KTH Flashback: Stress Isn’t Going Anywhere. So What to Do About It?

Last week, we looked at the importance of self-care in weathering the extra stress brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As it shows no signs of abating anytime soon, we thought we’d repost this piece from last summer, which includes some additional info on supplements and homeopathics that may be helpful in easing stress and anxiety…

stressed man pulling hoodie over faceIf you feel more stressed out than ever these days, you’re hardly alone.

Take our country’s current political climate and recurring episodes of mass violence, top it off with the more typical stress-inducers of money and work, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for feeling totally maxed out.

According to the American Psychological Association’s most recent Stress in America survey, younger adults appear to be feeling it most of all.

Slightly more than nine in 10 Gen Zs between ages 18 and 21 say they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress in the past month, compared to around three-quarters of adults overall who say they have experienced at least one symptom. Among Gen Z adults (ages 18 to 21), common symptoms of stress include feeling depressed or sad (58 percent), lack of interest, motivation or energy (55 percent) or feeling nervous or anxious (54 percent). During the prior month, adult Gen Zs also commonly reported laying awake at night due to stress (68 percent) or eating too much or eating unhealthy food (58 percent).

Only Millennials say they’re more stressed out, with their average reported stress level at 5.7 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Overall, “nearly three-quarters of adults (74 percent) say they have experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month.” About half say the stress has disrupted their sleep. A little more than a third say it has a negative impact on diet.

Unfortunately, things like poor diet can actually make matters worse. So can other aspects of our modern way of life. While time in nature can lower stress, for instance,

Bright light or blue night exposure late in the evening from the use of LED screens can delay the release of melatonin, a hormone that has been shown to reduce anxiety. Low-intensity exercise reduces circulating levels of cortisol, yet the need for frequent movement is often redundant.

Urbanisation is increasing the consumption of processed food and an ultra-processed diet has been linked to the incidence of depressive symptoms in at least two large cohorts. Our dietary habits modify the micro-organisms living in the digestive tract and these micro-organisms, through cross-talk with immune cells and other routes, can influence how the mind reacts to stress.

There is some evidence that modulating gut microbiota with specific foods or taking probiotics can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Early results suggest taking either a single strain or a combination of probiotics may reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance during stress – but not in the absence of stress.

(Aside: The whole book excerpt the above quote comes from is fascinating, and we encourage you to take a few minutes to read the whole thing.)

Naturally, this raises the question of what to do about all this stress, for chronic stress has been well documented not just to impact the mind, but body, too, oral and systemic health alike.

But it’s not like we can just banish stress completely, nor should we want to. As Hans Selye, the doctor who first identified the stress response, once wrote, “No one can avoid stress. To eliminate stress completely would mean to destroy life itself. If you make no more demands upon your body, you are dead.”

What we can do is develop strategies for dealing with ongoing negative stress in healthy ways – and there are lots of great ones out there, such as the ones on this tip sheet. Some supplements may also be helpful. Vitamin D, valerian root, B complex, lavender, and lemon balm, for instance, have all been proven to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

bottle of NEU-regen Pekana remedy with box Additionally, Dr. V recommends a trio of homeopathic-spagyric remedies by Pekana. These German-made medications are high-energy remedies that have been developed to successfully treat many individuals for mental strain and emotional exhaustion. Where the allopathic drugs, stimulants, and sedatives many often reach for place even greater demands upon an already worried and exhausted body, the combination of remedies below helps restore proper organ function and energetic balance to the performance of the body through gentle auto-regulation.

  • Neu-regen syrup, for mental and physical exhaustion
  • PSY-stabil drops, for anxiety, lack of concentration, restlessness, and nervous exhaustion
  • coro-CALM drops, a sedative for circulatory function which frequently accompanies anxiety, worry, and psychic unrest

These medications are most commonly available through doctors – we keep a full range of Pekana remedies available here in our office – though there appear to be some online sellers now, as well. Feel free to reach out to us if you need help getting the three listed above – or if you want to learn more about the role these and other measures might help you in your quest towards optimum health.

Top image by Erik F. Brandsborg, via Flickr

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Countering the Chaos of These Turbulent Times

Here’s a meme you may have seen recently on social media:

social media meme

On the version we saw, most responses expressed a negative feeling: anxious, nervous, frazzled, depressed, pained, grouchy, lonely, despondent….

It’s hardly surprising. In these days of sheltering in place and the incessant stream of frightening news coming at us from all sides, positive feelings like hope, gratitude, and love can feel harder to come by. Disconnection from your usual social channels can make it all seem worse.

After all, human beings are social animals. We need connection with others to truly thrive – not just mentally but physically, as well. One 2016 study, for instance,

found that a higher degree of social integration was associated with lower risk of physiological dysregulation in a dose–response manner in both early and later life. Conversely, lack of social connections was associated with vastly elevated risk in specific life stages. For example, social isolation increased the risk of inflammation by the same magnitude as physical inactivity in adolescence, and the effect of social isolation on hypertension exceeded that of clinical risk factors such as diabetes in old age. Analyses of multiple dimensions of social relationships within multiple samples across the life course produced consistent and robust associations with health.

Other studies have likewise found that connectedness boosts health while isolation puts a drag on it. Consider the two studies presented by BYU psychology professor Dr. Julianne Holt-Lundstad at the 2017 meeting of the American Psychological Association:

The first [meta-analysis] involved 148 studies, representing more 300,000 participants, and found that greater social connection is associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of early death. The second study, involving 70 studies representing more than 3.4 million individuals primarily from North America but also from Europe, Asia and Australia, examined the role that social isolation, loneliness or living alone might have on mortality. Researchers found that all three had a significant and equal effect on the risk of premature death, one that was equal to or exceeded the effect of other well-accepted risk factors such as obesity.

“Social pain is as real a sensation for us as physical pain,” noted an Independent article long before COVID-19 rattled our world. “Researchers have shown that loneliness and rejection activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.”

This is why it’s so crucial that we do what we can during these chaotic days to nurture positive emotions and stay connected even when we can’t share the same physical space with friends and colleagues

Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, and other video and conferencing apps are invaluable tools for sharing time together while remaining apart. Nextdoor and neighborhood groups on social platforms can connect you to your neighbors and facilitate mutual aid, including simple acts of kindness and unity during this uncertain time. You’ll find some ideas to get you started here and here.

Self-care matters, as well, of course – which includes turning off the bad news for a while and focusing on activities that instill you with good feeling. For as we’ve noted before, just as negative emotions can harm health, positive emotions can enhance it.

There’s another meme we’ve been seeing around lately that can be particularly helpful in this regard. We leave you with it as something to think about putting into action through the coming days, as we continue to weather the storm…

mindfulness in quarantine meme

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A Higher Level of Patient Safety Isn’t Just for These Pandemic Days

dental chair in shadowAs we write this, the world has gotten a whole lot quieter in these new days of social distancing.

But not everything is closed – including our office. Though we ask that clients with a cough or fever or who have been exposed to coronavirus-positive folks stay at home and reschedule their appointments further into the future, we remain committed to our patient/clients who need us during these turbulent times.

Some biological dentists have remarked that our offices are actually well-suited for the present moment. Our mercury-safe practices, for instance, mean our offices are already fit out with powerful air purifiers and filters, and we have always emphasized supporting good immune function and resilience of the body’s greater regulatory system.

Yes, we’ve added hand sanitizers around the office, and we’re doing enhanced cleaning and disinfection throughout the day, as well as at the end of it. It’s only reasonable in these days of intensified concern.

But universal precautions are standard procedure for us – for infection control isn’t something you should pay attention to only during a pandemic but every day, for your safety and ours alike.

As any properly run dental office in this state, we regularly follow the infection control procedures spelled out in the California Code of Regulations. We review and update our minimum infection control standards every year. A copy of this is conspicuously posted in our office.

All instruments are in good working order and sterilized before every use. They are first run through an ultrasonic unit, then air dried and packaged for sterilization. A chemical indicator is used to confirm that essential sterilization parameters have been met. External indicators on each package also verify that the instruments have been sterilized.

Proper functioning of the sterilizer is verified weekly by a third party through the use of a biological indicator. These test results are documented and maintained for 12 months.

We fill our dental unit waterlines with distilled water at the start of each day. The water lines are purged with air and flushed with water for at least 2 minutes before we attach hand pieces, scalers, and air water syringe tips. These lines and devices are thoroughly flushed between each patient, as well.

Single-use disposable items such as prophylaxis brushes, saliva ejectors, air/water syringe tips, and gloves are used for one patient only and then properly discarded. All non-critical items such as the dental chair, light, and countertops are wiped down, cleaned and disinfected with a Cal/EPA-registered hospital low-level disinfectant that is labeled effective against HBV and HIV, as well as a tuberculocide.

The clean, white towels we use to protect our patients’ eyes from any particulate – including dead or diseased tissue – that may become airborne during a procedure are used once only and then thoroughly sanitized before being used again; likewise, the towels we use in lieu of plasticized dental bibs for keeping the patient dry. (Towels are far more environmentally friendly, as well!)

While the phrase “first do no harm” isn’t actually a part of the Hippocratic Oath, it is a guiding principle in everything we do. For as we noted before, if your goal is to help a person heal, the last thing you want to do is throw impediments in the way. Hence, our emphasis on patient safety in all realms – from choosing biocompatible dental materials to favoring minimally invasive procedures to practicing good infection control.

It’s the right thing to do.

Image by Tea, two sugars, via Flickr

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KTH Flashback: How Biological Terrain Assessment Can Help Make “Mystery” Illnesses a Lot Less Mysterious

Originally posted December 12, 2018

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

You might be surprised to realize just how many health problems wind up labeled as idiopathic – that is, of unknown cause. But when you consider how most medicine is done from a linear mindset – one symptom, one cause – this fact becomes a lot less surprising.

All of the symptom clusters we call diseases have multiple causes. Dentistry can be one of them.

Indeed, quite a few of the new patients I’ve seen recently have come in to find out if their medical complaints might have something to do with past dental work they’ve had done. Many have lived for years or even decades with mercury fillings or root canal teeth or implants or chronic ischemic bone disease (“cavitations”) – often a combination of these.

mosaic of appleDespite all kinds of exams, blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and the like, many have also never been given a clear medical diagnosis. Others have been victims of overzealous early diagnoses and aggressive treatment that only added to their long list of complaints.

Those complaints – symptoms – are like the pieces that make up a mosaic. They only make a complete picture when arranged into a whole. Remove some pieces, and the image becomes distorted. One piece – one symptom – can never convey the whole picture.

Likewise, to truly be of help, a doctor must be able to see all the pieces and the big picture their arrangement conveys.

Missing the Medical Mark

Dr. Gilbert Welch is a professor at the Dartmouth University Geisel School of Medicine who has written several books now on the problem of unnecessary medical care, not to mention numerous articles in medical journals and the popular press alike. He’s especially concerned about biomedical companies designing ever more diagnostics, such as breath tests for cancer.

stethoscope pen and chartMore tests, more premature or off-base diagnoses, more unnecessary treatments. And the problem seems poised to worsen. “It’s a very frothy industry right now,” Welch says.

I’ve seen the results in my own practice, particularly with new patients who have previously gone to corporate dental clinics or high volume, commission-based private practice groups. The patient goes in for one thing only to be told they need all kinds of work done because some hint of a potential problem is taken as a problem in and of itself – something that’s commonly called an “incidentaloma” by the profession.

One of the cases Welch uses to illustrate the problem involves a new patient who consulted him about lingering hoarseness. The patient was referred to an ENT who found a small tumor on his vocal cords. The tumor was removed, and the hoarseness went away.

However, Welch was later informed that his patient had also had a CT scan which revealed a cancer in one of his kidneys – an incidentaloma. The urologist wanted the kidney removed, but Welch challenged him. Through 10 years of follow-up, the tumor never changed size. The patient eventually died of pneumonia.

This kind of problem is in no way restricted to medicine. I recently saw a patient who came in for a second opinion. Having acquired a new dental benefits plan, she had gone to a corporate dental clinic for a cleaning only to be told that she needed an implant, a root canal, two crowns, and four fillings. When I examined her teeth, I found they had been quite overzealous with their treatment plan. She didn’t need nearly so much dental work.

The patient was delighted to hear this, to say the least!

Case Report: 17 Health Professionals, 5 Years, No Answers

As the saying goes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts. Yet with the rushing torrent of information we’re bombarded with every day, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between the two. There’s so much spin, it can make your head spin!

man in a bubbleOne of the dangers of this situation is that it can lead us to have entirely different realities. We become trapped in our own “filter bubble,” as activist Eli Pariser has called it – a metaphorical space in which we only see and hear what we already believe or what confirms our established world view. We are less apt to question it – and have less opportunity to see conflicting information that might challenge or deepen our understanding.

Consequently, a lot of people seem to have trouble separating solid science from popular belief. They become informed by myth, not fact; supposition, not science; headlines, not in-depth explorations. And it happens on both sides of the spectrum, holistic and conventional alike.

This is one of the ways in which conventional dentistry and medicine persist in treating all illness or dysfunction as having a single cause. If a cause can’t be found, the illness is declared to be unclear and the focus falls onto treating symptoms, typically with pills that beget even more symptoms to be treated.

Recently, I examined a new long-distance patient who had consulted at least 17 health professionals over the past five years for a variety of symptoms, including chronic sinusitis, chronic sore throat, left side facial pain in the upper bicuspid area radiating to the ear and up into her temple. It all started, she said, after she began to experience pain around her upper left bicuspids.

dentist shining light on patientThe first dentist she saw for it recommended removing a mercury amalgam filing from the second bicuspid. It had some open margins and slight chipping, so there was a gap where sweet and cold drinks could seep in and elicit pain. The dentist placed a new composite filling on the tooth, but the sensitivity persisted, so the patient consulted a second dentist. That dentist said that she needed a root canal and referred her to an endodontist who concurred, for the dental pulpal complex was inflamed.

Even after the root canal, the pain persisted, so she contacted a third dentist who advised that the first bicuspid should be crowned. The patient agreed to treatment but still got no relief. So she consulted yet other dentists, as well as two oral surgeons. She had two CT scans and an MRI. The net result was the loss of both bicuspids.

Some time after those extractions, she saw a third oral surgeon to re-open the surgical sites to see if cavitations had formed. After these procedures, she received numerous ozone injections, as well as vitamin C drips.

Most recently, the patient had consulted an infectious disease specialist who had ordered a variety of blood tests only to tell her that nothing was wrong. No further treatments were advised.

During this same five-year span, the patient had been put on several rounds of different antibiotics, fungal medicines, and pain pills. When she finally decided to get off the allopathic merry-go-round, she began using different herbs to ease her symptoms. If she skipped them even for a day or two, the sinus pain and sore throat would return, and she’d go back to the herbs and other supplements.

After discussing this history with her at some length, I advised that we do a Biological Terrain Assessment. As of this writing, she is still considering the path she wants to take.

Taking a Quantum Approach to Health

Biological Terrain Assessment, or BTA, is an invaluable test that isn’t nearly as known as it should be. I believe one reason why is because it’s pure physics. Western School Medicine and Dentistry speak solely in biological and biochemical terms. Physics is never considered, even though Einsteinian quantum physics has been the real basis of our science since the mid-1920s. Where classical physics fixates on certainties, quantum physics deals in probabilities.

Claude VincentBiological Terrain Assessment was developed by hydrologist Claude Vincent, who worked for the French government from about 1920 to 1950. His job was to find water and purify it so all the villages, towns, and cities in France had the best water possible. In the course of doing so, he found that there were different kinds of water and that the quality of water corresponded to certain kinds of illnesses.

The statistical work was difficult, as the authorities were rather tight-fisted with the data. Still, doing what he could, he found very high rates of cancer where the water was polluted and calcium-rich. The healthiest people, he found, lived where the water was very pure and contained few mineral salts. That included the water near his home in the village of Riom in central France: the Volvic spring system. In fact, it was the purest water he analyzed. Eventually, he placed a plaque there which was engraved with the first surah of the Koran: And we created all living things from water.

Vincent ultimately found that the technique he had developed for water testing could also be used to test an individual’s biological terrain, or the cumulative area between individual cells in the human body. Focused mainly on measuring protons, electrons, and minerals, BTA detects whether the condition of the terrain lends itself to health or illness.

For Pasteur was mistaken in his belief that microbes alone are the cause of disease. Rather, as his associate Claude Bernard taught, the environment that the microbe winds up in determines just what that microbe can do. The microbe can’t cause harm if the environment is inhospitable to it.

soil with plant shootsA good way to understand this is by the analogy of a garden. You’ll have a tough time growing nutritious vegetables if you just scatter seeds, rake them into the soil, and wait. The chemistry of that soil makes all the difference. Most vegetables and fruits grow best when the soil has a near-neutral pH (6.7 to 7.3 on the pH scale), though they can tolerate slightly acidic soil. A few plants actually prefer acidic soil, though (from 7 down to 3.5 pH), such as radishes, sweet potatoes, blueberries, currants, and cranberries.

When the soil is too acidic, problems arise with a process called cation exchange. (Cations are positively charged atoms or groups of atoms.) Cation exchange is how plants extract nutrients from the soil. When soil is acidic, nitrogen uptake in particular gets blocked. Nitrogen, of course, is a crucial nutrient for plant life. The soil may contain a lot of it, but if conditions are acidic, the nitrogen remains chemically locked up. The plants can’t obtain it.

This is why a nursery will provide phosphorous fertilizers to growers who buy plants, particularly trees and shrubs. Mixing that into the soil before placing the root ball helps unlock the existing nitrogen so the saplings get a healthy start.

Just as the condition of the soil dictates whether a particular plant will languish or thrive, so, too, the biological terrain.

Another way to understand the role of your body’s internal environment is to think of each of your cells as a goldfish swimming about in an aquarium. Not only do they live in water but the food provided, as well as the waste they generate. If the water is not regularly cleaned – if the proper environment is not maintained – the fish’s immune system weakens and the fish soon dies.

The cells in our body become toxic in a similar way. They, too, “swim” in the water that ever so slightly separates them. For water is plentiful in the human body. About 50 to 60% of a human’s body is made up of water. In infants, it’s about 75%. The brain and heart are each about 73% water, and the lungs are 83%.

If we don’t keep this internal environment clean, toxins of all kinds will ultimately make us sick. The life-quality of each cell depends on the purity of the biological terrain, which is far more important than genetics.

geneRecently, scientists at Calico Life Sciences collaborated with colleagues from Ancestry.com to establish whether genetic makeup affects longevity in any meaningful way. They crunched data from millions of people and “found that genes have a lower impact on how long a person can expect to live than scientists had previously believed.” Their findings were just published in the journal GENETICS.

Such research underscores the fact that, contrary to popular belief, genes have less to do with our health and longevity than previously thought.

And this points to one of the dangers of over-the-counter genetic testing that’s now allowed to report an individual’s risk of developing certain conditions, as well as their ancestry. As the president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, Michael Watson, told Scientific American, such tests may actually confuse many consumers, since they won’t know how to quantitatively balance genetic risk against other factors such as environmental influences, lifestyle, and health status.

To be clear, genetic vulnerability is always in play, but as they say, genetics loads the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.

That includes the internal environment of the extracellular matrix, or terrain.

Targeting Causes to Map a Path to Healing

Today’s BTA measures three key values of a patient’s extracellular matrix – pH, rH2, and R (Ohms) – using samples of their saliva and urine. (We used to have to test blood, as well, but this is no longer necessary since the software has been retooled to predict the outcome of blood values.) My job then becomes a matter of interpreting those results in light of the patient’s health history, exam results and other diagnostics, and the dynamics of German autoregulation theory.

We also have to look at their subtle energy fields for any missing links. Only then can we suss out the dynamic of causes that led to the patient’s current state of health and map a sensible route of healing.

By looking at the whole profile, we can learn a lot more than any simple blood test or x-ray or MRI can show.

Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees
only so long as its surface is undisturbed,
the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self
when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.
– Indra Devi

Images: mosaic by Karen Blakeman, bubble by I’m Mr P.,
via Flickr; dental exam via USAF

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The Relationship Between Stress & Disease

Just as there’s no separation between your mouth and the rest of your body, there’s no separation between body and mind. Yet for all it’s lip service to “wellness,” the medical establishment tends to treat such separateness as the most natural thing in the world.

Yet as Dr. Gabor Maté notes in the talk below, to truly understand health and disease, you cannot separate mind from body, nor the body from the environment. To do otherwise is one of the major limitations of the western biomedical model of disease.

It’s a full lecture, so a bit over an hour long, but it’s a great talk and definitely worth your time.

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“There Is Little Doubt” About Fluoride’s Neurotoxicity, New Research Says

fluoride lowers iq graffiti Back in 2014, a lot of holistically-minded folks got really excited about a paper in The Lancet Neurology, as it very clearly identified fluoride, among 10 other chemical elements and compounds, as being neurotoxic to children.

But fluoride wasn’t it’s only concern. Rather, in reviewing some of the newer science on “developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals,” the authors made a much broader case.

We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy. Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.

That’s an important case to be made. But what about fluoride in particular?

Over the past several years, many new studies have been done on fluoride’s effects on developing brains, and these are the focus of a new literature review by one of the authors of the original Lancet paper, Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health. The paper was published late last fall in Environmental Health.

Previous assessment of neurotoxicity risks associated with elevated fluoride intake relied on cross-sectional and ecological epidemiology studies and findings from experimental studies of elevated exposures. The evidence base has greatly expanded in recent years, with 14 cross-sectional studies since 2012, and now also three prospective studies of high quality and documentation of individual exposure levels. Thus, there is little doubt that developmental neurotoxicity is a serious risk associated with elevated fluoride exposure, whether due to community water fluoridation, natural fluoride release from soil minerals, or tea consumption, especially when the exposure occurs during early development. Even the most informative epidemiological studies involve some uncertainties, but imprecision of the exposure assessment most likely results in an underestimation of the risk. [emphasis added]

Of course, the brain isn’t the only part of the body affected by fluoride. Other research has shown harmful effects on the thyroid and pineal glands, for instance, along with the cardiovascular system, the skeletal system, and more – “ every part of the human body,” according to this well-referenced white paper from the IAOMT.

Along with that, consider that fluoride’s benefits are modest at best. Despite the claims, it does not appear to prevent decay. One 2017 study, for instance, found that roughly a third of all children developed caries, whether they received fluoride treatments or not.

This well-conducted trial failed to demonstrate that the intervention kept children caries free, but there was evidence that once children get caries, it slowed down its progression.

What actually prevents decay is something we’ve known about for a long time now, starting with replacing the sugar and white flour products (processed carbs that are digested as sugar) with a nutrient-dense diet, including plenty of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and minerals (especially calcium and phosphorous), as these support ongoing remineralization of your teeth.

This is also part of supporting a healthy biological terrain, ensuring that the body is able to properly assimilate and use what you feed it.

Yes, that can be harder to achieve, especially as a matter of public vs. personal health, but it is known to work – and there certainly are no side effects.

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“Exuberant Hair on the Chin & Neck”…& Gums?

Well, this is something you don’t see every day:

news headline about hair growing from a woman's gums

According to the recently published case report, the woman was 19 when she noticed one of the eyelash-like hairs sticking out from her gums and sought help. The doctors found that she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone disorder in that can cause excess hair growth on face and body alike.

So they put her on birth control in an attempt to regulate her hormones and surgically removed the hair from her gums, and all was well for a while. But 6 years later, she returned with worsened symptoms.

Extraoral facial examination revealed the presence of exuberant hair on the chin and neck regions. Intraoral examination showed some brown hair, similar to eyelashes, which were removed and the underlying tissue histologically analyzed. One year later, the patient came back with even more widespread presence of oral hairs distributed on the gingivae of both arches.

Here’s what it looked like, courtesy of Science Alert:

hair growing from gingiva

The authors of the case report

Suggest that since the mucosal tissues inside the mouth are closely related to the tissues that build our skin while we’re an embryo, it’s not hard to imagine how hair cells might be activated in theory.

They go on to point out that the oil-producing glands of our outer skin commonly grow inside the mouth, leading to a condition called Fordyce granules.

Hair growing in the mouth like this is extremely rare, to say the least. Only 5 other cases have been reported, dating back to the 1960s, and this is the first time the condition has been documented in a female patient. This isn’t to say that there were no cases before the 1960s, only that they weren’t noted in the medical literature.

One thing that’s not so surprising, though, is that the woman’s condition worsened with time.

While the superficial trigger for her symptoms was addressed – the hormonal imbalance – the underlying cause of the imbalance was not. If the root cause isn’t addressed, how can the problem be solved? It’s a little like bailing water out of an overflowing tub without bothering to turn off the tap or treating a burn while still holding your hand on a hot stove.

To get at the cause, you must look at the state of the patient’s biological terrain and how it got into the condition it is today. Symptoms are a sign that the body is being challenged and may be having trouble regulating correctly. Address the factors that are interfering with the body’s innate self-regulative ability, and you move much further along the path to real healing.

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KTH Flashback: Some Basic Principles of Biological Regulation

Biological dentistry developed out of biological medicine. Unlike conventional medicine, which relies largely on drugs and surgeries that may give the appearance of health, biological medicine focuses on restoring the body’s innate ability to self-regulate to facilitate healing. When you’re conditioned to see the conventional, linear approach as the norm, it can be hard to grasp this other paradigm at first. In the article below, Dr. V explains some of the basic concepts that inform the biological approach…

Originally posted August 22, 2017

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

The term homeostasis was first defined in 1932 by Walter Bradford Cannon. He created it by bringing together two Greek terms: homoios, which means “the same,” “like,” or “resembling,” and stasis, which means “standing,” “position,” or “posture.” Homeostasis, then, literally means “to remain in the same condition,” as close as possible to a steady state of the system.

Cannon’s book The Wisdom of the Body describes how the human body maintains steady levels of temperature and other vital conditions such as the water, salt, sugar, protein, fat, calcium, and oxygen contents of the blood. Similar processes dynamically maintain steady-state conditions in the Earth’s environment.

Homeostasis is the condition your body constantly strives to maintain.

You Are, in Fact, a Cyborg: The Human Body as a Cybernetic System

The human body is an extremely complex, unified, dynamic, homeostatic – or goal-seeking – system.

“Homeostatic ideas,” writes Kelvin Rodolfo, Emeritus Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Chicago, “are shared by the science of cybernetics (from the Greek for ‘steersman’),”

defined in 1948 by the mathematician Norbert Wiener as “the entire field of control and communication theory, whether in the machine or in the animal.” Cybernetic systems can “remember” disturbances and thus are used in computer science to store and transmit information. Negative feedback is a central homeostatic and cybernetic concept, referring to how an organism or system automatically opposes any change imposed upon it.

So although these days we tend to think of cybernetics in terms of computers and technology, the human body is itself a cybernetic system. It receives input and responds to it. The response delivers more input, which in turn brings about different responses. It’s an endless feedback loop, all with one goal: maintain homeostasis.

feedback loopLet’s consider just one aspect of homeostasis: temperature regulation. On a very hot day, your body responds to that input – heat – by dilating your blood vessels so more blood flows near the skin’s surface where it can release heat. You also sweat to cool the skin. These processes help keep your internal body temperature at a steady level.

And as it begins to cool off, your body responds accordingly to that new input.

This is cybernetics in action. And it applies to all bodily regulation – not just temperature control, but blood sugar regulation, heart action, hormone release, and so on.

All this is coordinated through the brain, which can be viewed as a complex communication center, computer, and control system – a very complex system. In fact, it’s often been said that there are as many neurons in the human brain as stars in the Milky Way.

For a long time, neuroscientists would say that there are about 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Interestingly, no one has ever published a peer-reviewed scientific paper supporting that count. Rather it’s been informally interpolated from other measurements. A recent study from 2009 published by Azevedo and colleagues took a crack at a more precise estimate. Their answer?

Approximately 86 billion neurons in the human brain. The latest estimates for the number of stars in the Milky Way is somewhere between 200 and 400 billion. So close, but the human brain certainly doesn’t quite stack up!

Still, that’s a lot of neurons, and each is consistently interacting with millions of other cells in the body. That is the potential for 100 trillion interactions, a number 1000 times greater than all the stars in the Milky Way!

neural networkWhat’s really remarkable is the fact that your brain keeps all these bodily systems working together as a synchronized unit to create a smooth running system and maintain a steady homeostatic state. Properly maintained, this steady state can last for a human lifetime.

But life is dynamic, defined by continual change. Your body is sensitive to the smallest stimuli. To live is to be in constant interaction with your surrounding environment.

As Dr. Rodolfo suggests in his article on homeostasis, this dynamic is like driving a car, where we consider the “car and its driver as a unified…, ‘goal-seeking’ system – a cyborg or ‘cybernetic organism.’” It’s goal? Drive a road from point A to point B.

The driver does not steer by holding the wheel in a fixed position but keeps turning the wheel slightly to the left and right, seeking the wheel positions that will bring the naturally meandering car back on track. Disturbance, or departure from equilibrium, is every bit as important as negative feedback: Systems cannot correct themselves if they do not stray.

Oscillation is a common and necessary behavior of many systems. If the car skids, the driver automatically responds by quickly steering in the opposite direction. Such abrupt negative feedback, however, usually over-corrects, causing the car to move toward the other side of the road. A negative feedback, if it is as large as the disturbance that triggered it, may become an impressed change in the direction opposite to that of the original disturbance. The car and driver recovers from the skid by weaving from side to side, swerving a little less each time. In other words, each feedback is less than the last departure from the goal, so the oscillations ‘damp out.’ Negative feedback takes time and such a time lag is an essential feature of many natural systems. This may set the system to oscillating above and below the equilibrium level.

The human body and the environment form an extremely complex interacting unit that is always changing, influenced by any subtle stimuli in the environment. Even in nano concentrations, they have an immediate effect on the extracellular matrix (biological terrain), amplifying or inhibiting reactions through tiny dosages of cytokines and other steering mediators unleashed by the immune system.

The human body is continuously trying to correct these deviations to regain its steady and harmonious state. To do so, the bioregulatory system of the body directs, corrects, or manages most bodily processes using subtle quantities of mediators or oscillations which are directed by the extracellular matrix.

As we’ve noted before, this understanding originates in the work of Claude Bernard, who theorized that maintaining stability in the internal environment (milieu interieur) is a prerequisite for the development of a complex nervous system. His research on multiple dynamic equilibrium is the basic principle behind homeostasis.

Considered one of the fathers of physiology, Bernard was so famous into the early 20th century that be became identified in the public mind as the archetypal scientist, much like Einstein is considered today.

Challenges to the Steady State

Each of us is continuously being influenced by both the environment around us, as well as the microenvironment within. The goal is to remain in a steady state – the state of health.

chemicalsAnd these days, it faces more challenges than ever. According to the Environmental Working Group, there more more than 7 million chemicals in existence. About 80,000 of these are in common use around the world. They have brought enormous benefits – swelling harvests, beating back previously unconquerable diseases, producing a host of consumer goods we now think of as necessities – but at quite a cost.

Tests for a hundred particularly hazardous substances have revealed that – on average – we each harbour 27 of them in our blood, though the chemical cocktail varies from person to person. Children have been found to be more contaminated than their parents or grandparents, while mothers pass on the poisons to babies in the womb. Researchers have found potentially dangerous chemicals in every one of 14 basic foodstuffs they took from supermarket shelves, and in the air of every home they visited.

Findings like these spurred 200 eminent scientists from five continents some years ago to issue a joint warning that exposure to common chemicals skewed the development of critical organs in foetuses and newborns, increasing their chances of developing diabetes, cancer, attention deficit disorders, thyroid damage, diminished fertility, and other conditions in later life.

The Standing Committee of European Doctors – which brings together the continent’s top physicians’ bodies, including the BMA – has added: “Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children, and to Man’s survival.” And the usually cautious US President’s Cancer Panel has reported that synthetic chemicals can cause “grievous harm” and that the number of cancers for which they are responsible had been “grossly underestimated”.

In yet another warning, researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the University of Southern Denmark predicted a “silent pandemic” of brain conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorders, identifying 202 substances known to poison the brain as “the tip of a very large iceberg”.

Your body responds to every exposure – not just to chemicals but toxins of all kinds, synthetic and organic – even miniscule amounts that public officials often say pose no risk to human health. But many accumulate over time, and they interact in ways we’re only just beginning to understand, as researchers look at the cumulative effects of the chemical cocktail we’re exposed to daily.

This can – and does – have profound implications on your body’s self-regulating abilities. And that is a matter we will pick up with next time in the final installment of this series.

Neural network image by Else If Then, via Wikimedia Commons

You can learn even more about this and related topics in Dr. V’s free booklet “How Illness Happens.”

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About that New Honey Nut Cheerios Commercial…

So this is a thing that Cheerios is doing, “in an effort to propel heart health conversations”:

So let’s have a conversation about how “heart healthy” these can possibly be, considering the amount of added sugar in the stuff. In fact, sugar is the second ingredient listed after those “heart healthy” whole grain oats.

Oh, there’s also some honey and brown sugar syrup in there, as well.

And research has shown that, among other things, sugar consumption both raises triglycerides and lowers “good” LDL cholesterol. Both of these, in turn, raise the risk of heart disease.

“But, wait!” you might say, looking at the nutrition label. “It’s only 9 grams of sugars per serving. That’s not so bad.”

Unfortunately, that’s not what most folks give themselves as a serving size:


So pour out the cereal like most folks would, and those 9 grams of sugar quite easily become 18 or 27, in which case you’ll have eaten more sugar than is in a regular size Hershey bar (17 grams) and possibly more than half the daily maximum recommended by the World Health Organization.

And even that number is considerably higher than the maximum recommended to prevent tooth decay: just 3 to 5% of your total caloric intake. For a 2000 calorie a day diet, that’s roughly 15 to 25 grams of total added sugars max.

So how is this cereal so good for your heart exactly?

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Originally from Gary M. Verigin, DDS, inc.

How the Extracellular Matrix Influences Your Health

When you’ve grown up in a world were Western Medicine dominates, it can be hard at first to wrap your brain around the concept of regulative medicine and especially the influence of the extracellular matrix (ECM) – a/k/a the biological terrain – on health and illness.

Since regulative medicine is the foundation of biological dentistry, this is why we recommend all new patients read Dr. V’s clear and concise booklet “How Illness Happens: An Introduction to the Biological Terrain”.

Recently, we ran across a podcast that has a really terrific discussion of the extracellular matrix and, in particular, the dynamic between the ECM and your body’s cells. But before we share it, there are a few points in it that could use some clarification.

First, there are a couple of factual errors we caught. Pischinger was not a German researcher but Austrian. More importantly, the Dr. Schimmel he speaks of was not the first to apply the principles he discusses. Rather, credit here should go to Kramer and Voll.

More importantly, there’s a wider range of evaluation and treatment modalities available – especially those incorporated from German biological medicine – than just those discussed here. Some of the additional tools we use here in our Northern California office include Biological Terrain Assessment (BTA), MORA therapy, and EAV (Electroacupuncture According to Voll).

Similarly, homeopathic protocols can play an important role along with the other types of functional therapies discussed in the podcast. Ultimately, the goal is to clean and restore order to the terrain so the body can properly self-regulate. Homeopathic preparations gently nudge the body back toward this.

To learn more about how Dr. V uses these tools in his practice, start here.

Transcript of podcast

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Originally from Gary M. Verigin, DDS, inc.