The Perfect Teeth of Prehistoric Humans

Various scholars of prehistory have given us photographs of prehistoric skulls with sets of perfect teeth in place. The degeneration in dental health that has occurred over the many centuries from the hunter-gatherer people to the current American population is truly appalling. Today, an adult with no or few dental problems is a rarity. Are there some dental-care lessons to be found in a study of prehistoric skulls? The following overview of a series of episodes from recent history suggests that the answer is “Yes.”

Weston A. Price

An appropriate beginning for a study of why prehistoric humans had such good dental health is the work of Weston A. Price1. Dr. Price received his dental degree from the University of Michigan in 1893. As a student, he was impressed by the excellent condition of the teeth found in prehistoric skulls, but he was even more interested in their well formed facial features and dental arches, which were not commonly seen in modern societies.

Early in his practice, he became interested in the effect of nutrition on dental health. To that end, in the early 1900s, he embarked on a ten-year global expedition with his wife to compare the health and prevalence of dental disease in isolated ethnic groups who were still living on their primitive diets with matched groups of the same stocks who were routinely consuming “white man’s” food.

Price’s remarkable document Nutrition and Physical Degeneration1 presents in photographic detail many examples of the generational loss of well-formed facial anatomy and healthy, well-placed teeth found in skulls of prehistoric hunter-gatherers.

The isolated descendents who maintained the primitive dietary regimes of their prehistoric ancestors also maintained their ancestors’ excellent dental health. In contrast, descendents who switched to white man’s food not only had malformed dental arches and teeth rampant with dental caries but also had a number of other serious medical and physical problems.

The Primitive Diet:

Price identified fourteen tribal diets that differed widely in composition but all of which conferred almost complete immunity to tooth decay and resistance to illness. Some of the healthful diets were based on sea foods and others on domestic animals or dairy foods; regardless of source, all contained animal products of some kind. Some contained no plant foods while others included a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Some diets were eaten cooked and others eaten raw. Preservation methods among the primitive groups included drying, salting, and fermenting.

Price analyzed the primitive diets and found that all contained at least four times the water soluble vitamins and minerals than the current modern diets and at least ten times the amount of fat soluble vitamins from animal fats, including vitamins A, D, and Price’s Activator X.

Components of the modern diets that were totally absent from the primitive diets were white sugar and flour, canned foods of all varieties, pasteurized or skimmed milk, and refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Price’s Activator X:

Price was never able to chemically identify his Activator X except to show that it was not vitamins A or D. Analytical chemistry of 100 years ago was quite limited in the kinds of chemical structures it could identify. Price found Activator X did give a positive result in iodometric titration, which he used to quantify Activator X in various foods. He found it in butterfat, marine oils, organ meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, fish eggs, and animal tallows. Price noted that Activator X activity was especially increased in butter from cows who ate rapidly growing grass in spring and fall pasturage.

Regeneration of Teeth Damaged by Modern Diet:

An important discovery made by Price in his studies was that dental caries are reversible if the host changed to a primitive diet and supplemented with Activator X. Such dietary change also stimulated new dentine formation to cover and protect any teeth that had exposed pulp. These data were in accord with the concept that the human body is capable of self healing if given the proper nutrition

Michael and Mary Dan Eades

The second visit in our study of why prehistoric humans had such good dental health is Protein Power2by the Doctors Michael and Mary Dan Eades. In addition to their medical skills, the Eades brought the wisdom from their studies of biochemistry, anthropology, and paleopathology to their weight loss practice. This combination of philosophies provided the Eades with a rare understanding of the relationship of nutrition with insulin and obesity and ultimately with all of the chronic inflammatory diseases associated with the modern American diet.

Restricted Carbohydrates:

The Eades devised a restricted-carbohydrate nutritional plan for weight loss that proved to be highly successful in their practice. This nutritional plan was the antithesis of dietary recommendations for treatment of obesity practiced by the medical profession at the time. The reader may be prompted to ask at this point, “What has the highly successful weight loss practice of the Eades to do with the perfect teeth of prehistoric humans?” The answer is that among its many benefits, the restricted carbohydrate of the Eades’ nutritional plan will eventually be accepted as a prerequisite not only for the development of perfect teeth but also for optimal health

A Natural Law for Optimal Human Health:

The nutritional program designed by the Eades contained the core of a nutritional truth that had been long awaiting recognition. It was the major force in the evolutionary diet; it expressed itself many times in human development throughout the millennia. And, interestingly, it almost became accepted as a natural law for optimal human health at the time of William Banting3. That core of nutritional truth is, very simply, “optimal human health requires restriction of carbohydrate intake” with the additional caveat of “the least amount the better.”

Egyptian Mummies:

While writing Protein Power, Eades discovered the paleopathology of the early Egyptian agricultural community. The data from the Egyptian studies contrasted hugely with those from hunter-gatherer predecessors. The Egyptian revelations supported the Eades’ conjecture that the benefits of low-carbohydrate nutrition would reach far beyond treatment of obesity. Fortunately for the general public, the discovery was sufficiently timely to permit the Eades to include the expanded group of disorders prevented or healed by Protein Power’s nutritional design in the first edition of Protein Power.

Dr. Mike’s Blog:

The tremendous excitement that accompanied the discovery of the Egyptian data can only be appreciated by reading Dr. Mike’s Blog “Books That Changed My Life4. A brief excerpt follows:

“Mummy Powder, Mummy Blood” (from Napolean’s Glands) was about early paleopathologists, who autopsied ancient Egyptian mummies, and about their modern counterparts who were continuing those studies with much more sophisticated equipment, including X-ray and CT studies and, believe it or not, even labwork. These mummy autopsies revealed that ancient Egyptians were crawling with parasites, had dental caries and even a fair amount of arthritis. In reading through the roll call of these disorders, the following sentence leaped out at me:

‘Blood-vessel disease was common, contrary to assumptions that it rises from urban stress and a modern high-fat diet.’

As I recall, I was starting to get a little sleepy, but I bolted alert when I read then reread this sentence. I remembered reading somewhere that the ancient Egyptian diet was heavy in carbohydrates, and I started wondering…

Wide awake, I raced through the rest of the chapter and on to the next – “Dry Bones, the Unwritten Past” – about the diagnosis of ancient disease through skeletal remains. I was hooked. I flipped to the back of the book where, to my absolute delight, I discovered a bibliography listing a host of sources and journals that theretofore had been completely unknown to me. I was unable to sleep, so I got up, went down to our library and rummaged through all our books I could find on Ancient Egypt. There were a few, and all seemed to confirm that the early Egyptian people, the ones whose mummies I had just been reading about, did indeed subsist on a diet heavy in carbohydrate, primarily wheat.

A Test of Nutritional Scientific Validity:

The criteria for concluding that a nutritional finding is scientifically valid include: 1) it is not in conflict with known scientific fields of knowledge; 2) it is explainable by known sciences such as biochemistry; and 3) it is highly reproducible and survives the passage of time.

Kris Gunners of authoritynutrition.com recently posted “6 Reasons to Stop Calling Low-Carb a ‘Fad’ Diet5. In this article, Kris analyzed the data from over 20 studies comparing low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. All of the studies were randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of science, and all were published in respected, peer-reviewed journals. The low-carbohydrate diet was beneficial in all studies, whereas the low-fat diet was ineffective in all studies.

It is time for nutritional science to accept the nutritional plan of Protein Power as valid science and to start studying the whys and wherefores of individual biochemical responses to dietary carbohydrates. Continued repetition of failed experimental studies in an attempt eventually to get an acceptable answer to justify the high carbohydrate diet is counterproductive.

Modern Dental Health

The book selected as the text for the third stopover in our study of the perfect teeth of prehistoric humans is Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye (KYDG) by Ellie Phillips, DDS6. It was recommended for our study by a friend who said it discussed preventive dental care and included mention of current work on regeneration and remineralization of damaged (carietic) teeth.

What Makes Imperfect Teeth?

The question of why prehistoric humans had perfect teeth begs the question of what makes imperfect teeth. Whatever the circumstances are that trigger dental diseases, they must have been absent or inhibited in prehistoric humans. Modern dentistry has had ample time and ample material to determine the many requisites for caries formation. Consideration of what causes dental disease may shed light on circumstances not existing for prehistoric humans.

Acid Oral Environment:

There seems to be a general consensus that the direct cause of dental disease is acidic saliva that softens the enamel and encourages growth of harmful bacteria that produce dental caries. Conditions that favor acidic saliva include poor dental hygiene, illness and medications, chronic or acutely stressful personal situations, and aging.

In a normal, healthy mouth, the saliva that bathes the teeth is released from salivary glands by typical mouth movements and by chewing action. This saliva is non-acidic or slightly alkaline. Periodic excursions of saliva into the acidic range are normally returned to alkalinity by normal saliva flow within a short period.

The role of diet:

There seem to be no strong opinions about the influence of diet on dental health other than that the diet should include herbs, vegetables, and, fruits to create an alkaline environment in the body and presumably in the saliva. There seems to be no concern about dietary carbohydrate intake except for a few low-carbohydrate advocates who see other benefits of low-carbohydrate dieting. Any dental problem from consumption of sugars and starches is considered to be due to topical fermentation of residues left in the mouth after eating.

Infection:

The position of modern dentistry is that dental caries are caused by specific (harmful) bacteria in numbers that exceed the numbers of friendly (protective) bacteria. Growth of harmful bacteria is stimulated by acidic mouth and by sugar and starches if they are permitted to ferment in the mouth. Harmful bacteria produce their own acid environment in the mouth and are the cause of various dental diseases.

Dental Plaque:

With regard to the study of why prehistoric humans had perfect teeth, the chapter entitled Plaque6 is the most rewarding. It tells of the discovery in 1890 of a film that covers the teeth and surfaces in the mouth. This film, a complex organization of many kinds of bacteria, protein strands, and a variety of other substances, fluids, and cells, was named dental plaque. By 1900, dental plaque became associated with the harmful bacteria that caused caries. The visible sign of plaque was a hard white deposit on teeth along the gum line made by a film infected with harmful bacteria.

It was ultimately decided that plaque was the cause of caries; thus, began a war on plaque that exists to this day. Patients were instructed to brush vigorously daily to prevent plaque buildup and to have the teeth cleaned at least every six months to scrape away any plaque buildup under the gum line. This attack on plaque damaged the biofilm and unknowingly created oral environments that promoted dental disease.

During the 1970s, dental research began to consider that if dental plaque infected with pathogenic bacteria caused dental disease, perhaps a healthy, non-infected plaque might protect against disease. Throughout the decades, microbiologists had studied the thousands of microorganisms that inhabited plaque and found that the majority, by far, were beneficial organisms that protected against dental disease. In this period, the concept of a healthy, protective oral biofilm was born. In 1994, P.D. Marsh proposed:

…in order for a mouth to be truly healthy, the bacteria in it need to be healthy…harmful germs exist only when a shift in mouth chemistry encourages acid-producing bacteria to grow… in a healthy mouth, bacteria do not need to be removed because they are, in fact, healthy and protective6, p73.

Concurrently and independently, research by biochemists into the causes and treatment of dental diseases was motivated by the fact that in modern society periodontal diseases are among the most prevalent of human diseases. In 20017, an investigation of inflammatory processes found that mucosal epithelial cells provide a first line of defense against bacterial invasion and infection. The details of “a previously unappreciated ‘molecular shield’ for protection of mucosal surfaces against pathogenic organisms and endotoxins” seem to describe the “oral biofilm” of dental practice.

It is important to note here that, although oral biofilms are specific to periodontal diseases, it appears that all mucous membranes throughout the body harbor a number of antimicrobial factors that form protective barriers or films.

Essential Fatty Acids and Their Eicosanoids-Docosanoids

The recognition of the protective role of the oral biofilm in dental health brings the study of the teeth of prehistoric humans to a relatively unexplored section of nutritional biochemistry, namely, the metabolism of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and their end-product eicosanoids and docosanoids (20- and, 22-carbons respectively)8.

The EFAs consist of two families, the omega-6 family and the omega-3 family. The omega-6 family has its first double bond between carbons six and seven from the terminal carbon of the carbon chain. The omega-3 family has it first double bond between carbons three and four. These are termed essential fatty acids because the human body is incapable of biosynthesizing them.

The total daily consumption of EFAs varies widely worldwide. However, the total daily consumption is of lesser importance than the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet. The ideal ratio is considered to be about 1:1. A ratio greater than about 4:1 is a serious risk factor for essentially all chronic inflammatory diseases. The ratio in the average American diet is between 10:1 and 20:1.

Although the metabolism of the essential fatty acids and their eicosanoid end products have been of little general interest in the nutrition community, certain lipid mediators from the eicosanoid family, notably the prostaglandins, have been the subject of intensive investigation for many decades. In 1982, the Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine was granted to Sune Bergstrom, Sir John Vane, and Bengt Samuelson of the Karolinska Institute for elucidation of the very complex structures of the prostaglandins (so named because they were first found in prostate tissue).

During the past few decades, study of the very complex structures, functions, actions, and interrelationships among lipid mediators in the numerous subgroups of eicosanoid and docosanoid biochemicals has progressed actively with little notice from nutritional science. With this research, a new field of biochemical science labeled lipidomics has emerged – virtually unnoticed.

Lipidomics

From the EFAs of nutritional science, we turn to the EFAs of lipodomics for the final contribution to our study of why prehistoric humans had such good dental health. Lipidomics explains the very complex biochemistry and functions of EFAs and their eicosanoids-docosanoids system.

Eicosanoids and docosanoids, also called lipid mediators, constantly moni­tor and adjust internal functions to maintain normal bodily stability (homeostasis). They also maintain physiological stability by controlling a large number of body functions. Some examples are regulation of blood pressure, gastric mucosal secretion, and gestation and parturition in pregnancy. The eicosanoid control system governs the biochemistry by which health or disease is determined. Lipid mediator imbalance caused by dietary excesses of omega-6 EFAs is involved in the development of essentially all chronic inflammatory diseases.

Lipidomics tells us that prehistoric humans evolved with this very elaborate control system that constantly monitored the body for any sign of anything abnormal. This was a self-healing system that was constantly working on maintenance and repair. It was responsible for protecting not only the health of his mouth and teeth but also his whole body. This splendid self-healing system, like prehistoric man himself, was the product of the restricted-carbohydrate and bountiful omega-3 EFAs nutrition of the hunter-gather life.

Lipidomics discovered the marvelous self-healing system with which man evolved from research on chronic inflammatory diseases. Lipidomic study of inflammatory processes revealed countless very complex and never-before-known biochemicals synthesized from EFAs that eventually could only be explained by the prehistoric self-healing system.

The degeneration of the remarkable prehistoric self-healing system apparently occurred with the change from hunter-gatherer nutrition to that of plant-based agriculture exemplified by the early Egyptian civilization. The self-healing system is generally unrecognized today because it does not function in people who have flawed nutrition.

With proper and dedicated nutritional treatment, lipidomics is proving that the system can be revitalized.

An Overview of the Eicosanoid-Docosanoid System:

Charles Serhan, who began his postdoctoral career with Dr. Samuelson prior to the 1982 Nobel award, has been the principal investigator during the long journey through very complex lipid biochemistry to final acceptance of the new science of lipidomics, a branch of the larger discipline of metabolomics.

In 2005, Serhan published a seminal paper discussing a decade of progress in eicosanoid research and announcing discovery of lipid mediators of endogenous anti-inflammation and resolution9. Once thought to be merely a passive process, resolution (healing) of inflammation was shown by the work of Serhan and colleagues to be an active biochemical process that does not occur automatically but must be initiated in order to proceed.

The lipid mediators reported by Serhan were anti-inflammatory, pain-moderating, and pro-healing eicosa­no­ids that began to be discovered and described in the 1990s. They were new pro-resolving lipid mediators. As a group, they are referred to as lipid autacoids or lipid mediators, and are individually identified as lipoxins (LXs), derived from arachidonic acid (AA), and resolvins (RvEs and RvDs), protectins (PDs), and maresins (MaRs), derived from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The biochemical mechanisms for prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases are extremely complex and difficult for all but scientists working in the field to comprehend. However, in layman’s words, it is known that the major cause of chronic inflammation that leads to chronic disease is primarily nutritional. In simplest terms, inflammation is the result of a dietary imbalance of EFAs and their lipid mediators.

An existing chronic inflammatory disease will progress unabated until the contributory nutritional failing is remedied. Until that time, the body makes every effort to make repairs with what materials it has available. It is in this period that scar tissue or the equivalent, depending on the tissue involved, is formed in an attempt to stop damage. It is not until the body is provided with ample dietary EPA and DHA, the lipid mediators described above, inflammation will begin to diminish and healing will commence.

These discoveries are tremendously important because they describe the nutritional need for these essential fatty acids and explain the biochemical processes that end inflammation, initiate healing, protect involved tissues, control pain, and return damaged tissues to homeostasis8.

Dental Disease as an Inflammatory Disease10:

Periodontal diseases are chronic inflammatory diseases initiated by bacterial infection of the oral protective film and mucosa of the mouth. Dental disease, as with all inflammatory diseases, is a failure of pathways of resolution to heal the infected biofilm and mucosa and return them to homeostasis. Healing cannot occur if the body does not have available in the diet the lipid mediators described by Serhan. Anti-inflammatory and proresolving mechanisms are the only successful approach to prevention or elimination of dental diseases.

Re-Emergence of Activator X:

As biochemical science became more acquainted with the emerging science of lipidomics, the obvious similarity between omega-3 essential fatty acids and Activator X became obvious to scientists versed in organic chemistry. However, in 2008, in an exhaustively researched paper11, Masterjohn rejected an EFA as Activator X because

…neither the distribution of unsaturated fatty acids in foods nor their chemical behavior corresponds to that of Activator X…Moreover, Price tested Activator X by quantifying the ability of a food to oxidize iodide to iodine; essential fatty acids, however, do not possess this chemical ability.

The first part of the statement does not appear to be in accord with a careful reading of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration1; however, that the second part is obviously wrong is explained by organic chemistry. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are notoriously subject to oxidation. An iodometric titration, as employed by Price, is used currently to quantitate oxidized polyunsaturated fatty acids in lipid emulsions12.

Interestingly, despite the remarkable and convincing data developed by lipidomics, a survey of Paleo-fitness blogs reveals that it is still generally accepted in the Paleo community that Price’s Activator X is indeed vitamin K2. A discussion of why vitamin K2 does not qualify for consideration as Price’s Activator X is beyond the scope of this paper other than to mention that vitamin K2 quite logically can serve along with other nutrients as an element in tooth remineralization, but it cannot function as a lipid mediator to initiate and govern the healing process as Price’s Activator X appeared to do.

It is unfortunate that once erroneous information is disseminated to an accepting public, it is difficult to correct. Vitamin K2 is important in calcium metabolism and can help prevent or reverse tissue deposition of calcium, but it is deceptive to credit it with the power of Activator X to heal inflammatory diseases.

It would appear, based on the work of Serhan and Van Dyke, that AA, EPA, DHA comprise Price’s Activator X. It is evident that Activator X was actually this small class of EFAs, each designed to respond to a specific manifestation of inflammation. EPA and DHA are often considered as a biochemical pair because of their cyclic relationship in Sprecher’s Shunt8, p.183.

Prehistoric Human’s Dental Hygiene

The perfect teeth of prehistoric humans are illustrative of a miracle of life about which the average person of today is totally unaware, namely our inborn, steady-state, self-healing system. It is not just responsible for maintaining a healthy mouth but also for healing any and all chronic inflammatory diseases that afflict the body. The main reason that self healing is not recognized in modern society is that it seldom seen because it requires optimal nutrition to work. Neither the Food Guide Pyramid nor the Eat-What-Makes-You-Happy nutritional philosophies provide optimal nutrition.

Prehistoric humans also were not aware of the wonderful self-healing system within themselves, but they benefited from its existence because they had no choice. Their nutrition, like themselves, was prescribed by their environment. The evolutionary diet was the diet that described the optimum nutrition for humans.

The development of perfect prehistoric teeth, however, had its beginning much earlier in life – actually at birth. In the prehistoric setting, the original transfer of oral microflora to the sterile infant mouth must have occurred almost immediately after birth because of the role of the mother’s mouth in infant cleaning and feeding.

The quality of dental health in the prehistoric neonate depended, as it does in modern babies, on the kinds of oral microorganisms, protective or harmful, transferred to them. The oral biofilms of prehistoric neonates were formed with a predominance of friendly, protective microorganisms that were representative of the average of the tribe. They were kept in healthful microbial composition in the newborn by daily transfer of premasticated food from mother’s mouth.

Finally, perfect prehistoric teeth would not have been achievable without the existence of the anti-inflammatory, pro-resolution, lipid mediator system that constantly monitored and mended occasional insults. “Disease is the Failure to Heal,” and it is nutrition that controls the human healing process.

Post Script

Shortly after completion of this article, the following conclusion appeared in a research abstract in the June 26 issue of the Journal of Dental Research13:

In this randomized controlled trial, aspirin-triggered DHA supplementation significantly improved periodontal outcomes in people with periodontitis, indicating its potential therapeutic efficacy.

References

  1. Price WA. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Los Angeles, CA: Keats Publishing, 1998.
  2. Eades MR, Eades MD. Protein Power, Paperback Edition. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1999.
  3. Banting, W. Letter on Corpulance.
  4. Eades MR. Books That Changed My Life.
  5. Gunners K. 6 Reasons to Stop Calling Low-Carb a ‘Fad’ Diet.
  6. Phillips E. Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye. Austin TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2010.
  7. Canny G, et al. Lipid mediator-induced expression of bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI) in human mucosal epithelia.PNAS, 2002; 99(6):3902–7.
  8. Ottoboni A, Ottoboni F. The Modern Nutritional Diseases and How to Prevent Them. Fernley, NV: Vincente Books, 2013.
  9. Serhan CN. Lipoxins and aspirin-triggered 15-epi-lipoxins are the first mediators of endogenous anti-inflammation and resolution. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids. 2005; 73:141-162.
  10. Fredman G. Impaired phagocytosis in localized aggressive Peridontitis: rescue by resolvin E1. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6(9):e24422.
  11. Masterjohn C. On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved. Spring, 2008; Wise Traditions.
  12. Steger PJ, Mühlebach SF. In vitro oxidation of i.v.lipid emulsions in different all-in-one admixture bags assessed by an iodometric assay and gas-liquid chromatography. Nutrition. 1997; 13(2):133-40.
  13. Naqvi AZ, et al. Docosahexaenoic Acid and Periodontitis in Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Dent Res. 2014;93(8):767-773.

18 Responses to “The Perfect Teeth of Prehistoric Humans”

  1. Very nice read. I’m familiar with Masterjohn’s work on Vitamin K2 and have Price’s landmark book but (shame on me) have not read it yet.

    Looking on WAPF’s website (http://goo.gl/Vbzvoj), it’s said that “Cod liver oil is much richer than butter in essential fatty acids including EPA, and the oils of plant seeds are even richer in these fats, but Price found little, if any, Activator X in these foods”. Since you argue against this notion by saying “The first part of the statement does not appear to be in accord with a careful reading of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”, could you point me to specific sections in Price’s work/book supporting that?

    Your re-assessement of Activator X is quite bold & interesting, making me realize I never questioned the fact that it may not actually be K2. Maybe you can help convince me, one way or the other!

    Do you think it is possible that activator X is the resulting interplay of EFAs & the A, D & K trio? Or is your hypothesis & Masterjohn’s mutually exclusive?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Many thanks, Raphi, for your kind words and your thoughtful comments. We hope we can answer your concerns.

    First however, we want you to know that although we reject Masterjohn’s decision that Price’s Activator X was vitamin K2, we applaud the excellent and comprehensive job he did in reviewing the literature on the K vitamins. It is a great and valuable resource for nutritional science.

    There are more than a few biochemical and physiological reasons for why we disagree that K vitamins were Price’s Activator X. As a start, vitamin K1, the most available of the K vitamins, displays no Activator X activity at all. The best dietary sources of vitamin K2 (as MK-7), which does mimic the tooth remineralization effect of Activator X, are fermented foods and hard cheeses. Some K1 may be converted to K2 in the body, but recent data indicate that K2 must be consumed preformed.

    As you read Price’s remarkable document, you will note that Price very carefully examines and explains the composition of the 14 or so primitive diets he studied. He did note that a few of the 14 groups employed fermentation as a preservative, but apparently fermented foods had no place in his judgments about Activator X. We also do not recall that cheeses played a significant role in primitive diets or in the diets he designed for his clinical trials.

    About the WAPF’s website, butter has never been a competitor of cod liver oil for EPA content. Butter is the complete milk fat (saturated plus unsaturated) designed by nature for total support of survival and growth of neonates during their first few months of life. We are disappointed in the statement “… the oils of plant seeds are even richer… in essential fatty acids including EPA” because we thought WAPF knew better.

    Plant seed oils have mega-concentrations of omega-6 linoleic acid and no, or insignificant, concentrations of omega-3 DHA. It is critical for people interested in their health to know that omega-3 essential fatty acids are almost exclusively animal fats; to avoid consumption of vegetable oils; and to be aware of the amount of their intake of omega-3 EFAs.

    Yes, Raphi, we consider that Activator X is the “resulting interplay” of the lipid mediators derived from the essential fatty acids (AA, EPA, and DHA) and perhaps others yet to be discovered. Nevertheless, for the interplay to work, carbohydrates must be restricted, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio must be balanced, and micronutrients, such as vitamins A, D, and Ks, must be adequate to supply the materials needed for maintenance and repair.

    Finally, do we consider that Masterjohn’s view of Activator X and ours are mutually exclusive?
    Sorry, but we cannot evaluate that because we have no idea if Masterjohn has any interest in or knowledge of the eicosanoid-docosanoid system mechanisms.

    Reply
  3. Absolutely, “use of ALA labelled with radioisotopes suggested that with a background diet high in saturated fat conversion to long-chain metabolites is approximately 6% for EPA and 3.8% for DHA” [PMID9637947]. Not many docs know this (in my experience) so I doubt the public will any time soon.

    Also, this is the problem with WAPF: tons of great nutritional advice & then they drop some homeopathic nonsense. The field of nutrition is TERRIBLE in terms of scientific rigor. Nonetheless, I chose it hehe!

    Amongst your references, is there a direct comparisons of EPA, DHA & AA’s “Activator X” activity vs that of K2’s alone using metabolic metrics?

    Reply
    • Hi Raphi,

      When we were writing the first edition of our book, it was commonly accepted that the Delta-6 Desaturase (D-6 D) enzyme was a very sluggish enzyme. D-6 D is the first step in the metabolic chain of the EFAs. It works on both omega-6 linoleic acid and omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid to remove 2 adjacent hydrogen atoms and replace them with a double bond. If the D-6 D reaction does not work well, the metabolites produced lower down in the chain will be meager or absent. The figures you give are approximately the amounts of EPA and DHA generally assumed to be accurate.

      At the time of our first edition, it was estimated that a person would have to increase their intake of alpha-linolenic acid by 10-fold in order to get adequate EPA and DHA. In the second edition of our book, we therefore recommend classifying EPA and DHA as essential fatty acids (1, pp 177, 190). You are right that most docs do not know this, but apparently neither do the Paleo-fitness folk.

      About comparing EFAs with K2, we never thought of K2 as Activator X. We thought of K2 primarily as a calcium-tissue blocker. It prevents deposition of calcium in soft tissues, notable in blood vessels and cardiac valves. Thus, we cannot help you with any references you require.

      Incidentally, the field of nutrition is a good choice.

      1.) Ottoboni A, Ottoboni F. The Modern Nutritional Diseases and How to Prevent Them. Fernley, NV:
      Vincente Books, 2013.

      Reply
  4. michael goroncy

    Although I became toothless by age 25 (better with no teeth than rotting ones) and dental topics hold no interest. It’s more than likely that that the inflammation created in the (tooth period) caused systemic disease, which in turn led to negative health consequences that followed.

    But! I am here to address “Plant Seed Oils”
    I actually don’t consume any, although Flax oil may be an exception as far as 6/3 ratio is concerned.
    It contains 52%-62% omega 3 (alpha linolenic)
    10ml has 5.3g of omega 3 and 1.4g of omega 6

    Even though it has no EPA or DHA, it is not a villain.

    Reply
    • Good to hear from you, Michael. Hope you are doing well now.

      Do not worry about the dental part of the post. Instead read from the Lipodomics section through to the end. This will describe the self-healing system we all have within us. It works for ALL chronic inflammatory diseases. It can only help you.

      You are right about flax oil – very high omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) compared to omega-6 linoleic acid (LA). Flax seeds and fax oil are exceptions, along with chia seeds, to the proscription against seed oils. There is a problem, though. It appears as though there is only one omega-3 fatty acid that can counter the inflammatory effect of linoleic acid. That one is EPA. Thus, LA is always a villain – unless accompanied by EPA.

      Flax oil contains no EPA and the amount of EPA produced from ALA is minimal (see reply to Raphi). To be on the safe side always take an amount of fish oil (or krill if you prefer) equal to that of flax oil along with the flax oil.

      The villainous nature of LA is its carcinogenicity. Go Ketopia post “Prevention of Breast, Prostate, and Colorectal Cancer” (http://ketopia.com/prevention-breast-prostate-colorectal-cancers/#more-1920) for an explanation. Read the sections “Cancer Risk Number 1” and “Cancer Barrier Number One.” Any questions? Let us know.

      Reply
  5. Maybe you missed this “use of ALA labelled with radioisotopes suggested that with a background diet high in saturated fat conversion to long-chain metabolites is approximately 6% for EPA and 3.8% for DHA”.

    Translation: ALA as a precursor source of EPA & DHA appears terribly inadequate in humans.

    Reply
  6. Joe Caruso

    My wife suffered from persistent gum disease over a 5-year period. She dreaded the dentist and no matter what medicine and treatment they provided, nothing stopped the steady deterioration of her gums. Last year, I started a LCHF GF diet and she jumped on board. Reluctantly at first because of her media-driven fear of Fat. Well, lo and behold, her last visit to the dentist, 6 months after the nutritional switch, left her and her dentist dumbstruck! Her gums were totally rejuvenated with only minimal signs of any previous distress. The dentist actually called her staff in to witness the improvement. No one could believe it. My wife explained the dietary shift and they all shook their heads in disbelief. It’s a simple choice: invest in good nutrition or waste your money on modern medicine.

    Reply
  7. Bless you, Joe, for sharing your story of the wonderful relief from gum disease your wife experienced after changing to a LCHF GF diet. You will never know how many people you will have helped by telling your story. We have seen it happen so many times that just the little push from someone else’s success with LCHF starts a whole new life for some other suffering soul. It is not only dental problems but the whole host of chronic inflammatory diseases including reversal of type-2 diabetes that the body can cope with and repair if given the right nutrition.

    You will never regret the dietary change, Joe. Healing is not a rapid process. Some chronic conditions may take a matter months or years to mend. So keep heart and enjoy. It can only get better.

    Reply
  8. One of the first benefits I noticed when I went low carb was that dental cleanings were a breeze, with almost no plaque, which my long time hygienist was quite surprised by considering how much I tended to have before on the SAD diet.

    Reply
    • Alice and Fred Ottoboni

      Hi, Chris,

      We have read several of Liberman’s books. Which are you referring to?

      Reply
  9. So, for the uneducated caveman who read through this whole page and still dont understand AA or DHL etc etc.

    Switching diets to cut out as many Carbs as possible, Enjoy fatty foods as much as possible, get tablets for A D and K2 vitimins as well as Omega 3, and the body will start to repair years of damage??

    When cooking, we tend to use a lot of vegitable oil in our house, I couldnt work out if this is a very bad idea or not.
    Thanks for you help Alice and or Fred 🙂

    Reply
  10. Many thanks, Mark, for the courage to tell us that you do not understand this post. If you do not understand, then there are many others who also do not understand but who are hesitant to admit it or just do not care. It is our job to learn how to explain better.

    The metabolism of the essential fatty acids and their key to self-healing is a very complex subject. It is difficult to understand and difficult to explain. We are still learning, so let us try to help you understand what we have learned. If we do not succeed, please let us know so we can try again.

    First, there are three basic requirements for healthful nutrition: restricted carbohydrates; balanced essential fatty acids; and adequate vitamins and minerals. The first and third requirements are generally accepted as true; it is the second requirement that is baffling. So let us talk about the essential fatty acid (EFAs) and optimum health.

    There are two families of EFAs, the omega-6 family and the omega-3 family. An explanation of the omega system (1, pp 152-154) for naming fatty acids and the chemical differences between the two families could be helpful but are not necessary for the following discussion. In general, omega-6 EFAs come from plant (vegetable) foods and omega-3 EFAs come from animal foods. For good health, the amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 in the diet should be approximately the same. That is because each counters the effects of the other. Omega-6 EFAs are inflammatory and omega-3 EFAs are anti-inflammatory. As a result omega-6 has been labeled bad and omega-3 good. Bad and good, like back-front, top-bottom, and up-down, are comparable to the two sides of a coin; you can’t have one without the other.

    The major omega-6 EFAs are the parent compound linoleic acid (LA) and its metabolite arachidonic acid (AA). Two biochemicals intermediate between LA and AA are gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and dihomo gamma linolenic acid (DGLA). They are unusual omega-6 FAs in that they have very important beneficial anti-inflammatory functions only when dietary carbohydrates are restricted or absent. They are not formed or are inactive with high-carbohydrate diets.

    The major omega-3 EFAs are the parent compound alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and its metabolites eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are FAs that the body uses to make lipid mediators that initiate healing. If EPA and DHA are not provided in the diet the body cannot heal itself.

    When omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) and its metabolite arachidonic acid (AA) are in excess in the diet, they cause chronic inflammation, which, if severe enough, causes chronic disease (cardiovascular diseases, type-2 diabetes, cancer, etc.). In fact, LA that is not counterbalanced by EPA has been shown to be a cause of prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers (1, p 185). The presence of chronic inflammation in the body, which is usually silent until chronic illness occurs, prevents the body from healing itself. The only remedy is to correct the dietary insult of excessive omega-6 by reducing dietary omega-6 and increasing dietary EPA and DHA.

    Mark, we hope the above explains why the use of vegetable seed oils as human food is ill-advised. Vegetable seed oils (and most nuts) are very high in omega-6 LA and contain little or no ALA or other omega-3 EFAs. Do not use vegetable fats. Use only animal fats in food and food preparation with the exception of virgin olive oil for salads and coconut oil for frying (these are fruit oils, not seed oils).

    1.) Ottoboni A, Ottoboni F. The Modern Nutritional Diseases and How to Prevent Them. Fernley, NV:
    Vincente Books, 2013.

    Reply
  11. michael goroncy

    Yo! Mark
    The topic is huge and you need to tweak…self experiment (N=1) to work on your ‘Health/Weight’ concerns.
    The evidence is convincing that ‘Hyperglycaemia’ is a major player….get a glucometer and test your post postprandial ‘blood sugars’ and have your Hba1C checked.

    You Said “get tablets for A D and K2 vitamins as well as Omega 3,”

    (1) Vitamin A…there is no evidence that A tablets are of any use, and in fact harmful…..supplement with ‘cod liver oil’
    (2) Vitamin D3….(like A, is fat soluble and has a toxic load)..start by getting your 25(oh) D levels checked. Too much is as harmful as not enough. 150 mmol appears to be optimal. Sulphated (from the sun) is the superior and depending if it’s possible in your climate, expose your body to the sun between 10am-2pm. It is of extreme importance not to get burnt..slowly form a tan. If not possible-then supplement.
    (3) Vit K2….has no known toxicity, and as you are aware, the theory is that K2 will drag Calcium from the arteries (plaque) to your bones and teeth, where it belongs.
    (4) Omega 3….well! Your talking EPA and DHA. Preferably from ‘Seafood’ if not, supplement. The safety lies in the fact that there is ‘Upper Limit’

    “When cooking, we tend to use a lot of vegetable oil in our house, I couldn’t work out if this is a very bad idea or not”.

    (1) Alice and Fred, will choke on the oysters their eating after reading that. Treat ‘Vegetable Oils (Industrial seed oils) as toxic. Apart from Olive Oil…only used cold…not cooking. The N3/N6 ratio is your best guide. My cooking fats are coconut oil, ghee, (high smoke point) and butter.

    A basic starting point (with supplements) would be:

    Sunshine and vitamin D3 as needed to achieve serum 25OHD of 40 ng/ml.
    Vitamin K2 100 mcg or more
    Magnesium 200 mg
    Iodine at least 225 mcg, recommend 1 mg
    Vitamin C 1 g
    Hope this helps with basic understanding, Mark.

    Reply
  12. Michael, it is great to read your comments for Mark. You are to be commended for the study you have put into learning about your health. It can only benefit you – and others you share your study with.

    About magnesium: We thought you would be interested in the fact that 64 percent of the body’s magnesium is stored in bones, 34 percent within cells, and only 1 percent is in the blood. Clinical tests can only identify the amount in the blood, but cannot tell how much is available in bones and cells.

    A good way to make sure that your magnesium stores in bone and cells are full is to go by the consistency of your bowel movements. If they are well formed and not watery, take an additional 100-200 milligrams of magnesium each day until they do become slightly watery. Stop at that point and reduce your intake by the last few hundred milligrams of magnesium. That should be your average daily requirement. An easy way to do this is by adding one teaspoon of milk of magnesia (about 150 milligrams magnesium) nightly at bedtime until you reach the endpoint.

    Reply
  13. michael goroncy

    Thank you Alice and Fred
    I am not worthy of your praise……like most people, I read ‘quality blogs’ and search ‘pub-med’ and create my own protocol for my condition. The post I posted to Mark’s comments, I stand by. And if somebody else read it, it may be beneficial to understanding. And if you both see error in my ‘witch doctor’, you would correct me. You are both in your 90’s and stood the test of time….my learning experience has come from people like yourself and dead people.

    Apart my from physical conditions (CHD)…me,me me!
    I have struggled with (GAD) general anxiety disorder, which has robbed a big junk of my life (22 years and 11 months)…I remember the day it struck. I call this a ‘Disease of a thousand deaths’…you should only have to die once. It is abating gradually with a partner, who puts no pressure on me and supports me. This condition is a growing ‘epidemic’ among the young, and I have no answer or advice…..my ‘circus’ of anxiety started in my 40’s (which is a blessing) compared to teens and younger…..We know that SSRI’s and other drugs is not the answer. Perhaps! Nutrition/supplements/Neurotropics may hold the answer.

    On the topic of ‘Teeth and (gums)…there are 2 novel ways to help/support/and are basically beneficial for ‘Mouth Hygiene’

    (1) Brushing/Scraping your tongue at night…before you go to bed.
    (2) ‘Oil Pulling’…I know! ‘Boogie woogy’ The theory is you put a tablespoon of sesame oil (which seems to be the best) and ‘swish/swirl in your mouth for 15-20 min. Then spit out…don’t swallow…then rinse your mouth.
    (3) Strangely, there are some facts that support this,

    Reply

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