Thursday, December 15, 2016

Oil Pulling with Sesame Oil: Before and After Bacterial Analysis, Case Study



Abstract: Oil pulling with sesame oil is said to be a very effective means to remove pathogenic bacteria while allowing healthy oral bacteria to survive. Chemical mouthwashes, such as Chlorhexidine, are shown to indiscriminately kill all oral bacteria and have many side-effects. Oil-pulling with sesame oil has few side-effects and may aid in establishing a healthy oral microbiome, dental health, and overall health. Additional benefits of oil-pulling are derived from the length and nature of the treatment which causes prolonged vagus nerve stimulation. To confirm that a change in the oral microbiome occurs due to the effects of oil-pulling, samples of oral bacteria were analyzed using uBiome's 16s rRNA bacterial sequencing prior to, and after a 20 minute oil-pulling session using sesame oil. These results show an increase in probiotic strains of oral bacteria and a decrease in pathogenic strains.

[Please Note: I have used links to external resources in lieu of a formal reference and citation system. None of the links contained in the article are of a commercial nature, unless specified, to highlight products used in the experiment.]

Background: At age 40 I began developing tooth sensitivities, deep periodontal pockets, halitosis, cracked teeth, tooth erosions, and mouth sores. Despite annual cleanings and daily flossing/brushing, my oral health was in steep decline. A "tipping point" occurred after breaking a large molar (Universal Numbering System 18) and an increase in several periodontal pockets approaching a severe depth of 9mm.

Picture Source

My oral health decline appeared simultaneously with the onset of metabolic syndrome symptoms: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, pre-diabetes, gout, and hypothyroidism. Oral health is linked to overall health as noted by many health agencies, and especially heart disease. A decline in both general health and oral health should be taken as a serious sign of impending disaster.

Discussion: While searching for natural alternatives to the heavily fluoridated toothpaste and frequent cleanings recommended by my dentist, I stumbled across references to oil pulling on the internet. In 2011, I began a regimen of brushing my teeth upon waking using fluoride-free, xylitol-based toothpaste (Amazon: Xyli-White). After my evening meal, I oil-pull for 20 minutes using sesame oil (Amazon: Dynasty Sesame Oil). The oil is spit into a trash can to prevent fouling of home plumbing. I then floss between my teeth using standard dental floss. 

Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that dates back thousands of years originating in India. Oil pulling is accomplished with raw oil by placing approximately one tablespoon (TBS) of oil in the mouth. The traditional oil used was sesame oil, however sunflower oil is also mentioned in several texts. In at least one study, coconut oil was used with success. The oil is "swished" back and forth between the teeth and around the gums for 15-20 minutes. The oil forms an emulsion with saliva which creates a saponification (soap) action with the oil that allows it to get into the smallest crevices and gaps in your mouth. The oils have antimicrobial properties which attack pathogenic microbes such as S. mutans.  Studies have shown oil pulling to be just as effective as the harshest chemicals sold as antibacterial mouthwash, with few side-effects. Ayurvedic writings say that oil pulling is effective at not only reducing plaque, gingivitis, and halitosis, but also other metabolic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. Many sources described the technique as a scam while others were offering high-priced oils guaranteed to cure all sorts of illnesses. Many websites describe an unsubstantiated effect in which toxins are "pulled" from the body and attach themselves to the oils. Further good effects on health may occur through the stimulation of the vagus nerve, described in detail later. 

Results: Teeth that had been sensitive to cold and sweet healed almost immediately. My teeth felt cleaner and bad breath was eliminated. A routine dental cleaning after approximately 5 months of daily oil-pulling showed that deep periodontal pockets had nearly all been reduced in size. The dental hygienist remarked that my teeth were nearly plaque-free and very easy to clean. After one-year, nearly all periodontal pockets were reduced to unremarkable depths of 3mm or less. One pocket remains at 5mm on a back molar, causing no apparent problems and remaining constant at this depth.

Here are dental records showing my periodontal status from 2007-2014:

2007, 2009, 2011





2012, 2014

The Experiment


Before-and-After Oil-pulling Bacterial Sampling: Using a bacterial analysis kit from uBiome (uBiome Explorer Kit), I extracted a bacterial sample, using the provided swab, upon waking. Then, I performed a 20-minute oil-pulling session using sesame oil (Amazon: Dynasty sesame oil). Upon completion, I spit out the emulsified oil, and rinsed for approximately 15 seconds with water to remove oily residues. After a 20-minute waiting period, I extracted a second sample. The samples were immediately shipped to uBiome's facility for processing with 16s rRNA sequencing to identify the bacteria present in each sample.

Analysis: uBiome's "dashboard" of visual analysis tools and raw data reveals several interesting findings. As expected, the predominate genus of bacteria was Streptococcus. This genus of bacteria is almost always the largest colonizer of the oral microbiome, and consists of about 33 species. Streptococcus gordonii (S. gordonii) is the most common of the streptococcus bacteria to inhabit the mouth, known as an "initial colonizer." S. gordonii is generally non-pathogenic, but creates biofilms and initiates dental plaque. Streptococcus thermophilus (S. thermophilus), however, is a true "probiotic" species of oral bacteria. In fact, S. thermophilus is found in commercial oral probiotics designed for dental care (Amazon: Oral Probiotics) and also found naturally in fermented dairy products.




The Streptococcus genus shows a reduction in overall abundance after oil pulling, but a look at the species makeup tells us more:



Oil-pulling appears to have removed almost all of the plaque-forming S.gordonii while sparing S. thermophilus. The small amount of S. mutans present was also halved. Streptococcus mutans is the main cause of dental decay.  

Further examination of bacterial genera which displayed changes of statistical importance show that a large change occurred in the genera Leptotrichia, Haemophilus, and Fusobacterium. In regards to Haemophilus, the species present in my sample was H. parainfluenzae. This normal human species can become extremely pathogenic, and is implicated in endocarditis, meningitis, and bacteremia.The overall numbers of H. parainfluenza decreased from 5% of total bacterial count to under 1%. Fusobacterium experienced a two-fold increase, specifically seen in the added abundance of F. periodonticum, a non-pathogenic fermenter of glucose.

The theme of the changes is one of increases in non-harmful commensals ("probiotics") and decreases in bacteria known to be pathogens. Some of these differences can be explained by the makeup of the bacteria, ie. Gram positive or Gram negative, but other changes within genera seem to defy explanation. However, this species-selective killing of pathogens has been described in other ancient remedies such as medicinal healing clays

In a study of Chlorhexidine, a chemical used in commercial mouthwash preparations (Crest: Mouthwash), a near-linear killing effect of all oral bacteria was seen.

Chart Source

Similar results are seen in studies of commercial mouthwash preparations (Amazon: Listerine and Plax). The goal of consumer and medical grade mouthwash and oral rinses is broad-spectrum killing and overall reduction of colony forming bacteria of all types. The problem with this approach is that the initial colonizers after treatment are often capable of forming biofilms which keep probiotic species at a disadvantage.

In terms of diversity, charts provided by uBiome show genus-level percentages of the samples. It appears that there were less genera represented after oil-pulling than before, but a hand-count in the raw data shows that prior to oil-pulling, there were 45 genera represented and 54 after (for your reference, the full raw data is available via my DropBox in Excel: Before After). Many of these genera represent only a fraction of a percent, so it is hard to show them on a pie-chart, but the overall diversity seems to have increased after oil-pulling. Perhaps my analysis is incorrect, but from looking at the pie-charts, it's obvious to even the casual observer that large changes occurred, indicating that oil-pulling has, at least, had some effect on the bacteria in my mouth.

  






Discussion: No other microbial niche is as understated as those in the mouth. Our oral health correlates extremely well with the health of our entire body, yet our lack of attention to treating our mouth correctly is appalling. The conventionally recommended methods of keeping a clean mouth are to brush and floss daily, use toothpaste containing fluoride, and an over-the-counter oral rinse. However, I believe a modern approach may not always be the best when dealing with mouth microbes. The toothbrush as we know it has been around for over 1000 years. In 1820 Napoleon Bonaparte was never without his horse hair toothbrush. Hog hair toothbrushes were used in the Tang Dynasty in China around 700AD. The first nylon toothbrush was commercially sold in the 1930’s.  Prior to the use of toothbrushes, “chew sticks” (Amazon: Miswak Stick) were commonly used as long ago as 3500BC. These were just like they sound, twigs that were chewed on to clean the teeth. Also, oil-pulling was commonly used in ancient Indian medicine to remove pathogens from the mouth. Both of these techniques may actually be more effective than modern inventions. My personal experience is that practicing conventional methods of oral hygiene did not produce the desired results and changing to a reliance on fluoride free toothpaste and oil-pulling have proven satisfactory.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Robert Howland, MD (2014) describes vagus nerve stimulation:

The vagus nerve is a major component of the autonomic nervous system, has an important role in the regulation of metabolic homeostasis, and plays a key role in the neuroendocrine-immune axis to maintain homeostasis through its afferent and efferent pathways. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) refers to any technique that stimulates the vagus nerve, including manual or electrical stimulation.

Many modern techniques have been developed to stimulate the vagus nerve for medical effect, but it is often overlooked that the sucking and chewing involved during the eating process also effectively stimulates the vagus nerve. Breastfeeding stimulates the vagus of newborns, causing release of hormones related to anxiety, fullness, and growth. Vagus nerve stimulation speeds motility of the gastrointestinal tract, and chewing gum stimulates the vagus. Chewing gum can be used as a proxy for eating, eg. "sham feeding," to help people who have had gastrointestinal surgery. As chewing is a powerful vagus nerve stimulant, the advice to thoroughly chew your food is based on science. More chewing during meals leads to signals of fullness and release of hormones required for food digestion such as leptin, CCK, and others. The vagus nerve provides the conduit for the oft-cited brain-gut axis.

Oil pulling involves intense activity of all of the muscles in the mouth to facilitate the hydraulic action required to push the oil through the gaps between teeth and along the gum line. Done for 20 minutes, this provides more vagus nerve stimulation than most meals provide. Many of the supposed benefits of oil pulling are claimed to be through the mysterious removal of toxins, not supported by science. However, modern science has indeed seen the incredible power of vagus nerve stimulation. There are many patents for vagus nerve stimulation such as "Systems and methods for vagal nerve stimulation US 20130310909 A1," designed to "modulate the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA, norepinephrine, and/or serotonin." I submit that oil-pulling is a powerful stimulator of the vagus nerve and as effective as many patented medical devices. 

Conclusion: My personal health journey from overweight with metabolic syndrome and poor oral health to great health included many non-medical interventions. My diet now focuses on whole foods while avoiding processed oils, sugars, flours, and additives. I exercise regularly and use oil-pulling as part of my oral hygiene strategy. For people on a similar downward trajectory in health, I highly recommend oil-pulling daily for 20 minutes using sesame oil (Amazon: Dynasty Sesame Oil). I base this recommendation mostly on personal observations of my own health, but I have recently confirmed the selective antibacterial properties of oil-pulling with sesame oil. The ancient method calls for 20 minutes per day using sesame oil, this was my starting point and I have continued doing so for over five years, and see no reason I should ever stop. Sesame oil is cheap and easily sourced. I have used several different brands, but ensure each is labeled "100% pure." I cannot personally recommend other oils, ie. sunflower and coconut, but they have been used successfully in a research setting and should equally stimulate the vagus nerve even if not as effective at manipulating the oral microbiome. More research is needed on different types of oils and minimum effect doses, timing, and duration. The toxin-removing effects of oil-pulling seem undoubtedly over-stated, but the effect on overall health and especially oral health appear to have merit.

To my readers: If any of you would like to do such an experiment, let me know. I think we could design a better test. Preferably several more tests would be performed and a pre-oil-pulling baseline would be established. These tests cost $89 each, so I understand the lack of desire.

Do any of you oil-pull? Anyone convinced now to try? Any questions or comments on specific bacteria present in my tests but not mentioned here?
Later!
Tim 


Further Peer-reviewed Reading:

The effect of oil pulling with rice bran oil, sesame oil, and chlorhexidine mouth rinsing on halitosis among pregnant women: A comparative interventional study. (2016)
 
Effect of oil pulling in promoting oro dental hygiene: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. (2016)

The Effect of Coconut Oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans Count in Saliva in Comparison with Chlorhexidine Mouthwash (2016)

Exogenous lipoid pneumonia caused by repeated sesame oil pulling: a report of two cases (2016)

Comparative Evaluation of the Effects of Fluoride Mouthrinse, Herbal Mouthrinse and Oil Pulling on the Caries Activity and Streptococcus mutans Count using Oratest and Dentocult SM Strip Mutans Kit (2015)

Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis - A preliminary report (2015)

Comparative efficacy of oil pulling and chlorhexidine on oral malodor: a randomized controlled trial (2014) 

Lipids in preventive dentistry (2013)


Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: A randomized controlled pilot trial (2011)

Effect of Oil - Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models (2011)


Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health (2011)

Mechanism of oil-pulling therapy -In vitro study (2011)

Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study (2009)


The chemistry and physiological functions of sesame (2009)

Oil Pulling Therapy (2008)

Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study (2008) 

Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria (2008)

82 comments:

  1. I did oil pulling but with coconut oil for a couple of years and then I got lazy. I think I will go back to oil pulling. Even my dentist was supportive in oil pulling. I also make my own toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda and swish with some peppermint oil and water.

    I believe my RA was triggered by an infected tooth that needed a root canal. Although it was 2 years after the root canal that I developed RA.

    All the more reason to oil pull...http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/8/369/369ra176

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    1. You could be right! Lots of the oral bacteria that I looked up had the capability to cause deadly infections when the immune system is compromised. The bacteria in your case, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, luckily does not show up in either of my samples.

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    2. lol, "Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans" Try to say that 3 times fast!

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    3. I think I will write it down on paper and show it to my doctor before I even try to pronounce it!��

      Now I might be enticed to do a mouth swab test to see if it does come up.

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  2. Wow. Me too with the bad teeth. I have a mouth full of - mercury! - fillings; cavities were found all my life at every dentist visit - until my diet changed. Actually, the big change was after I began eating fermented vegetables. I've heard of oil pulling of course, but - how can you keep a wad of oil in your mouth for that long?

    Debbie

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    1. It's no problem, really. I find it relaxing and enjoyable, until the phone rings, lol.

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  3. I did oil pulling for a few weeks here and there over the years but with no noticable results or commitment. But about a year ago I was having some slight pain that seemed to move around to various teeth and seemed to indicate that soon I would be financng another fabulous vacation for my dentist. So started oil pulling regularly and soon the pain was gone. If I would stop for several days it would come back. So that gave me the motovation to stick with it. It is the first thng I do each day. I use coconut oil.

    Also, my experience seems to indicate that eating enough fiber reduces placque. Had you started your potato starch eating back when you began oil pulling?

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    1. No, PS came a year or two after oil-pulling started. I think the combo of good oral health and good gut health is an unbeatable pair.

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  4. I played around with Coconut oil...But really didn't do it long enough...And usually only did it for 10 minutes....So guess i need to try Sesame Oil and do it for 20 minutes...thx Tim

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  5. I have a cranky dentist (are they all cranky?) who used to always complain about my brushing habits. I've been going to him for more than a decade. About two years ago, he started saying that whatever I was doing was great - keep it up! I nearly fell out of his chair. It continued for one more visit, but then the last few visits he got cranky again. I couldn't understand since "nothing had changed."

    Then Tim's post above reminded me that I was experimenting with oil pulling before, and quit later. I restarted again today. I'm looking forward to my next visit!

    Elliebelly- Good to hear from you again. Fiber definitely improved my mouth too. oil pulling might be icing on the cake though (I love icing more than cake).

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    1. Dentist visits really are enjoyable now. In fact, last week I broke a tooth with a 40 year-old silver-amalgam filling in it (chewing a piece of candy cane!). I had a crown installed, the lidocaine worked quickly and numbed me up well, the grinding and drilling were pain-free, and I was in and out quickly. I remember back in the old days, I could never get numbed up and the drilling always caused lots of pain.

      During my cleanings, they always go on about how healthy my gums, teeth, and mouth are. Cleanings don't hurt like they used to, lol.

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  6. With all the various other daily rituals taming/nurturing the monkey mind/body, I couldn't stick to the 20 minute oil pulling habit. I wonder if it could be an effective treatment used like the Potato Hack, periodically, say 1-2 times per week?

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    1. FWIW, when I was getting good dentist reports, I was OPing irregularly, maybe 3-4 times per week.

      I've been regularly using a waterpik to clean out the pockets in my gums. I'm always amazed at how much stuff comes out even right after I've brushed my teeth. I OPed yesterday, and there was very little today. That is unusual. I'm going to keep checking and pulling.

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    2. I should think that a couple times a week would definitely be worthwhile!

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    3. Fascinating about the water pik and OP and makes sense...the mechanical action of OPing might be flushing the gum line, similar (and perhaps less aggressively, in a good way) than a water pik....Thanks Tim. This has re-encouraged me to try OPing again. I think I'll try BOTH oils. Coconut and Sesame, morning and night as schedule/memory/habit permits. :)

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    4. I also have to think that a daily intermittent fast is good for teeth/oral health...having an extended period of time when no food (and it's by products) is introduced to the oral cavity.

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    5. Todd Caldecott, a well-regarded Ayurvedic medicine practitioner, has an article on the historic recommendations regarding oil pulling and says that 3-10 minutes really should be enough.

      The potential vagus nerve involvement that Tim brought up (esp wrt the longer time period) is fascinating. But when I re-start (yay Tim for the reminder nudge!) I'm just aiming for oral health changes and I'll shoot for maybe 5 minutes.

      -Tanya

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    6. And so I forgot to link that article. Here it is.

      https://www.toddcaldecott.com/what-is-oil-pulling/

      -Tanya the Forgetful (kids have stomach aches, it's way too late for me to be trying to communicate with anyone, let alone in writing)

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    7. Great article! He is describing two different oil-pulling techniques. In one method, a lot of oil is held in the mouth for a shorter time, in the other (as I described) a smaller amount is forcefully swished in between the teeth and around the gums for a longer time:

      To perform gaṇḍūṣa, approximately 2-3 tablespoons or more of the medication is held the mouth for several minutes, until saliva is produced or the nose or eyes become secretory, after which time the medication is spit out. Usually this only takes 3-5 minutes at most.

      vs.

      "Kavalagraha, in which a smaller amount of medication such as sesame oil is taken and then moved about the mouth, pulling it through the teeth and gargling in the back of the throat. This is what people are mostly referring to when discussing “oil-pulling”."

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    8. Whoa, that is really different from how I was doing oil pulling before (and not getting any results). Gandusa in particular, that makes sense. 3 tablespoons would give good coverage to the teeth. The 5 minutes time is also a lot more reasonable than the 20 minutes. In gandusa, what is the medication refered to? Is it sesame oil?

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  7. I'm going to give it a go! I did it for a little while, and then sort of got off track. I have read that oil pulling should be done first thing in the morning, but it sounds like that isn't necessarily the case?

    I swear I'm not an earthling, Tim. I'm still doing the starch free diet, and also really low carb these days. The malevolent little so and sos that made my life miserable for more than a decade and a half seem quite capable of feeding on any type of carbohydrate or fermented food and reproducing wildly. I am living proof that one does not need fiber to have an overachieving digestive tract.

    Among the results of changing my diet are teeth that feel smoother, less plaque-y, and whiter appearing. I've also noticed of late that my tongue looks a lot healthier. My gums were starting to recede as of a dental visit six months ago, but the last checkup showed improvement. I started using a Water Pik on the hygenist's recommendation, but the no starch diet started during this interval.

    My hair and skin have seen dramatic changes for the better, too. And I recently started using Mother Dirt products. I am guessing you and/or some of your readers are familiar with them.

    I wish I could be a starch-eating show off like you guys. My diet is pretty limited of late, but there is no doubt in my mind that I am healthier as a result. I'm full of energy, sleep better, and am back to hour long workouts. Haven't felt this well in years. Which is great, since I have to shovel my own snow now, and it is currently piling up outside.

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  8. I have always understood it that OP should be done first thing in the morning because the microbes start translocating from lower GIT to the mouth after you wake up. So there's a good chance you catch them there. 20 minutes (build up slowly, you need to get used to it) because you need time to create the "soap" and by the way, if you say you do not have 20 minutes a day for yourself only, you are someone's slave. Change it.

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    1. I was under the impression to that oil pulling had to be done first thing in the morning. Tim, when you had your samples taken were you oil pulling whenever you got the chance to and not first thing in he morning?

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    2. I had never given much thought to the timing, I do it when the situation allows. Morning is not a good time for me, as I'm scurrying about getting ready for work, but I usually have 30 minutes alone every evening after work. So I've always done it in the evening. The day of the experiment was done first thing in the morning, before brushing or eating, I was just interested in capturing the changes to the oral biome.

      As Gemma says, it requires one to carve out 20 minutes of time for themselves, a time when no talking is happening. This alone could be the biggest gift of OP, lol. 20 minutes of daily self-refelction and thinking without speaking...more people need to do it.

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  9. Is it ok to spit out the oil in the toilet? Will that still gunk up the pipes?

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    1. Since it's oily, it floats and gets all over the sides of the toilet bowl or sink and the person whose job it is to clean these sinks will not be happy with you...trust me on that one.

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    2. Best to spit it into the kitchen garbage can/bag. Even spitting it down the drain is not a good idea, same as with any cooking oil.

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    3. I spend about 20 minutes tops in the shower. I do my flossing and toothbrushing there. Sorry if that’s gross, but I have a tight schedule and I saw a multitasking opportunity in that time slot. I tried oil pulling with coconut oil a couple of times and despised it. I will try again with sesame oil instead. I think the big lump of hardened coconut oil was a sensory issue. Waiting for it to melt. I recently purchased pine nut oil for its purported appetite suppressant effect. I haven’t tried it yet but maybe will experiment with both dietary addition and tooth pulling. At any rate, maybe a dedicated spit cup in the shower to avoid drain damage could be the answer for those who are schedule challenged?
      PNWmom

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  10. Tim, it's so great that you took oil pulling one step further and did the bacterial analysis. I used to oil pull daily then fell off the wagon, just purchased a bottle of sesame oil to start again. I've also put activated charcoal in my mouth with the oil - warning, it looks really gross when you spit it out. Pulling makes my teeth whiter.

    I have sensitive teeth too and use the Bass tooth brushing method, which helps greatly http://tube.medchrome.com/2013/04/brushing-technique-bass-and-modified.html I started brushing my teeth this way a few years ago and once I got the vibrating motion down it's stuck.

    I buy the Bass brushes online from the US (at a large markup to Canada with the exchange rate). Last time I bought enough for a couple of years but then my daughter discovered my stash and used a bunch for crafts. LOL.

    Michelle (from Canada)

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    1. Interesting, thanks! I did not know there were so many brushing techniques. I just sort of do a spastic back and forth, up and down, circles and swipes, trying to hit each surface as many times as I can in about 30 seconds, lol.

      Activated charcoal is a topic all its own, very interesting stuff. I keep a bottle on hand in case of any bad food reactions, only ever had to use once or twice.

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    2. I use a Sensonic brush by WaterPik. Philips Sonicare keeps redesigning so theirs looks more and more like the Sensonic but the WaterPik people got it right first. I buy several years worth of replacement brushes. They don't sell the brush in the stores though. Waterpik sells them on line. I've got one brush that is still functional after more than 20 years ... must be a world record. But the new brush heads don't fit properly on it although they still work. I did buy a new brush a few years ago. https://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/products/sonic-toothbrush/SR-3000/

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  11. Hello, Tim, could you clarify your overall daily dental hygiene regimen? Is it just brushing once a day, in the AM, then oil-pulling followed by flossing in the PM? I have only recently been diagnosed with periodontal pockets, at age 56, and my hygienist has me using a Sonicare, Biotene mouth rinse, and 3 different flossing devices daily. And extra fluoride treatments. Wondering why you use an unfluoridated toothpaste? I am unfamiliar with oil-pulling, and only stumbled across this issue here while looking for info on the Potato Hack. (On my second day, the book doesn't arrive until tomorrow!). Am intrigued with your experiment showing bacterial reduction.

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    1. My routine is to brush my teeth first thing in the morning using a fluoride-free toothpaste, then oil-pull in the evening followed by a water-only brush and floss.

      Back when my mouth was in such poor shape, my dentist recommended a high fluoride toothpaste, one that had like 10X the fluoride of normal toothpaste, I used this, and SensoDyne toothpaste, religiously, and still my teeth were sensitive and my gums were getting worse.

      About that time, I was getting into "Paleo" and looking for ways to revamp everything I did. I switched to fluoride free toothpaste, and have not regretted it...although I cannot say definitively that fluoride has any ill-effect on our teeth. More than the fluoride in these supermarket toothpastes, the ingredient list just turns me off. I don't eat foods with crazy chemicals, nor do I wash my hair or skin with crazy chemicals...

      Here is ingredients of a Crest toothpaste:

      Active Ingredient: Stannous Fluoride Inactive Ingredients: Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-6, Water, Zinc Lactate, Trisodium Phosphate, Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Gluconate, Carrageenan, Sodium Saccharin, Xanthan Gum,
      Polyethylene, Titanium Dioxide*, Blue 1 Lake*, Blue 1*.

      And here are the ingredients of the Xyli-White that I have been using for a couple years:

      Ingredients: Water, xylitol (25%), hydrated silica, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium coco-sulfate, carrageenan (Chondrus crispus), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) leaf oil, peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil, spearmint (Mentha viridis) oil, papain, potassium sorbate.

      Xylitol, you may recognize, as a great prebiotic fiber, also shown to have big impact on the oral microbiome: ie. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037192/

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    2. Thanks much for this information! I'm going to try and motivate myself to do the oil-pulling.

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    3. The sodium Lauryl sulfate, aka SDS, is the detergent in Crest. I think that it also breaks up biofilms. The carrageenan in both is interesting, because it is highly inflammatory in mice, stimulating NF-kB via binding to TLR-4, i.e. it acts like a pathogen signal to turn on defenses. The plant extracts are all naturally antibacterial

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  12. Some good info here on the dangers of fluoride

    http://fluoride.mercola.com

    I see a biological dentist and they don't use or recommend fluoride

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    1. Fluoridated toothpaste is only dangerous if you eat the stuff. Take the toothpaste, squish a little bit INTO the brush, and get to work. Rinse well after finished brushing. You don't need more than a small amount of toothpaste to do the job. Not like in the commercials or advertising.

      Besides which black and green tea contain loads of fluoride and people drink the stuff. Anyone concerned about fluoride ingestion should not drink tea.

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    2. Thank you for this information. I am very prone to cavities because of a medical problem that makes my mouth very dry. My hygienist and dentist insist the fluoride helps prevent the cavities, so I hesitate to give it up.

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    3. Susan B, I've had sensitive teeth for years. I've tried vitamin K2, D3, magnesium, borax, nothing helped. Finally I tried silica extracted from horsetail weed. (Alta brand) For the first week, the sensitivity got worse. But after another week, now the sensitivity is gone and I can eat ice cream, etc. Silica is a hormone balancer and an essential part of the calcium chemistry, like with borax, magnesium, and vitamins D3 and K2, it is used by the body to make sure calcium goes where it should, (bones) and stays out of where it shouldn't (soft tissue). A lot of men used to get silica from their beer. Modern beer filtering techniques have taken the silica content out of beer; many people have low silica levels. Unlike borax, silica is something you'd take in measured doses; it is an essential mineral, you need it, but if you overdose, it can wreck your kidneys permanently.

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  13. Oh, dear, now I don't know who to believe! But thank you for the information, I'll keep looking into it.

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  14. What an incredible blog post. You should seriously consider getting this published in a journal (or have you already?). Thank you for all the info!

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    1. I'd want to do a few more tests including a couple more people and then present the results a bit clearer. I was surprised how many papers there are on the topic from the last couple years, when I first started this, there were only a couple.

      Most people can get by just doing standard care to their teeth, but there are some categories, ie. elderly or people with severe recession of gums, that would benefit greatly from a non-chemical, bacteria-friendly treatment I should think.

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  15. what do you think about "toasted" sesame oil? think its still effective or should i get the "untoasted"?

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    1. Toasted is fine. I go back and forth between a toasted oil and a regular sesame oil, the only difference seems to be taste. My only caution is that we use 100% pure sesame oil, there are some brands that contain a blend of oils and flavorings.

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  16. Tim - Interesting experiment! I'm curious, though, why you attribute the results to the oil pulling rather than to the simultaneous switch to xylitol, which has well-documented oral health benefits and microbiome-shifting effects?

    Also, you mentioned hypothyroidism as one of the metabolic issues that you developed. Did this resolve without medication after you transformed your diet, and did its appearance and resolution happen to lead or lag other metabolic issues like weight gain, cholesterol, etc? I'm curious whether thyroid issues are an intermediate cause or a consequence of other metabolic issues.

    Thanks!

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    1. There were lots of small tweaks I did which certainly had an effect on my oral health, like giving up sugar and refined flour, using xylitol-based toothpaste,etc.

      This blog post was meant just to show the before-and after microbial analysis of oil pulling with sesame oil. It would be interesting to do the same testing before and after using mouthwashes and different types of toothpaste, I suspect you'd see similar results. My goal was to show that oil-pulling has an effect on the biome. Lots of people seem to think it's a total sham, but I have demonstrated that there are beneficial changes to the oral biome with oil pulling.

      re: thyroid. I've been on 100mcg Synthroid for the past 5 or 6 years. I've tried getting off several times, but each time my TSH creeps up slowly over a 6 month period and I get back on it. I've read everything, had all the tests. A pretty good Endo made the observation that I probably had a case of thyroiditis that damaged my thyroid gland at some point and will need to take a thyroid supplement forever, and as much as I wanted to get off the Synthroid, his prediction seems to be holding true.

      I think the slide into metabolic syndrome is a conglomeration of poor diet causing gut disturbances which lead to autoimmune destruction of key regulatory systems. Without strong intervention, ie, diet and exercise changes, one quickly ends up with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and incessant weight gain. Women have it even worse with hormonal imbalance that follows. The common approach is to simply medicate each symptom.

      I was on 4 different medications for the symptoms before the DX of hypothyroidism and my aggressive lifestyle changes. Within just 6 months of eating better and exercising, I was off all the meds and all my health markers were near normal, although I returned to taking Synthroid later.

      I was lucky. If I had continued my path of eating SAD and taking pills, I would have just gotten fatter and my pre-diabetes would have turned into T2D, and who knows all what else I'd be going through now instead of writing about potato diets and oil-pulling, lol.

      For the unenlightened, there is an exceptional healthcare system in place that does fantastic work providing colostomies, open heart surgery, gastric bypasses, chemotherapy, and a pill for everything so that we can continue to enjoy Big Macs and Pizza in front of our 60" curved screen plasma ultra high def TV.

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    2. Tim, have you ever looked into something like Armour Thyroid (desiccated pig thyroid gland) rather than Synthroid? Gives you the more natural complete T3/T4 rather than just synthetic T4 alone. Takes a bit more "tweaking" in the beginning to get the dosage right but I've been on it for several years now (started at age 60) and my doc and I are pretty happy with how everything is working on it. Just seems better to me than synthetic T4 only - and cheaper.

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    3. I used Armour Thyroid for a year, my TSH never responded like it did to Synthroid, so I switched back. Most Endo's are not fans of Armour at all, so I figured I wouldn't fight them on it. It does seem it would be better, but the synthetic T4 seems to be a pretty good drug. Maybe some day I'll try it again, but things are going well and I don;t see much of a reason to switch at this point.

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    4. And that's why I appreciate you and those who comment here because we all do our own experiments the way we do, share info, and civilly agree or disagree. The good thing is that we each found what works well physically for US and we don't need everyone else to go the same way to feel validated. (grin)

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  17. Well, I've tried it for a week. I think one tablespoon (coconut oil) is way too much. That's 15 grams! I'm a big guy with a big mouth, but that amount is too much to handle. I use less. And then as I "chew" on it, after only a few minutes the saliva keeps increasing the volume to the point where I can barely make anything move.

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  18. Hey Tim,
    I tried it with coconut oil a couple of years ago but only in the morning and it turned out to be impossible to not talk for that long... wasn't me, had to answer questions. I did not know it can be done in the evening successfully. Thanks for posting.

    On the subject of tooth strength/health, have you heard of the Borax conspiracy? There is a long article about borax/boron on health-science-spirit. I am vry curious if tbere is any truth to it from a bio chemical perspective.

    Teddy

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    1. Ha! A new rabbit hole. I had never heard of the borax conspiracy, but here it is: http://www.health-science-spirit.com/borax.htm

      Some are saying that Big Pharma has squashed any attempts to promote borax as a cure for arthritis and other ailments.

      Just quickly, I can see it is a natural product with anti-fungal properties. Not extremely toxic, and used in food preparation around the world (to add texture or preserve).

      The only PubMed papers I could really find were related to the toxicology of Borax. I'd be leery of any protocol that revolves around ingesting Borax, and I doubt there is much of a conspiracy to hide any research, but there could be some healing qualities at some dose.

      Anyone else looked at this?

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    2. I've looked into it. See my comments further below. Also, I took borax for several months at a time, no harmful effects except for a few weeks I experienced roid rage from the extra testosterone.

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    3. Toxicology: borax is less harmful than table salt.

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    4. I'm curious what the silica content of borax is; also check into silica. I was powerfully impressed that all countries with low borax in the soil, have high arthritis, and all with high borax, have very little arthritis. Very easy to mix some borax with water and then take your daily borax dose as a tablespoon of the liquid. I found almost anything could kill yeast and ruin bread, like the time I mixed garlic into my bread dough. But a standard daily dose, such as is normal in France or Israel (17mg) doesn't harm the sourdough culture one bit.

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    5. I have read if you eat minimum of 3 prunes a day you can get the recommended dosage of boron. To me, that is much more palatable. I am still on the fence about drinking borax. The other recommendation is to mix 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of borax in a quart of water and drink throughout the day and repeat for 4 days. I just wish there was more information on borax other than the borax conspiracy and the magnesium FB page.

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    6. I posted my collection of boron papers here some time ago.

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  19. I have read about the conspiracy and have read on blogs and forums where people swear by it in helping arthritis, RA, osteoarthritis. I mixed the formula they give you to take borax and maybe did it for a month. I didn't experience any changes. But I was quite timid about the whole procedure. I have also read where people wet their index finger and stick it into the box containing borax and then lick it off their finger. But I need proof than what I have read. The jury is still out for me. Magnesium deficiency is another biggie the arthritis world. Protocols and the differences of magnesium used. Another one where first I want my levels checked, and there is a right way and wrong way for that too. Sigh...so much to keep up with!

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    1. Borax is one essential mineral among many. I had a bit of a bump in testosterone from borax, but the benefits came when I started taking silica derived from horsetail weed (Alta brand). Silica is another mineral that effects the calcium processing chemistry. Since taking the silica, my tooth sensitivity has gone away. And it has similar benefits to borax. Magnesium, borax, silica... Vitamin D3, K2, borax, and silica are all "balancers", they balance the hormones. Also I started taking Tribulus, one capsule a day. Not sure if that is making any difference.

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    2. I have one friend with arthritis, and he had just discovered the arthritis. He is a historian and archaeologist. He took 1/8 teaspoon a day at my recommendation, for one week. His arthritis subsided over the course of the week so he could walk without crutches. He went off the borax, and over a week, it came back. Another friend with arthritis, in extreme pain, has had it for multiple years. Took the same dose for 1 week. It did nothing for him. He stopped. I want him to bump the dose to 1/4 or even 1/2 teaspoon per day, see if that helps, but it was hard enough getting him to take 1/8 teaspoon.

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  20. Good PDF on Borax

    https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/7KZItw3uctC6Pw6bSQ--/cqy1javtfNT2OEM9UINo/name/Borax+Truth.pdf

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  21. A new rabbit hole indeed. I stumbled upon it somehow and thought it sounds too good and too easy to be true - works for bones, teeth, joints, skin. The borax box has specific warning against ingesting it.
    I am interested in what Dr. Art Ayers thinks if he is reading.

    Teddy

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  22. I tried oil pulling briefly a couple years ago. Tim, this motivates me to try again. 58 and so so reports from my dentist. But a more interesting motivation to me personally is this recent study using results from the American Gut Project http://msystems.asm.org/content/1/5/e00105-16 showing higher percentage of nitrate reducing oral bacteria in migraine sufferers. After a little googling I did find some anecdotal reports of oil pulling reducing or eliminating migraines. I'll let you know if anything good happens.

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    1. Interesting...but could it be because the person eats a lot of nitrate rich foods, and not the fault of the bacteria? If I suffered migraines, I'd give up all nitrates for a while and see what happens. If the migraines went away, I'd start adding back the real-food nitrates and see if they remain away.

      Nitrate rich foods are lettuce, beets, carrots, green beans, spinach, parsley, cabbage, radishes, celery and collard greens. And nitrates are added to cured meats, sausage, bacon, etc.

      I'd have to guess that if nitrates are the cause of migraines, oil-pulling alone will not help if the diet remains high in nitrates.

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    2. Yeah your probably right. Over the years I have "tested" lots of food eliminations. It really only helps along the margins. Have definitely learned to avoid cured meats, a lot of cheeses, etc. tryamines, histamines, nitrates who or all of the above, who knows. Things like cabbage and celery don't appear to bother. Oil pulling still seems worthwhile. My pockets are not as deep as yours were but dentist is on my case. And vagal nerve stimulation is at least theoretically supposed to help migraines.

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    3. Have oil pulling side effects? I found a link linking oil pulling to lipoid pneumonia. Is oil pulling for everyone?

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  23. Neat stuff.
    I thought this blog was inactive. So i hadnt read these posts yet.
    Coincidentally yesterday I was re-reading an explanation on turpentine, from that same site health-science-spirit. (Thats where I found the fungus-cancer-rife explanation coincidentally). Turpentine is super for parasites/fungus. More people are talking about it on youtube aswell, main (great) source being dr jennifer daniels.
    And as it happened, i was reading the borax as well. For fungus, and decalcifying the pineal gland. That podcast I mentioned, about oil pulling (sesame and sunflower only good ones for the toxinremoving purposes), also talked about boron for fluoride i believe. The podcast i mentioned at potatohack.com is: extreme health radio - robert von sarbacher (type in yotube, lots of unusual info). I find it amazing how much 'coincidence' happened here.

    Knowing what I know, the things that realy really do work (like turpentine etc) are suppressed, so much so that even open minded and kwowledgeable folks would doubt the possibility it being so. The tricky thing is ofcourse how can you tell, it lies so close to eachother (truth and falsehood). It requieres great discernment, and digging, lots of digging the rabbit hole lol. Borax idk for sure. I'm thinking of trying it.

    Interesting thing I also learned about toxin removal: sweating in infrared sauna's cause you to sweat in a parasympatethic state. Only then can toxins be expelled efficiently trough the skin. Sweating while sports or the very little sweating in steamsauna doesnt really cut it. So this is a newyear thing that I'd like to do. And floating

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    1. Mister M. - I can't tell if you're yanking our chains or not with these ideas, but just in case you're serious ..

      There are many much safer remedies for fungal issues than turpentine. Simply using pine sap from the nearest tree will do you more good (it clears the breathing passages) and far less harm. You can chew it like gum. Calendula marigold tea is a very effective and safe antifungal remedy, and very pleasant, too. Traditional use is to drink a cup or two every day for a month, or bathe affected skin with it.

      Boron is plentiful in wild greens like dandelion and stinging nettle.

      Why would you risk your health on industrial strength poisons when traditional herbal medicine already has what you need?

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  24. Turpentine is used a ton on a few of the yahoo groups I'm on. Go to Amazon and search it U can buy it as a health supplement also

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    1. When we were kids in Ohio, there was a medicine called Burgoon's that we took when we were coming down with anything, worked really well from what I remember. I swear it had turpentine in it. I see it's still sold, maybe a new mixture, ingredients say: SPTS. of Peppermint, Oil of Cinnamon, SPTS. of Camphor, Flext Rhubarb

      http://vitaminusa.com/burgoons-cordial.html





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  25. This doctor uses it a lot

    http://drjenniferdaniels.com/home/

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    1. Wikipedia say: "Turpentine and petroleum distillates such as coal oil and kerosene have been used medicinally since ancient times, as topical and sometimes internal home remedies. Topically it has been used for abrasions and wounds, as a treatment for lice, and when mixed with animal fat it has been used as a chest rub, or inhaler for nasal and throat ailments. Many modern chest rubs, such as the Vicks variety, still contain turpentine in their formulations.

      Taken internally it was used as treatment for intestinal parasites, and candida because of its antiseptic and diuretic properties. A general cure-all.[10][11] Sugar, molasses or honey were sometimes used to mask the taste, and bait parasites.

      Turpentine was a common medicine among seamen during the Age of Discovery. It is one of several products carried aboard Ferdinand Magellan's fleet in his first circumnavigation of the globe,[12] and is still used today as an alternative medicine."

      Tim Steele say: Be careful. Listen to Christine!

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  26. Wikipedia isnt the (as much as possible) unbiased source of information that many like to believe it is.
    Turpentine oil, 100% pure gum spirit, is said to be very effective for fungal/parasite expelling (expellation?). The government puts the skull and other scary stuff on the label for the fear factor. Certain criteria must be met when choosing a bottle of turpentine oil, and mine from the hardware store meets that. To say 'industrial poison' is a bit of a statement stemming forth out of not enough research (not criticising) imo.
    I'm not going to give you a long winded explanation on my situation as to why its much much easier/possible (and also effective) to get it from the hardware store than going somewhere scraping sap from some trees somewhere.
    You could be right about the boron. I get my veggies from the market and grocery, so I eat the usual salad and cooked stuff. And in those veggies boron isnt present much. I also have boron in a supplement that I havent been taking for a while, and will be again. So that is what i have in the back of my mind, and then thinking just adding pure borax for therapeutic purposes. The amount needed for that you cant find in normal amounts of veggies (that are touh for me to get a hold of in the first place), i assume.

    I agree that nature has (almost) all the medicine. Havent heard of calendula marigold. I suppose I could try it. I feel that I'm well on my way, but I might try it.
    I admit that I havent really visited a true herbalist who has all sorts of herbs that even I havent heard of. I've never found one such thing here in belgium. I decided I'm not going to make myself crazy with diving in to chinese medicine and scourcing plants myself (i'm better now, but cooking used to be very stressfull to me even). And visiting a site that has 100's of tomeunknown herbs I can't really tell what is worthwile. Though I have tried some 'new things' like neem that I'm also taking now. I've done aloooooot. But ime&o turpentine and ldn are the ones making the differences great enough, at least in strongly systemic fungus. With the other things stacked on top of it, being of good help (after all these years of bookmarking supps/herbs costeffective and funguseffective antifungal supplement regime consists of: neem, undecylenic acid, apolactoferrin, berberine/.., activated charcoal, and basic stuff like liver detox and nac)

    I was contemplating on wrubbing some turpentine oil on my nek and lungs (fungus al over). As I heard speaking about that again yesterday (on extreme health radio a candida episode of 2yrs ago).
    Valuable tip for thosing using it:
    taking with sugar cubes = more in the stomach
    taking with castor oil = more in the large intestine, where ill be using it today(package arriving today)
    rubbing it on problem areas = there more action. Turp goes troughout the body but procentually you'll have more action on the oroblem area. Think im gonna wait few days after with castor oil

    I'm very serious about all the information I have given to you guys here. The thing yanking is the comment system here, lol.

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  27. One time i didnt copypaste my comment to notedoc, and then it vanishes AFTER published.

    The comment system, thats whats yanking. Really pissed, was a very good post imo

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    1. I'm done talking here

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    2. The comment made it trough after all.

      This was a reply i wanted to give to Tims comment 'be careful (had copy-paste this one):

      I've been there, the days I was scared to try it. I first tried it 2,5yrs ago, just before my psychosis went into full gear (cannabis). My mom found out and she was hysterical. During psychosis (and until september last year) everything came to a full halt. But I definitely was on to something. Among other things the whole fear factor (from the people around me) kept me from thinking about this again. Guess its always so funny this way: that which you come last to, seems what you could have used the most in the beginning. Same feeling with lowdosenaltrexone

      So now at it again, with valuable and reassuring information from youtube/drdaniels. So this isnt a dive deep no thinking sort of thing

      This post took 5 tries

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  28. Any tips on getting rid of constipation ?

    I eat really well. No preoceesed foods. Juice daily.

    Do have candida im trying to get a handle on. Taking three different probiotics.

    Any tips ideas are more then welcome. Lord knows I've tried a lot of shit the last 10 years with little to no help.

    Thx

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  29. Magnesium chloride or one of its salts(trial and error to see how much you need) and a couple of grams of vitamin c will do the trick:)

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  30. Magnesium Oxide from Dollar General - the old Rexall brand - 500mg - but I can't figure out a consistent dose that works every day - sigh. Like Paul, I've tried a lot - in my case, the last "20" years with little to no help. Oxypowder helps but it's so overpriced! I probably should go back on it because it works. I have researched the heck out of its actual ingredients to no avail. Any other comments or suggestions out there?

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  31. Ive been using psyllium husk...2 tbl spoons around 1 pm has been working pretty good as long as i drink a lot of water too....But just feels like a band-aid...

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  32. Hei Tim, After reading this, I went to check my toothpaste and mouthwash, the don't have Chlorhexidine, but everything has sodium fluoride. I have had a good health regarding my teeth but something is going on in my mouth and tongue, so I would like to try to change my toothpaste and do oil pulling.

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