Today I am going to cover the vitamins and minerals necessary for healing cavities naturally with nutrition. In my previous post, I laid out a dietary plan of How to Get Rid of Cavities at Home Naturally.
The most important step for healing cavities naturally is switching to a nutrient dense diet. I previously talked about which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Now we will dive into the suggested daily intake of important vitamins and minerals. This information is based upon Ramiel Nagel's book Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition.
If you are interested in healing the cavities in your teeth naturally at home, I recommend starting by reading his informative book.
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As the basis of my teeth healing journey, I am striving to get the necessary vitamins and minerals from foods in my diet. Let's take a look at the teeth healing fat soluble vitamins and crucial minerals. Many of us are deficient in these vitamins and minerals, without being aware of the damage those deficiencies are causing. We may have thought we were eating a healthy diet, but developing holes in our teeth tells us otherwise.
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Daily Vitamin and Mineral Intake Goals
To cure and prevent cavities, each day we should try to obtain the following vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat:
- Vitamin A: 4,000-20,000 IU (6,000 IU is recommended in the book)
- Vitamin D: 1,000-4,000 IU (2,500 IU is recommended in the book)
- Vitamin E: 15-19 mg
- Vitamin K2: (daily intake not specified)
- Calcium: 1-1.5 grams
- Phosphorus: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 75-90 mg (not more than 2,000 mg)
*It is important to get these vitamins and minerals from food, not synthetic vitamins!
If you have active tooth decay, you are most likely deficient in Vitamins A and D.
Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E and K) from Food
The following foods make good staples in a teeth healing diet, since they are high in fat soluble vitamins A and D:
- Beef liver (1 ounce = 10,000 IU Vitamin A, 8.5 IU Vitamin D)
- Anchor grass-fed butter (1 tablespoon = 350 IU Vitamin A, 8 IU Vitamin D)
- Pastured chicken eggs (3 eggs = 660 IU Vitamin A, 180 IU Vitamin D)
- Duck eggs (1 egg = 472 IU Vitamin A, 540 IU Vitamin D)
- Oysters (3.5 ounces of oyster meat = 642 IU Vitamin D)
- Pork Lard (1 tablespoon = 140-400 IU Vitamin D)
- Salmon (3.5 ounces = 360 IU Vitamin D)
- Canned sardines (3.5 ounces = 270 IU Vitamin D)
You can find even more Vitamin A and D rich foods listed in Cure Tooth Decay.
Vitamin A Deficiency
The fat soluble vitamin that my diet is most likely deficient in is Vitamin A. I have only eaten liver a couple times. Before going Paleo, I barely ate any butter for about 10 years. And these days I hardly eat seafood with the innards, such as oysters or clams.
The main source of Vitamin A in my diet is eggs, with occasional salmon or canned sardines. But I would need to eat about ten times my daily intake of those foods to come within the recommend range of 4,000-20,000 IU of Vitamin A daily.
Liver is the most concentrated source of fat-soluble Vitamin A.
Taking Cod Liver Oil for Vitamin A
The easiest option for increasing my fat soluble vitamin intake would be to take Green Pasture BLUE ICE™ Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend, which provides a balanced ratio of Vitamins A, D, E, and K2.
I like the idea of taking capsules rather than liquid. I once attempted to take Green Pasture coconut oil infused with Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Skate Liver Oil and the texture was so awful that I almost gave up all together on healing my cavities naturally with nutrition.
The book makes the FCLO and butter oil blend sound like a magic bullet, since you can get A, D, E, and K2 all at once. And we're always looking for some easy fix, whether it be a nutritional shake or a pill...
But there will be no magical FCLO and butter oil blend for me. The main reason I am not going to rely on Green Pasture supplements is that the shipping is way too expensive to Thailand. There has also been debate lately regarding fermented cod liver oil vs. cod liver oil that has not been fermented. It is interesting to view this controversy in light of the history of cod liver oil processing over the years.
I will address my nutritional need for Vitamin A by eating approximately one ounce of grass-fed beef liver per day, and I'm just going to have to get used to it!
I will also start eating duck eggs, which are richer in fat soluble vitamins A and D than chicken eggs and have bigger yolks. This photo shows two bright orange duck egg yolks and two pale yellow chicken egg yolks. You can tell by the color alone that the duck eggs are more nutritious.
Update: I ran out of grass-fed beef liver during the fourth week, and switched to taking 1.5 tsp daily of Garden of Life Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil.
Vitamin D Deficiency
If I had been relying only on food for Vitamin D, I most likely would have been deficient in D, as well. None of the whole food sources of Vitamin D listed above come close to the recommended daily amount of 2,500 IU. Even grass-fed beef liver, which is an excellent source of Vitamin A, is much lower in Vitamin D.
Seafood is an excellent source of Vitamin D.
Someday I would love to eat a seafood rich diet, but that is not the most accessible option at this time. Occasionally I will include seafood in my diet.
I find it interesting that Nagel never mentions in his book that our bodies can make Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Food is not our only source of Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin. However, despite our amazing ability to make our own Vitamin D, many Americans are deficient in this crucial fat soluble vitamin.
My family probably was getting sufficient Vitamin D from sun exposure while living in Hawaii. We walked outside as our main form of transportation. We didn't wear sunscreen, which would block UVB rays and our ability to produce Vitamin D. I took my son swimming at the beach about three times a week, and to an outdoor park on the other days.
But now that we moved to Thailand and our son is spending five days a week indoors at preschool, we are not getting as much Vitamin D. My husband and I walk out in the sunshine for at least 20 minutes a day, but it's not the same as wearing a swim suit at the beach.
Vitamin E Deficiency
The book seems to be missing a section on Vitamin E. I think the author just assumed we would all get Vitamin E from taking Green Pasture Butter Oil and failed to address Vitamin E separately. The daily intake of Vitamin E suggested by Paleo Leap is 15-19 mg. Foods rich in Vitamin E include:
- Nuts and seeds (which I won't be eating);
- Spinach - 1 cup cooked (3.74 mg);
- Avocados - 1 fruit (2.68 mg);
- Olive oil - 1 tbsp (1.94 mg);
- Broccoli - 1 cup cooked (1.13 mg).
I plan to snack on olives regularly and eat broccoli, but it looks like I may need to focus on getting enough Vitamin E.
Vitamin K2 "Activator-X" Deficiency
Weston A. Price wrote about Activator X, which was later found to be Vitamin K2. It is crucial in a teeth healing diet, because Vitamin K2 tells your body where to deposit calcium. Foods likely to contain Vitamin K2 include:
- Grass-fed raw butter or ghee made from grass-fed butter;
- Grass-fed raw cream;
- Fish eggs;
- Innards of crab and lobster;
- Grass-fed animal livers;
- Bone marrow;
- Grass-fed cheese (smaller amounts);
- Pastured eggs (smaller amounts).
*Quantities of Vitamin K2 are not listed above, since most of these foods have not been tested for their Vitamin K2 content.
Vitamin K2 is found in highest quantities in grass-fed dairy from animals grazing on rapidly growing summer grass.
Since I don't have access to raw grass-fed dairy here in Thailand, my best option is buying Anchor grass-fed pasteurized butter from the grocery store. I consume at least 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter each morning in my butter tea (made with herbal tea). Plus we cook with generous amounts of butter.
I will also snack on pasteurized grass-fed cheese imported from California.
Vitamin C from Food
Water soluble Vitamin C is also an important part of a teeth healing diet, since it can counteract the negative effects of phytic acid. The National Institutes of Health suggest a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. Foods rich in Vitamin C include:
- Red pepper (190 mg Vitamin C);
- Guava (100 mg Vitamin C);
- Kiwi, Broccoli (90 mg Vitamin C);
- Papaya (60 mg Vitamin C);
- Orange (50 mg Vitamin C)
- Kale (41 mg Vitamin C);
- Lemon (40 mg Vitamin C);
- Mandarin orange (30 mg Vitamin C);
- Beef liver (31 mg Vitamin C);
- Raw milk - 4 cups (17 mg Vitamin C).
*Food serving size is 100 g or 3.5 ounces.
Dietary Vitamin C can counteract phytic acid's iron absorption blocking effect.
I plan to get Vitamin C mostly from fruit smoothies made with coconut milk. It sounds like guava and papaya would be good choices.
Minerals Necessary for Healthy Teeth
The daily goal for calcium consumption for an adult is around 1-1.5 grams of calcium per day. Foods rich in calcium include:
- Hard or soft cheese -2 ounces (404 mg)
- Canned sardines with bones - 1 can 3.75 ounces (351 mg)
- Yogurt from whole milk - 1 cup (296 mg)
- Whole milk - 1 cup (276 mg)
- Canned salmon with bones 3.5 ounces (277 mg)
- Cooked collard greens - 1 cup (266 mg)
- Cooked kale - 1 cup (171 mg)
- Cooked broccoli -2 cups (120 mg)
Calcium is most likely one of the minerals in which I am deficient. I am guessing that the clear tips of my teeth are due to inadequate calcium.
Calcium needs can be met by consuming 2-4 cups of raw dairy per day, including probiotic versions like kefir, yogurt, and buttermilk.
Since I am unable to get raw milk in Thailand, the dairy in my diet will be grass-fed pasteurized cheese. However, I won't be able to eat a whole 4 ounces per day of cheese, due to budget constraints. I will more likely eat around 2 ounces per day of cheese, which would provide a little less than half the recommended amount of calcium.
I will therefore need to incorporate non-dairy sources of calcium. Bone broth contains calcium, but the amount is not listed, since it varies from batch to batch. It is recommended to consume 1-2 cups of bone broth per day. We also plan to eat broccoli and leafy greens.
Getting enough calcium is definitely going to be one of the biggest challenges for me!
Phosphorus is another mineral that plays an important role in re-mineralizing teeth and a daily intake of 2.0 grams is suggested. Foods rich in phosphorus include:
- Hard cheese- 3.5 ounces (0.6 g);
- Raw milk - 4 cups (0.9 g);
- Organs of land and sea animals;
- Muscle meat from beef, chicken, or fish - 3.5 ounces (1.25 g);
- Pastured eggs - 4 eggs (0.5 g).
I should be able to meet my daily need for phosphorus by eating eggs for breakfast and meat with dinner, plus my daily dose of beef liver.
Trace Mineral Deficiencies
The Cure Tooth Decay book also mentions trace minerals for which our diets many be deficient, including iron, copper, Vitamin B12, folate, zinc, manganese, and iodine.
Vitamins and Minerals from Supplements
I have already been taking a few supplements before starting my teeth healing journey, which I will continue to take. Vitamin D3 and K2 supplements are not required to heal your teeth naturally, if you are getting sufficient levels of these vitamins from your diet (or sun exposure for Vitamin D). I take the following supplements daily in the morning:
- Jarrow Formulas Vitamin D3 (2500 IU);
- Life Extension Super K with Advanced K2 Complex (2700 mcg);
- Solaray Vitamin C Two-Stage Time-Release Supplement (1000 mg).
[Update: March 23, 2017: I recently learned that it is best not to take synthetic Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and asorbic acid supplements. I recently stopped taking these three supplements.]
I also take the following magnesium supplement daily in the evening:
Update: During the 4th week I ate my last serving of grass-fed beef liver on Tuesday. I didn't have any liver that Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday of the fourth week, I started taking 1.5 tsp daily (0.5 tsp with each meal) of the following cold pressed cod liver oil:
- Garden of Life Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil (6,750 IU Vitamin A, 675 IU Vitamin D)
Next, I will share a food journal of the meals in my Heal Cavities Naturally Diet.
Have you been getting adequate vitamins and minerals from your diet to heal and prevent cavities?