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Dr. D'Adamo Personalizes Medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine
Your faithful blogger is happy to report that she is in her last semester of medical school. After three and a half long years of studying, exam-taking, and practicing my nascent skills on patients who were, and are, well…very patient, I will launch out into the world as a practicing doctor in a few short months. But before that, I am pleased to be on another shift at University of Bridgeport with my favorite naturopathic doctor, the inimitable Peter D’Adamo. I am also working with him (and his colleague, my other favorite doctor Ginger Nash) at his clinic in Wilton two days a week. To say that I am excited about the exposure I am getting to Dr. D’Adamo’s body of knowledge and the GenoType system is something of an understatement. I’m seeing patients heal in ways I never thought possible, and this is largely through minimal intervention. But the protocols we are prescribing are highly personalized and highly specific, so they work in ways conventional approaches sometimes fall short. Too, the approach is natural, which is the direction healthcare consumers are increasingly demanding.
So, with that said, I am happy to say that I am returning to writing more regularly about patient cases, and the treatments we carry out. I dare say you’re not going to find this level of exposure to one of the greatest minds in natural medicine anywhere else, so stay tuned.
I founded this blog to inform my fellow naturopathic medical students about the kind of work Dr. D’Adamo is doing; many of them had expressed interest and curiosity about epigenetics and the application of the science behind D’Adamo’s work. But I hope to continue to write in more layman’s language so more people can understand. If you have any questions or comments, please keep sending them. Or if you’re interested in some topic in particular, let me know and I’ll try to incorporate it into the blog.
Monday morning, 10 a.m. There are six students working on the shift this semester, three fourth-year students and three third-years. Ten a.m. seems like a very leisurely start time to most of us, used to 7:30 classes and we are all in good spirits as we gather on our first day of seeing patients on shift. But the chit-chat quickly comes to a close as we begin a review of the six patients we will see. My first patient is Paolo, an easy-going 34-year old Argentinian who works in Manhattan as a personal assistant (“just to somebody rich, not famous” he replied to my nosy questioning). A friend of his had referred him to the clinic and he was there for the primary purpose of wanting to lose weight. Two years ago he put on about 40 pounds after quitting smoking and now he had a bad sugar habit that put him about 50 pounds overweight. His body impedence analysis showed, though, that his cells were functioning quite well, which indicated that his body was actually in good shape: his intra- versus extracellular water ratio was excellent and his phase angle (which is a measurement of the body’s overall health) was actually quite high at 8.2 (the higher the better). As Dr. D’Adamo said when he came in to consult, inside Paolo was an athlete who had gotten a bit off track with a lazy diet and sedentary lifestyle. We calculated him as an Explorer GenoType (for explanations on the various GenoTypes, see previous my blogs), gave him a strict prescription for exercise and gave him a few supplements: Polyflora O for some slightly gastrointestinal dysbiosis and Histona for metabolic function. We also ran a series of thyroid labs on him because of a family history of hypothyroidism. More on Histona after I introduce our second patient.
“He’s hungry,” warns 12-year old Mati’s mother as we fetch them from the lobby. Because we do a breath hydrogen test (that measures levels of bad bacteria in the gut) we need patients to arrive fasting. It’s past noon, and so I don’t blame Mati—who has a huge grin and red hair—for being a bit fed up with battery of blood tests we run on him before running him upstairs to begin taking his history and doing GenoType measurements. Mati is Hasidic and one of 10 children; his mom looks so young, trim and well-rested that I truly can barely imagine how she has five children who are already married. Ellen tells us that he has a difficult time concentrating and can’t fall asleep. He’s clearly a bright kid, and a keen observer; and happy, for that matter—he laughs loudly as we all crack jokes throughout the appointment. A doctor they see in Brooklyn put him on a Ritalin-equivalent that robs him of his appetite, which was barely present to start. Impedence testing revealed Mati to be, like Paolo, pretty healthy. What’s clear in Mati is that his nervous system had become off-kilter and simply needed to be reset.
The reasons for this were unclear. He reported having anxiety about not being able to fall asleep; clearly the kid was a budding insomniac and we were going to do our best to head this off as soon as possible. Mati came out as a Teacher (A+ Secretors with a lean body type are often Teachers) and we walked him and his mom through the diet. Since Mati subsisted on carbs alone, the change was going to be difficult. He was going to have to stay off wheat and introduce more of the superfood vegetables and proteins, such as turkey, salmon, eggs, yogurt, soy and kale. Mati looked at me with great suspicion when I asked him to limit the cookies. D’Adamo also gave this patient Histona, but this time for its effects on neurobiology. We also gave him Cortiguard (to stabilize his cortisol levels) and zinc (which is often low in patients with ADD). I also suggested that they seek out a kids’ yoga class, which would help Mati relax and focus.
Now, what exactly is in Histona that makes it good for someone who wants to lose weight and someone who has neurobiological problems? The answer is magnolia: yes, the beautiful pink magnolia flower. Magnolia is one of the only bioflavanoids that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Magnolia is one thousand times more potent as an antioxidant than vitamin E and specifically targets the brain cells. Its main components are honokiol and magnalol. Both of these have strong anti-anxiety effects and have been shown in studies to have cortisol-lowering effects; remember cortisol dysregulation is what’s keeping Mati up at night. Cortisol should peak upon waking and fall throughout the day. Mati’s is rising when it should be at its lowest. For Paolo’s metabolism, magnolia is excellent because of the same cortisol-regulating effect. High cortisol will effectively slow down the metabolism by hindering thyroid function and also by increasing insulin release, which causes the body to store unused calories as fat.
The key is cortisol. We see so many patients with cortisol dysregulation layered on top of other pathologies that I’m starting to believe that stress truly is the gateway to most illnesses. A recent study published in JAMA said, “"Effects of stress on regulation of immune and inflammatory processes have the potential to influence depression, infectious, autoimmune, and coronary artery disease, and at least some (e.g., viral) cancers." Dr D’Adamo told me, “Stress can be both provocateur and co-factor. In our line of work stress is an especially important factor, since when it does factor into the equation it is a sure sign that the compensatory mechanisms are no longer up to the task. I like to think of stress as the water that finds the crack in the sidewalk, which then seeps in and freezes, further weakening the structure.” We’ll check back in with these two patients in a couple of months.
For more on Histona, click here:
Soon after Manny arrived at the Clinic it became clear that he was to become one of my more entertaining patients. As we sat down in the consulting room and began to talk about his diet and chief complaints, he launched into a story about the goat he recently acquired, and kept in his backyard in Bridgeport, so that he and his family could have fresh goat’s milk every day. Manny is a well-dressed, successful businessman who is originally from the Dominican Republic. He has close-cropped grey hair and a definite twinkle in his eye. “I got this goat as part of my get-healthy plan, but he’s taking over my life. All I do is milk him, and I can’t convince my kids to help,” he chuckled. He went on to educate me on the diet and general habits of the urban goat. As we shifted off the topic of the goat, it he told me that he was seeking treatment for chronic cough and shortness of breath. He was also concerned having gained over 50 pounds over the last couple of years. He was now obese at 271 pounds. He had no significant history of illness, rode his bike every day and lifted weights.
Lab tests revealed a couple of things. First, his cholesterol was high at 223 (HDL of 38 and LDL of 165). His hemoglobin A1C—which is a blood test that essentially measures blood glucose over a period of time—was slightly elevated, indicating a pre-diabetic state. It’s important to understand a little bit how diabetes works so you can understand how we treated Manny.
Type II diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, is quite common in overweight people over the age of 40. With this disease, the body is no longer sensitive to insulin, which is a hormone produced in the pancreas and allows your body to use food as energy. Properly functioning insulin senses blood sugar in your system and transports it to cells for fuel. When your body doesn’t use insulin correctly, it can’t metabolize foods properly. Your pancreas squirts out more and more insulin, but the body still can’t use it. The sugar from food hangs around in the blood because the insulin isn’t there to take it to the cells. This is why diabetics have high blood glucose; the whole process is called insulin resistance. The more fat you have and the less active you are, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. This may all sound fairly innocuous but the complications of diabetes are not: cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, eye damage, circulatory problems, and kidney damage are just a few.
Manny’s diet didn’t fit the pre-diabetic picture. He reported breakfast as oatmeal or eggs; fish or some other protein and salad for lunch and the same for dinner; snacks were oatmeal, dried fruit, nuts or a smoothie. He talked about how much he loved cheese. I probed him a little further: just how much oatmeal is he eating each day? He sheepishly admitted that he ate two, maybe three giant bowls each day. For a Type 0, who poorly tolerate carbohydrates, this is the equivalent of blood sugar suicide. With something as seemingly innocuous as oatmeal, Manny was basically driving himself into a state of not only obesity, but also full-blown diabetes. Type O’s, whose metabolisms cannot tolerate carbohydrates, tend to crave them and become addicted. Manny reported that his best friend was able to lose weight on a diet of oatmeal and cottage cheese. Perhaps, I told him, this friend had blood Type A, which can metabolize such foods. The key here is that not all foods are good for each body type or blood type and this is where the naturopathic doctor comes in to guide the patient toward the proper choices.
For his treatment plan, we sent Manny away with a list of Type O foods that he should adhere to as closely as possible. The list focused on proteins, appropriate fats such as olive oil and avocado and limited fruits. He was not allowed any oatmeal. As exercise is imperative in blood sugar regulation, he was to stay on his workout regimen. We also gave him two D’Adamo products: Deflect and Glycosia.
Deflect is among the most integral products from D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition and for Manny, it’s an important medicine. First, let’s look at how Deflect for Type O works. As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, lectins (proteins found in food) bind with carbohydrate antigens in the gut and immune system. If you’re eating the wrong kinds of foods for your blood type, the lectins will bind to certain cells and cause a multitude of nasty effects such as intestinal dysbiosis, immune dysfunction, leaky gut, metabolic syndrome, and weight gain. For example, in Type O’s the lectins in wheat germ will bind to insulin receptors and create the same effect as insulin on fat tissue, which is to store calories as more fat. This is, in part, why Type O’s on high carbohydrate diets have a hard time losing weight. Deflect does as its name suggests: it prevents lectins from binding to cells and, therefore, prevents them from doing damage. Particularly for Manny, taking Deflect is essential because not only does it prevent lectins from binding to insulin receptors, it removes lectins that are already bound there. Remember: insulin in excess translates to fat storage and less fat burning. The less insulin being released, the better—especially in individuals with insulin resistance and obesity.
For the specs on Deflect, click on: http://www.scribd.com/doc/45153220/Glycoscia-SpecSheet
Many people ask about the flavanoid resveratrol, which is one of the latest darlings of the supplement industry. Flavanoids are the pigments that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables, and is where all of the nutritional power is in these foods. It’s been touted for a range of miseries including high cholesterol, cancer and obesity. Recent studies have shown that even in low doses, resveratrol lends cells increased insulin sensitivity, which means that cells need less insulin and respond better to it, which means better fat mobilization. This is great news for diabetics and pre-diabetics. Resveratrol is one of the primary ingredients in Glycosia, which is the second product Manny will be taking to control his blood sugar. Quercetin is another component of Glycosia—like resveratrol, a flavanoid that is especially effective in heading off the complications by protecting blood vessels and, again, regulating insulin. Glycosia also contains herbs that control blood sugar and improve insulin resistance: salvia, salacia and maitake mushroom.
For more information on Glycosia click on: http://www.scribd.com/doc/45153220/Glycoscia-SpecSheet.
A month later Manny returned for a follow-up. He was very assiduous: I’ve never seen a patient keep more voluminous and precise records of his diet and exercise. Aside from Thanksgiving, he stuck to the plan and dropped 10 pounds in a month. His blood sugar, which he monitors daily, is at the high end of normal but starting to drop. With weight loss and blood sugar control (and perhaps all things in life), it’s progress not perfection. As far as I’m concerned, that he gave up oatmeal is a minor miracle. As for the goat, at his last visit, Manny claimed he’d been too busy and hadn’t milked them in a week. I don’t know much about goats, but this didn’t seem like a great idea and, then, goat’s milk is not on the Type O list of acceptable foods. The relationship between the goat and Manny may not be long for this world.
When I was growing up, my two brothers and I rarely got sick with the flu. Sure, we had the occasional nasty cold and strep throat but we never battled much with the flu that tended to wipe out large swaths of our classmates once the winter months set in. My mom would always credit the strong family immune system so it was with great surprise that I started receiving phone calls from her over the last couple of winters reporting that she’d was sidelined with flu symptoms. My mom, it should be said, works as an administrator in an all-boys’ high school in Manhattan and among kids, germs fly around like swarms of invisible clouds of disease just waiting to infect unsuspecting, weakened immune systems.
This year, I am determined to help Mom head off the bi-monthly battle she wages with the average set of flu complaints: headache, aches, chills, fever, runny nose, cough, and deep fatigue—all of which come on quite quickly. Even though my mom is something of the family doctor and inspired me to start thinking along the lines of preventive medicine, she’s not a great one for taking pills. But when I mentioned that one of the products is a delicious berry syrup that literally magically bolsters the immune system and pounces on the flu, she acquiesced. I bundled up a care package of the three things—all proven D’Adamo products—she should take and shuttled over to her house to outline her regimen.
My mom is a non-stop individual. She looks after the lives of a couple hundred teenage boys and maintains the most active social life of anyone I know, so while no one likes being sick, my mom—and her social life—can’t really afford to be sidelined. This is Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s time-tested approach and I strongly (and as lovingly as a daughter can) urged my mom to follow suit and start the extra work of building her immune system for the winter slog. The following is what I told her, and I recommend it as the best preventive protocol to be taken during flu season; this same course can also help you fight an active flu virus.
First, I have Mom taking two teaspoons a day of Proberry 3 Liquid. This is the miraculous elixir I mentioned earlier, which contains the juice concentrates of elderberry, blueberry, cherry and raspberry, as well as pear. I told her to mix it in with her tea in the evening or just take a spoonful of it in the morning with yogurt or on its own. The key ingredient is elderberry, which, studies have shown, actually inhibits replication of the flu virus in the human body. Research has shown that in people taking elderberry, their immune systems actually recognized flu strains earlier and were able to perform more quickly and effectively to rid their systems of the virus. In fact, the recently released drug Zanamivir, which cost millions of dollars to develop, acts in much the same way as elderberry to disable the flu virus, but without the natural immune-enhancing effects. See Proberry’s full specs at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/41484521/ProberryLiquid-SpecSheet.
The strength of the immune system largely depends on the health of the gut. Why is this? The lining of the intestines is called the gut mucosa. It is constantly doing battle with pathogens that enter our system through the food we eat, as well as the billions of normal flora present in our gut at any given time. Because the gut has to constantly respond to this microbial onslaught, two-thirds of the immune system is found there. So if we suffer from any weakness in the lining of the gut—due to malabsorption, improper balance of flora, or chronic gastrointestinal issues—we have subsequently weakened immune systems. That’s why it is so important, particularly in flu season, to keep the gut strengthened and healthy. ARA 6 is an interesting product, comprised of larch arabinogalactan and quercetin. Larch is important for immune health due to several of its properties. First, it is a prime source fiber and of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s), which are integral to gut health; actually, SCFA’s have been found to improve colon cells’ resistance to disease. Also, larch is an excellent probiotic, meaning that it serves as good food for the healthy bacteria in the gut, allowing them to proliferate. Good bacteria, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacter are essential for gut and immune health. Larch has also been found in studies to bolster the activity of some of the main components of the immune system: macrophages and natural killer cells. Quercetin is included here for its anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities. As a prophylactic, ARA 6 is an excellent adjunct to Proberry 3. For more information go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/41484109.
The last in the series of three products I have Mom taking through flu season is Genoma Security, which is a combination of five of the best immune-supporting botanicals. First, Andrographis paniculata is an Ayurvedic herb that has a number of functions. Here, it is included for its profound immunostimulating qualities; in a recent study it was found to be so immune-stimulating, it retards the progression of HIV. It also has antibiotic properties and protects the liver, among other things. Schisandra chinensis is an herb used in Chinese medicine and belongs to the adaptogenic family of herbs, which means that it helps the body respond to stress. In this case, the stress is on a body fighting off illness. It works at the level of the liver and adrenals to bolster the body’s fight against invading pathogens. Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae is another herb used in Chinese medicine to tonify the stomach and spleen qi, which means it increases the body’s use of nutrition and increases energy. It also helps with digestion and supports the liver. Scuttelaria baicalensis—from the mint family—is often used to help digestion but it also shrinks the body’s inflammatory response, particularly that of the mast cells, which are the immune system’s havoc-wreaking components. Scutellaria also help the body expel cells that are no longer useful to the body or have become dysfunctional. Lastly, eleutherococcus senticosus, or Siberian ginseng, is another adaptogenic herb that has immune-stimulating effects, as well as helps the body to respond to physical stress. For more complete details on Security, check out: http://www.scribd.com/doc/41484524/Genoma-Security-SpecSheet
That’s it for supplements. As mentioned earlier, because immunity begins in the gut, I advised my mom, who has Type O blood, to increase her beneficial foods and remove her avoids as much as possible, particularly anything with refined sugar. We also added Polyflora O, just to be safe. Because stress also lowers immunity, I pleaded with my mom (who is known to go out every night of the week), to spend a night at home every now and then and allow her body to chill out. Mom is an avid city walker, so I encouraged her to keep up her daily jaunts, as exercise is essential for helping the body fend off sickness. Will my sweet mother win the battle with this year’s fearsome flu virus? Check back in December’s blog to find out. Later this month we’ll look at one overweight man’s fight to lose weight and stave off diabetes.
For information on where to purchase these and other D’Adamo products, go to www.4yourtype.com.
When 11-year old Samantha’s mother Anne checked her in at Dr. Ginger Nash’s office, she had telltale signs of Lyme such as joint pain, headache and stomach upset after eating. But she had also been manifesting some of the less-common neurological symptoms that include anger, rage and malaise or what Samantha described as “just wanting to watch TV all day.” She never had a rash.
Her symptoms began three years ago when she was taken to a medical doctor who diagnosed her using the Western blot method. She showed four strong positive bands and was put on five months of antibiotic treatment with Amoxicillin (the traditional treatment of doxycycline is not given to children). The doctors then continued her antibiotic treatment with Zithromycin and Cefdinar, which she stayed on for months and months. After several years of antibiotics, Anne reported that Samantha’s joint pain—which had localized to her right shoulder, knees and feet—receded. Her stomach pain, which spread through her whole belly, was no better and she continued to have mood swings, deep fatigue and anger. Samantha is tall for her age is also very thin; she sat with her shoulders rolled forward, her long hair forming a curtain around her face. Her skin was translucently pale and she seemed emotionally empty.
After speaking extensively with Samantha and Anne, Dr. Nash had Samantha hop up on the examination table. Samantha’s tonsils were swollen, as were the chains of lymph nodes on either side of her neck. Thinking briefly, Dr. Nash told Samantha and Anne that her treatment would focus on supporting the immune system and interfering with the bacteria’s ability to communicate and create resistance to antibiotic.
The treatment plan was as follows:
· Type O+ diet guidelines: particularly no milk.
· Polyflora O, a NAP product
· Security, a NAP product
· Lyme nosode
· For inflammation: Ananese (sublingual bromelain), homeopathic biotherapeutic drainage, fish oils
I’d like to focus here on Security, which is a product recently formulated by Dr. Peter D’Adamo for the purposes of treating chronic, stubborn infections. The characteristic of Lyme that makes it so tricky to treat is the biofilm, also known as cysts, it forms when it penetrates deeply into tissues. As this biofilm accumulates, it becomes more and more resistant to antibiotic treatment. And even more amazingly, the biofilm has the ability to signal to the receptors on other bacteria so that all of them change their genetic makeup to adhere to the biofilm, then signaling their own followers. This is how the biofilm builds up and becomes increasingly impervious to the efforts of the antibiotic.
Biomedicine has focused on trying to interfere with biofilm communication. Herbal medicine, though, has a leg up on biomedicine because naturally occurring substances have existed for centuries that interrupt this kind of cellular signaling. D’Adamo has compounded five such substances in one formulation and the results, thus far, with Lyme have been extraordinary.
The first herb, Andrographis paniculata, has been used for thousands of years in the medical traditions of India. A recent study found that it directly interrupts the signaling between biofilm. Scuttelaria baicalensis, or Chinese skullcap, encourages the body to dispel faulty cells as well as regulates the body’s inflammatory response. It has, interestingly, been shown to increase the efficacy of antibiotics by decreasing the bacteria’s ability to flush them out of their systems. Schisandra chinensis helps the body to rebuilt adrenal gland cells, which regulate the body’s stress response. This herb bolsters the body’s ability to handle an strong immune response; further, biofilm seems to thrive in states of high stress so decreasing the about of adrenaline in the body is crucial. Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae is a Chinese herb that influences the energy of the spleen and stomach, which means it supports detoxification pathways: an essential when ridding the body of a heavy bacterial burden. Finally, Eleutherococcus senticosus is the final herb in the formulation. It’s also known as Siberian ginseng and many people in the West are familiar with is for its energy-producing and stress-reducing effects. But in the case of Security, it’s most useful as a modulator of the immune response; healthy tissue repair and renewal is incredibly important to prevent recurrence of bacterial infection.
Samantha continued her treatment protocol for three months. At that point, her joint pain and headaches had decreased significantly, and she had fewer mood swings and showed more interest in hanging out with her friends and life away from the television. Five months after treatment, Samantha is reporting no joint pain and her mother says her personality has returned to what it was pre-Lyme. She is no longer on Security or the homeopathics, but continues the Polyflora O to continue to support proper gut flora and fish oils to keep inflammation in check. Anne makes sure Samantha follows the Type O diet as much as it is possible kid who loves pizza and ice cream. But trading those in so that she can live a joyful, pain-free life that an 11-year old deserves? You’ll find no debate from me.
For more information on Security, click here: