My 10 Solutions
– We Swim in a Polluted Sea: Part 2 –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 16, 2021

 

 

In Part 1 last week, I used the metaphor that we swim in a polluted sea. I suggested that our environment is killing us slowly. The sea could seal the fate of those who refuse to be proactive and reactive.

The bright light is that there are solutions. And they are simple. But their implementation is complex.

My 10 Solutions

Ideally, the residents of the polluted sea need to swim out of their environment and into fresh, clean water. Individuals need to give their body what it requires and remove everything that is damaging. Those who want to regain and maintain health must choose a different sea in which to swim.

A metaphorically healthy sea would consist of all the nutrients and lifestyle choices that support your body and would avoid potentially toxic substances and irritants that could hinder your health. This new environment would improve the responsiveness of your immune system and create metabolic flexibility.

Here is my vision of an unpolluted sea. It consists of my 10 solutions. Some may be more important than others. But in my opinion, they work in synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts:

  1. Nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods
  2. Natural spring water
  3. A robust gut
  4. Strong cells with functional mitochondria
  5. Healthy sun exposure
  6. Restorative sleep
  7. Efficient exercise
  8. Stress reduction
  9. Effective oral hygiene
  10. Consciousness of the mind, body, spirit connection

Let’s get started.

#1: Foods

All healthy diets exclude:

  • Added sugars and excess carbs
  • Agrochemicals
  • Emulsifiers, preservatives, dyes, and other chemicals
  • Over-processed seed and vegetable oils
  • Trans fats, hydrogenated & partially hydrogenated fats
  • Anti-nutrients in specific plants that will harm the gut microbiome and the gut lining

I have created my Better Belly Blueprint that embraces an eating lifestyle of at least 70% animal-based foods and less than 30% of selected plants with minimal anti-nutrients (i.e. phytates, lectins, and oxalates).

Animals must be pastured, fed no chemicals, and raised humanely. Eat from nose-to-tail, which includes their muscle meat, saturated fats, organs, and collagenous parts. Practically all the nutrients your body requires are in nose-to-tail eating.

If you would like to see some of my original recipes, click on Better Belly Blueprint Recipes.

#2: Water

Probably this is one of the most underrated yet essential nutrients for our body. I wrote about water in my article on Hydration & BUN. And one of the best sources of pure water is the natural and unfiltered spring waters that are replete with trace minerals and the energy the sun bestows on the chemical and electrical properties of water. They should be bottled in glass.

#3: Gut

Much medical research today is uncovering the immense importance of our gut for overall health and wellness. We must …

  • Maintain an intact gut lining
  • Improve the integrity of the mucous layer
  • Establish a high diversity, quantity, and quality of individual species of beneficial bacteria

One method to improve the gut microbiome is to ingest spore-based probiotics. Studies show that these unique bacteria are resistant to stomach acid, germinate in the gut, produce beneficial chemicals (metabolites), enhance the growth of other commensal bacteria, and assist in the repair of the gut epithelial barrier.

In addition, specific immunoglobulins, which can be introduced into the gut, will bind to toxic elements and hasten repair of the mucous layer and gut epithelial lining.

I published a mini-eBook explaining the interactions of the gut with chronic disease. In my publication, Is Your Gut Killing You?,  I cite 295 peer-reviewed medical articles.

#4: Strong Cells with Functional Mitochondria

So far, a healthy diet, unfiltered natural spring water, and a robust gut will provide the elements for efficient and effective cells. But there is another force that can improve the cell membranes and the production of ATP. It is based on the magnetic field of the Earth.

The Earth’s magnetic field ranges from 26 to 66 micro-Tesla.[1] Tesla is the measurement of the strength or intensity of a magnetic field and incorporates the amplitude of the wave frequencies.

The wave frequencies on Earth “speak” to all cells of the body – restoring proper electrical balance, healthy cell membranes, blood circulation and oxygenation, and mitochondrial function. Walking on natural ground with bare feet (i.e., grounding) helps transmit this energy into your body.

If there were no Earth’s magnetic field, various illnesses would occur.[2] For example, beyond the Earth’s atmosphere there is a significant reduction in electromagnetic forces. NASA learned early that there was biological harm to their astronauts from the loss of the Earth’s magnetic field in outer space. To compensate for the medical damage that was done, NASA began to equip their space capsules and space suits with electromagnetic field generators to simulate the natural magnetic fields on Earth. These generators produced an average of 50 micro-Tesla.

Another way for you to improve cellular function would be to use Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy with a full body mat. This is what I do to assist with healthy cellular membranes and mitochondria.

My mat specifically runs at a maximum of 40 micro-Tesla with filters to remove any voltage spikes or damaging electromagnetic fields.[3] This German-made mat produces frequencies from 0.1 – 10,000 Hz in harmonic wave patterns. I incorporate a specific PEMF protocol three times a day, which I describe in my Unconventional Cancer Protocols.

#5: Healthy Sun Exposure

Our main source of Vitamin D is the Vitamin D3 that is created in the skin from exposure to sunlight. We also get some Vitamin D2 from a few foods in our diet. When we have inadequate blood levels of Vitamin D, we can improve them through dietary supplements. But for Vitamin D to function properly, it requires various “helper” nutrients, which include Vitamin K2, Vitamin A, magnesium, boron, and zinc.

Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2 enter the circulation and eventually are converted into “25 Hydroxy Vitamin D” (the inactive form of Vitamin D) by the liver. This is basically our “storage pile” of Vitamin D. This inactive form returns to the circulation and reaches the kidneys where it is transformed into “1,25 Dihydroxy Vitamin D” (the active form) as it is needed.

The active form of Vitamin D acts on bones, the intestine, and kidneys to regulate the level of calcium and phosphorus in our blood.

It also has many other functions in the human body. Vitamin D regulates cell differentiation, cell maturation and the innate immune system. It affects up to 10% of our genetic activity and improves the resistance against certain diseases including cancer.[4]

Another benefit is that it enhances the diversity of microbes in the gut as well as increases the variety of beneficial species.[5]

Your blood level goal for 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D should be no less than 40-60 ng/ml. Toxicity usually does not occur until the blood level is above 125 ng/ml.

#6: Restorative Sleep

Your body relies on circadian rhythms. These are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. They are natural processes that respond primarily to light and dark.

The cycle of circadian rhythms regulates the biological clocks that are the natural timing devices for many of our body’s functions such as:

  • Hormone release
  • Eating habits and digestion
  • Body temperature
  • Sleep patterns

Most people can optimize their circadian rhythms by sleeping about 7-8 hours a night. The ideal time to go to bed is between the hours of 9 PM to 11 PM. Also, make the room dark, cool, and quiet for a better night’s sleep.

#7: Efficient Exercise

Your body requires movement. This includes simple movements as well as complex movements. To “work” your body efficiently, you should include a combination of:

  • Brief, high-intensity interval training once every 7-10 days
  • Aerobic exercise 1-2 days a week
  • Strength training 1-2 days a week
  • Non-exercise movements every day 

#8: Stress Reduction

Meditate; practice yoga; try diaphragmatic breathing; and experiment with progressive, total body muscle relaxation.

Continuous emotional stress will damage the gut microbiome and cause “leaky gut”, which will lead to significant and ongoing chronic systemic inflammation. This will tax the immune system to the extent that the immune system will be compromised and unable to mount an aggressive attack when needed to destroy serious invading pathogens.

I published this article in November 2020 that shows the damage emotional stress can cause in an otherwise healthy mouth.

#9: Effective Oral Hygiene

Your gut bacteria and your mouth bacteria “talk” back and forth. Your gut must be healthy, and your mouth must be healthy. Infection and inflammation from the gut and mouth can enter the blood system, travel along nerve fibers, and infiltrate tissue fluids to contribute to chronic disease. If there are any irritants in your mouth, they must be treated appropriately.

To make sure your mouth stays healthy, you need to have a personal oral hygiene regimen.  This includes brushing your teeth at the gum margins, flossing and cleaning the surfaces between each of your teeth, and scraping the topside of your tongue to remove odor forming bacteria and microscopic food remnants. I’ve published a detailed PDF that explains the 4 Steps to a Healthy Mouth.

#10: Consciousness of the mind, body, spirit connection

We are more than just the food we eat, our individual cells, and our environment. We are our thoughts and emotions, our physical bodies, and our spirituality. No part of our body functions like an island unto itself. Our mind, body, and spirit are intertwined and determine our health, make us who we are, and guide us to our purpose in life.

Connect the Dots

I stated earlier that there are solutions.

Basically, they are simple and available to us if we take the time to gather them together.

But the implementation is complex. A proactive person must research and act upon the elements I just discussed. There is no magic pill; it takes dedication to swim out of the polluted sea into fresh, clean waters. But the ultimate outcome will be transformative and regenerative.

[1] http://www.geophys.ac.cn/infowin/cc.asp

[2] https://www.imrs.com/en/earth-s-magnetic-field.html

[3] https://www.purewavenow.com/pemf-portable-system

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2879391/

[5] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-77806-4 

 

 

 

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Vitamin D & the Mouth

 

Everyone seems to be talking or writing about the importance of Vitamin D for overall health. Much has been published about Vitamin D’s function for healthy bones, a robust immune system, and especially for fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In my Blog on 2/7/21, I described an experiment on myself to determine if high-dose Vitamin D3 in combination with Vitamin K2 could improve my cancer healing.

But the importance of Vitamin D does not start and end with these significant biological roles. Vitamin D plays critical parts in the mouth. If there is a deficiency of Vitamin D levels in the blood, a host of oral problems ensues starting at birth and progressing to those as old as I am and beyond.[1],[2]

Let’s get into it.

 

Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D (including Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2) is a steroid hormone.

Our main source of Vitamin D is the Vitamin D3 that is created in the skin from exposure to sunlight. We also get some Vitamin D2 from a few foods in our diet. When we have inadequate blood levels of Vitamin D, we can improve them through dietary supplements. But in order for it to function properly, it requires various “helper” nutrients, which include Vitamin K2, Vitamin A, magnesium, boron, and zinc.

Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2 enter the circulation and eventually are converted into “25 Hydroxy Vitamin D” (the inactive form of Vitamin D) by the liver. This is basically our “storage pile” of Vitamin D. This inactive form returns to the circulation and reaches the kidneys where it is transformed into “1,25 Dihydroxy Vitamin D” (the active form) as it is needed.

Vitamin D is a very busy hormone in our body. All of its actions are controlled by the Vitamin D Receptor (VDR), which binds to the active form of Vitamin D.

Serum calcium, serum phosphorus, and Vitamin D are intimately and intricately related. The active form of Vitamin D acts on the bones, intestine, and kidney to regulate the level of calcium and phosphorus in our blood. In addition, parathyroid hormone (PTH) is secreted when the serum level of calcium is low. PTH helps stimulate active Vitamin D, which through several pathways causes osteoclasts to release calcium and phosphorus from bone into the serum.

Vitamin D has many other functions in the human body. It regulates cell differentiation, cell maturation and the innate immune system. It also regulates up to 10% of our genetic activity.

In addition, Vitamin D affects our gut microbiome and vice versa.

 

Vitamin D and the Gut

80 healthy individuals participated in a medical study published in December 2020. At the start of the trial, the participants’ gut bacteria were evaluated. They then were put on Vitamin D supplementation. After 12 weeks of supplementation, their garden of gut bacteria was evaluated again. The results showed that supplementing with Vitamin D improved the subjects’ diversity of microbes in the gut as well as increased the variety of beneficial species. These were all healthy people improving their gut diversity through supplementation.[3]

The diversity of gut bacteria is known as Alpha Diversity, which I described in my article about the 5 Important Tools for a Robust Immune System. A healthy gut made up of numerous different species of bacteria enhances a robust immune system. Both are critical for a healthy mouth.

In another study published in November 2020, researchers showed that the gut bacteria may play a vital role in converting inactive vitamin D into its active, health-promoting form. This paper emphasized that the higher the Alpha Diversity in the gut microbiome, the more active Vitamin D was created. More active Vitamin D results in increased health benefits throughout the body.[4]

Therefore, an adequate store of 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D in circulation and a high Alpha Diversity of the gut microbiome are important factors in the creation of the biologically active form of Vitamin D (1,25 Dihydroxy Vitamin D).

 

Oral Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency

Teeth are mineralized structures embedded in the jawbone. The human tooth is formed by three hard tissues: enamel, dentin, and cementum. Mineralization of the tooth occurs at the same time as mineralization occurs in the skeleton. In the absence of adequate levels of Vitamin D, teeth become poorly mineralized and structurally weakened.

Once the teeth have mineralized, Vitamin D helps prevent tooth decay by regulating the immune system, which affects the homeostasis of the oral garden of bacteria.

Remarkably, the developing teeth and health of a fetus are influenced by Mom’s inactive Vitamin D levels. All during pregnancy, Mom’s Vitamin D must be maintained at optimum levels. If the mother has deficient levels, then the child will be prone to more tooth decay compared to children whose mothers had adequate levels.

Throughout our growth phases and into our adult years, deficiencies in Vitamin D are associated with a wide variety of mouth disorders.

In children, low levels of Vitamin D will cause defective tooth mineralization, which results in defective tooth development. A consequence of this is the increased risk of tooth decay. Individuals with continuing deficient Vitamin D blood levels become prone to gingival inflammation and periodontitis. Fortunately, Vitamin D3 supplementation can help in the treatment of periodontal disease.

Data has shown that individuals with the highest levels of Vitamin D had less periodontal disease.[5] Vitamin D can promote autophagy of pathogenic periodontal bacteria and can decrease inflammation.[6] Since Vitamin D affects bone metabolism, patients undergoing periodontal surgery may have poorer outcomes if they are deficient in Vitamin D.

Vitamin D may also be linked to specific oral pathology such as oral cancers. Deficient Vitamin D levels were associated with increased risk of esophageal, oral, and pharyngeal squamous cell cancers.[7] Another study revealed that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduced treatment-related side effects in late-stage oral cancers and resulted in better quality of life.[8]

 

Healthy Dosing

GrassrootsHealth Nutritional Research Institute recommends a blood level of 40-60 ng/mL of inactive Vitamin D.[9] The blood test to determine this range is called, “25 Hydroxy Vitamin D.” The inactive form of Vitamin D is stored in your body ready to be activated as needed.

The following graphic from GrassrootsHealth Nutritional Research Institute suggests how much daily supplementation of Vitamin D3 may be necessary to reach the 40-60 ng/mL level in the blood starting at various levels of existing 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D:

 

 

Conclusions

Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in various oral diseases as well as overall health issues. In this article, I reported the effects of Vitamin D deficiency on tooth structure, decay, periodontal diseases, periodontal treatment failure, and oral cancers. Healthy levels of Vitamin D benefit the entire body. But diversity of the gut microbiome appears to be an additional factor in the activation of Vitamin D from its inactive form. A high Alpha Diversity and a healthy blood level of inactive Vitamin D should be goals of proactive health enthusiasts.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7285165/

[2] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jos/2020/9324505/

[3] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-77806-4 

[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-19793-8 

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15213036/

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31774177/

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19487490/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5611504/

[9] https://www.grassrootshealth.net/blog/finding-right-dose-vitamin-d/

 

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5 Important Tools
for a
Robust Immune System

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

December 13, 2020

 

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

I’m obsessed with getting it right.

From all the research I’ve read and from my personal cancer journey, there is one fact that stands out above all: A robust immune system is critical for wellness.

It’s vital for healthy people; it’s vital for sick people; it’s vital for all who want to be proactive as well as those who are reactive.

A robust immune system is the ticket for fighting diseases arising from external and internal sources. It protects us from pathogens as well as our own cells which become cancerous.

I’m fixated on recreating my robust immune system and evaluating my success along the way. And I’ve assembled a toolbox – my biological measuring tools. It includes 5 biomarkers which tell me what I need to know. I’ve used these measurements to guide me on my journey to a healthier immune system.

You also can use these tools to assess your progress and success.

5 Important Tools

#1. Healthy Gum Tissue

Your mouth can tell a lot about the health of your immune system. One prominent sign is the gum tissue around your teeth. It should never bleed unless it is cut. Never!

If you were to scrub your nails with a nail brush, you should be concerned if the cuticles around your nails started bleeding. Similarly, when you brush your teeth with a toothbrush, you should be concerned if you see any bleeding. The gums are as tough and protective as are your cuticles.

However, if you have a compromised immune system, the gum tissues may become inflamed or infected (i.e., gingivitis). They then may bleed when you clean or rub them. They even may bleed spontaneously. This is a strong indication that your immune system is not functioning ideally.

An excellent method to determine if you have bleeding gums around any tooth is to use a TePe Easy Pick. This is a small, silicone brush used to clean between the teeth at the gum line.

If you see any bleeding when using the TePe Easy Pick around any tooth/gum area in your mouth, you have some form of gum disease. This suggests that you have a compromised immune system.

Here are two pictures demonstrating how to use the TePe Easy Pick between teeth at the gum/tooth margin.

 

#2. Ketone Breath Meter

Metabolic flexibility is necessary to support a responsive immune system. And ketosis is part of being metabolically flexible.

I want to be in ketosis 6 days a week and then cycle into a carb-burning mode on the 7th day. The benefits of ketosis and carb-cycling are documented in the medical literature. Travis Christofferson summarized the unique qualities of ketones in his book, Ketones: The Fourth Fuel.

To help me gauge my ketone levels and document how well I’m doing, I researched three options.

  1. Urine ketone strips are easy and inexpensive. But they are not accurate once your body begins to utilize its blood ketones efficiently and effectively.
  2. Blood ketone levels can be monitored with finger sticks using a blood ketone meter. The readings are accurate, but I would need to prick my finger several times a day, every day. Not for me! I don’t know about you, but it hurts when done repeatedly. Another drawback is that it only gives a static picture at that moment in time.
  3. A ketone breath meter recently came on the market that has clinical research to support its efficacy. It’s was created and is sold by MyBiosense. This meter is unique because it registers acetone levels that are blown out in the latter part of the exhale, which is called Deep Lung Sampling. The readings correlate to the mmol/L of blood ketone levels. Using this device, I can monitor my ketone levels as often as I want with no finger sticks! And the data is stored in the MyBiosense App on my phone for me to review.

My goal is to average a ketone level between 1.5 – 2.5 mmol/L per day while in ketosis. On my “carb” day, my ketone levels will drop below 0.5 mmol/L that day.

#3. Standard Deviation of Glycemic Variability

Glycemic variability is the up and down variations in blood glucose level. It indicates the efficiency of insulin to make glucose available as a fuel or to store it appropriately. If insulin is not effective, glucose levels will get out of control leading to diabetes and various forms of metabolic dysfunction.

Various medical papers have shown that the standard deviation of glycemic variability directly correlates with the risk of chronic disease and cancer. It is inversely correlated with the robustness of the immune system.

I want my glycemic variability to be as low as practical.

I could take finger sticks frequently using a glucometer to register my moment-in-time blood glucose level. But that would not give me a running graph 24/7. It certainly would leave me with painful fingertips. I prefer not.

However, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) by NutriSense is a device that is worn for two continuous weeks. The CGM inserts a microfiber into the interstitial tissues and attaches to an inconspicuous area of the body with an adhesive. It is painless to insert and wear. But it registers glucose levels every 5 minutes, 24/7. The data is transferred to a NutriSense App, which calculates the standard deviation.

#4. Alpha Diversity of Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome is made up of about 38 trillion microbes. Our body only has about 30 trillion human cells. We are more “microbial” than “human”!

Many studies have been published describing the variety of species in the gut. These medical papers clearly demonstrate that the greater the diversity and numbers of specific microbes, the healthier the immune system. [1],[2],[3]

A measurement including (1) the diversity of various microbial species in the gut and (2) the number of each of these species is called “Alpha Diversity”. It is generally reported as a percentile compared to the microbial ecosystem in a population of metabolically healthy individuals.

BiomeFx is a stool test marketed by Microbiome Labs and evaluated by CosmosID. Among the many biomarkers reported in this test, Alpha Diversity stands out to me as one of the most significant results.

#5. Blood Level of Vitamin D

Recently, blood levels of Vitamin D have been widely reported as important in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.[4] Previous to the Pandemic, much research has been published emphasizing the importance of adequate levels of Vitamin D to assure a robust innate and adaptive immune function.[5], [6],[7],[8]

Vitamin D is reported to …

  • Prevent excessive expression of inflammatory cytokines
  • Increase the “oxidative burst” potential of macrophages
  • Stimulate the expression of potent anti-microbial peptides, which exist in neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells, and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract where they play a major role in protecting the lung from infection
  • Affect the action of T cells, key players in adaptive immunity

My Personal Results

#1. Healthy Gum Tissues:

My gums do not bleed. I use the TePe Easy Picks every day.

If you have bleeding gums, you need to address your diet, the health of your gut microbiome, and your oral hygiene techniques. You also need to seek the services of a general dentist or a periodontist (a dentist specializing in periodontal disease).

#2. Ketones:

I stay in ketosis with my animal-based diet 6 days a week. My highest mmol/L while in ketosis has been 2.8; the lowest on those days has been 0.5. My average for 6 days running is 1.5. On my cycle day out of ketosis, I eat between 100 – 150 grams of carbs for that day, and my ketone reading drops to an average of 0.3.

#3. Glycemic Variability:

In July 2020, I wore the CGM from NutriSense for two weeks. My average standard deviation of glycemic variability for that time period was 10. Here is a table showing ranges and their interpretations:

 

#4. Alpha Diversity:

My Alpha Diversity was reported in the BiomeFx stool test I took in August 2020. The results indicated my Alpha Diversity was in the 98th percentile. That meant that 98% of metabolically healthy individuals had less variation of species and numbers of individual microbes than I had.

 

#5. 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D:

My last blood test for 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D was in 6/2020. At that time, my blood level was 89 ng/mL. and I was taking 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily. I have reduced that dosage to every other day, and I’ll have another test shortly. As a cancer patient, I want to keep my Vitamin D level between 60-80 ng/mL.

Bottom Line

A robust immune system is our internal armed forces to fight the fight. My ultimate goal is to make my immune system as robust as I can. The 5 important tools I described will guide me along my path and document my success. They also will confirm that I am remaining where I want to be.

I firmly believe that my cancer journey has been as successful as it has because I have significantly improved my immune system along the way. You may find that my 5 Important Tools will help you monitor your journey to a stronger and more responsive immune system.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6906406/

[2] https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200728

[3] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00455/full

[4] https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/12/11/do-vitamin-d-supplements-help-prevent-respiratory-tract-infections.aspx?ui=baff764f733a1f4f602b56b0683839cc74ea77293ab586e40b1b7b0b93d42111&cid_source=dnl&cid_medium=email&cid_content=art1HL&cid=20201211&mid=DM744365&rid=1032114513

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

[6] https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/pages/2018-06-15-greater-levels-of-vitamin-d-associated-with-decreased-risk-of-breast-cancer.aspx

[7] https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/4/1140

[8] https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/5/1248

 

 

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My Patient Was Taking
Too Much Vitamin D

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
October 10, 2016  

vitamin-dA couple of months ago, Craig made an appointment with me. He was concerned about his advanced gum disease. As I was reviewing his medical history, he explained that he was taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day. When I asked him why, he said that he was told that there were no problems with high doses of Vitamin D and that it was supposed to be good for gum disease.

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He was taking too much Vitamin D!

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Facts

The facts are:

  • Vitamin D is critical for overall health including the health of the gum tissues.
  • Vitamin D needs other vitamins and nutrients to function properly.
  • Long-term use of high doses of Vitamin D as a supplement can be life threatening.

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When it comes to Vitamin D as a supplement, there is a “U-shaped” curve for the dose that is healthy. Too little Vitamin D causes various diseases; too much may cause various diseases; and somewhere in the middle is critical for health. I wrote about the benefits of Vitamin D in the past (HERE). However, taking excessive Vitamin D supplementation can create blood levels that have been linked to decreased bone density and increased heart attacks, strokes, and particularly kidney stones (HERE. HERE).

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The only way a person can determine if she or he has a healthy blood level of Vitamin D is to have a special blood test. Craig never had this test to determine his level of Vitamin D. A blood test called “25 Hydroxy Vitamin D” is a test that shows how much of this active form of Vitamin D is in circulation. When he had his blood tested for 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D, it was 110 ng/mL. The normal functional range is between 35-60 ng/mL. I told him to stop taking his daily 10,000 IU dose of Vitamin D3.

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Sources Of Vitamin D

The best source of Vitamin D is the sun – not to the point that you get sunburn but just to the point that you develop adequate Vitamin D in the skin surface. How much sun will do this? That depends on skin color, physical location from the equator, time of year, time of day, how much clothing is worn, age, weight, and other factors. For example, one person might need 15 minutes of midday sun to get an adequate amount of Vitamin D creation while another person in the same location might require 60 minutes to get the same level of Vitamin D.

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The second best source is food. Since I generally am not a fan of individual supplements, I want to get my necessary nutrients from nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods. Some foods that have significant levels of Vitamin D are cod liver oil, wild caught salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and pastured eggs. In addition, these foods and various nutrient-dense foods provide the essential nutrients to make Vitamin D do what it is supposed to do in the body.

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The third best source is Vitamin D supplements. There are two options – Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 appears to be better absorbed and to create more Vitamin D in circulation than Vitamin D2. However, it’s important to take Vitamin D supplements along with fats since Vitamin D is fat-soluble. Also, it is essential to include adequate sources of Vitamin A and Vitamin K2, which have been shown to be essential for Vitamin D to work correctly and to prevent Vitamin D toxicity (HERE). Other nutrients like potassium and magnesium are also important for vitamin D to do what it is supposed to do.

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Final Thoughts

Vitamin D is critical for health. Vitamin D requires necessary nutrients to function properly. It is so easy to take supplements without knowing how much Vitamin D is in your system. The only way to determine your blood level is to have proper blood tests done. Excessive blood levels may not be obvious until you have a blood test. Overdosing on Vitamin D supplements could be life threatening.

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Eat Better – Live Better – Feel Better
(Part 3 of 3)

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     May 7, 2016  


 
 
     
 

Eat Better - Live Better - Feel BetterIn Part 1, I described how acute inflammation could develop into chronic inflammation. In Part 2, I discussed the damaging effects of chronic inflammation.

 
Now it’s time to make a difference and be proactive. My goal is to help you bring chronic inflammation to its knees.

 

The methods to reduce chronic inflammation in the body include an anti-inflammatory diet and an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Results are not going to happen by taking a pill to solve the problem. It will take repeated and significant efforts on your part. But, your personal benefits will be life changing.

 
1. Human cells and gut bacteria must be kept happy. They must be fed what they require.

 
Nourishment with nutrient-dense foods is the answer. These include animal products from nose to tail. Animals should be pastured or wild caught and allowed to eat their natural diet. They should not be fed foods that have been genetically modified or contaminated with any chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics. Other nutrient-dense foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

 
Three foods that are not on everyone’s radar are: (1) sea vegetables (seaweeds), which are unusual vegetables that offer significant nutrient density; (2) liver, which contains nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere in such concentration, and (3) fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, all of which are loaded with live cultures of good bacteria for the gut.

 
In addition, fiber from vegetables and fruits support the growth and function of healthy bacteria in the gut.

 
2. The gut lining must be kept intact. Anything that could damage this lining or the healthy balance of microbes must be eliminated.

 
Some of the unhealthy substances that are damaging to the healthy balance of flora in the gut and to the delicate gut lining are:

  • Processed grains
  • Processed sugars
  • Processed food products that have unhealthy ingredients (including added sugars, unhealthy fats, chemicals, preservatives, food coloring, etc.)
  • Legumes in general (some legumes can be soaked and cooked properly to make them less of a problem)
  • Unhealthy fats (including man-made trans fats and any partially-hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats) as well as excessive omega 6 fatty acids from processed vegetable oils (including corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil, etc.)
  • Pasteurized and homogenized milk and milk products from cows that have been grain fed
  • Continued bouts of antibiotic treatment and other toxic substances

 

3. Specific lifestyle habits are necessary to support the immune system and reduce chronic inflammation.

 
Stress Reduction is a difficult goal. We live in a society where external stresses and self-imposed stresses are a part of daily life. This is one area where I have much work to do personally. Here is an example where stress alone caused severe damage in the mouth.

 
Whatever excuses you may have, the reduction of most stress is in your power. Stress reduction is essential for health. Ways to reduce stress include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Advice from a qualified mental healthcare provider

 

Restorative Sleep is the way your body reconditions itself. It means obtaining 7-8 hours of sleep a night. It should be in a quiet, cool, and dark environment to be most beneficial.

 
Effective Exercise includes the correct amount and correct intensity of aerobic and anaerobic sessions that are customized for your body. Also, non-exercise movements are biologically necessary including walking and standing rather than sitting at a desk most of the day. Excessive exercise as well as a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to chronic inflammation.

 
4. Vitamin D from the sun is an important ingredient to maintain health and reduce inflammation.

 
Vitamin D has been shown to be vital in many normal biological functions in the body. The best source is proper exposure to sunlight. An excellent app to determine how much sun you may require based on where you live, the time of year, your age, your skin color, the amount of clothing you wear, etc. is called D Minder.

 
Other natural sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, wild caught fatty fish, pastured egg yolks, and grass fed butter.

 
One way to determine how much vitamin D is in your blood is to have your healthcare professional order a blood test called 25-Hydroxy Vit D Test.

 
There are supplements of vitamin D3 you could consume. However, you need to have vitamin K2 as well as Vitamin A in your diet for these supplements to work properly throughout your body.

 

•••

 

So, that does it. Eat better; feel better; live better. The Holy Grail for health seems to be (1) giving your body what it needs and (2) removing from your body what it does not need. Easier said than done, but definitely doable. At 69 years of age, I am a living example of how I transformed my life with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Read my story.

 

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Vitamin D & Your Mouth:
5 Steps to Take

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     March 17, 2016  

5 Steps to TakeIt’s not a catchy title, but the science is profound.

 

I have written about the importance of Vitamin D and periodontal disease before. HERE.  However, before you start gobbling up Vitamin D supplements to cure gum disease or any other mouth lesions, these five things are a must:

 

  1. You must have a dentist carefully evaluate your mouth for gum disease and any other lesions. HERE.
  2. You must get a blood test to determine your Vitamin D levels. The test is called 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test. HERE.
  3. You must remove the unhealthy plaque that is growing around your teeth at the gum margins through proper oral hygiene. HERE.
  4. You must have a hygienist remove any calcified remnants of bacteria (tartar) that can be lodged under your gum tissues doing what splinters would do under the skin of your finger.
  5. You must change your diet to one that is nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory. HERE.

 

Importance of Vitamin D

 

The biochemical functions in the human body are unbelievably complex. It’s like dominos falling. If one domino were to fall, the consequences would be widespread. Vitamin D is no exception. As a matter of fact, Vitamin D plays pronounced and critical roles throughout our human machine. Michael Holick, MD has stated, “Every cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor protein. It’s estimated that upwards of 2,000 genes are directly or indirectly regulated by vitamin D.

 

Gum Disease

 

Advanced gum disease causes damage to the jawbone that surrounds the teeth. Periodontitis is the name for this advanced stage of gum disease. Anatomically, teeth are attached to the jawbone by a series of fibers that function in the same way as the strings that support a hammock between two trees. Aggressive bacteria have been shown to damage these fibers and progressively damage the jawbone. What is fascinating is that the destruction of these fibers and eventually the jawbone may be turned off with adequate levels of Vitamin D, as reported here.

 

Mouth Sores

 

Some sores in the mouth may be related to Vitamin D deficiency. Current research suggests that Vitamin D may stop frequent canker sores (aphthous ulcers), which are bothersome ulcerations that pop up on the soft tissues in the mouth. HERE, HERE.

 

 

Summary of What To Do

 

  • Have a conscientious dentist examine your mouth.
  • Check your Vitamin D blood levels. You should strive for levels of 25(OH)D around 40ng/ml. You could improve your levels by obtaining healthy sun exposure; eating foods like cod liver oil, oily fish like salmon, Portobello mushrooms, and pastured egg yolks; and supplementing with Vitamin D3 plus K2 capsules. The sun and specific foods are the best sources.
  • Learn how to clean your mouth effectively, and have any tartar removed from under your gums by a dental hygienist.
  • Research and begin a Paleo-type diet and lifestyle.

 

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Gum Disease and the Sun

evolution rYou’ve heard many times that exposure to the sun causes cancer. That’s what everybody tells us. That’s true for repeated sunburn and overexposure. But, our bodies are designed to use the sun’s UVB rays to make vitamin D in our skin through an efficient and natural way. We should not deny our bodies of what they require, but we need to be careful and not overdo it.
 
Vitamin D has been shown to be critical in many metabolic and physiologic processes. In the peer-reviewed literature, there have been several articles discussing Vitamin D and its relationship to gum disease.(1,2)
 
To become metabolically active, vitamin D that is produced on the skin from sun exposure is first converted in the liver to calcidiol [25(OH)D], which is clinically measured by the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D serum test. It is then further converted in the kidneys into the active form of vitamin D called calcitriol [1,25(OH)2D].
 
Most people don’t get enough vitamin D. It is estimated that 42% of the US population has a vitamin D deficiency with the highest rate seen in African Americans (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%).(3) Vitamin D deficiency is defined as a serum 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D concentration of less than 20 ng/mL.
 
In a paper published in 2008, Bischoff-Ferrari suggested that an ideal serum level to help prevent cancer would be 36-48 ng/mL.(4) The only way to know if you have a deficiency is to have a 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D blood test done.
 
In 2013, Alshouibi et al showed that total daily vitamin D3 intake greater than 800 IU was associated with lower odds of severe periodontal disease relative to taking less than 400 IU/day. The authors reported that Vitamin D3 intake may protect against the progression of periodontal disease.(5)
 
In 2014, Martelli et al performed a literature search and detemined that a decreased level of Vitamin D may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease by way of (1) an effect on bone mineral density or (2) other metabolic pathways such as those involved in immune response and chronic inflammation.(6)
 
Also in 2014, Andrukhov et al suggested that vitamin D might play an important role in the modulation of periodontal inflammation by way of the regulation of cytokine production by cells of the periodontal ligament.(7)
 
The amount of sun you need to stimulate Vitamin D production depends on the time of day, the season of the year, where you are in relation to the equator, the color of your skin, how old you are, and how much clothing you are wearing while in the sun. You also need to know how much Vitamin D is already in your body and how much you get from other sources like foods or supplements.
 
The best way to manufacture vitamin D is to be in the sunshine. The next best way is to eat fatty fish like wild caught salmon, pastured organ meats like liver, and pastured egg yolks. The third way would be to take an appropriate dose of a vitamin D3 supplement.
 
It is important to note that vitamin D does not work by itself in the body. There is an important relationship between vitamin D and the bioavailability of various nutrients like vitamins A and K2, calcium, magnesium, zinc, boron and others from the foods you consume in order for vitamin D to be effective.
 
To help determine how much sun you may require for your body, there is an app called DMinder(8) for smartphones and tablets that also helps track your exposure in the sun based on the variables I have described.
 
Bottom Line: to assist in overall health and periodontal health, you might want to strive to maintain a serum level of approximately 50 ng/mL of 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D obtained not only from the sun but also from a combination of nutrient-dense food choices and supplementation if necessary.
 
1 Antonoglou, GN; Knuuttila M; et al. Low serum level of 1,25(OH)2 D is associated with chronic periodontitis. J Periodontal Res. 2014 Jul 7. doi: 10.1111/jre.12207. [Epub ahead of print]
 
 
2 Anand, N; Chandrasekaran, SC; et al. Vitamin D and periodontal health: Current concepts. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2013 May-Jun; 17(3): 302–308.
 
3 Forrest KY, Stuhldreher WL. Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults. Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):48-54.
 
4 Bischoff-Ferrari, HA. Optimal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels for multiple health outcomes. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;624:55-71.
 
5 Alshouibi, EN; Kaye, EK; et al. Vitamin D and Periodontal Health in Older Menl. J Dent Res. Aug 2013; 92(8): 689–693.
 
6 Martelli, SM; Martelli, M; et al. Vitamin D: relevance in dental practice. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2014 Jan-Apr; 11(1): 15–19.
 
7 Andrukhov, O; Andrukhova, O; et al. Both 25-Hydroxyvitamin-D3 and 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin-D3 Reduces Inflammatory Response in Human Periodontal Ligament Cells. PLoS One. 2014; 9(2): e90301. Published online Feb 28, 2014. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0090301
PMCID: PMC3938673
 
8 http://dminder.ontometrics.com/