Integrative Health Blog

Healing is Being an Interpreter of the Body's Messages

Posted by on Tue, Oct 09, 2018

The human body speaks a “foreign” sensory language.  It would be nice if it could speak English, and say, “That pasta you ate last night is fermenting a lot of fungus, and I’ve told you before about your auto-brewery problems, so take extra probiotics today, and eat very lightly, and please, no carbohydrates.”  Instead of speaking English, the body speaks with sensory symptoms such as gas, bloating, discomfort, fatigue and loose stools.

Like translating Russian into English, as a functional medicine physician I serve as an interpreter, so that my patients can begin to listen to their body’s messages.  Later, as they learn the language, they can listen to their own "body-speak."

What Symptoms Can Mean

Symptoms are attempts to communicate and an attempt to heal and make things better, regardless of how unpleasant symptoms are.  We have been indoctrinated to believe that symptoms are diseases, that they should be medicated with something to anesthetize (numb) or control them.  Sometimes symptoms can be so severe that they actually pose a health risk, such as severe diarrhea which can cause dehydration.  Most of the time, symptoms are not life-threatening and it helps to pay attention to what your body is trying to say and do. Diarrhea, cough, urgency on urination and a runny nose are attempts of the body to rid itself of toxins.  Blindly medicating such symptoms frustrates your body’s attempts to rid you of toxins and infections and to heal.  

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Tags: functional medicine, mind-body, Dr. Gant

Functional Medicine Testing for Food Sensitivities

Posted by on Tue, Sep 18, 2018

Food sensitivity is often a major risk factor for systemic inflammation immune stress and it can distract your immune system from more important tasks such as destroying cancer cells,  parasites, fungus, viruses and invasive fungus. As part of a functional medicine work-up, a simple, inexpensive test panel for food sensitivities can determine certain foods to eliminate for a while which can eliminate some inflammation and immune stress, and which can lower your overall stress levels.

Regardless of the problem that you are seeking care for, at some level your immune system is involved, and the immune system does better if it is not distracted or damaged by food sensitivities. For instance, you may have mild food sensitivities which may not be that important for your overall health, but if they distract your immune system in its fight against Lyme or cancer, or you are dealing with serious asthma or an autoimmune disorder, even mild sensitivities can be important. Food sensitivity recovery is a relatively simple process but giving up one’s favorite foods can be difficult. We have health coaches and support to help you make better food replacement choices.

The Immune System and Leaky Gut 

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Tags: food sensitivities, functional medicine, Dr. Gant

The Truth About Addiction: Drug and Alcohol Addiction is NOT Caused by Drugs and Alcohol

Posted by on Tue, Sep 19, 2017

President Donald Trump[1] has just proclaimed September 2017 as the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.  One can’t fault any concerned American for bemoaning our #1 national epidemic that continues to escalate with no solution in sight.  In true Trumpesque form, the issue is being met head on and brazenly confronted, a welcomed call to action. 

Deaths from drug abuse kill more Americans by far than any other disorder, with tobacco alone killing nearly a half million Americans per year and underlying much of the death and disability of the classical #1 and #2 killers, heart disease and cancer.  Deaths from opioid abuse alone, heavily fueled by the prescription pad, now tally more than the deaths from auto accidents and gunshot wounds combined. 

Why can’t addictions be solved like many other medical problems; find the cause, address them, and be done with it?

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Tags: addiction, functional medicine, precision medicine, Dr. Gant

Functional Medicine Treatments to Diagnose, Prevent and Reverse Osteoporosis Naturally

Posted by on Tue, Sep 12, 2017

Osteoporosis is a common disease that affects bone health. Osteoporosis and low bone density affect about half of all adults age 50 and over, and places them at greater risk for broken bones from minor falls.

However, most older Americans who suffer bone breaks are not tested or treated for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis: Functional Medicine Testing for a Baseline on Your Bones

If you are slender in body build, have a family history of osteoporosis, are over 65 or have suffered unexplained bone fractures, you should have a DEXA scan.  If that test suggests significant loss of bone density, 3 additional diagnostic tests are commonly recommended by functional medicine practitioners: seriel blood progesterone [1] levels, serial urine N-Telopeptide Cross-links (NTx)[2] and seriel Hormonal Health[3]

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Tags: functional medicine, osteoporosis, Dr. Gant

How to Find Out About Your Genetic Risks

Posted by on Mon, Aug 14, 2017

A human being’s genetic blueprint is housed in our 23 chromosomes which is where the name of the genetic test “23andMe” gets its name.

Each of our 23 chromosomes has an average of about 1000 genes, and each gene has an average of about 100 quirky substitutions, which are sometimes referred to as mutations or polymorphisms.

These millions of quirky substitutions partly explains why we are all so delightfully unique in the way we look, think, act and feel about life’s challenges. Most of these mutations or polymorphisms are not considered to be detrimental, but a handful could be important under certain circumstances and cause serious diseases and other health problems, which is why it is important to know about them.

These important genetic polymorphisms are also:

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Tags: functional medicine, genetics, precision medicine, Dr. Gant

Opioid and Painkiller Abuse: Replace What is Needed in the Brain

Posted by on Wed, Aug 02, 2017

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”

Winston Churchill.

It’s all over the news. Deaths due to opioids and painkillers are rising dramatically and are now exceeding the mortality rates of auto accidents and gunshot wounds combined. The new healthcare budget may pump 45 billion dollars into opioid abuse treatment, intended to treat opioid abuse with the latest, more expensive, and perhaps equally addictive  prescribed opioids. This is tantamount to trying to extinguish a kerosene fire with gasoline. Morbidity and mortality rates will continue to worsen for opioid addiction, because certain basic, scientific truths about restoring the brain’s natural opioids are being ignored in society and even in mainstream healthcare.

Historically, when educational, prevention and treatment efforts are initiated to address various diseases, the morbidity and mortality associated with the targeted diseases declines. When mosquitos were found to be the vector in the cause of malaria, reputed historically to have killed more human beings than all other diseases in the history of humanity combined, the incidence of malaria dropped dramatically. Tuberculosis may have killed as many as 1 billion people in the 1800s, and its incidence has fallen dramatically with the advent of antibiotics. You probably don’t know anyone who has suffered from polio, as this vaccine has all but eradicated this disease.

History of Opioid Treatment

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Tags: addiction, brain health, opioids, Dr. Gant

5 Genetic Tests You Should Get Now

Posted by on Mon, Mar 27, 2017

The human genome was mapped only 13 years ago, and already it is changing healthcare.

Genetic testing can identify common, important and modifiable quirky genes called SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, which create vulnerabilities to many kinds of allergic, infectious, immune, toxic, nutritional and psycho-emotional stress.  Autonomic fight or flight stress is usually blamed on vocational, economic and interpersonal factors- but actually it has a lot more to do with unseen physiological, biochemical toxicity and genetic variables.

Depending on your health interests, several panels of genetic tests are available at National Integrated Health Associates (NIHA) in the on-site lab, and can be ordered by your practitioner. Most tests are non-invasive, involving only a mouth swab, and may be covered by insurance.

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Tags: genetics, Dr. Gant

New Hope for Dementia

Posted by on Mon, May 02, 2016

Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases associated with long term, irreversible, gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember which is great enough to affect a person's daily functioning and which is worse than would be expected with normal aging.  

For decades, scientists have studied brain tissue samples of Alzheimer’s Disease victims, the largest dementia subcategory, (>50%), and have found distinctive pathological changes in the brain such as “plaque” and “neurofibrillary tangles” that are thought to somehow be causative of the disease.  The new sciences of Omics sheds new light on Dementia and is challenging long held views about its causes and treatments.

Omics, A Field of Study in Biology Read More

Tags: functional medicine, brain health, precision medicine, Dr. Gant

Depression: It's Probably Not What You Think It Is.

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014

I recently had a brake problem in my car, and the diagnosis I made was completely different from the one my mechanic made.  My diagnosis was descriptive, “the brakes squeak and the car pulls to the left,” I said to my mechanic.  The diagnosis he made was that the rotors and brake pads were worn down. 

My diagnosis, like the ones often given to patients who suffer from psychiatric disorders, was descriptive of symptoms.  The other meaning of the word diagnosis is to define the cause.  That’s what depression really is; definitive, testable, modifiable causes.  The causes can be immunological (e.g., gluten sensitivity), infectious (e.g., Candida or Lyme), allergic (e.g., pollen), toxic (e.g., mercury), metabolic (e.g., hypoglycemia), psycho emotional (e.g., irrational thinking, or unfinished emotional trauma (PTSD) and/or genetic issues (e.g., methylation problems). 

Here is a short list of 21 other causes of depression:

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Tags: depression, holistic approach, Dr. Gant

The Challenge of Lyme Disease and the Co-Infections

Posted by on Tue, Jul 01, 2014

Lyme Disease, the "Sneaky Masquerader"

Successful treatment of Lyme disease can be very challenging for the patient and the clinician because of many factors.  First of all, the spirochete which causes Lyme Disease, Borrelia Bergdorferi (a type of bacteria), is unusual and extremely adaptable in finding ways to work around our defenses.  The Lyme germ damages the same immune system which fights it, causes the immune system to inappropriately generate too much inflammation which weakens the body and can cause autoimmune diseases.  It masquerades into many forms (spiral, cystic, granular) to evade detection and attack by the immune system, is “sneaky,” and grows very slowly to stay under the immune system’s radar.  This clever spirochete changes its immune expression about every 4 weeks keeping the immune system off balance and can go into hiding and become dormant for long periods of time (but nevertheless continue to produce toxins).  It can wiggle its way into the body’s nooks and crannies and generate protective slime (biofilm) to hide.  No wonder Lyme disease has become endemic in the Washington DC and surrounding regions and many parts of the U.S. and the world – it is a vicious, crafty adversary.

Co-Infections of Lyme Disease: Other Insect-Borne Illnesses

Lyme is often accompanied by “co-infections” which can also be injected into humans through tick bites and other insects.  We are finding a high percentage of co-infections with babesia, a malarial-like parasite, rickettsias and we suspect Bartonella (e.g., cat-scratch fever), a bacteria that can turn off antibodies to Lyme so that the diagnostic tests are not even positive.  Diagnostic tests are helpful however but not always reliable, and clinicians and the public should maintain a high index of suspicion for these slow-growing, sneaky and potentially devastating infections. Basically, the cause of any new medical or psychiatric problem that develops without an obvious explanation, that is persistent and often does not fit any known pattern of a conventional disorder, and that baffles conventional doctors, may be caused by Lyme disease and/or related co-infections. Especially anyone suffering from unusual skin disorders, psychiatric disorders of any kind, neurological problems (autism and dementia), autoimmune disorders and unexplained arthritis deserve to be tested for Lyme and/or co-infections. 

Why are We Seeing So Much Lyme Disease?

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Tags: lyme disease, Dr. Gant