Sore, Inflamed, Sensitive Gums?
– 9 Questions & 2 Solutions –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

September 19, 2021 [printfriendly]

Barbara is a new patient of a dental colleague I know well. He is a well-trained biological dentist. Barbara was at her wits end, and he was perplexed.

Barbara had sore, inflamed, sensitive gums frequently – especially after she had any dental procedure performed in her mouth. She also had many existing dental restorations.

Interestingly, Barbara had blood tests to determine the compatibility of these dental materials before they were placed. No problems were identified.  Also, her current biological dentist could not find any active periodontal disease, bone infection, or problems with her existing dental work.

Obviously, Barbara was confused and distraught. She wanted to know what was going on. And her dentist was confounded and needed answers too.


First Things First

First, her new biologically oriented dentist completed a thorough dental exam. Among other things, he was looking for at least 11 potentially irritating factors that might be in her mouth causing inflammation and infection. Obviously, if any of these were the problem, each must be resolved correctly.

Second, a medical doctor and various specialists were consulted. They were looking for any systemic medical conditions that could be the cause of her gum issues. If any were detected, they would need to be addressed and treated.

For Barbara, it turned out that the cause was not a typical cause that her dentist or medical doctors would generally investigate. But once Barbara’s dentist and she learned the cause, she responded well.


9 Questions

Barbara’s dentist called me to describe his dilemma and Barbara’s negative findings. I suggested that he ask Barbara these 9 questions:

  1. Do you avoid eating healthy beef or lamb?
  2. Do you eat bread?
  3. Do you eat processed sugars?
  4. Do you eat any vegetable or seed oils? (Canola, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed, sesame, soybean, peanut, etc.)
  5. Do you eat chicken or pork more than once a week?
  6. Do you have allergies?
  7. Do you have frequent sinus infections?
  8. Do you have frequent skin lesions or rashes?
  9. Have you taken various regimens of systemic antibiotic therapy in the past?


If Any Answer is “YES”

Answer these questions for yourself. Are any true?

  • If you avoided eating beef or lamb from nose-to-tail, you could be missing many bioavailable nutrients in their natural state that are required by the body. I wrote about this in my recent Blogs titled, The Case for Meat and 4 Perfect Supplements – 1 Perfect Diet. If you are not eating this way, desiccated organs in capsule form could be included into your diet. Think about them as high-powered, multi-vitamin, multi-mineral whole foods with nothing added and nothing removed except water.
  • If you ate bread and/or processed sugars, they could damage your gut microbiome and the lining of your gut. Try to avoid or eliminate them from your diet.
  • If you regularly ate vegetable and/or seed oils as well as a lot of chicken and/or pork, linoleic acid could be a problem. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) that can cause weight gain, immune system dysfunction, and mitochondrial damage when consumed in excess. Vegetable and seed oils should be removed completely, while chicken or pork should be eaten only once a week or every other week.
  • If you had a history of allergies, sinus infections, or skin irritations, these issues may be emanating from the same source that could be causing mouth problems.
  • Frequent use of antibiotics in the past could damage the garden of healthy bacteria in the gut as well as in the mouth.

A “Yes” answer to any of the 9 Questions might indicate a leaky gut. I already suggested some positive changes you might implement.


Leaky Gut & Mouth Problems

If you have sore, inflamed, sensitive gum tissues, they may be due to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut and damage to the epithelial barrier that separates the inside of your gut from your blood system and the rest of your body. Damage to the gut could cause improper absorption of nutrients even if you are consuming healthy nutrients. The breakdown of this gut barrier is called a leaky gut.

A leaky gut will cause inflammation coursing throughout your body. This inflammation will affect all organ systems negatively – including the mouth!

My suggestion is to improve the health and diversity of the bacteria in your gut and repair the gut epithelial barrier to help solve your mouth problems. In essence, you need to treat your Leaky Gut.

To do this, I have 2 Solutions that will help repair the gut lining and improve the gut microbiome.


2 Solutions

#1. Consume spore-based probiotics

These have been demonstrated in human trials to increase the diversity of the gut microbiome and help repair the gut epithelial barrier.

The two spore-based probiotics I take personally and recommend are …

  1. MegasporeBiotic
  2. TerraFlora Deep Immune


#2. Swish and swallow bovine colostrum

When you swish with bovine colostrum, some of its beneficial elements will enter the blood system rapidly because they are absorbed through the soft tissues in your mouth. After you swallow the colostrum, all of it gets into the gut to bind to toxic elements and to help heal the damaged epithelial gut lining.

I personally use and recommend ProColostrum-LD.

If dairy is a problem in any way, colostrum may cause gut discomfort. I suggest taking a very small dose of the ProColostrum-LD and titrate to higher doses over the next week or two. If you cannot tolerate colostrum at any dose, then I recommend MegaIgG 2000 capsules to swallow. MegaIgG 2000 is like colostrum but derived from bovine serum instead. It has the immunoglobulin antibodies IgG, IgM, and IgA as well as transferrin, but it does not have all the other beneficial bioactive elements which bovine colostrum provides.


Barbara’s Experience

As I said, Barbara’s biocompatibility blood tests for her existing dental restorations were negative or inconclusive. Also, her medical doctor specializing in allergy medicine was uncertain to the actual cause of her reactions. And additional medical complications were ruled out by other medical specialists.

When Barbara’s dentist finally asked her the previous 9 questions, he discovered that she ate mainly plant-based foods and possibly was missing some very important nutrients.

In addition, Barbara gave a medical history of frequent sinus infections and antibiotic usage.

To solve the puzzle, Barbara’s dentist helped her transition to some animal-based foods – especially the desiccated organs. Also, he had her begin the 2 Solutions I suggested.

Within 45 days, Barbara resolved most of her mouth soreness, inflammation, and sensitivity. Also, she said she felt more energy without any gut disturbances.


Final Thoughts

My 2 Solutions are not a cure. But they support the body in healing. What’s fascinating is that every cell in the body communicates with every other cell in the body in some way. And the gut microbiome, which is made up of 38 trillion microbes, has a significant influence in our overall health and wellbeing.

By the way, the human body only has 30 trillion human cells. So, we are more microbial than human! Think about that!


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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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Dr. Michael Ruscio
Dr. Al Danenberg

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
July 4, 2018 [printfriendly]




Dr. Michael Ruscio Interviews Dr. Al DanenbergI met Dr. Michael Ruscio at the Paleo f(x) meeting in Austin in April 2018. Michael suggested we do a Podcast together. So, we made it happen.


Dr. Michael Ruscio is a chiropractor, clinical researcher, and author whose practical ideas on healing chronic illness have made him an influential voice in functional and alternative medicine. Michael also provides post-doctoral continuing education. His research has been published in peer reviewed medical journals, and he speaks at integrative medical conferences across the globe. Currently, he is a lead researcher in a pending IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) study.


In this interview, Dr. Ruscio and I discuss the profound connections between the gut, the mouth, mitochondria, and chronic disease. I talk about my Periodontal Disease Clinical Study that will be implemented following approval by the Institutional Review Board. We also discuss how improper flossing could lead to receding gums, new testing showing that mouth tissue is a window into your mitochondrial health, and how mouthwashes could lead to high blood pressure.


Tooth decay and periodontal diseases are chronic diseases. My research suggests that the gut could be the initial source for chronic disease to manifest. But, once oral diseases take hold, then both the gut and the mouth must be treated in order to gain control of chronic inflammation and further manifestation of chronic disease.


Listen to the Podcast. It lasts a little more than an hour, but I think you’ll find it loaded with “pearls” to take home and act upon immediately.



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Leaky Gut & Periodontal Disease
And All That Jazz

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
June 18, 2018 [printfriendly]




Leaky Gut and Periodontal DiseaseLeaky gut, periodontal disease, and all that jazz (meaning all those bacteria) play an important role in chronic disease. The tube that courses through the body (called the digestive tract, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, or the alimentary canal) is the initial setting for many chronic diseases that could manifest over time.


The GI tract starts with your lips and mouth and finally ends at the anus. Interestingly, all of the tissues that line this tube are affected in similar ways. What happens in the small and large intestines will affect the mouth, and what damages the mouth will affect the tissues of the small and large intestines.


The living inhabitants on the surface of the digestive tract are bacteria and other microbes that outnumber the quantity of human cells. These microbes are critical for human survival and affect human metabolism, nutrition, physiology, and immune function. When the microbiome is disturbed and when unhealthy microbes take control, then all Hell could break loose resulting in various chronic diseases.


One portal of entry for toxic elements to move into the systemic system is a leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability). Eventually, chronic inflammation and chronic disease can result. Periodontal disease is just one of those chronic diseases that can manifest once the gut becomes unhealthy. However, once periodontal disease exists, then it provides another major portal of entry for toxic elements to move into the systemic system – a “leaky periodontal pocket”.


Both a leaky gut and a leaky periodontal pocket must be treated.



Current Medical Research

Recently published medical papers provide an increased understanding about the interplay between a leaky gut, periodontal disease, and all those bacteria inhabiting the mucosal tissues of the GI tract.


Read these papers, which offer important medical outcomes. I believe we can connect these “dots” of knowledge and develop a clinical protocol for adjunctive treatment of periodontal disease and more.


This 2015 paper pointed out that damage to the gut actually would decrease the body’s ability to maintain a healthy immune system causing potential for various chronic diseases to manifest.


This 2018 review described intestinal permeability and resulting multiple sclerosis as well as other chronic diseases.


Figueredo, et al. in 2017 demonstrated that inflammatory bowel disease can cause periodontal disease, which is a chronic disease.


Bale, et al. in 2017 reviewed the evidence that periodontal disease contributes to atherosclerosis.


McFarlin, et al. in 2017 performed a double-blind study where individuals significantly improved intestinal permeability by taking a spore-based probiotic for only 30 days without changing their unhealthy lifestyles.


Li, et al. in 2016 showed how periodontal disease is a disease of mitochondrial dysfunction within the gingival fibroblasts.


In 2012, Vos, et al. reported that vitamin K2 could rescue damaged mitochondria in fruit flies. 


This 2018 review described how vitamin K2 transports out of the liver and then disseminates throughout the body to assist in various biological functions including the prevention of mitochondrial dysfunction.



My Thoughts

I believe we can connect these “dots” of knowledge.


Apparently, there is a relationship between gut issues and periodontal disease. It appears there is a progression from dysbiosis to leaky gut, then to decreased host resistance, and finally to mitochondrial dysfunction and the development of various chronic diseases including periodontal disease.


Research suggests that there might be an adjunctive treatment for periodontal disease by treating dysbiosis, repairing the gut membrane with spore-based probiotics, and utilizing vitamin K2 to prevent and repair mitochondrial dysfunction.


My goal is to investigate this possible causal relationship. To that end, Andrew Campbell MD, John Abernethy MD, and I wrote a protocol to study my theory. We submitted our Periodontal Disease Clinical Study to the “Institutional Review Board” (IRB) on 5/31/18.


If our study is approved by the IRB, Microbiome Labs will sponsor our research, which will be double-blind involving approximately 50 individuals with active periodontal disease. Participants will take a placebo or a supplement for 6 weeks. The daily supplement will consist of spore-based probiotics and vitamin K2.


To determine the potential benefits of this supplement, we will measure the depths of infected gum pockets, bleeding in these pockets, and the status of the participants’ mitochondria. At the end of the study, we will repeat these three measurements.


I project that there will be a reduction in pocket depth and bleeding as well as an improvement in the health of the mitochondria.


If our work demonstrates significant benefits, then other investigators could repeat and elaborate on this research. There might be far-reaching inferences that could be considered if our results are positive.


I’m excited to see where this study might go.



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I was Interviewed for
Wise Traditions Podcast

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
May 28, 2018 [printfriendly]




Podcasts are an amazing vehicle to get a message to the listening public. I really enjoy the opportunity to voice my passion about what means a lot to me. Recently, I was interviewed by Hilda Labrada Gore for the Wise Traditions Podcast that aired May 28, 2018.


This Podcast Series, which launched in January 2016, is part of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Wise Traditions Podcast Series now has over 900,000 downloads. Interviews of guests are published weekly and consist of a 30-minute discussion relating to fields of health, food, and farming.


The Weston A. Price Foundation is an important organization. It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999. Its goal is to disseminate the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who was the chairman of the National Dental Association from 1914 to 1928. Dr. Price studied isolated non-industrialized peoples. He established parameters of human health and determined optimum characteristics of human diets. His research demonstrated that humans achieve health when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble “activators” found in animal fats.


I had fun doing this interview. Take 33 minutes of your time and listen to me and my interviewer, Hilda Labrada Gore, as I describe my views for gut health and dental health including my 5 tweaks for overall health.



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My 5 Essential Lifestyle Tweaks

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
April 2, 2018 [printfriendly]




My 5 Essential Lifestyle TweaksThis month, I start my 6th year of living a Primal Lifestyle. I wrote about My Primal Lifestyle in 2016. Since then, I refined and perfected the ways I do things. Over the last 12 months, I began to incorporate my 5 Essential Lifestyle Tweaks to further improve what I had been doing.


Back in 2007, I had a stroke and could have died. Yet, I didn’t learn about a primal diet and a primal way of living until 2013. Fortunately for me, embracing a Primal Lifestyle in 2013 saved my life.


Fast forward to April 2018 when I will be 71 years old. I feel healthier today than I have ever felt. My blood chemistries have improved considerably from where they were in 2013 – with additional impressive test results since I included these 5 tweaks.


Following my stroke in 2007, my physicians prescribed 7 medications for me to take for the rest of my life. Not being comfortable with that scenario, I reinvented my life and have weaned off my last medication this month.


The way I live is based on a nutrient-dense diet, efficient exercise, restorative sleep, and stress reduction – all of which I discuss in my book, Crazy-Good Living. In addition to all this, recent medical research is uncovering new and exciting facts about the importance of the gut microbiome and the mitochondria. Both areas are where I have refined and focused my current efforts.


The Gut & The Mitochondria

I recently published two articles – one about the gut and one about mitochondria. Big Bang Theory of Chronic Disease describes the importance of the gut as the starting point for most systemic diseases. Mitochondria, Gut Bacteria, and Vitamin K2 describes the importance of mitochondrial health for the proper function of almost every cell and organ system. Both articles are loaded with links to peer-reviewed medical papers to support my conclusions.


5 Essential Lifestyle Tweaks

The following 5 tweaks are focused methods, which I have added to my primal lifestyle program. They are reported to improve the gut microbiome and the body’s mitochondria:


1  Intermittent fasting and multi-day fasting
Published medical research has demonstrated that fasting is beneficial in a variety of ways. It improves fat-burning, builds muscle, enhances brain health, reduces oxidative stress, improves mitochondria health, and reduces inflammation to name a few. Several months ago, I wrote about my fasting experience.


2. 4-minute daily exercise created by Dr. Zachary Bush
This may be as effective as high intensity interval training. It is reported to increase the production of nitric oxide. I try to include this exercise protocol several times a week.


3. Spore-based probiotics
A randomized and double-blind study published in 2017 demonstrated that spore-based probiotics grow in the gut and can increase the diversity of other healthy bacteria in the gut. Personally, I take this probiotic daily along with the Vitamin supplement I discuss next.


4. Vitamin K2
This unique form of vitamin K helps prevent inflammation and move calcium into the proper areas in the body. In addition, medical research using an animal model showed that vitamin K2 could rescue damaged mitochondria.


5. Pulsed electromagnetic fields
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy improves the energy of cells. In this way, it may improve the functioning of mitochondria, and thereby improve many chronic conditions. In the next few weeks, I will devote an entire Blog to the science and application of this important medical application. One company that offers this technology in the United States is QRS (Quantum Resonance Systems).


Wrapping It Up

I have experienced personal benefits from these 5 tweaks. My results are anecdotal; I am not part of a controlled study. You may not have the same effects as I have. The facts are that the gut microbiome is critical for overall health, and the mitochondria in every cell of our body are critical for the healthy functioning of each cell.



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What Gets Me Inspired?
… My Double-Blind Study …

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
March 12, 2018 [printfriendly]




My Double-Blind Study


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 [1], 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 [2], and endotoxemia compromises the immune function and contributes to systemic chronic inflammation. [3]


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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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!



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Dr. Alvin Danenberg & Dr. Steven Lin
Chat on FaceBook Live

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
March 9, 2018 [printfriendly]





Dr. Steven Lin and I had a chat on FaceBook Live. We talked about so many topics including:

  • Bleeding gums, gum disease, and mitochondrial health
  • Vitamin K2
  • Spore-based probiotics
  • Daily Mouthwash: Good or bad?
  • Nitric oxide
  • My recipes: Homemade applesauce, Seaweed soup
  • And much more…..


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Stress – The Quiet Destroyer

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS  Nutritional Periodontist
January 29, 2018 [printfriendly]


stress- the quiet destrooyer


Recently, Chris Kresser wrote about Mark (one of his patients who had serious Crohn’s Disease). Mark had done his homework and learned a great deal about diet and nutrition. As it turned out, Mark was a fanatic about researching methods to resolve his disease. He implemented various healthy diets and food restrictions to try to get his gut healthy. But, to no avail. On examination, Chris Kresser identified Mark’s primary source of his gut dysfunction to be significant psychological stress. Stress is the quiet destroyer. Stress disturbed Mark’s gut microbiome, which went on to create gut and systemic problems. Mark would not be able to get his health issues under control with just nutrient-dense food regimens. The first thing Mark would need to do would be to address his psychological stressors.

I have written about stress and the damage it can create in the mouth. In this updated article, I wrote about a woman who was under extreme emotional stress. Her stress resulted in multiple serious lesions in her mouth. These lesions were not the result of bacterial infection. Once she completely removed the stress in her life, the lesions in her mouth healed. No dental treatment was needed. No medical treatment was needed. Just the complete reduction of the stress!

In addition, I wrote several articles describing many causes of stress and some ideas on dealing with these stresses. (HERE, HERE) The following two research projects prove that stress creates gut problems.


Two Studies on Military Soldiers

Military personnel in training and in combat are under significant stress. In each of these studies, acute stress resulted in unhealthy gut outcomes for these soldiers:

This first study, published in 2013, looked at 37 military troops. They were involved in prolonged and intense combat-training. As expected, this training induced increases in stress, anxiety, and depression. However, the results also showed GI symptoms, pro-inflammatory immune activation, and increased intestinal permeability – all resulting from acute stress.

In this second study, published in 2017, 73 soldiers were subjected to intense military training, which created significant psychological stress. No matter what these soldiers ate, stress caused unhealthy changes in the gut bacteria and the way bacteria metabolized nutrients. These changes resulted in increased markers of inflammation and leaky gut. The authors of the study wrote this in their paper’s abstract:

Military training, a unique model for studying temporal dynamics of intestinal barrier and intestinal microbiota responses to stress, resulted in increased intestinal permeability concomitant to changes in intestinal microbiota composition and metabolism. Pre-stress intestinal microbiota composition and changes in fecal concentrations of metabolites linked to the microbiota were associated with increased intestinal permeability. Findings suggest that targeting the intestinal microbiota could provide novel strategies for mitigating increases in intestinal permeability during stress.

The stress of military training cannot be avoided. However, if the gut microbiome could be enhanced prior to stressful combat training, then damage to the gut might be prevented.



Ideally, a person needs to identify and resolve psychological stressors. A healthy diet will not solve the stress. But, based on these two military studies, there may be a means to improve the health of the gut bacteria to prevent inflammation and leaky gut once stress ensues. Research trials are beginning to evaluate the potential of consuming spore-based probiotics and specific prebiotics as proactive measures to improve the diversity and metabolic functions of the gut bacterial population. This supplementation might reduce or avoid gut damage following stressful events.

Stay tuned.


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