STRESS!
– Game Plan for Success –
– 30 Ideas –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 22, 2020

 

 

Last week I wrote about emotional stress and how it damaged Emma’s mouth. I also explained how she completely reversed her mouth lesions by removing the specific source of her destructive stress. That was amazing!

 

But I’m sure you know that stress is not easy to eliminate – especially when you don’t have the ability to solve the problem itself.

 

This pandemic is causing stress for me and for most of the world population. What about you?

 

Just having to stay “socially distanced” and inside my home most of the time is stressful. Because of my challenge with incurable multiple myeloma, I know that COVID-19 could kill me. And then I worry about the health of my wife, children, and grandkids.

 

I can’t solve the pandemic problem, but I can control how I deal with it. Most importantly, I can recreate my robust immune system as I’ve described in previous blogs. (Read my Unconventional Cancer Protocols.) But the pandemic is not the only stress I have.

 

You might imagine my stress level went through the roof in 2018 when I received my cancer diagnosis and devastating prognosis. I feared my career was over, my quality of life would end, and the ability for me to provide for my family would stop abruptly. And now I have the added stress from the repercussions of the COVID pandemic.

 

Many of the people with whom I coach have experienced increased levels of emotional stress. The primary cause has been the pandemic and all the collateral damage this destructive force has on their daily living and their ability to maintain an income. These increased stress levels have significantly influenced their eating habits, their guts, and their pocketbooks. Working on a Game Plan to address this stress has been helpful for them. In fact, my Game Plan has delivered solutions for me. I know it can help you.

 

By focusing on solutions for stress NOW, you can improve your overall health and your family’s wellbeing. If you feel you need more guidance, I can assist you through my coaching program.

 

Let me remind you of the ultimate results of unrelenting stress reported in a study I described in my previous article. The investigators proved that ongoing stress for a long time could cause permanent autoimmune damage if not removed in short order.[1]

 

 

Game Plan

The following Game Plan consists of action steps and ideas to adjust your response to stress. They are a result of my brainstorming. The list is extensive but definitely not exhaustive. These ideas can assist you in dealing with anxiety, fear, and boredom which could ultimately result in damage to your body. These steps may be able to mitigate if not eliminate the damage from stress.

 

Go through the list. Many of these thoughts might not work for you. But if only one made a difference, then it would be well worth your effort to read through all of them. So, start your perusal and try whatever makes sense. Include your family and friends as part of your Game Plan

 

1. First of all, change what you can change. But realize there are things you can’t change. Forget about those things that are beyond your control. But don’t compromise with those things you can and want to change.

 

 

2. Turn off the bombardment of depressing news on TV.

 

 

3. Don’t give into fake conspiracy theories and don’t spread them as facts to others. If they intrigue you, thoroughly investigate them first.

 

 

4. Consider your local health department as a reliable source for information about the pandemic.

 

 

5. Schedule FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype appointments with close friends and relatives to stay in touch.

 

 

6. Have pleasing music playing in the background in your home.

 

 

7. View podcasts and webinars that interest you. They are abundant on YouTube, iTunes, and other sources.

 

 

8. Watch animated or comedy movies to bring a smile to your face. Streaming TV apps like Disney, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV are great sources for them.

 

 

9. Take an online course through a virtual college, university, or educational facility.

 

 

10. Journal about your stress. Writing about what you are feeling “inside your head” can help bring dark thoughts into the light and defuse their negative effects on your wellbeing.

 

 

11. Write down “what worries you” and make a list of “possible solutions” so you can be proactive as well as reactive.

 

 

12. Be present. If you feel worry and fear, bring your attention to your breath and your body. Slowly breathe in and out. Focus on the here and now. Be aware of the sights, sounds, and smells around you and what you’re feeling in your body. Continue to breathe slowly in and out until you feel calmer.

 

 

13. Take refreshing long walks outside.

 

 

14. Engage in a hobby or start a new hobby. Examples might be painting, reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, knitting, playing a musical instrument, or photography.

 

 

15. Exercise inside your home and outdoors.

 

 

16. Go to a playground; shoot basketballs; play tennis; throw a Frisbee; swim; engage in some sport; be physically active.

 

 

17. Dance and sing. Include your kids and spouse.

 

 

18. Play board games and search Amazon for new and challenging games for the family to play.

 

 

19. Donate to food banks and children hospitals.

 

 

20. Volunteer virtually. Some examples could be reading stories for a children’s hospital or interacting with nursing home residents via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime.

 

 

21. Help family members and friends to be calm.

 

 

22. Write creatively. Examples might include poetry, your memorable moments, fictional and non-fictional stories.

 

 

23. Self-publish your writings on Amazon – it’s free and you can create an income.

 

 

24. Create an Internet business.

 

 

25. Connect with friends and loved ones via social media sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. These also are great places to follow businesses and topics you like. Just remember to set yourself a timer – 45 minutes of social media is a perfect window. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of negative news – make sure to mind Game Plan #2 and Game Plan #3!

 

 

26. Sleep well: Your body needs seven to eight hours of restorative sleep each night. Make your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.

 

 

27. Practice stress relaxing techniques like meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation:

 

a. Meditation: I don’t find meditation difficult. It is very natural and simple for me. I sit in a comfortable chair in my quiet bedroom. I close my eyes and relax my thoughts. Whatever thoughts come into my head, I simply tell myself, “That’s Okay” and then let them pass. I often concentrate on something rhythmic like the exhalation and inhalation of my breaths. Sometimes I repeatedly think to myself, “I am relaxed and still.” I meditate for 15 to 30 minutes at a time.

 

 

b. Diaphragmatic breathing: This is deep breathing in the diaphragm. To do this, I lie in my bed, and put my hand over my belly button. As I breathe in slowly and completely, I want my belly to push my hand out as far as it can. Then when I begin to exhale slowly, I want to try to get my tummy right up to my spine as my hand moves in that direction as far as it can. I simply repeat this a number of times. I find this very relaxing.

 

 

c. Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique creates total body relaxation by “tensing” separate muscle groups and then “relaxing” them. It’s called the Jacobsonian Relaxation Technique. I get ready for this when I’m ready to go to bed. I lie down on my back in bed and make myself comfortable. The key for me is to progressively tighten groups of muscles and then relax them afterwards. I start with my feet. While lying in bed, I squeeze and curl my toes and constrict these muscles as tightly as I can. Sometimes, I’ll be holding my breath. I keep the muscles really tight, and then I relax those muscles slowly as I breathe out. Then I move up my body to concentrate on my legs, tightening and relaxing these muscles in the same way. I continue to move up to my buttocks, abdomen, back, shoulders, neck, hands, arms, face, etc. Progressively, I tighten these muscle groups and then let go. After one round, my entire body feels relaxed and stress-free. It’s a method I love, and it always works.

 

 

28. Provide your body with nutrients that enhance your immune system. Stress will destroy your gut microbiome, create systemic inflammation, and weaken your immune system. You can offset some of the damage by:

 

a. Eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods

b. Drinking natural mineral water, which has electrolytes like magnesium, calcium, etc. (ex: Gerolsteiner, Fiji, Evian)

c. Seasoning food with Himalayan salt, which contains 84 minerals and trace elements

 

 

29. Satisfy your “need to eat to relieve stress” by considering these alternatives to junk food:

 

a. Drink more mineral water

b. Make hard boiled eggs and have them on hand for snacking

c. Choose pork rinds for a salty crunch

d. Chew on grass-fed beef jerky

e. Eat raw honey to satisfy your “sweet tooth”

f. Enjoy some fruit like various berries, apples, and avocados

 

 

30. If your feelings of stress have escalated and are getting the best of you, there is help available. Please take action! Talk about your feelings with a loved one, or you can privately seek assistance from live counselors waiting to hear from you:

 

a. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255

b. Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, 24/7

 

 

Final Thoughts

I’m not sticking my head in the sand, and I don’t believe that all bad things will go away. How ridiculous would that be? But I know that reframing stress and occupying your time with constructive and supportive activities can give you and your family a healthier perspective when dealing with stress.

 

For me, I need to feel relevant and productive. That’s my personality, but that may not be yours.

 

However, I want to emphasize that it is important for me to change what I can change and to let go completely of those things that are beyond my control. This single concept has been a game changer for me. It might be for you.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517692/

 

 

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STRESS!
– Damage to Your Body –
– Havoc in Your Mouth –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 15, 2020

 

 

Stress can cause serious damage to your body. It also can cause havoc in your mouth.

 

Stress is one of those things that most people know about, occasionally think about, and often never do anything about. Yet stress can be the most important factor that can destroy your body slowly without you knowing it – until it’s too late.

 

I want to drive this point home with the story about a patient whom I will call Emma. Then I’ll discuss some recent research about the potential effects of stress on the body.

 

 

Emma

Let me tell you about Emma – her stress, the damage it caused, and her total recovery.

 

Years ago, I was working with Dr. J. Daulton Keith in his periodontal office. Dr. Keith is a well-respected periodontist where I live. He shared this story of his patient with me, but I’ll tell it in my own words. So, it may differ slightly from the facts.

 

Let me introduce you to Emma.

 

Emma is a 30ish-year-old woman who came to the dental office with the complaint of sore, bleeding gums. From a dental standpoint, there were no obvious causes for her oral problem. She had very little dental plaque around her gum tissues. And her dental x-rays did not indicate any active periodontal destruction in her jawbone.

 

Below are a “before photograph” and an “after photograph” of Emma’s mouth. They may seem disturbing because they look unnatural. However, the photography was done with the lips pulled back to show the teeth and gums for better viewing.

 

Here is how Emma’s mouth looked when she first came to the periodontal practice. You are looking at her red and swollen gum tissues around her teeth:

 

 

Since there were no obvious dental reasons for these lesions, Dr. Keith referred her to her medical doctor to check for possible systemic diseases that could be the cause. We were concerned that Emma’s inflamed, raw-looking gum tissues could have been the result of side effects from medications or blood disorders. But none of these were her problem.

 

After she returned to the dental office, she broke down emotionally and confided her secrets to Daulton.

 

Emma described the emotional and sexual abuse inflicted by her employer! And she explained that this abuse was ongoing for a couple months. Unfortunately, Emma wanted to keep her job and allowed this employer to subject her to his despicable exploitation.

 

Dr. Keith is one of the most empathetic people I know. He listened to Emma, consoled her, and sincerely offered his help. He convinced her to make a life change.

 

Emma had no family ties in the city. But Daulton was aware of a job offer in another state that might interest her. Emma loved the idea.

 

She applied for the job and was hired. She then immediately quit her current job with her abusive employer and relocated to start her new life.

 

Four months later, she returned to our periodontal office. From the time she originally was seen until the time she returned after her move, she did not receive any medical or dental treatment for her mouth lesions. Her only treatment was the removal of her emotional stress 100%.

 

Here is the picture of her mouth after she returned to the office. All of the gum lesions were gone – no soreness, no bleeding, no lesions. Her original mouth condition was caused by severe emotional stress; her cure was the direct result of totally eliminating this stress from her life:

 

 

 

Unfortunately, most people who experience emotional stress from whatever sources are unable to reduce that stress completely. But Emma is a real-life example of a person who suffered the manifestation of severe psychological stress and healed completely after totally removing that stress from her life.

 

 

Stress & the Body

Emotional stress damages the gut microbiome, increases intestinal permeability, and increases inflammatory cytokine levels. Cytokines are small proteins that talk to and regulate different tissues in the body. Primarily, they are produced from cells in the immune system and have two conflicting actions:

 

  • They can be proinflammatory.
  • They can be anti-inflammatory.

 

Cytokines modulate the immune system and its overall function. I’ve described how important the immune system is to overall health in my previous Blog.

 

If you were able to reduce your stress levels, you could improve your gut health and lower the levels of inflammatory cytokines circulating in your body. That would improve your immune system’s ability to fight the fight that it is designed to fight.

 

Animal and human research has routinely showed how the body functions and what causes the body to do what it does.  Especially when investigations compare an experimental group of individuals to a control group of individuals to determine causal relationships in the experimental group. Here are a few medical papers that explain how emotional stress can affect the body.

 

1. This study[1], 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 gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, pro-inflammatory immune activation, and increased intestinal permeability – all resulting from acute stress.

 

2. In this study[2], published in 2017, 73 soldiers were subjected to intense military training, which created significant emotional 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.

 

3. In this third 2019 peer-reviewed paper[3], researchers used a mouse model to study the effects of stress. The investigators divided the mice into a control group and an experimental group which was subjected to severe emotional stress.

 

This research showed that stress can cause negative and long-term changes to the gut microbiome by altering the composition and behavior of specific gut bacteria. These changes in the garden of gut bacteria could lead to destructive changes in the body’s immune system. Changes to both the gut microbiome and the immune system could make the mice more vulnerable to many chronic diseases.

 

Specifically, changes in bacteria in the mouse gut affected the cells in their lymph system. Changes in the lymph system confused the immune system to begin an attack on its own tissues, which is the beginning of an autoimmune reaction. According to Alessio Fasano, autoimmune disease requires damage to the gut microbiome, damage to the epithelial barrier in the gut, and a genetic predisposition in the affected tissue.[4]

 

Interestingly, if the severe emotional stresses were eliminated, the bacterial changes returned to normal levels after 14 days in this mouse model. However, the damaged immune system caused by the altered gut bacteria could become permanent even if the stress was reduced and the bacteria returned to normal.

 

If we can relate these effects to the human, we can appreciate the importance of stress on overall wellness.

 

The results of these three studies help explain how Emma’s stress affected her gut microbiome, her immune system, and ultimately her gum tissues. And when Emma was able to completely remove the emotional stress that affected her gut and immune system, the lesions in her gum tissues totally resolved. For Emma, these immune system changes were not permanent, probably because the stress was completely removed in short order.

 

However, for those who are under severe emotional stress for extended periods of time, their body might experience permanent autoimmune damage. It becomes obvious to me that stress must be reduced as soon as it is recognized.

 

 

Reduce Your Stress

A number of years ago, I wrote several articles about stress and how to deal with it. What was true then is truer today. Especially with the stress of the worldwide pandemic, the political divide in our country, and the loss of jobs for so many people because of COVID-19. With my blog, A Unique Way To Handle Stress, I found an insightful metaphor that I hope is helpful for you or for someone who means everything to you. If you find yourself struggling to reduce your stress levels, these 11 tips are great starting points.

 

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Combat-training+increases+intestinal+permeability%2C+immune+activation+and+gastrointestinal+symptoms+in+soldiers

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Changes+in+intestinal+microbiota+composition+and+metabolism+coincide+with+increased+intestinal+permeability+in+young+adults+under+prolonged+physiological+stress

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517692/

[4] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12016-011-8291-x

 

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The Stress of COVID-19
and its consequences

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

April 13, 2020

 

Stress of COVID-19Stress!

 

You can’t see it or touch it or smell it. But it’s all around us.

 

Everyone talks about it and experiences it.

 

Life in our modern world seems to create it. Or maybe we are creating it for ourselves.

 

But then came COVID-19, and it blew all of us away!!

 

 

COVID-19’s Effects

I don’t have to tell you about the stress we have endured during this pandemic. COVID-19 has changed all of our lives abruptly and severely. Sadly, a number of us have gotten sick; many of us have lost jobs or businesses; a few have died. The emotional trauma of these bombshells is taking its toll. I’m not sure if life will ever be the same as it was before the virus raised its ugly head and spread like a raging hurricane.

 

The psychological ramifications are yet to be realized. So many of us have feelings of desperation and are demoralized. Those that are demoralized feel that no matter what they do and how hard they work will make no difference. They are falling into the abyss of depression and feelings of worthlessness.

 

 

Stress and the Gut

You may not realize it, but stress affects your gut, your immune system, and your brain. Especially if the stress is continuous and seems to have no end. The consequences could be subtle or might create significant and immediate effects. Or, it may affect our body months or years later manifesting as one of many types of chronic diseases. The pathway to tragic illnesses is pretty amazing and probably will surprise you.

 

Emotional stress can lead to changes in the intestinal wall by opening up spaces between the cells of the epithelial barrier. This is a natural process that allows additional water, sodium, and glucose to get into the blood system. Your body needs these to assist in the chemical changes induced by stress. When short bouts of stress are resolved, then the holes in this gut barrier return to normal. However, significantly increased stress from financial and social disruptions caused by COVID-19 can last a long time. No one knows how long these stresses will endure. What is certain is that chronic, overwhelming stress will induce serious problems. The resulting damage to the gut epithelial barrier will allow the continuous leakage into the blood system of harmful substances from the gut lumen – especially lipopolysaccharides (LPS).

 

 

Endotoxemia Causes Chronic Disease

LPS (which is an endotoxin) is the outer cell wall of dead gram-negative gut bacteria that is highly toxic. Endotoxemia is a disease where large amounts of lipopolysaccharides leak into the bloodstream continuously and course throughout the body. The immune system initially overreacts to excessive and continuous LPS causing a cascade of highly inflammatory chemicals. The immune system may settle down but will still produce inflammatory chemicals as long as the source of emotional stress is still present. The overall result is chronic inflammation circulating to all cells and organ systems. Ultimately, debilitating chronic diseases could manifest.

 

Some of the chronic diseases include depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic heart failure, type 2 diabetes, autism, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), asthma, and dental diseases including periodontal disease and tooth decay. The immune system also may begin destroying normal human cells causing autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that chronic diseases are responsible for 70% of all deaths in the US.[1] For the most part, these chronic diseases originate from low-grade, systemic, chronic inflammation originating in the gut.

 

In addition to the “leaky” gut as a result of continuous stress, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices can create a “leaky” gut.

 

Poor food and lifestyle choices will cause chemical changes in that gut that promote the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. The unhealthy change in the bacteria of the gut is called dysbiosis. Pathogenic species cause a breakdown in the protective mucosal layer as well as the epithelial barrier of the gut. Dysbiosis causes the immune system to produce inflammatory chemicals. Once toxic substances from the gut leak into the circulatory system, the immune system goes into high gear. It creates a cascade of inflammatory chemicals, which flood all the pathways leading from the gut to the rest of the body.

 

So, the emotional stress produced by COVID-19 along with dysbiosis in the gut are powerful ingredients directing the body to go into a prolonged tailspin leading to disastrous outcomes.

 

Resolving Stress

I have written several articles about dealing with stress and have published these Blogs on my website. Here are three that you might find interesting and helpful: HERE, HERE, HERE.

 

 

Resolving Endotoxemia

A double-blind randomized controlled trial was published in 2017[2]. The investigators showed how a supplement containing spore-based probiotics could heal a damaged gut lining and resolve endotoxemia.

 

Brian McFarlin and his researchers 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 decrease of endotoxemia of 42% 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. Also, the overall results probably would be significantly more effective if the participants were eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods rather than high carbohydrate, processed foods.

 

 

My Personal Experience

I am only one of billions of people dealing with the stress caused by COVID-19. I also am one of those in the high-risk group because of my age (73 years old) and my underlying health condition (incurable bone marrow cancer which I am successfully treating unconventionally). The stress from lifestyle changes caused by COVID-19 is as real for me as for everyone. Knowing about stress and dealing with stress are two different things.

 

I try to destress using some of the methods I described in my article I referred to earlier. And I also help heal my body from endotoxemia by following my daily Protocol to Restore Normal Gut Bacteria. Part of my Protocol consists of the spore-based bacilli probiotics that were investigated in Brian McFarlin’s peer-review study which I referenced above[3].

 

I am trying to do my part to do what I can do for myself and to share what I know with all my readers.

 

[1] https://www.apha.org/~/media/files/pdf/factsheets/chronicdiseasefact_final.ashx

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561432/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561432/

 

 

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Stress – The Quiet Destroyer

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS  Nutritional Periodontist
January 29, 2018

 

 

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 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, 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.

 

Treatment

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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16 Faces of Stress

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      May 16, 2016  


 
 
     
 

16 Faces of StressImagine a dining room chair with four seemingly independent legs that support the chair. However, if any leg were to weaken or break, the chair could fall over. It goes without saying that each leg of that chair would need to be strong to support the chair. The stress of losing a leg would weaken the chair.

 

Let’s go one step further in your imagination.

 

Imagine the chair is actually YOU. In this metaphor, each leg of the chair represents one of my Four Pillars of Health that I have written about so many times in the past. Each Pillar is essential for your overall health. What do you think would happen to YOU if one of those Pillars were not strong?

 

The Four Pillars of Health are:

  • Nutrient-dense foods
  • Restorative sleep
  • Efficient exercise
  • Stress reduction

 

I want to discuss Stress – one of those Pillars that is often spoken about but often not completely understood.

 

How you deal with stress will determine how it affects your overall health. We all have stress, but stress overload is the problem. I have written about how excessive psychological stress alone could create havoc in your mouth.

 

Stress is defined as any event (external or internal) that affects the adaptive resources of your body. Your body is designed to deal with stress – i.e. stress you react to and then resolve. But, continuous and unresolved stressors can overwhelm your body.

 

Think about a sink that is filling with water. The water flows in through the spigot, but it also flows out through the open drain at the bottom of the sink. The water represents all the stress in your life. If the drain were partially clogged or if the water started flowing much faster than it could drain out, the sink would overflow, with water ending up everywhere.

 

If stresses were to build up and continue faster than you could deal with them, then the effects of excess stresses on your body would be harmful. They would cause dysfunction in your Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) pathways. Stress would overwhelm your immune system as well as other systems in your body. Stress could break you down.

 

You may be surprised what could be adding stress to your body. You may be unaware of many of them. Most deal with numerous aspects and events of life. Sometimes it might seem difficult to get a handle on them.

 

Here are just 16 faces of stress that could affect all of us to some degree:

  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. Light and dark disruptions during the day and night
  3. Gut inflammation
  4. Autoimmune disease
  5. Chronic disease
  6. Infectious disease
  7. Obesity
  8. Insulin resistance
  9. Poor diet and nutrition choices
  10. Excessive exercise
  11. Lack of recovery time between exercise routines
  12. Ingestion and inhalation of toxic substances
  13. Anxiety and depression
  14. Perceived threats of external psychological stressors
  15. Physical damage to the body
  16. Long-term regimen of various medications

 

These are just a few faces of events that both create stress and increase stress in our bodies. How we deal with each of them determines how healthy or sick we become. This leg of the dining room chair must be dealt with appropriately and effectively to keep the chair strong.

 

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A Unique Way to Understand Stress

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     April 25, 2016  

 

Stress = Glass of WaterStress!

 

It is one of those things that everybody talks about reducing, but few people are able to get a handle on it.

 

Stress reduction is one of my Four Pillars of Health, which I have written about in past blogs. Sometimes for some people, it is the most important Pillar to get under control.

 

There are various ways to understand and deal with stress, but I have a metaphor that tells it as it really is. It’s a great story. I saw it on the Internet and in various publications. I was impressed. It’s so insightful. I’m going to summarize it for you.

 

Read it; share it; but certainly walk the talk. You will probably need to revisit it from time to time. It is so powerful:

 

A psychologist was teaching a course in Stress Management to a group of people assembled in a lecture hall. She took a moment from her talk and paused. She then picked up a glass of water and extended her arm straight out with the glass of water in her hand. Next, she proceeded to ask an unusual question, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?”

 

Her students called out various obvious answers that ranged from 8oz. to 20oz.

 

The astute psychologist smiled with her arm still outstretched and replied:

 

“The actual weight isn’t the concern. What really matters is how long I hold the glass out like this.

 

‘If a minute went by, it would not be an issue.

 

‘If I continued to extend my arm for an hour, my arm would ache.

 

‘If I could hold out my arm for a day, my arm would get numb and feel paralyzed.

 

‘As time passed, the weight of the glass wouldn’t change. It still would weigh what it originally weighed. But, the longer I held it with my arm extended, the greater stress and strain it would put on my arm.”

 

She then put the glass down and related the stress in her arm to psychological stress.

 

“The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water I held in my hand with my arm extended.

 

‘If you thought about life’s stresses for a while, nothing would happen.

 

‘If you thought about them for a longer time, they would begin to bother you.

 

‘Yet, if you thought about them for the entire day and beyond, they would paralyze you and prevent you from functioning normally.”

 

Think about this metaphor. Put the glass down!!

 

 

Check out my new training on the Better Belly Blueprint! You can watch it HERE.

 

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I Woke Up This Morning Feeling So Alive

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     January 11, 2016  


 
 
When I Woke Up This MorningYou need to know my history in order to understand what I am saying. I have written about it HERE.

 

I am almost 69 years old. For the first 66 years of my life, I was not healthy. I thought I was healthy, but I wasn’t. In 2006, when I was 59 years old, I had a stroke but recovered completely within 2 months. It wasn’t until 2013 when I learned what I had been doing wrong for 66 years. It was an eye-opener.

 

I learned about primal nutrition and primal lifestyle. That included eliminating from my diet all processed grains and sugars, all unhealthy fats, and all other processed foods that had chemicals added to them. I learned to exercise efficiently and sleep restoratively. I tried to learn to control my stress levels – not an easy task.

 

Over the last three years, I have become a different person. I feel healthier than I have ever felt. I have energy throughout the day; I don’t have carbohydrate cravings; and I only eat when I am hungry. I have gotten into an exercise program that makes sense to me and has science to back it up.

 

I do high intensity interval training for about 10-15 minutes once a week. I do bodyweight strength training for about 10-15 minutes twice a week. Both of these I do in the comfort of my home. I do outdoor aerobic exercise two days a week for about 30 minutes at a time. I also do non-exercise movement by walking about 10,000 steps a day, and I use a stand up desk at home instead of sitting down as I used to do. I have written about my routine HERE.

 

A medical doctor who also is a functional medicine practitioner once told me, “In order to repair your body, it may take one month of proper nutrition and lifestyle for every year you damaged your body from your poor nutrition and poor lifestyle.” Since I had been damaging my body for the first 66 years of my life, I may need five or six years of doing what I am doing now to get as healthy as I can. So, I am a work in progress since I am only three years into my repair process. But, I feel great. I feel so much alive. If only I knew then what I know now!!

 

My goal is to spread the word. People don’t understand that the damage they are doing to their body doesn’t make itself known immediately. It often takes decades to fester and escalate before the clinical signs and symptoms become obvious.

 

Most people need a tipping point to make a change in their lives. Some people need to be debilitated by a heart attack or a stroke before they get the message. Some people need an external event to occur like the birth of a grandchild to motivate them to make a change. A few people only need to learn what is best, and they make the change. Whatever it takes to tip your consciousness into motivating you is all that matters.

 

So, I write quite a bit. I lecture to lay groups of people and also to those in my profession. I try to impress that a train is coming, and the prudent person should get off the tracks. The science is there. Most medical practitioners don’t know what they don’t know. I am living proof of what a primal diet and a primal lifestyle can accomplish is such a short time.

 

When I woke up this morning, I felt compelled to put into words what I was feeling.

6 Things To Do for Health & Longevity

     Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS          September 27, 2015

 

evolution rHealth and longevity cannot be reduced to only 6 things to do – or can they?

 

Actually, research has demonstrated that the following six actions can and will lead to a healthier you and will improve the quality of your years going forward. My personal goal is to live a quality life with no degenerative, chronic diseases, and then just go quietly in the night with no fuss.

 

Each of these six endeavors should become your personal goals:

 

 

1. Eat nutrient-dense foods and get rid of the junk.

 

In this paper published in July 2015, nutrient-dense foods were shown to be beneficial for health and longevity. (Here)

 

You know my position on a Paleo-type (or anti-inflammatory) diet. It is a nutrient-dense way of eating. Peer-reviewed papers have proven not only the ability of a Paleo-type way of eating to improve health but also to be satiating. (Here)  There are many variations of a Paleo-type diet, but all agree – remove junk foods entirely and emphasize nutrient-dense foods.

 

The junk foods include:

  • Sugars that are added to any food
  • Grains
  • All processed foods
  • Liquid oils that are primarily Omega-6 fatty acids (such as soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil)

 

The nutrient-dense foods include:

  • Pastured and wild caught animal products from nose to tail with all their healthy fats
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits in moderation

 

 

2. Understand hunger from within

 

Eat when you are hungry. Humans do not need to eat 3 meals a day with in-between snacks. On the contrary, our bodies perform better when there are episodes of fasting. Intermittent fasting has been reported to improve health and longevity. (Here, Here)

 

When you are eating a meal, think about each forkful of food you put into your mouth. Are you still hungry? If not, then stop eating. Your goal is to eat until you are satisfied and the hunger is no longer present. Your goal is not to eat until you are stuffed or until every morsel of food on your plate has been consumed.

 

 

3. Exercise efficiently

 

Exercise stimulates healthy bodily chemistries. Research has shown that the most efficient exercise is in the form of high intensity interval training. (Here, Here, Here). But also, research has shown that non-exercise movement like walking is critical for health. The phenomenon is called NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). (Here, Here, Here). As a matter of fact, other forms of intense exercise will not replace the importance of daily non-exercise activities.

 

 

4. Reduce stress

 

Your body is designed to deal with acute, intermittent stress. It is not designed to deal with chronic, unrelenting stress. (Here).

 

Stress takes the form of chemical insults like environmental toxins, physical insults like over exercise or an accident, psychological insults like abusive relationships or worry. Chronic stress breaks down the gut, leads to systemic inflammation, and damages organ systems. (Here). Stress also affects the mouth. (Here).

 

 

5. Sleep restoratively

 

You body rebuilds and reenergizes itself while asleep. (Here)  The human body was designed to respond to a circadian rhythm. When the sun sets, your body is ready to sleep; when the sun rises, your body is ready to awaken. Most adults benefit from at least 7-8 hours of sleep commencing between 9-11 PM. The ideal sleeping environment should be a dark and cool room.

 

 

6. Get sun

 

Sun stimulates the skin to produce Vitamin D3 from cholesterol in your skin. (Here)  Vitamin D is critical for every cell in the body to function properly. Most of us require 5-15 minutes a day of sun exposure, 2-3 days a week without sunscreen and with 70-80% of the body exposed to the vital UVB rays.

 

 

My Final Thoughts

 

There you have them – six things to do for health and longevity. The science is there, but the science will not make you healthier.  Only your motivation to implement the science into personal actions will improve your health and extend your longevity.

What Skeletons Can Teach Us

evolution rI remember going to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC as a child. My favorite exhibits were the dinosaurs. I was in awe with the age of these beasts. Skeletons told a fascinating story to me as a child.
 
Today, skeletons still tell the story.
 
Human evolution dates back about 2.5 million years. 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.
 
Human skeletal remains recently have been discovered in Spain dating back about 400,000 years. Today, DNA testing can actually look at dental remains and determine what types of bacteria existed in the mouths of these people. We now can determine how healthy our evolutionary ancestors were. Science is amazing!
 
The DNA taken from teeth of skeletons dating about 20,000 to 10,000 years ago showed bacteria that were not virulent. In other words, our primal ancestors rarely demonstrated tooth decay or gum disease. Then, from about 10,000 years ago (when grains were introduced into our diets) until about 150 years ago, the DNA became unhealthy, and decay and gum disease began to become the norm. Then, 150 years ago (when flour and sugar became a staple of our diets) the bacteria went crazy causing lots of decay and gum disease.
 
What was happening was the good gut bacteria that our species developed during 2.5 million years of evolution slowly began to change to unhealthy types because of the insult from these unnatural foods. Unfriendly bacteria began to breakdown our intestinal cells. Food particles and bacteria that were never supposed to leak into our blood system began invading our bodies. Today, our bodies have not had time to evolve to compensate for these rapid insults. Degenerative diseases that were never part of the human experience began to emerge.
 
Today, genetically modified foods that never have been tested over time in humans also have negatively affected our gut bacteria. In addition, toxic additives in processed foods have been accumulating in our bodies contributing to our problems. We are living longer with decreasing quality of life. Unhealthy gut bacteria and associated gut disorders have been implicated in cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, ADHD in children, gastrointestinal diseases, allergies, autoimmune diseases, and on and on. And, our mouths are paying the price.
 
So what can we do today to get ourselves back in shape? We need to look at evolution and how our bodies were designed to function and thrive. We must work in concert with the needs of our bodies.
 
From a dental standpoint, brushing and flossing are important, but healthy food choices and friendly gut bacteria are more important. We should eat the foods that give us nutrition and not destroy our bodily systems. We need to repopulate our gut bacteria with friendly types that can ward off disease and maintain a healthy intestinal environment.
 
We also need to occasionally exercise our muscles hard, to sleep 7-8 hours a night, and to deal with life’s stresses more effectively. But, that is another discussion for another time.