Flaxseed Oil and Gum Disease: Still More Success

The following comment was left a few days ago:

I was doing SLD using flax seed oil for two weeks before my last dental appointment.  My pockets that were 4’s and 5″s magically changed to 2’s and 3″s.  I had my dentist print both the reports because I was so grateful that they stopped talking about some really painful sounding root work.  My brushing and flossing were totally unchanged.  I was expecting the result because of what I’ve read on the blog, but nothing this good.  I am convinced that taking flax=reduction in gum inflammation, at the very least. [emphasis added]

Take that, “decline effect” (big experimental effects, when the experiment is repeated, get smaller)!

The  commenter sent me the records of the two cleanings. At the pre-flaxseed-oil cleaning (April 28, 2011), he had 24 sites (13 teeth) with pockets of depth 4 or 5. At the cleaning after he started flaxseed oil (July 28, 2011), he had no sites with pockets of depth 4 or 5.

You can find many similar reports here.

10 Replies to “Flaxseed Oil and Gum Disease: Still More Success”

  1. I have experienced another effect worth mentioning.

    I have one pocket, and after eating spareribs (i usually eat full rack, = lots of pork fat), it gets inflammed seriously,

    No spareribs, no inflammation.

    It was repeated several times.
    Initially, i thoughts it is the chewing. (most of my food is not that hard to chew, and i feel the effort different). But then i tried chewing on the other side, or very gently,mbut still inflammation and serious pain!

    Once i stopped spareribs, i forgot the pocket, the pain inflammation. As if it never happened……

  2. > Take that, “decline effect” (big experimental effects, when the experiment is repeated, get smaller)!

    “Take that, reporting bias (small experimental effects, when the ‘experiment’ is repeated, get bigger)!”

    1. Gwern, your use of the term “reporting bias” is different than Wikipedia’s definition: “reporting bias refers to a tendency to under-report unexpected or undesirable experimental results, attributing the results to sampling or measurement error, while being more trusting of expected or desirable results, though these may be subject to the same sources of error.” I have never heard of “reporting bias” being used to mean what you say it means.

  3. Anecdotes selectively reported are useless; and the stronger your reporting bias, the further from truth the effect size becomes – if everyone reports their results, good, if only people with strong effects report, bad, if only people with very strong effects report, even more bad.

    Is this an unfair characterization of the anecdotes you post, which are selected for their enthusiasm? Perhaps, but your decline remark is even unfairer.

    1. Anecdotes selectively reported are useless

      There’s a strong statement. Care to provide evidence for it?

      I think I understand your explanation — you mean that what gets reported will be biased upwards. Sure, it’s clear that if you repeat an experiment you should expect a smaller effect. It’s also true that the first report of an effect is unlikely to be the maximum possible size of the effect…so making a big deal of this bias is not a good idea.

  4. I have a self-experiment if you are interested. It’s off topic to the post, but interesting, I think. I have familial high-cholesterol – it was 8.4. About twice the norm (I know in America you measure it on a different system). I was prescribed statins but begged for six months to try natural intervention – they told me it wouldn’t work. I took high dose vitamin C and niacin (flushing – not niacinamide/nicotinamide) for six months, but was still nervous at the test. When I rung for my results the nurse told me she had never seen statins work so well. When I said I hadn’t taken any she said the first test results must have been wrong 😀 I’ve stayed at the high end of normal since then.
    Side effect: I used to have terrible acne. Within two weeks of staring that regime (5-10g vitC a day and 50mg niacin when I remembered – about 4-5 times a week) it went away completely. As in.. completely and without recurrence. Through experimentation I’ve determined it was the niacin that had this effect on my skin.
    There’s two more for you ‘anecdotal’ files of no scientific significance, Seth!

  5. There is rat research plus correlational and controlled human research on fatty acids and gum disease — we obviously need a lot more, but it’s encouraging — see the following:

    — With rats:
    “The purpose of this study was to examine the potential anti-inflammatory effects of PUFA supplementation, by administration of fish oil as a source of the n-3 PUFA, eicosapentaenoic acid, and borage oil as a source of the n-6 PUFA, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), to adults with periodontitis.”

    — From Harvard Medical: “We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, are inversely associated with periodontitis in the U.S. population,”

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