Does anyone ever wonder what the connection between diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity is and why we call it metabolic syndrome? If you understand part of the connection, do you feel we are treating it appropriately using one medication to control blood sugar and another to control cholesterol? Thankfully, we are telling people to modify their diets and we understand that the patient needs to lose weight. However, is the diet right and does it fit the patient that may have underlying issues processing fats, proteins and carbohydrates?
Does the patient need underlying issues addressed first to help them burn calories and turn what they are eating into fuel for the body? Is there more to the picture than the obvious? Should we address the probable shift in the balance between the immune system and the system that signals growth? In fact, the underlying process is likely multifactorial and very different for each and every person.
I believe we be looking deeper at the underlying causes and customize the treatment to each and every individual. If you do not address the underlying causes, you may treat the symptoms only to have a bigger process unfold. In this case, imagine the dominos falling when we were kids or the snowball rolling down a hill picking up momentum and getting bigger! Unfortunately, this treatment model usually leads to other issues because it does not address the primary cause or causes or this mystical syndrome. Most people have heard about the links to dementia and cardiovascular disease that accompany the above labels. They may not be aware of the connection to cancer or that the more adipose tissue they have, the more estrogen they produce because of the extra aromatase.
I mentioned hormone metabolism earlier and it is another example of why we need to look deeper and get to the underlying issue. When we metabolize hormones, we break them down into intermediates that are still very active in the body. It takes two steps to clear hormones and most people are not aware that these intermediate metabolites are still active and potent. One of the intermediates is safer and the other two are dangerous. These intermediates get cleared by three different enzymes or processes. If a patient is prone to make the wrong intermediate genetically and cannot clear it well, we need to correct it and we should definitely correct it before we even begin to talk about hormone replacement therapy or giving hormones!
One of the metabolites has been shown to impact KRAS. This is a gene involved in cancer. The gene is involved in abnormal female conditions, but also plays a role in 90% of pancreatic cancer! It does not surprise me that the healthy hormone metabolite when cleared or methylated has been shown to inhibit abnormal growth, cut off blood supply to abnormal tissue and help treat the abnormal conditions. It reduced the islands of cancer cells by 30% and it has also been shown to help adenomyosis. These metabolites circulate in the body and impact other tissues and organs. They have also been implicated in autoimmune disease. We believe it is critical to evaluate these pathways given the connection to breast and prostate cancers and the ability to damage DNA.
The point that I am making is that we have the ability to change the way we treat patients. We can look at your DNA and if we practice the “art of medicine” using genetics, understand the basics we learned a long time ago, keep up with the literature and continue to learn and read about each and every patient, we have the ability to practice a style of medicine that is specific to each individual. This medicine deals with the underlying causes. If we stop that process, we can treat current issues and help prevent other related issues that on the surface appear to be totally separate. It is amazing what happens when you learn how to use a person’s genetics and match them to the condition or symptoms they are experiencing!
We practice this type of medicine and we are committed to constantly growing and reading to help our clients. The treatment modalities that have become available in the past few years are targeting these key pathways and are based on these concepts. It is an exciting time. I want people to know there is a new level of care emerging and I hope people take advantage of it. I hope people use it proactively to maximize health, limit the risk of disease, and maximize life. Think about the mistakes that can be avoided. You have the option of taking more control of your life now instead of taking chances or having the attitude that it was meant to be or out of my control. We have a long way to go, but we have come a long way in a short period of time!
Dr. Ralph Waldo, MD