– the Elephant in the Room –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

August 28, 2022

OXLAMS is an acronym for Oxidized Linoleic Acid Metabolites!

Wow. What a complicated term. What does it mean?[1]

  • It means bad stuff.
  • It means destructive byproducts of an element in the food which most of us eat every day.
  • It means metabolic dysfunction and mitochondrial dysfunction over time.
  • It means the elephant in the room that could be killing us slowly.

Humans have adjusted very slowly to a change in diet over the years of evolution. But the years of evolution have not kept up with the dramatic and rapid changes in the foods we eat. Some of these foods have inherent chemicals, which can slowly accumulate in our body. The slow accumulation of these unhealthy elements can and will be our downfall metabolically. And metabolic disease is the precursor to serious chronic diseases and cancers, which are prevalent in modern societies today.

One study published in 2019 suggests that 88% of the US population is metabolically unhealthy.[2] And in my opinion, that is an underestimation.

The more we educate ourselves of these toxic elements in our food system, the more we can take appropriate steps to prevent serious chronic diseases that become debilitating and life-threatening as we age.

The biggest problem is that some of these toxic elements do not cause any harm that is apparent in our body over a short period of time. Yet, the buildup of these toxic elements and the damage that they potentially create are serious concerns for all of us.

It is difficult to convince a person who is healthy today that the ingredients in the food they are enjoying now, can kill them decades down the road. A proactive individual who wants to improve his or her overall wellness must avoid these elements, which we don’t think about as a threat.


What are OXLAMS?

I wrote about linoleic acid in a previous blog. Linoleic acid (LA) is the precursor to oxidized linoleic acid metabolites (OXLAMS). OXLAMS in human plasma have been linked to pathological conditions such as chronic pain, obesity, Alzheimer’s dementia and neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Recent clinical studies have shown that lowering dietary linoleic acid can reduce the synthesis and/or accumulation of OXLAMS in circulation and in human tissues.[3] This paper describes and cites numerous peer-reviewed medical studies, which explain how excess linoleic acid and its oxidized forms are singularly damaging to the human body.


How do OXLAMS damage our body?

In the 20th Century in the United States, individuals more than tripled their consumption of linoleic acid from 2% of energy needs to 7%.[4] That coincided with a marked increase in fat tissue accumulation of linoleic acid.[5] Today, consumption of linoleic acid is up to 20% or more of energy needs.[6] And this linoleic acid remains in the fat tissues for an extended period.

The half-life of linoleic acid in adipose tissues is approximately two years.[7] Therefore, the gradual mobilization of LA from adipose stores into circulation will allow continued production of potentially destructive OXLAMS.

The energy producing machines in our cells are called mitochondria. The inner lining of the mitochondria is made of cardiolipin, which contains four fat molecules.[8]  The composition of these fat molecules is different for different tissue cells. When we eat too much LA, it bumps out the healthy fats in cardiolipin and replaces them. Then, LA oxidizes, forms OXLAMS, and kills the mitochondria.  This leads to mitochondrial dysfunction. No mitochondria – no energy.

Cancer cells are basically cells with damaged mitochondria. In animal studies, when linoleic acid is increased to between 4% and 10% of an experimental diet, these animals develop various types of cancer.

As linoleic acid is broken down into OXLAMS, cascading damage occurs. This is true for cancers, obesity, and most chronic diseases.

In addition, excess dietary LA increases the brain’s vulnerability to inflammation via the production of OXLAMS. In rodents, circulating LA readily crosses the blood brain barrier.[9] In humans, excess maternal LA intake has been linked to atypical neurodevelopment. It can be concluded that dietary LA may adversely affect the brain.[10]


What actions should we take?

There has been much discussion about the human diet’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. The prevailing wisdom, but a fundamentally flawed concept, is that we should increase our omega-3 levels to balance out this ratio and bring it to a healthier ratio of 1:1. However, the basic problem is too much omega-6 linoleic acid in our diet. We must avoid the excess levels of LA. The fact is that excess LA cannot be neutralized by the addition of omega-3 fatty acids.

Bottom line: we must stop eating the foods that are high in LA.

So, what should we eat?

My answer is to follow my Better Belly Blueprint.

Ideally, you would eat grass-fed beef and lamb with all their organs and animal fats, pastured eggs where the hens are not additionally fed soy or corn products, some raw honey, and a few seasonal fruits. You could include a very few plants that are low in antinutrients and linoleic acid.

Adhering to this way of eating, you will avoid grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, most vegetables, and especially vegetable and seed oils. Be careful with olive and avocado oils since they still have significant amounts of linoleic acid.

If you want to check a specific food for linoleic acid amounts, you can use the USDA Food Database.  Enter a chosen food, scroll down to the section labeled “polyunsaturated”, and check “PUFA 18:2” (i.e., linoleic acid).

You also could check out Self Nutrition Data. Enter your food choice and serving portion; then scroll down to “omega-6 fatty acid”.

You will be shocked at how many food items contain Linoleic Acid! Even if you aren’t following a Standard American Diet, you find these ingredients frequently in Keto and Paleo friendly products. I shared a graphic on social media last week with a guide – make sure to check it out and share with your loved ones!

My new book, Eat As If Your Life Depends On It, will be available on Amazon within a week or two. It will be available in paperback as well as hardcover. In my new book, I summarize the rationale for a paleo, keto, and carnivore diet as well as how and why I blended them into my Better Belly Blueprint way of eating. This is an interactive book in that it also includes an example of a completed three-day food journal as well as a blank three-day food journal for you to fill out yourself. In addition, I explain a method for you to transition slowly into the concepts of my Better Belly Blueprint over a period of nine weeks. Transitioning slowly will help you avoid most adaptation issues that could occur if you jumped 100% into a change in diet. You’ll be transformed into a well-nourished, energetic, cognitively alert individual. Also, you will enhance your immune system to become as robust as possible, which will assist in overall wellness.

[1] https://www.zeroacre.com/blog/linoleic-acid-facts

[2] https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/met.2018.0105

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3467319/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3076650/

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9440371/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808858/

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/5900208/

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24094094/

[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16920015/

[10] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41538-019-0061-9


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PEMF & Mitochondria
My Study of N=1
…4-Month Follow-Up..

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
September 3, 2018


PEMF & Mitochondria


I posted my original article, My Study of N=1, on June 4, 2018. Please read my past post to get up-to-speed about my thoughts on PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field), mitochondria, and my investigation. In my article today, I report on my 4-month follow-up.


My Study

As you know from my previous writing, my wife was my “test subject”. “Test subject” is not an appropriate title. I should say my wife volunteered (or more accurately, I volunteered her) to be my participant in my research project. However, I am aware of the limitations of my study: (1) there was only one participant; (2) there was no control group; (3) I only investigated one PEMF Mat; and (4) my study was not submitted to an Institutional Review Board.

Nonetheless, my goal was to explore the possible mitochondrial benefits of the QRS PureWave Total Body Mat in my in-home study. This Mat generates a unique pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF).

To accomplish this, I placed the Mat under the mattress cover on our bed. In this position, the Mat was imperceptible and comfortable to lie on. The built-in timer of the control box was set to turn on for 24 minutes about a half-hour after she went to bed. Then, it turned on again for 24 minutes about a half-hour before she would wake. The evening setting was set to “Relax 3”, and the morning setting was set to “Basis 3”. There were no sounds or sensations from the Mat to disturb her sleep.

I proceeded to test my wife’s mitochondria using the newly developed MitoSwab Plus Test. MitoSwab Plus is a non-invasive test to evaluate the function of the four critical protein complexes that eventually create energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

Most ATP is generated within the mitochondria of every cell in your body. The only human cells that do not have mitochondria are red blood cells. When these protein complexes within the mitochondria weaken and function less than optimal, the result is dysfunction in the mitochondria.

To evaluate my wife’s mitochondrial health with MitoSwab Plus, I needed to swab her cheek areas. I used a cotton swab to obtain mucosal samples from her cheeks adjacent to the back teeth on the right and left sides in her mouth. These samples needed to be frozen and then sent to the Lab for testing.

I did the first swab test before she began using the PEMF Mat to determine a baseline of her mitochondrial function. Then, I gathered samples of her cheek mucosa after one-month, 2-months, and 4-months from the start-date of the daily use of the Mat.



I was impressed with the results. Here is the PDF Summary of my wife’s MitoSwab Plus test results, which includes my overall interpretation.

Basically, the health of Complexes I, II, III and IV continued to improve over the 4-Month timeframe while using the QRS-PureWave PEMF Mat every day.

I believe the pulsed electromagnetic field generated by this Mat was able to re-energize my wife’s mitochondria in her buccal mucosa. It is important to note that this peer-reviewed research showed that the buccal mucosa is a reliable indicator of the health of other mitochondria in the body.


Next Step

My modest study could be a pilot model for further medical considerations and investigations. In my opinion, a future research protocol could be written and submitted to an Institutional Review Board. The protocol should incorporate a control group (using the Mat that is NOT generating PEMF) and an experimental group (using the Mat as I described in this post). A statistically adequate number of subjects would need to be included to allow reliable conclusions at the completion of the study.


My Thoughts

PEMF therapy might be an adjunct treatment for chronic diseases. Also, this method might be a means to offset mitochondrial damage from dirty electromagnetic fields (ex: cell phones, WiFi, and other harmful electromagnetic fields). If properly-designed PEMF devices could improve mitochondrial dysfunction, they might be game-changers.


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PEMF & Mitochondria
My Study of N=1

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
June 4, 2018


PEMF & Mitochondria





Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy may be a game-changer when it comes to the health of our mitochondria.

PEMFs are low-frequency, pulsating magnetic fields with wavelengths that can completely penetrate the body.  They are supportive to the body’s natural functions. PEMFs are different from dirty electromagnetic fields (EMFs), sometimes called “electro-smog”.

Dirty EMFs are constant and are contaminated with very high frequency, short-wavelength surges, all of which are damaging to cellular health. Some sources of dirty EMFs are power lines, metal plumbing, and wireless communication devices.

Mitochondria are organelles inside the cytoplasm of all the cells in our body except red blood cells. These mitochondria have various roles, one of which is the creation of energy so that our cells can function. Just as a flashlight requires fresh and strong batteries to shine its light brightly, so do our cells require healthy and peak-performing mitochondria to create the energy for our cells to do their jobs efficiently.


Creation of Energy

Most of the energy for our body is created in the mitochondria. Energy is produced through a biological process called the “Electron Transport Chain” (ETC). Electrons are transferred through the ETC in steps – starting with a protein complex called Complex 1 and then progressing to Complexes II, III and IV. The process ends with Complex V, where energy is produced in the form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate).

If damage occurs in any of these Complexes, then there is dysfunction in the mitochondria. Dysfunctional mitochondria could lead to decreased ability for a cell to do what it was designed to do. Ultimately, chronic disease would be the result of dysfunctional mitochondria.


My Study of N=1

There is some evidence that PEMF therapy may improve the health of mitochondria.[1],[2] However, based on my search of PubMed, there has never been a study to demonstrate that damage to the ETC in mitochondria could be repaired by PEMF therapy.

One challenge has been that there was no non-invasive test to determine the health of the ETC in mitochondria – until now. A recently commercialized, non-invasive test for mitochondrial dysfunction is called MitoSwab Plus. I wrote about this test HERE.

I set out to do my own human research.

My wife was my test subject to study the effects of a PEMF Mat. While there are many PEMF devices in the marketplace today, some are not as “clean” and “biologic” as others. I chose the PureWave Full Body Therapy System

While I am reporting the results of only one person, I believe I had control of all potential “confounding factors”. The only change in my wife’s daily routine over the course of my continuing study was her sleeping on the PureWave PEMF Mat every night.

This PEMF mat has a shape and feel of a soft yoga mat. I placed the mat under the mattress-cover on our bed. The mat is controlled by a timer that turns itself on for a 24-minute session just after my wife goes to bed and then turns itself on for another 24-mintue session just before she wakes.

To begin, I tested her mitochondrial function at the start of this experiment and repeated the test 4 weeks later using the MitoSwab Plus test. The Lab results were impressive.



The baseline data at the start of my Study showed that her mitochondria-per-cell from the sample that was taken were overproducing mitochondria. The test also documented deficiencies in Complex I and Complex III. The overproduction of mitochondria was to compensate for her deficiencies in both complexes. I performed a second MitoSwab Plus test at the 4-week mark.

The results from the 4-week mitochondria test reported a significant decrease in the overproduction of mitochondria and significant improvements in both Complex I and Complex III.

I will continue to test my wife’s mitochondria over the next couple of months for more confirmation of improved mitochondrial function. However, these are only the results from one individual. I did not have any control group.


My Next Step

My next step will be to design a Protocol for a double-blind, randomized controlled trial to study the effects of the PureWave PEMF Mat on the health of the electron transport chain in mitochondria. Then, I will present it to an Institutional Review Board to get the ball rolling.

To prove the PureWave PEMF Mat is repairing the ETC in dysfunctional mitochondria, my Protocol will consist of a control group and an experimental group. The control group would lay on a mat that was not generating a magnetic field, and the experimental group would lay on a mat that was producing PEMFs. MitoSwab Plus testing would be performed at the beginning and at the end of the study period.

My goal at the completion of the study is to prove a causal relationship between PEMF therapy and the repair of dysfunctional mitochondria.




Schedule a ”30-Minute Free Consult” with me to answer some of your questions and determine if we are a good fit for a coaching program! CLICK HERE.


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Non-Invasive Test
Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
April 9, 2018


non-invasive test for mitochcondrial dysfunction

I’m going to discuss a unique, non-invasive test to determine mitochondrial dysfunction. But first, I’ll start with a discussion of mitochondria.



Mitochondria are the energy sources of the cell. They are embedded within the cytoplasm of our 30 trillion human cells. Some individual cells have only a few mitochondria; our most active cells (like heart muscle) may contain as many as 2,400 mitochondria per cell. The only human cell lacking mitochondria is the red blood cell.


However, energy production is not the only purpose of our mitochondria.[1] Mitochondria also produce heat as necessary, assist in calcium signaling within the host cell and throughout the body, and will induce cell death (apoptosis) when its host cell is damaged beyond repair. In addition, mitochondria regulate insulin in the cell, synthesize cholesterol and other steroids, and participate in other functions required by specialized cells. Another critical function of mitochondria is to interact intimately with other organelles of the cell, especially peroxisomes, to create cellular homeostasis.[2]


Causes of Mitochondrial Dysfunction

When the mitochondria within a cell cannot produce enough energy for these mitochondria to function properly, then the cell cannot function properly. When this occurs, it is called mitochondrial dysfunction.


Mitochondria can become damaged and dysfunctional when necessary nutrients are not available from the gut, when the energy created by mitochondria is less than the free radicals they produce, and when mitochondria are unable to repair themselves or increase their numbers in their host cell. Also, specific environmental elements and medications can be toxic to mitochondria. These include xenoestrogens (estrogen imitators) in the environment; acetaminophen (Tylenol); statins (anti-cholesterol drugs); glyphosate (Roundup); heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum; and dirty electromagnetic fields that are all around us.


Why Test?

Most, if not all, chronic diseases may have mitochondrial dysfunction at its core. From a dental perspective, a research paper published in 2016 showed that active periodontal disease is a disease of mitochondrial dysfunction.[3] An important goal for healthy functioning cells is healthy functioning mitochondria. Current research suggests that supporting the mitochondria’s ability to maintain health and homeostasis in the cell is crucial for life.[4]


So, it would be helpful to determine the overall health of the mitochondria in the body.


The “gold standard” method to determine mitochondrial dysfunction is an invasive test involving a biopsy of muscle tissue. Other tests have been used with questionable success such as testing levels of lactate, pyruvate, and alanine-lysine ratio.[5]


In 2012, a medical study[6] reported a unique, non-invasive method to determine the degree of mitochondrial dysfunction.  The technique has been further developed into a proprietary test called Mitoswab(R), which has at least an 84% correlation with the results of muscle biopsy testing.


Since healthy mitochondria are required for the healthy functioning of cells, then testing the health of mitochondria could alert a person of a potential problem. Also, initial testing could establish a reference level before treatment. Then, a second test after treatment could confirm improved mitochondrial health and success of treatment. Periodic future testing could provide important information about tweaking diet, lifestyle, and other medical therapies.


How To Test?

The testing process using Mitoswab(R) is simple.  The test kit comes with 4 sterile cotton swabs that are rubbed on the mucosa of the cheek area on the right and left sides of the mouth – two swabs for each side. The swabs are inserted individually into 4 plastic tubes, placed in a package containing freezer packs, and sent by FedEx to Religen Labs to be processed.


The lab will create a report describing the efficiency of the energy production of the mitochondria from the sample. These results are highly correlated to the overall health or dysfunction of the mitochondria in the body.


Moving Forward

Healthcare professionals could order and perform these tests quickly and easily for their patients. Also, individuals could obtain these tests from their healthcare professionals and take their own cheek samples at home. Moving forward, information from these tests could help create a protocol for repair.


Incorporating nutrient-dense foods, efficient exercise, restorative sleep, reduction of stress, and intermittent fasting could support healthy mitochondria. There is evidence that pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) may also improve the health of mitochondria.[7],[8] If PEMF is considered for therapy, the device’s efficacy should be supported by published medical research. (QRS-Direct is the exclusive importer of a unique PEMF medical device.)


My recommendation would be for individuals to consult their healthcare practitioners to determine if Mitoswab(R) might be beneficial. If this test is selected, the results could help the healthcare professional and the patient tweak specific diet and lifestyle changes as well as choose other medical therapies.



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