Cancer Tx Complications
– Gut Health, Mouth Ulcers, & Honey –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

April 1, 2019 [printfriendly]




Cancer Treatment Complications


I’m dealing with my personal, unconventional journey to treat bone marrow cancer. While in the Cancer Clinic waiting for my scheduled appointment, I met a young man dealing with an aggressive form of mouth cancer. He already had extensive chemotherapy and is now having radiation treatment for his oral malignancy. His treatment may have damaged his healthy gut bacteria, but now he is dealing with painful lesions in his mouth called oral mucositis[1].


Cancer treatment can damage the gut, the overall immune system, and the oral microbiome[2]. It also can create serious and painful mouth ulcers[3]. However, there are a couple of natural protocols that could be helpful.


Spore-based probiotics may be an effective systemic answer to repair the gut microbiome[4], and raw honey may be an effective medicinal answer to assist the healing of mouth ulcers[5].


He and I had a discussion about the relationships of some types of cancer treatment and the potential effects to his gut and to his mouth. I shared some of the research I have read and some methods I believe could help him heal his gut and mouth.



Oral Mucositis

Oral mucositis is a lesion in the soft tissues of the mouth. These sores can become infected and extremely painful. Mucositis is one of the most common, debilitating complications of cancer treatments, particularly chemotherapy and radiation. Oral mucositis can make it very difficult to eat and can affect the patient’s quality of life.



Healing the Gut and Mouth

Two natural food substances that may be able to prevent and also heal damage to the gut and mouth are spore-based probiotics and raw honey.



Spore-Based Probiotics

Medical research has shown that chemotherapy and radiation therapy can damage the healthy balance of the bacteria in the gut. Once this balance is disturbed, unhealthy populations of pathologic bacteria in the gut can decrease the health of the immune system and create chronic systemic inflammation. When the immune system is compromised and systemic inflammation becomes chronic, ulcers can develop in other mucosal tissues. These include the soft tissues in the mouth.


Spore-based probiotics, unlike regular probiotics, are resistant to the acids in the stomach. So, these healthy spores can survive stomach acids and can germinate and repopulate in the intestines. In addition, they can increase the diversity and quantity of other necessary gut bacteria. A well-established balance of friendly bacteria in the gut can improve the gut lining and the immune system. Since there is “crosstalk” between various microbiomes and mucosal tissues throughout the body, repairing the gut may help other mucosal tissues to heal.



Raw Honey

The use of raw honey has been studied and reported for healing wounds since ancient times[6]. It is a powerful medicine chest of biologically active compounds[7]. Honey applied to sores in the mouth is highly beneficial in healing the lesions of oral mucositis[8]. Also, honey acts as a prebiotic. It contains oligosaccharides that are used by healthy oral and gut bacteria as a food source.[9]



Protocol for Prevention & Healing

My recommendation to help prevent and heal the lesions of oral mucositis would be to incorporate a regimen of taking spore-based probiotics daily as well as rinsing with raw honey as needed and swallowing it.


Two spore-based probiotics that I recommend are Megasporebiotic from Microbiome Labs and Terraflora from Enviromedica.


For honey, I recommend local raw honey. Rinsing with and swallowing about 1 teaspoon of honey several times a day could be soothing and healing to the oral tissues and also promote the healthy growth of oral and gut bacteria. Be sure you purchase raw honey ideally from a local bee keeper. I get my local raw honey from various Farmers’ Markets in my area.













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Crazy-Good Living

My Favorite Paleo Recipes:
Chocolate Avocado Pudding

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      July 21, 2016   [printfriendly]

Chocolate Avocado PubbingFor my taste buds, chocolate pudding is about the ultimate taste sensation I can imagine. I am a dark chocolate lover. But, chocolate pudding from a traditional recipe would be relatively unhealthy. Here is a yummy alternative. I found the original recipe from Healthy Holistic Living. However, I experimented with that recipe and changed the amounts of ingredients and added optional toppings to suit my taste. The following is my rendition of this delicious and nutritious treat.


Chocolate Avocado Pudding



  • 3 Ripe avocados, mashed
  • 1/4 Cup organic cacao powder (my favorite: Viva Labs Certified Organic Cacao Powder)
  • 6 Tbsp coconut milk (my favorites: Native Forest Coconut Milk or Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut Milk – both in cans)
  • 2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tsp organic, cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 6 Tbsp local raw honey (I wrote about the medicinal benefits of raw, unprocessed honey HERE.)
  • Optional toppings: organic coconut cream, fresh organic berries like blueberries and strawberries



  1. Place avocado, cacao powder, coconut milk, vanilla, coconut oil and raw honey into a mixing bowl and stir well. Use a stick blender on high until completely smooth (approximately 1 minute).
  2. Place in serving bowls, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Add toppings as desired when served.


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5 Situations:
Raw Honey May Heal Swollen Gums

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       November 21, 2015


Raw HoneySeveral weeks ago I wrote about the health benefits of raw honey. I want to share some more information about this nutrient-dense whole food as it specifically relates to swollen gums, gum inflammation, and healing.


While anecdotal reports are interesting, they are only stories that might be exaggerated. As a matter of fact, most anecdotal stories have not been proven to be true. That being said, I want to tell you about two of my patients who are eating raw honey to improve their severe gum inflammation. Both of these patients have an autoimmune disease that has caused painful and raw gum surfaces to develop on a regular basis. Prescription drugs have been used in the past to soothe these conditions. Recently, I suggested both of these patients to eat about 3-4 tablespoons of local, raw honey everyday. After two weeks, both patients told me that their gum irritation improved significantly. The caveat here is that these stories are not controlled studies. The results are interesting but inconclusive.


When stories like these have been researched with human trials and published in peer-reviewed journals, they start to take on a totally different meaning. The scientific community begins to heed. Unfortunately, the medical community may take many years before taking notice of this new information.


So, I want to share some of the published scientific research on oral conditions that have benefited from natural, raw honey. The major benefits have been credited to honey’s health properties of wound healing, antimicrobial effects, and antioxidant activity.


Some notes of caution:

  • There are many different types of honey from all over the world. They have different components and may have different effects.
  • Some of the research is only short-term covering a test period of a few weeks to several months. Long-term research is mostly lacking.
  • All studies relate averages. Obviously there are individual differences. So, although the average result could be very encouraging, a particular individual may not get the same result or may actually experience a negative result.


Here is a summary of 5 outcomes that may seem too good to be true. I suggest you read these studies and make your own decision:

  1. Raw honey has been shown to reduce the specific bacteria that cause gum disease. (Here, Here, Here)
  2. Sometimes when a tooth is extracted, a “dry socket” occurs. A “dry socket” is when the area in the jawbone after the tooth extraction does not heal normally and becomes very inflamed and painful. Raw honey when placed into the “dry socket” soothes the pain, promotes healing, and prevents further infection in the area. (Here)
  3. Yeast as well as the herpes virus can cause very sore and painful lesions in the mouth. Raw honey helps these lesions heal at least as well as prescription medication. (Here, Here)
  4. Raw honey has been shown to speed up the healing process after mouth surgery. (Here)
  5. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, autoimmune diseases might manifest in the mouth. Raw honey has improved the healing for some of these painful sores. (Here)


I have been impressed with these papers. More research appears to be in the pipeline that might continue to support raw honey as a natural medicine. Recent science has allowed me to recommend local, raw honey to my patients as a natural treatment for various oral conditions.


My Favorite Paleo Recipes:
Apple Crisp with Honey

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       November 16, 2015


evolution rDesserts can be decadent and unhealthy. This is neither. It is Paleo, delicious, and satisfying – at least for my taste. You could think of this as the filling for an apple pie without the dough and without the junk.


Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp with Honey




1/4 Cup ghee (or grass-fed butter)
2 apples (I prefer Fuji), sliced and cubed
1/4 Cup raw macadamia nuts, chopped
1 Tsp cinnamon (I prefer Ceylon cinnamon)
1/4 Tsp sea salt
Squirt of local, raw honey
Optional: coconut cream or grass-fed, heavy whipping cream




  • Add ghee (or butter) into saucepan, and set temperature to medium heat.
  • Add apples, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well and continue to cook until apples are soft (10-15 minutes).
  • Place cooked apples into serving dish, and top with a squirt of raw honey.
  • You could stir in some coconut cream or heavy whipping cream.

A Sweet Solution for Dry Skin

evolution rI ride my Trikke every weekend. The model I ride is a T8 Sport. My Trikke is my outdoor fun and exercise.
A Trikke is like two skateboards attached at the front allowing each of my feet to be on the platform of each board. There is a front wheel with a handlebar and a wheel on each of the skateboards on the back. By turning the handlebars from side to side and swaying my hips, I can create forward momentum and movement. I can ride this and steer this all around my neighborhood reaching up to about 12 miles an hour. It’s great fun and great exercise. But that is not what this post is really about.
I have been ridding my Trikke every weekend morning for about 45 minutes starting at sunrise. But, it has been really cold the last few weekends. So, when I ride, the cold air has been irritating the corners of my eyes, drying them out and causing irritation and inflammation.
I saw my dermatologist this past week, and he commented about my dry eyes and the irritation. He suggested a hydrating wash that I was to use twice a day. He gave me a sample. When I read the ingredients, I thought I would be putting a cocktail of chemicals on my already sore eyes. So, I did some research.
I found that a substance that I already had in my kitchen might be the best thing I could use for my eyes as well as the rest of my face. It was naturally antibacterial and extremely hydrating. No chemicals or unnatural substances in this elixir. I would apply it to my face, which I first washed with warm water before applying my remedy. My research suggested that I should place about 1/2 teaspoon of this golden liquid in the palms of my hands and then apply it to my warm, wet face by gently massaging it all around. I should leave it on for a few minutes, and then rinse it off with some more warm water. Pat dry, and I would be done.
To my amazement, my face was soft, and the soreness around my irritated eyes was all gone. Was this magic? Was this an exotic substance that I had to buy from an obscure source? No! It was local, raw honey. Yes, Honey!
Here is a link describing 11 ways to use raw honey for healthier skin, hair, and nails.
Isn’t it interesting what you will learn from a periodontist who is trying to educate you about nutrition and gum health?