June is Brain Awareness Month, which is a wonderful opportunity to discuss or have a national conversation about our brain health, the part of us which makes us distinctly human.Read More
Integrative Health Blog
We are ALL concerned about how exposure to coronavirus could adversely affect the health of ourselves and our loved ones. We want to know:
Am I at high risk for COVID-19?
Is my immune system strong enough?
What can I do at home to remain healthy while social distancing?
What should I be eating?
Are there certain vitamins or minerals that may help?
The key to who gets sick and who does not lies in the strength of their immune system. The healthier you are, the better chance you have at fighting the Coronavirus. To combat coronavirus, or any flu or cold or virus, we must first support the immune system.
But how do we do this?Read More
One of the ways to tune up your immune system and give you more resistance to the Coronavirus is to heal your intestines. A healthy gastrointestinal tract is often synonymous with a healthy immune system, which strengthens your resistance to any and all infections.
Roughly 60% to 80% of our entire immune system is estimated to surround our gastrointestinal tract to keep our microbiome, the bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses, in check. If an overgrowth of unfriendly flora occurs or our immune system is reacting to various foods (e.g., food allergy), a lot of our immune systems energy is diverted to the intestines and away from the immune system’s other responsibilities such as resisting or fighting infectious invaders like Coronavirus.
Symptoms of an Unhealthy Microbiome
How can we tell if the immune system is wasting its energy fighting food proteins or the flora growing in our intestines? One way is to consider symptoms. If bloating, excess gas, abdominal discomfort, loose stools, acid reflux or constipation are a regular occurrence, you may be suffering with food allergy/sensitivity and/or the overgrowth of unfriendly intestinal flora. Sometimes it is impossible to figure out which foods are involved, and which micro-organisms are overgrown without diagnostic functional medicine testing, like a stool test, a urine test and blood work. Once the diagnosis is made, it’s a relatively simple process to correct the flora and get your immune system to then divert its attention away from the intestines to other parts of your body.
Healing the Gut with the 5 R’sRead More
It’s more important to treat the person with a disease, than it is to treat the disease that a person has.
~Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine
When I was in medical school almost 50 years ago, we were recruited for an experiment to test the common cold virus (i.e., a rhinovirus). I didn’t volunteer even though some extra spending money would have been nice, but my classmates did. Students were selected who had essentially no antibodies to rhinovirus. In exchange for a pittance, researchers at the University of Virginia Medical School divided the volunteers into four groups (if my ancient recollection serves me well):
Group 1 was the control and received no virus.
Group 2 received a very low dose.
Group 3 received a moderate dose.
Group 4 received a high dose.
As you might expect, no one in group 1 became ill, whereas everyone in group 4 got a cold. A few in group 2 came down with the sniffles and about half of those in group 3 “caught” the cold. The takeaway from this outcome was that we all have a dosage threshold of inoculation. Despite this well-established fact, I see little discussion about immune resistance to the corona virus and almost all discussion is about the virus itself. It’s as if the quote above from the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, has never been heard. It’s also similar to integrative cancer treatment – modern medicine’s expertise treats the cancer but may tend to ignore the whole person (with an immune system), who is fighting and killing cancer cells.
The Role of the Immune SystemRead More
A quote from the Gene Environment Interaction Fact Sheet  from the Centers for Disease Control states that virtually all human…
“…diseases result from the interaction of genetic susceptibility factors and modifiable environmental factors, broadly defined to include infectious, chemical, physical, nutritional, and behavioral factors. This is perhaps the most important fact in understanding the role of genetics and environment in the development of disease. Many people tend to classify the cause of disease as either genetic or environmental. Indeed, some rare diseases, such as Huntington or Tay Sachs disease, may be the result of a deficiency of a single gene product, but these diseases represent a very small proportion of all human disease. Common diseases, such as diabetes or cancer, are a result of the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors.”
As a functional medicine physician, for years I have incorporated genetic testing to help me diagnose the root causes of health problems. I would often find that the CDC was spot on about the environmental and genetic factors in the development of disease. Once identified, physicians can work to correctly reverse environmental factors such as chronic infections, gastrointestinal disorders and toxicities as well as altering genetic expression which underlie many diseases, disorders and rapid aging.
It is important to remember that genetics may be turned “on” or “off” depending on the environmental factors- genes are modifiable.
The Dominoes of Healthcare
Are you taking medications and wondered if they are the right ones for you?
If you have been taking them for a long time, have you been concerned that they might be adversely reacting with each other or taking a toll on your long-term health? Are the doses too high or too low?
Do you suffer from sleep problems, mood shifts or fatigue and ever wondered if these symptoms are side effects of your medications?
These are good questions that millions of responsible healthcare consumers ask, and now with genetic testing there is technology that can help you get some answers.
Pharmacogenomics, Genetic Testing for Drug SensitivitiesRead More
How do you choose your primary care doctor? Referral by friends or picked off an insurance list. Some young adults may not really care who they see - as long as they get their “annual exam” and have someone write for an antibiotic when they get sick. Others with chronic health conditions visit their doctor to refill their multiple medications which help control their disease symptoms.
But is this enough? Could this interaction between your doctor be far more beneficial in helping you maximize your health instead of just mitigating a disease process?
How much does your doctor really know about you and your true health status? What can the typical 15-minute visit accomplish in answering your health questions or addressing your ongoing medical concerns?
Is there an alternative, more comprehensive approach that aims to prevent future health conditions as well as determine the underlying cause(s) of your recurrent problems?
YES! It’s called Functional Medicine and here are 5 reasons why you should schedule this type of visit today.
5 Reasons for Holistic Primary Care with Functional Medicine
- Time spent with your doctor.
The human brain, our beautifully designed master control center, is under attack from many modern environmental issues.Alarmingly, we're seeing increased cognitive impairment from young to old - Autism to Alzheimer's, anxiety, depression, neuro-degenerative diseases (Parkinson's, ALS) brain fog, stroke, memory and neurological issues. Although some of the increase is due to an aging population, we're seeing brain impairment at all age levels and the incidences are getting worse. Losing one's cognitive function is an ultimate fear and exploring the issue of prevention is the subject of this article.
Unlike our ancestors, we now must contend with the daily assault of Wi-Fi, chemicals and what I like to call the "Dirty Dozen for the Brain." Modern technology has improved our lives in a myriad of ways, and we can't live in a bubble. But, to start, let's look at what may be affecting us daily and what we can do to avoid or at least minimize the Dirty Dozen- and keep our brains healthy.
The Dirty Dozen for the BrainRead More
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 GeneticsRead More
What is Peptide Therapy?
Peptide therapy is a newly developed medical treatment that has gained new heights in 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