What’s In Our Blood?
SURPRISE!

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

July 31, 2022

 

We’ve talked at great length about your gut health being an indicator of chronic illness, but have you given much thought to what’s in your blood? Recent studies have shown that it’s not as sterile as we once believed! So, what does this mean for you?

 

What’s In Our Blood?

Our circulatory system contains microbes that were never believed to be there because old methods of culturing bacteria would not grow them. But recent DNA sequencing methods reveal that each milliliter of blood contains around 1,000 bacterial cells. These cells are dormant in the blood and can reside in healthy individuals. But they can be revived.

When iron is available in the blood, the dormant bacteria may be revived and can begin secreting lipopolysaccharides (LPS). LPS are molecules on the cell walls of gram-negative bacteria that stimulate the immune system which in turn creates inflammation. LPS is a highly toxic element. And systemic inflammation is a major initiating factor in the manifestation of practically all chronic diseases.

Researchers who published their study in 2016 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface[1] stated, “We think bugs are involved in all these diseases”. They observed that the addition of tiny concentrations of bacterial LPS to both whole blood and platelet-poor plasma of normal, healthy donors led to marked changes in fibrin and caused progression of chronic inflammatory diseases.

The body normally keeps levels of free iron in the blood low to keep bacteria dormant and block their growth.

Another group of researchers published a paper in 2022 in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.[2] The authors explained that these dormant bacteria come from the gut and the oral cavity. Microbial translocation into the bloodstream can occur via different routes, including through the oral and/or intestinal mucosa. As I said, these contribute to chronic inflammation.[3]

The authors of that study also described how science has developed equipment that is sensitive enough to find microorganisms among the body’s own cells. Studies in both animals and humans have shown that bacteria can be in tissues and organs like the liver, adipose tissue, and brain tissue. Often these findings are linked to disease. For example, researchers have found bacteria and fungi in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, bacteria have been detected in cancerous tumors.

However, there is controversy about the ultimate relevance of these blood microbes. Some researchers have concluded that the same bacterial groups often seem to recur in healthy individuals. In other words, these scientists suggest that a level of microbes in the blood of healthy individuals may be normal.[4]

 

Leakage of Microbes into the Circulatory System

As I said, the research suggests that microbes can enter the bloodstream via different routes, including through the intestinal mucosa as well as the oral mucosa.[5] And there is easy access to the bloodstream when there is a “leaky gut” and when there is a “leaky mouth”.

 

Healthy Gut – Leaky Gut

Below is a graphic of a healthy gut and a “leaky gut”. The picture to the left shows a normal, healthy gut with a balance of good bacteria within the top light blue area and a healthy mucous layer protecting the one-cell-layer-thick epithelial barrier below. To the right is a picture of a “leaky gut” where unhealthy bacteria and toxic elements are breaking down the mucous layer and weaking and penetrating the epithelial lining (the red-colored cells) on its way to affecting the entire body.

 

 

Healthy Mouth – Leaky Mouth

Chronic systemic inflammation caused by a “leaky gut” will affect the mouth. This inflammation could cause the mouth’s healthy garden of bacteria and immune system to become unhealthy resulting in periodontal disease and tooth decay. If periodontal disease or tooth decay becomes severe, teeth could be lost. Infection and inflammation could spread into the jawbone, blood vessels, nerve canals, and soft tissues of the body. Debilitating and life-threatening diseases could occur just from this leakage of infection and inflammation from the mouth into the body. This is called a “leaky mouth”.

Below is a graphic of a healthy mouth and a “leaky mouth”. The picture on the left shows a normal, healthy tooth in the jawbone. To the right is a picture of periodontal disease (the red area) beginning to penetrate the jawbone on its way to affecting the entire body.

 

 

When it comes to periodontal disease, there is a specific bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis. This is an aggressive gram-negative bacterium with some unique qualities. One of these qualities is that it can enter cells and become dormant.[6],[7] It also can bind to red blood cells and enter the circulatory system. In fact, the red blood cells protect P. gingivalis from contact with circulating phagocytes from the immune system without affecting its viability. In this way, P. gingivalis could be transported to other organ systems to reemerge and cause serious diseases.[8]

 

Unique Treatment to Destroy P. Gingivalis

For the six years leading up to my leaving private practice in 2018, I was using a unique laser (PerioLase Laser) to treat advancing periodontal disease. This laser uses a wavelength of 1064 nm (nanometers). It is the 1064 nm wavelength that enables the laser to selectively kill P. gingivalis that resides in the periodontal tissues and blood around the tooth without harming healthy cells.[9],[10],[11]

The beam from the PerioLase Laser also can penetrate epithelial cells where P. gingivalis can enter the cell and become dormant. The laser will destroy the dormant virulent bacterium without destroying the cell.

In addition, the laser beam can stimulate precursor bone cells in the jawbone around the periodontally damaged teeth to regenerate damaged bone.

Millennium Dental Technologies is the company the developed the laser and the clinical protocols. The procedure is called LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure). Recently, the name of the procedure was changed to LAR (Laser Assisted Regeneration), which emphasizes the regenerative capacity of the laser beam.

Here is a video simulation of the LANAP (or LAR) procedure in action:

 

 

Final Thoughts

The high level of chronic disease in the US population could be partly due to dormant bacteria in the circulatory system, which has gone undetected until recently. Some of these microbes may be bound to red blood cells, which offer protection to these bacteria. Some of these microbes may embed themselves into blood cells, which can transport these potentially virulent bacteria to other organ systems. And some of them may be floating freely in the bloodstream.

While some researchers believe that there may be a normal level of microbes living in the bloodstream of healthy individuals, my guess is that these microbes may be the culprits in the development of serious chronic diseases.

 

[1] https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2016.0539

[2] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2022.892232/full

[3] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2022.892232/full

[4] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2019.00148/full

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9110890/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4557090/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772519/

[8] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jre.12388#

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772519/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8860761/

[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15389740/

 

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Getting Older Doesn’t Mean Getting Old

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     March 24, 2016  


 
 
     

Getting Older doesn't mean Getting OldGetting older is just a numbers thing. Chronological age is just a way of telling how many years are behind you. Obviously, bodily changes occur with normal aging. Changes occur in our physical and mental abilities. That is part of a healthy process of getting older. We can gracefully get older.

 

In contrast to getting older, getting old is a decline in the quality of life.

 

Many of us may be sick or may get sick with debilitating illnesses. Chronic disease has never been a part of getting older – only getting old. The history of human evolution suggests that developing chronic disease is not part of the normal human life cycle.

 

Our options to deal with the complications of getting old with these illnesses compromise our quality of life. There are in-home nursing care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. There are numerous medications we must take, doctor’s appointments we must keep, and life goals we must change. But, all this is not inevitable. If triggers of chronic disease were addressed in a timely fashion, we could prevent or improve this decline in the quality of our life.

 

Even as far back as 1980, James F. Fries, M.D. published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine that discussed his concept of compression of morbidity. In his article, Dr. Fries explained that chronic disease affects the quality of life. The amount of years that are affected depends on the onset of disease. He suggested that the years of decreased quality of life could be shortened and possibly reduced completely if only we controlled the environmental causes of chronic disease early on.

 

I have written about how we can manage as much as 90% of the causes of chronic disease. That includes the chronic infection of gum disease.

 

Some people have suggested that as we age, we will eventually lose our teeth and require false teeth to replace our natural teeth. That is not true. A healthy mouth reflects a healthy body – a body that has been nourished with both nutrient-dense foods and an effective lifestyle.

 

Here are two photos of a man and a woman. These pictures may be disturbing to some readers because they may look unnatural. However, the photography was done with the lips pulled back to show the teeth and gums for better viewing. Both have healthy mouths; both have healthy bodies:
 
 

Healthy Mouth 76 MaleThis is a 76-year-old man.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Healthy Mouth 83 FemaleThis is an 83-year-old woman.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Getting older is what I strive for; getting old is not in my vocabulary.

 

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Our Kids Deserve a Healthy Mouth

evolution rOur kids have tooth decay NOT because they’re deficient in fluoride.
 
Our kids have bleeding gums NOT because they don’t brush and floss twice a day.
 
The primary reasons our kids have tooth decay and gum disease are because their nutrition is deficient; their drinks are acidic and sugary, their healthy gut bacteria are compromised; and their lifestyles are sedentary. These deficiencies also manifest in childhood as obesity, high blood pressure, depression, skin eruptions, allergies, and a host of other diseases. Improper nutrition and lifestyles early in life sow the seeds for many of the degenerative diseases that plague these individuals in their 40s and older.
 
When it comes to the mouth, brushing and flossing are important. But, most importantly:

  • The avoidance of refined carbohydrates, which is part of a Paleo-type diet, prevents the proliferation of unhealthy bacteria and maintains a healthy acid level in the mouth.
  • Essential nutrients and trace minerals from a Paleo-type diet provide a necessary arsenal in the saliva to remineralize teeth, which is a natural 24/7 process.
  • Healthy bacteria in the gut promote healthy bacteria in the saliva allowing normal function in the mouth as well as assisting in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • An active lifestyle of playing outside, rather than sitting in front of a TV or playing video games, improves gut health and metabolism.

 
So, what is a Paleo-type diet?
 
A Paleo-type diet is basically the elimination of ALL foods that contain unhealthy fats and oils; food colorings, preservatives, emulsifiers, and other chemicals; added sugars; grains and grain products; and pasteurized dairy products. A nutrient-dense Paleo-type diet consists of pastured meats along with their healthy fats, wild caught fish (especially salmon, sardines, and shellfish), organ meats (like liver), all vegetables – especially leafy greens (either raw or cooked), fruits – especially dark-colored (like all the berries) in moderation, and raw nuts and seeds in moderation.
 
Our kids will eat the way Mom and Dad eat. Kids learn by example. Healthy snacks could include fresh fruit and nuts, almond butter spread on celery sticks, slices of raw cheeses, liver pâté on slices of cucumber, and cut up pieces of colorful sweet peppers. Healthy drinks could include filtered water, unsweetened seltzers, teas without sugar (some local raw honey might be OK), and kombucha (a naturally carbonated tea fermented from healthy bacteria). If they are eating healthy in the home, and if they are given healthy meals and snacks for lunches at school, then whatever minimal cheating they do is not so bad.
 
I have some of My Favorite Paleo Recipes in my blogs. Also, there are many cookbooks on Amazon describing easy-to-prepare Paleo recipes for on-the-go lifestyles.
 
Dental visits should be pleasant. Your children shouldn’t have to be concerned about tooth decay or gum disease if they are providing the nutrients their bodies need to thrive. Kids should clean their mouths appropriately, but they must eat nutritiously. Their mouths will thank them, and their overall health will thank them.

Have Respect for What is Right

evolution rWhen you think about things changing over time, you might compare how things are today related to a time in the past. For example, a gallon of gasoline today costs about $3.35, but a gallon of gas when I started driving in Baltimore in the mid 1960s cost $0.23 a gallon. Styles of clothing have changed decade after decade. Food preparation certainly has changed from when our grandparents were cooking compared to how we cook today. Everything is relative. Some things are better today; some things were better in times gone by.

 

Old is also relative. After my wife and I moved to Charleston over 40 years ago, we were impressed with the city’s history and homes that dated back several hundred years. I thought that was old. Years after moving to Charleston, my wife and I traveled to Israel. We were shown and told about buildings that were built several thousand years ago. We thought that was really old. Sometimes old is good; sometimes old is not so good. But several thousand years is not that old.

 

Really old is when you go back 2.5 million years and look at our evolution. During that period of time, our bodies slowly adapted to our environment and the foods that were available to us for nutrition. Our bodies developed a method of using nutrients for our growth and survival. It took 2.5 million years for our cells and organs to slowly evolve. We need to respect what our bodies need.

 

Degenerative diseases today can be traced back to the insults from certain foods that we began to eat about 10,000 years ago and which our guts were never designed to digest completely. Also, toxins we ingest as well as toxins we create internally are related to these degenerative diseases.

 

We need to understand what was right about the diet and lifestyle of our primal ancestors. We shouldn’t condemn modern life; we should make progress where progress leads to betterment. Change usually is for the good. Yet, we never should lose sight of what our bodies essentially require. Nutrient-dense foods are always going to be the right things for us. That will never change!

 

So what are nutrient-dense foods? These are foods that have an abundance of the things we need with little or none of the things we don’t need. Specifically these are:

 

• Free range and grass fed animal products from nose to tail including all their wonderful fat and organs
• Wild caught seafood
• All kinds and colors of vegetables including seaweeds
• Fermented foods
• Most fruits with an emphasis on the deeply colored varieties
• Some nuts and seeds in moderation

 

Don’t get confused with all the processed products on the grocery shelves that have been filled with chemicals and artificial ingredients that can only harm our individual cells. Always keep in mind that you want to eat what is natural – not what has been transformed and processed into cutely packaged goodies. Amazingly, your overall health is at stake here, and your mouth will be the healthy recipient.