by Yuliya Klopouh, Pharm. D.
There is more to a tube of toothpaste than its benefits (tarter control, whitening, complete formula, etc.) and its flavor. If you go to your local supermarket of pharmacy, and look at the toothpaste packages, you will find shelves filled with various products. In addition to some familiar but controversial ingredients–fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate (the ingredient that makes the paste turn foamy)–you’ll find seven main components in conventional mass-market toothpastes: detergents, abrasives, moisturizers, sweeteners, dyes, preservatives and anti-plaque substances. Most of them are easy to note since they are usually listed by long chemical names.
In contrast, natural toothpastes offer consumers products that are free of the ingredients found in their more mainstream counterparts.
Should natural toothpaste be our number one choice?
Facts to consider:
1) Fluoride or no Fluoride
There has been a long-running debate between the American Dental Association and anti-fluoride activists about whether fluoride should be routinely added to toothpastes and to the water supply. In industrial-sized quantities, fluoride is a toxic pollutant. And excessive use of fluoride in small children has been shown to discolor teeth, often permanently. To prevent this, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the May 1995 issue of Pediatrics, suggested infants not be exposed to fluoride. But mainstream dental experts believe fluoride’s anti-cavity effects far outweigh its risks; however, many holistic dentists disagree and support natural treatments.
The most recognized problem with the ingestion of too much fluoride is dental fluorosis. This condition is characterized by the failure of tooth enamel to crystallize properly in permanent teeth. The effects range from chalky, opaque blotching of teeth to severe, rust-colored stains, surface pitting and tooth brittleness. Fluoride consumption is also believed to contribute to the incidence of hypothyroidism.
Dr. John Yiamouyiannis examined the raw data from a large study that was conducted by the National Institute for Dental Research (NIDR). He concluded that fluoride did not appear to have any decay preventing success.
A larger study has been conducted in New Zealand. The New Zealand National Health Service plan examines the teeth of every child in key age groups, and have found that the teeth of children in non-fluoridated cities were slightly better than those in the fluoridated cities.
“Foaming Effect” (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
“Sodium lauryl sulfate is predominantly used as a foaming agent in shampoos and mass-market toothpastes,” says Gary Verigin, DDS, a member of the Holistic Dental Association in Escalon, California. But sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a skin irritant. Agents in SLS are strong enough to break down engine grease, not to mention oils in the skin. If this occurs, the skin-drying effect can lead to irritation. Ingesting SLS, an active ingredient in popular toothpastes, has been linked to a range of health problems, including eye infections and hormone imbalances. While people spit out foamy toothpaste residue, sodium lauryl sulfate can penetrate the mouth’s mucosal lining and cause cancer sores.
Ironically, most mass-market toothpastes contain sugars, which are added for flavor but contribute to cavities. Most natural toothpastes get their fresh taste from plant extracts–such as parsley, cinnamon oil, mint and xylitol–which are healthier alternatives.
So, what are the healthy alternatives to conventional toothpastes?
1. PerioBiotic Toothpaste – PerioBiotic™ Toothpaste contains Dental-Lac™, a patent pending and clinically tested functional lactobacillus dental hygiene probiotic, not found in any other toothpaste. Research on Dental-Lac™, a specific Lactobacillus paracasei strain, demonstrates its ability to kill off harmful strains of oral bacteria including streptococcus mutans, a significant contributor to dental caries, tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Like probiotics in the human intestinal tract, beneficial flora in the mouth is critical in maintaining an oral environment conducive to healthy teeth and gums.
The ingredients not found in PerioBiotic™ Toothpaste, which are found in most other toothpastes include: fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and saccharin. Also, this product is not harmful if swallowed as it does not contain fluoride.
2. Miessense Toothpaste (comes in Lemon, Mint and Anise Flavor) – Developed by European and Australian dentists, Miessense Toothpaste uses sodium bicarbonate to remove plaque and tartar. Its distinct sea salt formulation increases saliva, which helps dilute and wash away harmful bacteria. Additional ingredients include Commiphora myrrha–an aid in preventing gingivitis–and horse chestnut, an anti-inflammatory. Cleaning power is boosted with calcium carbonate and xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener that in some research has been shown to reduce tooth decay by up to 80 percent, as well as help stop and possibly reverse the demineralization of teeth.
This toothpaste is free from synthetic fragrances, colors and preservatives.
In conclusion, natural oral care products are just as effective in removing bacteria and keeping the entire mouth healthy. Many products like peppermint and spearmint oils are naturally able to kill and prevent bacteria growth. This makes it an ideal component of natural toothpaste. We have gotten used to the minty flavor of regular toothpaste, but often there simply isn’t enough or any real peppermint in the toothpaste at all to be beneficial.
By having its origins more close to that of nature, natural toothpaste is much less likely to cause allergies or disrupt the balance of the inside of the mouth at all. Though natural toothpaste may seem somewhat different than regular toothpaste, your teeth and your body will thank you for the change.
Dr. Yuliya Klopouh
References: (Yiamouyiannis, J.A. “Water Fluorida¬tion and Tooth Decay: Results from the 1986-87 National Survey of U.S. Schoolchildren”, Fluoride, 23, 55-67, 1990).
J Appl Microbiol. 2001 Feb;90(2):172-9. Lactic acid bacteria from healthy oral cavity of Thai volunteers: inhibition of oral pathogens.
If you haven’t noticed, vitamin D is all over the news because we continue to learn more and more about it and its interactions in the body. Unlike other vitamins, we are still learning new things about vitamin D all the time because it acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. Its deficiency in the body has severe repercussions, the extent of which we continue to learn and appreciate. In fact, it was reported recently in Alternative Medicine Review that the first RCT (randomized clinical trial) of vitamin D in preventing internal cancers found a 60-percent reduction in such cancers by increasing baseline 25(OH)D levels [the lab test for vitamin D] from 29 ng/mL to 38 ng/mL with 1,100 IU (28 mcg) per day. In other words, increasing vitamin D levels helped to prevent certain cancers.
The review went on to state that, “Besides cancer, vitamin D deficiency is associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, periodontal disease, macular degeneration, mental illness, propensity to fall, and chronic pain. A recent review presented considerable evidence that influenza epidemics, and perhaps even the common cold, are brought on by seasonal deficiencies in antimicrobial peptides (AMP), such as cathelicidin, secondary to seasonal deficiencies in vitamin D. Results of an RCT support the theory, finding 2,000 IU of vitamin D/day for one year virtually eliminated self-reported incidence of colds and influenza. Even the current triple childhood epidemics of autism, asthma, and type 1 diabetes, all of which blossomed after sun-avoidance advice became widespread, might be the tragic and iatrogenic sequela of gestational or early childhood vitamin D deficiencies brought on by medical advice to avoid the sun.”
25-Hydroxyvitamin D Values
50-70 ng/ml or
25-Hydroxyvitamin D lab Values
Your vitamin D level should NEVER be below 32 ng/ml.
Any levels below 20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states and will increase your risk of breast and prostate cancer and autoimmune diseases like MS and rheumatoid arthritis.
Unequivocally, nutrient insufficiency is the most common cause for the body to have a depressed immunity and become a susceptible host that falls prey to an opportunistic infectious agent. Much of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is calorie rich (from sugar and fat) and nutrient poor. Traditionally, studies related to nutritional status were examined as very black or white, i.e. an individual either had severe malnutrition or was healthy. In reality, most people are in a particular shade of gray. Research is now indicating that even marginal nutrient deficiencies can severely impair immunity, moreover, just a single subclinical nutrient deficiency can have a major impact on health. For example, populations of children with marginal vitamin A status have a greater mortality and morbidity compared to populations given vitamin A supplements. The pervasive problem of marginal nutrient deficiency in America (especially among the elderly population) that is leading to weakened immunity can be resolved with simple and relatively inexpensive nutritional supplementation.
The bottom line is that we need consistent support for the immune system during the flu season. In addition to making sure you are doing your part like thoroughly washing your hands (in warm-hot water), making healthy food choices, exercising, resting, and minimizing your stress, check out the following information for nutrient support and maintaining a healthy immune system all season long.
In one study, 35,533 men were randomly assigned to receive 400 IU per day of vitamin E (in the form of alpha-tocopherol) or placebo for an average of 5.5 years, and the men were then followed for a total of approximately 7 years. During that time, the incidence of prostate cancer was significantly higher by 17% in the vitamin E group than in the placebo group.2
Although the study was well designed from a technical standpoint, it suffers from an important weakness, in that the type of vitamin E used was not the same as the vitamin E that occurs in food. Vitamin E is found in food in 4 different forms: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol. However, as is the case with most vitamin E research, the men in this study were given only alpha-tocopherol. Early research suggested that most, if not all, of the biological activity of vitamin E is due to alpha-tocopherol, but it is now known that at least one of the other components-gamma-tocopherol-has important functions. Furthermore, treatment with large doses of alpha-tocopherol has been shown to deplete gamma-tocopherol, potentially upsetting the natural balance of the different forms of vitamin E in the body. “Mixed tocopherols,” on the other hand, a supplement that contains all four types of vitamin E, would not be expected to cause such an imbalance.
In a previous study, both alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells in vitro, but gamma-tocopherol was the more potent of the two.3 In another study, higher blood levels of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol were each associated a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, but the protective effect of gamma-tocopherol was greater than that of alpha-tocopherol.4
Clinical trials that used alpha-tocopherol in doses lower than 400 IU per day did not find an adverse effect on prostate cancer incidence. In a double-blind study of male smokers, compared with placebo, supplementation with 50 IU per day for 5-8 years significantly decreased the incidence of prostate cancer by 32%.5 In a double-blind study of male physicians, supplementation with 200 IU per day (400 IU every other day) for 8 years resulted in a nonsignificant 3% decrease in prostate cancer incidence, compared with placebo.6 Thus, the effect of alpha-tocopherol on prostate cancer appears to be dose-related: protective at low doses (50 IU per day), neutral or modestly protective at intermediate doses (200 IU per day), and harmful at high doses (400 IU per day).
The totality of the evidence suggests that alpha-tocopherol has a protective effect against prostate cancer. However, when alpha-tocopherol is given by itself in large doses (such as 400 IU per day or more), it depletes gamma-tocopherol, which could more than negate any beneficial effect that alpha-tocopherol might have. If that is the case, then taking vitamin E in the form of mixed tocopherols would not be expected to increase prostate cancer risk, and might even help prevent prostate cancer. Further research is needed to examine that possibility.
1 Mursu J, Robien K, Harnack LJ, et al. Dietary supplements and mortality rate in older women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Arch Intern Med 2011;171:1625-1633.
2 Klein EA, Thompson IM Jr, Tangen CM, et al. Vitamin E and the risk of prostate cancer. The Seleniun and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). JAMA 2011;306:1549-56.
3 Saldeen K, Saldeen T. Importance of tocopherols beyond alpha-tocopherol: evidence from animal and human studies. Nutr Res 2005;25:877-889.
4 Helzlsouer KJ, Huang HY, Alberg AJ, al. Association between alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, selenium, and subsequent prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 2000;92:2018-23.
5 Heinonen OP, Albanes D, Virtamo J, et al. Prostate cancer and supplementation with alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene: incidence and mortality in a controlled trial. J Natl Cancer Inst 1998;90:440-446.
6 Gaziano JM, Glynn RJ, Christen WG, et al. Vitamins E and C in the prevention of prostate and total cancer in men: the Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2009;301:52-62.
– See more at: http://www.healthcoachonline.co/health/controversy-on-vitamins/#sthash.uRIgXlbV.dpuf
The average American consumes over 125 grams of sucrose (table sugar) and another 50 grams of refined simple sugars each day. This is significant because it only takes 100 grams of a simple carbohydrate (in the form of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or juice) to drastically reduce the activity of white blood cells (WBCs). White blood cells are the centerpiece to the body’s defense mechanism and in just 30 minutes after consumption of 100 grams of simple carbohydrate there is a 50% reduction in the ability of the WBCs to engulf and destroy foreign particles and microorganisms … and this lasts for over 5 hours!
Several weeks ago, two studies that appeared in medical journals achieved widespread media attention and created concern among people who are using nutritional supplements. One study concluded that the use of multivitamins or of certain individual supplements was associated with small but statistically significant increases in the mortality rate. The other study found that taking vitamin E increased the incidence of prostate cancer. The discussion below explains why neither of these studies has changed my view that nutritional supplements are, for the most part, very safe.
Observational study: “adjusted” data and no proof of cause-and-effect
In one of the studies, 38,772 women (mean age, 62 years) from Iowa filled out a questionnaire three times over an 18-year period regarding dietary supplement use. During a total follow-up period of 22 years, the risk of dying from any cause was said to be 6% higher among women who took a multivitamin supplement than among women who did not take a multivitamin. In addition, the use of individual supplements of vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper were said to be associated with increased mortality rates.1
A potentially serious problem with this study is that the researchers did not report actual mortality rates. Instead they compared “adjusted” mortality rates between supplement users and nonusers, by adjusting for a wide range of factors including caloric intake, cigarette smoking, body mass index, blood pressure, educational level, diabetes, use of hormone-replacement therapy, physical activity, and intake of fruits and vegetables. For each of these factors, the supplement users were in the “healthier” category (for example, less diabetes, less obesity, more physical activity, fewer smokers, and higher intake of fruits and vegetables), and would therefore have been expected to have lower mortality rates than the nonusers. Consequently, the mortality rate of the supplement users was presumably adjusted upward, when compared with the mortality rate of the nonusers. Epidemiology is a relatively crude and inexact science, and it is quite possible that the researchers “over-adjusted” the data, making the mortality rate among supplement users look higher than it really was. When the researchers adjusted the data only for age and caloric intake, there was no statistically significant difference in mortality rate between supplement users and nonusers, a point that was not mentioned in the media coverage of this study.
Another weakness of the study is that it was observational in nature. In contrast to randomized controlled trials, observational studies cannot prove cause-and-effect. There have been a number of instances in the history of medical research in which the results of observational studies were eventually contradicted by randomized controlled trials. For example, numerous observational studies suggested that the use of hormone-replacement therapy by postmenopausal women prevents heart disease, but subsequent randomized controlled trials demonstrated that hormone-replacement therapy either has no effect or actually increases the risk of heart disease.
One of the many potential sources of error in observational studies is what is known as “confounding by indication,” which in the present study would denote a failure to adjust for why the participants were taking nutritional supplements. To be sure, the supplement users were healthier than the nonusers according to the various parameters that the researchers measured. However, the supplement users may have been less healthy than nonusers according to a number of parameters that were not measured. Reasons that people might take nutritional supplements include recurrent migraines, asthma, persistent fatigue, recurrent infections, joint pains, or a family history of heart disease or other diseases. Some of these indications for supplement use may be associated with an increased risk of mortality.
Because of these weaknesses, the new study does not negate previous research demonstrating that vitamins and minerals can have a wide range of health benefits. One exception: the use of iron supplements by people who are not iron-deficient or who carry a gene for iron overload could have adverse consequences.