Issue #36, February 2012

In This Issue:
Listening & Imagination – Oxidative Stress – Diet & Decay

JoAnne’s Motivational Minute

Listening & Imagination

By JoAnne Boettcher-Verigin

Have you seen Once Upon a Time, that TV show about fairy tale characters exiled to a small New England town? Gary and I have watched it a few times, as well as episodes of that other based on fairy tales, Grimm. They’re entertaining shows, yet I can’t help but think that I prefer the stories the way I learned them as a kid: dramatized every Saturday morning on Let’s Pretend.

Listening to the radio was so much fun! It was truly the “theater of the mind.” As we listened, we could conjure up the most amazing scenarios, letting our imaginations run free as we envisioned whole worlds – exotic places; distant times, past and future – all evoked just by sound.

Jack Armstrong, that “All-American Boy,” took us as passengers on his adventures around the world. Lashed to the back of his ship was an amazing creation: the autogyro, precursor of the much less romantic-sounding “helicopter.” How often we imagined flying that craft ourselves!

Or flying with Sky King! We’d picture ourselves beside him in the cockpit as he chased crooks. We’d pretend Penny and Clipper – his niece and nephew – were our good buddies. I even ordered his amazing glow-in-the-dark ring with the special hidden compartment!

Or we’d venture to the Far East with Terry and the Pirates, strange “Oriental” music in the air as we pictured the pirates plotting their devious adventures.

Just as much as I loved listening to these programs, I loved listening to my mother read. When I was very young, she would always read me the Sunday funnies after church. I think Mother had a bit of the dramatic in her, as I could always tell by her voice what sort of action was going on. She’d be Blondie and Dagwood, Little Lulu, the Katzenjammer Kids and, of course, my favorite, Dick Tracy, who had that incredible 2-way wrist radio. Would I ever see anything like that in my lifetime?

Of course, we’ve seen that and plenty more – especially devices for communicating. But the funny thing is that the more ways we’ve invented to talk – email, blogs, social media, smartphones – the less attention we seem to give to listening. We glance at a message and then it’s gone. Communication often seems one way – more about speaking, less about receiving. Yet all of us want to be heard.

If we listen less, do we lose some of our imaginative power, too? I hope not. For imagination is at the root of qualities like empathy. It’s what helps us understand how we’re all connected, how – for all our differences – we share important commonalities, the things that make us human.

And it helps keep us connected.

Read more about how and why “deep listening” matters in this wonderful passage from psychologist Daniel Goleman’s book Social Intelligence.

The man who has no imagination has no wings. – Muhammad Ali

Office News

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Wherever we go, we take everything we’ve even known with us whether we know it or not. – Maya Angelou

Dr. Verigin’s Comment

Biological Medicine in These Transformative Times, Part 2

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

Last time, we looked at some of the new research on cell aging and how these findings validate and reinforce the model of German biological medicine. And what light does this model cast on the disease process? Plenty!

Before we dig in, though, I encourage you again to read – or re-read my short e-book How Illness Happens: An Introduction to the Biological Terrain[PDF], which introduces concepts that underlie the rest of this article. What’s to come may sound complicated, but it’s important to me that you understand the science. Only then can you fully grasp your current health situation, what we need to do to restore the terrain, reverse disease and restore your health and well-being.

Fundamentally, German biological medicine emerges from two theories of the aging process: the oxidative damage theory and the mitochondrial theory.

Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which electrons are lost from molecules of proteins, fats, homotoxins and other elements found within cells. This loss makes the molecules unstable and highly reactive. They’re what we call free radicals. Why “free”? Because they lack the electrons that gave them stability, they’ll bind with anything they can. But while this may improve molecular stability, it damages cells. The older we get, the more damage accumulates – what we call oxidative stress. When we analyze aging cells, we see greater numbers of antioxidant protein molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), which neutralize free radicals. This is a clear sign of the body’s response to oxidative stress.

And where do these ROS come from? They derive from mitochondria – the cellular organelles most responsible for generating ATP, a source of energy. But a vicious oxidation cycle also takes place within. This is of special concern when it comes to transcription factors – proteins that control the flow of information from DNA to the mRNA that delivers your genetic information to your body’s cells. If the biological terrain isn’t healthy, the mitochondrial DNA may be damaged. The resulting dysfunction creates even more free radicals that damage the DNA even more. There may be electromagnetic vibrational impairment, as well.

The end result: mitochondria that can’t produce enough energy to power cellular respiration, which spurs tissue dysfunction and degeneration. Electrons are lost from the electron transport chain that is vital to the production of ROS – a disruption that contributes to even more oxidative damage and decline in mitochondrial function.

Or consider the type of white blood cell called a monocyte. Within a few days of its formation, it migrates to the biological terrain. There, it becomes known as a macrophage, which is absorbed into the extracellular matrix, or ground substance. It’s the only fibrocyte – the mother cell of the living matrix – that can respond to changes in its environment and successfully lay down new ground substance.

In the matrix, every component of your body has its own dynamic, vibratory character. This includes each electron, atom, chemical bond, molecule, cell, tissue and organ – and, of course, your body as a whole. We refer to that character in terms of biological oscillations or resonances, which are organized in meaningful ways. They deliver harmonic information to cells throughout the body. If your body were a factory production line, these resonances would be the foremen.

Human cells

As homotoxins accumulate in the terrain, the fibrocytes become less able to produce physiologic – that is, normal and healthy – ground substance. They still synthesize the material, but that material is unphysiologic and less conducive to the transfer of information among the cells and other structures. Think of how hard communication is for us when we’re trying to have a conversation in a noisy hall. We may mishear the person we’re talking with and, if not corrected, end up acting on bad information. It’s a similar case in the unphysiologic matrix. (Those who want all the down and dirty details can check out James L. Oschman’s Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, which explains these processes at length.)

Such damaged, dysfunctional cells are among the senescent cells at the heart of the research we looked at last time. And what does the medical establishment propose we do? Why, get rid of the cells, of course! Isn’t that what we do with cancer? Kill it? As the Mayo Clinic researchers concluded in their article in Nature,

There were no overt side effects of senescent cell clearance in our model, even though it has been postulated that senescent cells enhance certain types of tissue repair. Our proof-of-principle experiments demonstrate that therapeutic interventions to clear senescent cells or block their effects may represent an avenue for treating or delaying age-related diseases and improving healthy human lifespan. [emphasis added]

This is a far cry from the conclusions of German biological medicine. Instead of attacking “bad” cells from without, it says, “Clean up the terrain so the cells can function as designed. Clean up the terrain so the immune system can respond and clear the body of toxins, including dysfunctional cells.”

Next time, we’ll return to the pioneering work of Dr. Reckeweg and his use of drainage remedies. Rather than suppressing the body’s excretion processes as drugs and other non-biological therapies do, these homeopathic remedies encourage those processes, allowing the body to restore its terrain and return to health.

Life is an echo, what you send out comes back. – Chinese proverb

From Our Blog:

Vegetarianism a Cause of Tooth Decay? Um, No. Not Exactly.

Woman holding fresh produce

Did you hear the one about the “new” study finding “that vegetarians are much more likely to suffer from tooth decay, lower (more acidic) salivary pH levels, and lower stimulated saliva flow than control subjects that were matched by sex and age”?

We did (thank you, Google Alerts). Only the study’s not new. And that’s not exactly what its author found.

But at least the post included a link to the study (PDF) in question, originally published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition not last week or even in 2011 but in 1988.

The article – “Health Aspects of Vegetarian Diets” by Johanna T. Dwyer, DSc, of the New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center) – is a literature review, not a dedicated study of the dental impact of a vegetarian diet. Of the nearly 350 citations it includes, just a handful focus on this issue. Looking at them as a whole, Dwyer found, “There is little evidence that vegetarians have better dental health than do nonvegetarians….Vegetarian diets do not provide any distinct dental advantage over nonvegetarian diets.”

No better dental health. No advantage.

So how do we get from there to the headline “New Study: Vegetarians Have More Tooth Decay” (emphasis added)?

One study Dwyer looked at did find a higher rate of “dental erosions on some tooth surfaces, lower salivary pH levels, and lower stimulated saliva flow” among lactovegetarians (i.e., vegetarians who eat dairy). Other studies noted how fruit juices and acidic foods can erode teeth, which is hardly news these days. Yet, according to another study Dwyer cites,

If acid fruits and vegetables are eaten in conjunction with or after other foods rather than frequently between meals and their consumption is coupled with good oral hygiene, they pose little danger to dental health….

To then conclude that vegetarianism in general increases tooth decay is quite a leap.

Bottom line: A vegan diet is neither inherently better or worse for your teeth than a diet that includes meat, dairy, fish and eggs. What matters is the specific composition of the diet – along with eating and hygiene habits, as we noted in our previous post on raw food diets and tooth decay:

We regularly see new clients who eat a raw food diet to enhance their health. Yet when we examine their teeth, it is not uncommon to find a lot of decay. This often comes as a surprise to the client. Indeed, it seems counterintuitive when you consider that a raw food diet forgoes all processed foods and is often rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Why should these clients suffer dental problems?

Part of the cause can be dietary – such as a high sugar intake from an overabundance of fruits, especially in dried form. But part is also behavioral. In fact, there is one commonality we see amongst all raw foodists with tooth decay: a tendency to “graze,” eating small portions throughout the day. This habit – regardless of the type of diet one consumes – greatly increases the risk of developing tooth decay, especially around the gumline.


Carbohydrates tend to cling to tooth enamel more than fats and proteins do – especially around the base of the teeth, where food particles more easily can get stuck. There, they feed the oral microbes that form the biofilm often still called “plaque.” As these microbes colonize, their metabolic byproducts acidify the oral environment. Ideally saliva neutralizes it, but when biofilm covers the oral surfaces, it can’t do the job.

These acidic conditions peak for about 20 to 30 minutes, but if a person is grazing throughout the day, they’re effectively nursing the problem, ensuring that conditions remain acidic and the biofilm is allowed to proliferate. Together, these greatly increase the risk of cavity formation.

That grazing is an issue was pounded home to us a while back, when a woman brought her twin boys to us for their dental care. One of the boys had excellent teeth while the other had rampant caries (cavities). Yet both ate the same diet, which included a muffin a breakfast each morning. How each boy ate it made all the difference: the one with no caries ate his muffin all at once, while the other saved his to nibble from throughout the day.

Same diet. Different eating behaviors. Different outcomes.

[See also “Making the Good Look Bad (& the Worse Look Better).”]

Good dental health – like good systemic health – depends on eating a nutrient-rich and varied diet. All the nutrients most essential to dental health – antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, zinc, trace minerals, vitamin D and protein – can be found in both plant and animal sources. Both vegans and meat-eaters alike should control the amount of sugars, high-acid foods and sugars they eat. Both groups should, at minimum, brush and floss after meals and avoid grazing through the day.

The moral of the story? Read carefully. And with curiosity. Follow links. Learn more.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France

Image credits (via Flickr)

Copyright ©. Gary M. Verigin, D.D.S., inc. All Rights Reserved. California State Licensed General Dentist.
Disclaimer: We make no claim of providing superior services, nor do we guarantee any specific outcomes from the services we provide.