How Much Vitamin D is Protective?
We have not heard much positive information from the media and medical authorities about taking vitamin D to protect oneself from the coronavirus. In fact, the medical authorities have been deadly silent on the issue, while much of the media we see on the subject actually discourages people from considering vitamin D to be at all protective. For example, the “National Institute for Health and Care Excellence” (NICE) in the UK, just issued this “COVID-19 rapid guideline: Vitamin D” (Dec 17, 2020), in which they stated:
“Adults (including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding), young people and children over 4 years should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 units; also called international units [IU]) of vitamin D between October and early March because people do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight in these months.”
“Do not offer a vitamin D supplement to people solely to prevent COVID-19) except as part of a clinical trial.”
Seriously? They recommend 400 IU of vitamin D daily, an amount most real experts would now consider barely sufficient for a young child.
In order to combat this lack of direction on the part of medical authorities, over 100 scientists, doctors, and leading authorities issued a “Call For Increased Vitamin D Use To Combat COVID-19”. This signed letter is being sent “to all governments, public health officials, doctors, and healthcare workers”, around the world”.
The following is directly from their missive, and includes the amount of vitamin D they recommend most people ingest on a daily basis: “Research shows low vitamin D levels almost certainly promote COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Given its safety, we call for immediate widespread increased vitamin D intakes. Evidence to date suggests the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic sustains itself in large part through infection of those with low vitamin D, and that deaths are concentrated largely in those with deficiency. The mere possibility that this is so should compel urgent gathering of more vitamin D data. Even without more data, the preponderance of evidence indicates that increased vitamin D would help reduce infections, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, & deaths.”
How Much Vitamin D Should We Take?
Recommend to adults vitamin D intake of 4000 IU (100mcg) daily (or at least 2000 IU) in the absence of testing. 4000 IU is widely regarded as safe.
Recommend that adults at increased risk of deficiency due to excess weight, dark skin, or living in care homes may need higher intakes (eg, 2x). Testing can help to avoid levels too low or high.
Recommend that adults not already receiving the above amounts get 10,000 IU (250mcg) daily for 2-3 weeks (or until achieving 30ng/ml if testing), followed by the daily amount above.
In summary, they state: “Many factors are known to predispose individuals to higher risk from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, such as age, being male, comorbidities, etc., but inadequate vitamin D is by far the most easily and quickly modifiable risk factor with abundant evidence to support a large effect.” (Source) (NutriStart Quick D)
Keeping Teeth White
In this section I will look at a few natural approaches to keeping teeth white, as well as addressing why professional dental and commercial tooth bleaching products may not be a good idea.
There are two primary reasons that teeth lose whiteness and can turn yellow, both reasons becoming worse as we age. The first reason is thinning of tooth enamel. Enamel is found in the outer layer of the teeth, and is there to protect the deeper tooth structure. Enamel is colored white, but below the enamel is a layer of tissue known as dentin, which is a yellow/brown color. When the enamel layer starts to thin, the dentin shows through causing the teeth to look more yellow than white.
Tooth enamel is the most highly mineralised substance in the body. This makes it the hardest part of the skeletal structure, consisting of 96% mineral (water and protein accounting for the other 4%). While some people start life with tooth enamel that is naturally thinner than most, for those with normal enamel, thinning occurs due to aging, gum disease, and acidic foods.
Acidic foods include sugars from sweets, refined carbohydrates, dried fruit, soft drinks, iced tea (lemon and sugar, with added citric acid in commercial versions), citrus fruits, and fruit juices. And for those who enjoy the healthful properties of kombucha, or apple cider vinegar drinks, remember that, benefits aside, they are both very acidic in nature. These acidic foods and beverages will cause the pH of saliva to fall into an acid state. This leads to demineralization as tooth enamel slowly dissolves, contributing to yellowing teeth (and cavities).
The obvious solution to the problem of acidic compounds eating away at enamel would be to brush right after ingesting such substances. However, dentists recommend waiting about 30 minutes after eating before brushing. They suggest this because when acidic foods or beverages are consumed the enamel is weakened, and brushing too soon can cause more damage to the enamel.
The real danger of acidic beverages is when we are sipping them all day long (common in the case of athletic and energy drinks, and with little children and juice boxes, not to mention habitual soda drinkers, or those who nurse a heavily sweetened coffee drink daily). This involves having the teeth constantly bathed in an acidic medium. Not good.
One aid to coping with acidity in the oral cavity is to use xylitol. Xylitol (a sugar alcohol that does not function like sugar, does not affect blood sugar levels, and does not feed candida yeast) actually has been shown to help prevent cavities. It does this due to its alkalizing ability. Pure xylitol quickly alkalizes the mouth, protecting the teeth from sugars, and acidic compounds. One source recommends using xylitol gum or mints after eating, drinking, or snacking. (Source)
The second, and more easily remedied, cause of yellowing teeth is simple staining, caused by certain foods and beverages. Foods which cause staining include beets, blueberries (and other dark coloured berries), curry dishes (or anything with appreciable turmeric added), tomato sauce, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar (also acidic). Beverages which can stain teeth include coffee, black tea, red wine, and dark sodas (colas). As well, certain types of antibiotics can affect the colour of teeth.
Oil pulling has been used extensively as a traditional Indian folk remedy for centuries, for strengthening teeth and gums, and to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, and cracked lips.While the American Dental Association puts no faith in oil pulling (“there are no reliable scientific studies to show that oil pulling reduces cavities, whitens teeth, or improves oral health and well-being”), there are countless people who swear by it.
Contrary to the position of the dental association, one study showed that oil pulling (with coconut oil) inhibited plaque formation more effectively, and caused less staining, than a dental plaque-inhibiting mouthwash (chlorhexidine gluconate). (Study) Not a substitute for regular brushing, oil pulling will remove harmful bacteria from the mouth, which protects against gum disease and cavities, and prevents such bacteria from migrating into the bloodstream where it can cause other health issues.
This was confirmed by another study (using sesame oil) which found clear antibacterial action, and concluded that: “The myth that the effect of oil-pulling therapy on oral health was just a placebo effect has been broken and there are clear indications of possible saponification and emulsification process, which enhances its mechanical cleaning action.” (Study)
Proponents of oil pulling believe that, aside from the health benefits, it will also serve to whiten teeth. Simply swish a tablespoon of oil (sesame, coconut, or sunflower are commonly used) in one's mouth for approximately 15-20 minutes (on an empty stomach), and then spit it out. (Source) Though this source recommends oil pulling for a fairly long time, most advocates believe that benefit can also be obtained from pulling for only 5 or 10 minutes.
Some suggest brushing before pulling, though many suggest it is more important to brush afterwards. (Source) It is also debatable whether one should do this daily or only a few times a week. (As a side note, the oil should not be spit into the sink as the oil can cause clogging of the pipes. Instead, the oil should be spit into a trashcan or onto a paper towel.)
Other Whitening Techniques
Brushing with baking soda can polish off stains on the surface of the teeth. Some dentists believe that baking soda is too abrasive, and may erode enamel, but research has indicated that this is not true (though most of the studies I could find were done with toothpaste containing baking soda, and not pure baking soda). Baking soda also helps to fight bacteria, reduces plaque, and helps to prevent tooth decay. (Study)
Papain and bromelain, enzymes found in papayas and pineapples respectively, may both help to whiten teeth. While not commonly found in toothpastes yet, one could purchase the powders and add them to their toothpaste, or dental powder, for further whitening benefit. (Study)
The primary thing one can do to reduce tooth yellowing is to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Regular brushing (at least twice daily),and flossing, protects the enamel, prevents gum decay, and removes simple stains.
Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach commonly used to whiten stained teeth. One site suggests that, “for optimal whitening, a person can try brushing with a mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for 1–2 minutes twice a day for a week. They should only do this occasionally.” (Hydrogen peroxide should be avoided by those with sensitive teeth, as it can increase tooth sensitivity.)
Hydrogen peroxide is the primary bleaching agent in over the counter tooth whitening products, and is used at an even stronger concentration in professional whitening products applied in dental offices.
“The problem with hydrogen peroxide is that it has a cytotoxic effect on the dental pulp cells, which means that it literally kills them. A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Endodontics shows that even low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide trigger molecular mechanisms in pulp cells, which activate programmed cell death.”
“According to another study, even the bleaching protocols used by dentists seem to be harmful for the dental pulp, since the damage in that area is directly correlated to the number of bleaching sessions. Odontoblasts, are directly damaged or show a significant decrease in their metabolic activity as a result of the bleaching sessions using 35% hydrogen peroxide gel. It is believed that this effect may result in tissue irritation and tooth sensitivity. A study published in the journal Scientific World Journal in 2013 shows that the higher the concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the faster it reaches the inner tooth tissues. The authors tested 35% and 20% concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and report that the 35% hydrogen peroxide diffused faster into the pulp chamber than the 20% hydrogen peroxide bleaching gel.”
Lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, however, may have a less toxic effect on dental pulp cells “because there is more time to dilute and degrade the peroxide that reaches the pulp”. And, at the beginning of this section when it was suggested one mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, they are referring to the standard 3% solutions found in pharmacies, which may indeed be safe.
“However, the long-term or even short-term effects of daily use of hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash have never been evaluated. If a few bleaching sessions can cause detectable damage in the dental pulp, then, based on the existing evidence, it is reasonable to assume that using hydrogen peroxide mouthwash on a daily basis may not be the safest option at all.” (Source)
Therefore, hydrogen peroxide should be used judiciously, and only occasionally.
Certain nutrients are essential for supporting tooth, enamel, and gum health. According to one dental expert, the primary nutrients required are calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, D, and K. (Source) This source also mentions the importance of magnesium to prevent blood from becoming too acidic. We also know from studies on the skeletal structure, that bones and teeth both require appreciable amounts of silica and boron, along with sufficient copper and zinc.
At this juncture I will suggest that our Mineral Mix product would be helpful for maintaining tooth and enamel integrity, given it contains all of the above mentioned minerals (except phosphorus which is common in the diet). And, our Liposomal Vitamin C would be the most efficient way to provide vitamin C for strengthening the gums and the soft tissue in the mouth.
Finally, our Quick K2 has an advantage over taking vitamin K2 in a pill. While K2 in a pill (some of which is also in Mineral Mix) is proven to aid in bone density, it is a little known fact that the second highest storage of K2 in the body is found in the salivary glands. The purpose of vitamin K in the mouth was confirmed in a study done in the 1940s, which found that giving children gum containing vitamin K reduced cavity formation. So, vitamin K running through the mouth has an added benefit for dental health that a pill cannot provide. Thus, when using Quick K2 I suggest it be rolled around the mouth for a bit before swallowing.