxemia , and endotoxemia compromises the immune function and contributes to systemic chronic inflammation. 
Dr. Figueredo’s Study
Dr. Figueredo and his investigators recruited 21 patients with IBD and chronic periodontitis. The research showed those patients with active IBD had increased gum tissue inflammation compared to those patients with their IBD in remission. The authors suggested that changes in one mucosal surface in the body could affect other mucosal surfaces anywhere else in the body.
My takeaway from this study is that the gut directly affects the mouth and the progression of gum disease. If the gut microbiome can be restored to a state of balance along with repair of the gut membrane and elimination of chronic inflammation, then I can infer from this medical trial that there could be a reduction and possible remission of active gum disease.
Current, vigorous medical research is uncovering the importance and the causal relationships between dysbiosis in the gut and the proliferation of many chronic and autoimmune diseases. With this supporting science by Dr. Figueredo, there may be a potential path originating from the gut that may improve what I treat daily – periodontal disease.
Studies that Support My Premise
Brian K McFarlin and other researchers  published a paper in 2017. The investigators selected 28 participants whose blood tests demonstrated significant endotoxemia after consuming a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal. This select group of individuals were divided into two groups. Both groups took two capsules of a daily supplement for four weeks. One group took placebo capsules, and the other took capsules containing five different spore-based bacillus probiotics. At the end of the trial, participants ate another high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal. Their blood was tested before the meal and then retested after the meal. Five hours after the meal, the results showed an average 42% decrease of endotoxemia in the group taking the probiotic capsules. However, the group taking the placebo actually had a 36% increase in endotoxemia. The authors suggested that the positive results might be improved significantly if the probiotics were taken for several more months.
In 2016, Xue Li and others  published their medical research. They used healthy human gum tissue cells for their experiment. These tissue cells were exposed to lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are present in the pathogenic bacteria of periodontal disease. The results of the research showed that mitochondria in the gum tissue cells exposed to LPS created excess reactive oxygen species (ROS). Following the production of excess ROS, the gum cells produced excess cytokines that could lead to periodontal destruction. However, when the mitochondria of these gum tissue cells were treated to reduce excess ROS production, chronic cytokine production also was reduced even in the presence of LPS.
Melissa Vos and others  published a paper in 2012 using an animal model. In summary, they demonstrated that vitamin K2 was able to rescue damaged mitochondria, which had been altered at the beginning of the research to represent damaged cells of Parkinson’s Disease.
My Double-Blind Study
The articles above have inspired me to connect the dots.
The questions I ask myself are:
- “Can a healthy gut heal or prevent gum disease?”
- “Can vitamin K2 rescue the mitochondria in unhealthy gum tissue cells?”
I want to investigate the potentially beneficial effects on active gum disease of a daily Supplement. In the study, participants will consume this daily Supplement once a day with meals over the course of 30 days.
I am collaborating with a microbiologist and a medical doctor specializing in immunology and toxicology to write the protocol for this double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Half the selected group will take a Placebo; half will take the Supplement, which will consist of 5 spore-based bacillus bacteria as well as a high-dose of vitamin K2-MK7. At the beginning of the trial and 30 days later, dental hygienists will document active gum disease in these individuals and will obtain gum tissue cells using a non-invasive “gum swab”. Laboratory analysis of the cells will determine the degree of mitochondrial dysfunction.
Currently, we are enlisting dental offices that may want to participate in this study. As you may know, human research requires various regulatory steps. After receiving approval from an Institutional Review Board, our team will initiate the study in several dental offices in the US and Canada.
Stay tuned for the results!