Lessons Learned from the Integrative Healthcare Symposium 2016

Inflammation is the DEVIL!!

What an amazing 4 days of education we received this week at the IHS. Below are some of the pearls and wisdom I learned from some of the best Integrative Health providers in the world. The week was packed with lots of information overload and statistics.

Aviva Romm MD gave 2 presentations on stress and disease.

I learned that women who take Statin medications (to lower cholesterol) have a 50% increased rate of diabetes than women who do not take statins. Statins are needed sometimes, but oftentimes are prescribed prematurely.

  • 1 in 4 women are on an SSRI or some form of anti-depressant
  • 60% of all single women are SINGLE MOTHERS! The new term is “indie mom” instead of “single mom”
  • Traditional providers who see 25-40 patients a day generally are able to only spend approximately 6-7 minutes with the patient!
  • It takes on average 17 years for proven research to be implemented into the medical fields. As providers, we are practicing 20 years behind the research! So when your provider says “there’s no proof that gluten inflames the thyroid”…just know they have not read the research!
  • The ROOT cause of fatigue is oftentimes INFLAMMATION
  • Allostatic Load is the accumulation of stressors that add up over time and eventually can contribute to disease.

Oftentimes “the straw that broke the camel’s back” is an accumulation of these stressors over the years that tip us to the breaking point. Our health declines, we can’t bounce back, we are depressed, fearful, hopeless and overwhelmed by the amount of pressure on us to be the perfect employee, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend etc. This is when we as integrative practitioners begin to unravel the story and take a deep dive into the timeline of when the patient’s health started to shift in a negative direction.

Dr.David Brady gave an amazing presentation on fibromyalgia.

He is nationally known for his work with fibromyalgia patients. Check out his website and upcoming book as well. www.drdavidbrady.com.

  • Ferritin levels below 100 are contributors to fatigue, restless legs, and hair loss.
  • Very low ferritin levels could be attributed to the gut bacterial infection H.Pylori (I didn’t’ know that)
  • Myalgias and arthralgia’s can be linked to hypothyroidism

Dr. Gersh GYN talked about estrogen and the benefits of estrogen in our bodies.

  • Estrogen is the OLDEST of all of the hormones, dating back to 500 million years ago
  • Estrogen is neuroprotective (good for the brain)
  • She discussed the link between increased rate of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and the decrease in estrogen in post-menopausal women.
  • Decreased estrogen levels also decrease thyroid function and conversion from FT4 to FT3

Dr. Rudy Tanzi, one of the world’s leading Alzheimer’s Disease researchers shared incredible research, visuals and what is upcoming in the world of Alzheimer’s research.

He shared some sobering statistics that Dr. Neil Bredesen (the Buck Institute) had shared as well.

  • 30 million people have dementia
  • 160,000,000.000 will have alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050
  • 3rd leading cause of death
  • 65% of all AD patients are women
  • INFLAMMATION IS AT THE ROOT OF AD
  • Cats Claw and Ashwagandha have been shown in his research to decrease brain inflammation and therefore decrease the amount of plaques and tangles in the brain.
  • Our life span has outpaced out health span!!

Beta Amyloid Plaque deposits have been linked to the onset of AD. Which came first? The plaques or the inflammation? The old adage of the chicken and the egg! He presented us research on “resilient brains” where postmortem autopsies (since that is the only form of autopsy that I am aware of), showed plaques and tangles in the brain…BUT NO AD!! How is that? Those brains also had very little if any INFLAMMATION! Implicating the link to inflammation and disease.

Another slide showed that Candida (yeast) was in the brain of 12 AD patient’s postmortem. He also discussed the possible link with C.Pneumonia, Borrellia (Lyme), HSV1, HSV6, periodontal disease as well. Bottom line, decrease the inflammation in the body to protect the brain and every other organ as well.

Dr. Leo Galland MD is one of the world’ leaders in allergy and inflammation.

He discussed that allergies are the hidden epidemic that are sweeping the world. Asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, eczema are increasing at alarming rates worldwide.

  • 30% (60 million) of people in the US and 500 million world wide have allergic rhinitis
  • >1 billion people worldwide suffer from allergies.
  • 1995-2010 anaphalytic reactions to nuts increased 3x in children
  • 300 million people have asthma
  • Every 2 hours someone in the US dies from asthma!!
  • Eating just 3 fast food meals weekly (YUCK) increases your risk of allergies.
  • Every 2.6 seconds a new chemical is created worldwide. Over 1 million a year are introduced to the world
  • Diversity of bacteria in our bodies increases health, lack of diversity in our body decreases health!! IE: don’t use antibacterial cleansers regularly! Don’t clean yourself to death…literally!
  • Eat organic: 80% of all antibiotics are used in ANIMAL FEED!! You are only as healthy as what your animal ate!

We know that allergies originate in the IMMUNE system and the immune system responds to a trigger. Decrease the inflammation in the immune system and decrease the allergic reactions.

Dr. Perlmutter MD: Author of Grain Brain and Brain Maker also discussed in detail the lack of microbial diversity in our microbiome (gut) leads to decreased health.

  • 1 gram of fecal matter contains 100 million terabytes of information!
  • 2 tablespoons contains more information than all computer storage on the PLANET!
  • So why does medicine focus mammalian DNA and NOT microbial DNA?
  • Our lifestyle choices change our genetic material (this is epigenetics I talk about with patients).
  • OUR DNA IS NOT LOCKED INTO A GLASS CASE, as previously thought!

There was so much more I learned, but these are some of the pearls. It will take me a month to digest (no pun intended), formulate updated protocols and implement some new testing in the office. I love what we in functional medicine do for a living! It’s overwhelming, it’s exhausting and heartbreaking sometimes, but always rewarding!!