Integrative Health Blog

Functional Medicine and Genetic Testing for Health

Posted by on Tue, Jun 11, 2019

Functional Medicine is a medical approach which involves testing for the underlying causes of disease and designing a treatment plan to address the root cause of the disorder, not just the symptoms.  It views and treats the body as a whole, integrated system. Many factors can lead to illness, such as lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic makeup, and all factors should be considered for personalized treatment.

At this moment, your unique genetic makeup and that of the people you love can be predisposing you/them to all types of medical and psychiatric disorders, even before symptoms show up.  Why live in the dark, hoping and praying that health problems are not sneaking up on you?  Now, you can bring the light of inexpensive, often insurance covered, genetic testing into your life and take charge of chronic ailments now, possibly prevent them from happening or put them off for decades. 

As the saying goes, If we don't test, we've guessed.  Isn't health too important to make guesses about? 

Functional Medicine is the Rosetta Stone of Modern Genetics

Read More

Tags: functional medicine, genetics

Peptide Therapy for Cellular Repair and Regeneration

Posted by on Fri, May 31, 2019

What is Peptide Therapy?

Peptide therapy is a newly developed medical treatment that has gained new heights in Precision and Functional Medicine for its efficacy, safety and ease of use. These small proteins, or “peptides” are made of a certain sequence of amino acids. Peptides signal the different body organs and tissues to manufacture and release hormones and different substances that are used to induce certain biochemical reactions and changes leading to new cell formation, changes in action or reaction optimizing and augmenting cellular function.

Whether peptide therapy is used  for weight loss, to increase physical agility and fitness, help with digestion processes, neuromuscular function or tissue healing, the advantages are too numerous to talk about in one article.

Read More

Tags: functional medicine, anti-aging

Why Is it So Hard to Lose Weight?

Posted by on Tue, Apr 23, 2019

The short answer is…..because we assume it is due to excess calories and not enough exercise.

And although these are factors, they are often not THE answer.

It is also not about the total calories but rather, where the calories are coming from.  In other words, what types of foods you are eating.  We can all agree that 200 calories worth of Oreo cookies does not provide the same health benefit as 200 calories worth of broccoli.  In fact, most of today’s current diets have more in common than not.  They are all filled with non-processed, real foods and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.  

But what if you are one of those people already on this healthy diet, eating clean and getting in daily activity but still can’t lose weight.  You then have what we call, “resistant weight loss” which is much more complex and best treated through a functional medicine approach as this article will discuss.

Resistant Weight Loss and a Functional Medicine Approach

There are several potential causes of resistant weight loss.

Read More

Tags: weight loss, functional medicine

The "Perfect Diet" for Everyone

Posted by on Sat, Mar 30, 2019

Two kinds of “perfect diets” exist.  The far more common, propagandized, “perfect” diet is the one-shoe-fits-all diet that bases their recommendations on a small slice of scientific evidence of one kind or another, such as the Fodmap Diet™ or a Paleolithic Diet ™.  The latter uses anthropological evidence about what humans and pre-humans have been eating for the last few million years, which makes some sense.  Such diets become popular based mostly on how well they are marketed and not on their validity.  A far less common “perfect diet” is the one that is congruent with your personalized needs, based on your immunological, allergic, endocrine, toxicological, nutritional, metabolic and genetic uniqueness. Functional medicine focuses on identifying and treating the many unique factors which can contribute to disease or poor health.

In the last year, as we have taken on the challenge of supporting the recoveries of cancer patients, we have mined ever deeper into the science-based, personalized, “perfect diet” that could add years to our patient’s lives and life to their years.  We are up against a healthcare system which has only recently begun to acknowledge, despite amassed studies for decades, that diet and lifestyle does matter in cancer recovery.  Despite a thawing of the healthcare system’s assumptions about lifestyle and diet, mainstream medicine is still far from acknowledging that a unique, “perfect diet” that is congruent with each and every cancer patient’s personalized needs, is extremely important to the recovery of each and every cancer patient.

How to Personalize Your Diet

Read More

Tags: cancer, functional medicine

4 Lab Tests to Assess Your TRUE Cardiovascular Risk

Posted by on Wed, Feb 13, 2019

This 3-part series will delve deeper into your true health - starting with your heart health.

Your current blood tests may not be enough to give an accurate picture of your true health- especially when it comes to cardiovascular health and your risks for a cardiac event or chronic disease.

Cardiovascular disease is STILL the leading cause of death in men and women. 

Unfortunately many adults undergo their yearly health exam with labs revealing a “normal” lipid panel.  They leave the office with a false sense of their true risk of having a cardiac event as conventional medical labs fall short of accurately assessing your health.

The basic lipid panel looks at your total cholesterol, triglycerides (fats), and the good and bad cholesterol (HDL and LDL, respectively).  And while this test may be adequate for most of today’s teenagers and young adults, if you are older than 35 or have other risk factors, a more extensive panel is warranted.

Let's look at additional cardiovascular risk factors to get a more complete picture of heart health. 

NMR or Cardio IQ Test

Read More

Tags: heart disease, functional medicine

Natural Options for Heart Health

Posted by on Thu, Nov 01, 2018

Metabolic Cardiology is a fairly new branch of Functional Medicine. Metabolic cardiology is a non-invasive, simple, integrative medical approach which addresses the prevention, management, treatment and monitoring of cardiovascular disease at the core basic level- which is the heart muscle cell. As a functional medicine physician, I am always concerned with addressing health issues at the root of the problem.

The goal here is to improve and preserve heart health at the cellular level of the individual heart cell through organic interventions that are natural to the human body. Diseased heart muscles are energy-source depleted or lacking the natural cell fuel, known as  adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is formed and recycled on the cellular metabolic level, and supplies all the energy required for every cell, organ, system and body function. ATP is so critical for energy production that it is known as the “energy currency” for life.

Read More

Tags: heart disease, functional medicine, supplements

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.  

Read More

Tags: functional medicine, mind-body

Appetite Control Without Medications

Posted by on Wed, Oct 03, 2018

What causes increased appetite?

Appetite is controlled by a complex neuroregulatory system.  There are many factors affecting this mechanism to include the composition of your diet, side effect of medications, chronic stress, hormonal imbalances, and even the types of bacteria that live in your gut. 

Cravings result from a combination of social, cultural, psychological, physiological and genetic factors and can be a major obstacle to weight loss and optimizing one's health. As a functional medicine physician, it is important to examine all underlying factors which may contribute to overweight or obesity.

What can I do to improve this?

If you feel that cravings and increased appetite are interfering with your health goals, try addressing the following list of possible factors.

Read More

Tags: weight loss, functional medicine

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 

Read More

Tags: food sensitivities, functional medicine

National Integrated Health Associates Welcomes Sherif Hassan, MD, Functional and Precision Medicine Physician

Posted by on Tue, Aug 07, 2018

NIHA is pleased to announce the addition of Sherif Hassan, MD, to the medical team.

Dr. Hassan’s wide and comprehensive experience in medical practice in different international settings coupled with his personal experience as a patient suffering from Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) changed his focus to a more interesting and spurned area: Undiagnosed Chronic Medical Disorders. His own Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) went not only undiagnosed, but caused him to undergo two unnecessary surgeries. From this experience as both physician andpatient he can empathize with patients as they search for the underlying cause of ailments. This experience changed his outlook on medicine to a more fulfilling and rewarding medical philosophy whereby wellness is now the cornerstone of his practice.

Read More

Tags: functional medicine