By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
Read Part 1, “What Weston Price REALLY Learned About Root Canals”
Read Part 2, “How ‘Saved’ Teeth Become a Problem”
Last time, we ended by looking at the main pathways for toxins to travel from root canal treated teeth to the brain. Now we want to look at some of the specific toxins involved and their potential impact on the human body.
In a person whose immune system is in good shape, the body responds to an infected tooth by forming a cyst around the apex of the root. This is a means of protection. It keeps toxins from escaping the tooth and entering the general circulation.
If the immune system is compromised, however, cysts fail to form – or form poorly – and toxins are released into the circulation much more readily.
One of the most widely read books about the hazards of root canals is Dr. Joseph Issels’ Cancer: A Second Opinion. It was Issels who established the first European hospital for incurable cancer patients. He was also the first to integrate standard and alternative treatments into a comprehensive therapeutic concept.
According to Issels, surveys at his clinic “found that, on admission, ninety-eight percent of the adult cancer patients had between two and ten dead teeth, each one a dangerous toxin producing ‘factory.'” The clear implication is that no dentist had carefully evaluated those people for dental foci – oral sources of infection that affect other parts of the body.
Two especially dangerous kinds of toxic waste are generated by the dead material left inside the dentinal tubules after a “successful” root canal: thioethers and mercapatans. With structures closely related to the mustard gas used in World War I, these fat soluble toxins harm the mitochondria, the power plants of your cells. Critically, mitochondria are especially abundant in liver cells.
The liver is one of your body’s main detoxifying organs.
Just how powerful are these toxins? According to an article in the esteemed journal Science, if just two or three drops of mercapatans were added to the water in an Olympic sized pool, any person could smell sulfur-like fumes from it. Hence, they’re used in industry for detection purposes – for instance, added to propane so if there’s a leak, you can smell it.
The most helpful testing that was once available to dentists wanting to evaluate root canal teeth for toxicity was a chairside kit developed by Boyd Haley’s ALT Bioscience lab at the University of Kentucky. It consisted of a tightly rolled up paper point about the size of a thin pencil lead, which was carefully placed within the sulcus of the suspect tooth. (The sulcus is the space between a tooth and surrounding gums.) Once it was removed, it was dipped into a test tube of a clear solution and observed for color changes – just like you’d observe changes in litmus paper when testing for pH. The degree of color change indicated the level of toxic load, from light to extreme. Clinically, it was a very reliable test.
ALT relied on the use of 6 very sensitive nucleotide-binding enzymes which are found in virtually every cell of your body and are crucial for normal functioning. (Nucleotides are basically the building blocks of DNA and RNA.) If these enzymes become less able to interact with their respective nucleotides, it’s a sign that toxic compounds are present. The decreases in enzyme activity are measured by photoaffinity labeling, which uses radioactive and photoactive analogs of ATP – the energy used by every cell in your body.
Here’s a rundown of the enzymes involved, which can then be detected and quantified by well-recognized scientific lab techniques:
- Phosphorous Kinase: Phos K is responsible for converting Phosphorylase B, the inactive form of the enzyme to Phosphorylase A, which is the active form of the enzyme by the transfer of a high energy phosphate group from ATP.
- Phosphorylase A: Phosphorylase A is the controlling enzyme in the breakdown of glycogen to glucose. Glucose is the primary fuel used by the body for the production of ATP, which is the body’s source of energy for virtually all cellular processes. This includes everything from muscle contraction to nerve impulse conduction.
- Pyruvate Kinase: PK is one of the glycolytic enzymes which functions in the breakdown of glucose to ultimately yield energy in the form of ATP. The three enzymatic pathways involved in this complex process are glycolysis, , the TCA [tricarboxylic acid] or Citric Acid Cycle and the electron transport chain or oxidative phosphorylation. The pyruvate produced by PK can then enter the TCA Cycle to begin the 2nd phase of the energy production cycle. Additionally, its role is one of the enzymes that is involved in the breakdown of glucose to pyruvate. PK also functions directly in the production of ATP in a process referred to as substrate level phosphorylation as opposed to oxidative phosphorylation.
- Phosphoglycerate Kinase: PGK is another of the enzymes which functions in the glycolytic pathway involving the conversion of one molecule of glucose to two molecules of pyruvate which can then enter the TCA Cycle. Like pyruvate Kinase, PGK also functions directly in the substrate level of ATP.
- Creatine Kinase: Tissues such as the brain and muscles have a very high demand for energy in the form of ATP. CK makes phosphocreatine during times of low energy demand. However, when demand for energy is high CK readily converts phosphocreatine to ATP.
- Adenylate Kinase: AK converts two molecules of ADP which is a low energy molecule into one molecule of ATP, which is a very high energy molecule. Thus AK serves to maintain constant levels of ATP when energy demands of the body exceed the rate at which ATP can be produced from the breakdown of carbohydrates such as glucose or fats.
While each of these enzymes is sensitive to a wide variety of toxic compounds, the degree of sensitivity to a given toxin often differs among the enzymes. For instance, the level of one toxin might completely inhibit one enzyme yet have little effect on the others. This is why multiple enzymes are used: You can detect varying levels of many different toxins in a single sample.
That said, just because a particular sample doesn’t interfere with any of those 6 enzymes doesn’t rule out the possibility that other enzymes may be affected.
Obviously, because these enzymes are so common – again, they’re in virtually every cell of your body – any interference would certainly prove detrimental to cellular function. The particular symptoms a person has depends on the type and amount of toxic load, as well as the state of their basic regulation system.
A person’s ability to detox depends on factors such as genetic predisposition, epigenetic status (both endogenous and exogenous – i.e., influences within and outside of the individual, internal and environmental), age, clinical history (both dental and medical), gender and nutritional status.
Toxins in the body are processed the immune system: the thymus and lymphoid tissues, the nervous system, the mucosal system, liver, extracellular matrix, cellular respiration and antioxidant system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Those that are not excreted build up in the body. If the toxic residue mainly collected in the brain’s neurons, the nervous system would be impaired. Toxins that tend to accumulate in the cardiac muscle would impair heart function.
So while the ALT test is useful for detecting the presence and magnitude of toxic burden, it cannot be used to diagnose or predict the clinical outcome of any particular disease. But these measures do suggest conditions that may be triggering or exacerbating a person’s current disease process.
In the final installment of this series, we’ll look at the impact of microbial and other toxins on the power plants of each cell in your body, the mitochondria, and how this contributes to conditions such as chronic fatigue and cancer. We’ll also return to the basic issue we started with: what to do about root canal treated teeth.
NOTE: There will be no post this Thursday, as Dr. Verigin and staff will be attending the annual meeting of the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine.