As many of you are aware, for the last 15 plus years, I have worked with patients from all around the country who had poor health. People who want to feel better naturally without medications and/or drugs.
It is true that many of my patients come to me for my unique and natural treatment methods for chronic and debilitating conditions such as chronic and severe low back/leg pain, hip pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and neuropathy.
What is Functional Medicine?
An exciting development is that the functional medicine side of my practice has been seeing significant growth over the past couple of years. Functional Medicine helps people become healthier through natural methods.
Functional Medicine principles are centered around preventing disease and illness rather than waiting to develop a sickness and then treating it through conventional methods. Through disease prevention, it is my belief that one can maintain a higher level of health and happiness.
It has been a pleasant surprise for me that there is a huge desire and hunger for natural healthcare. Most of my patients come to me because the traditional and invasive procedures they have tried have failed so maybe they are more open to alternative .
It’s no secret that over half of my patients see me after having failed neck or low back surgery (or surgeries). The facts are that most people don’t feel healthy and are on various medications for different health conditions.
Many people don’t want to medications because of the potential side effects but they don’t feel like they have the knowledge to try alternatives when their doctor tells them that they don’t have any other options.
I’m not talking about neck, back, sciatica, or neuropathy pains. I’m talking about liver health, thyroid health, gut health, high cholesterol/triglycerides, heart health, gall bladder health, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune hypothyroid), Grave’s disease (autoimmune hyperthyroid), Lyme’s disease, fibromyalgia, migraines, asthma, COPD, chronic allergies and sinusitis, etc… The list really goes on and on.
What Type of Functional Medicine Lab Tests Should I Have Done?
After recognizing this demand, I began ordering extensive laboratory testing for many of my patients. In providing the very best for my patients, I have created the “Currie Health and Wellness Panel” laboratory workup.
The Currie Panel is the most thorough workup I have ever seen ordered by any doctor to check for general health. My Currie Panel is a great way for me to look identify nutrient deficiencies and formulate a plan to to help my patients get less inflamed and decrease their toxic burden.
What Thyroid Tests Should I Have Done?
A couple of examples of this is that on the “Currie Panel”, I check 9 tests on the thyroid alone. I even look for antibodies to see if the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland just like it would a viral or bacterial infection.
Just this week a patient came to me explaining that her primary care doctor has told her for years that she has “normal” thyroid hormone function. However, she has felt unwell for years.
She has high levels of anxiety, and has also experienced heart arrhythmia’s and “a-fib”. As I mentioned above, I tested 9 thyroid tests. Some of those were thyroglobulin antibodies, reverse T3, and thryoid peroxidase antibodies.
I found that her thyroglobulin antibodies were a level of 191! Thyroglobulin antibodies should not be detected in the blood at all, so this patient clearly has immune system activity against her thyroid proteins.
I also check homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a major free radical that creates oxidative damage to tissues and creates plaques in the inner lining of the arteries. By damaging the inner lining of the arteries, homocysteine has been found linked to over 100 diseases including cancer.
Men and women who have high homocysteine are significantly more likely to get dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Women who have high homocysteine and cardiovascular disease have an increased risk dying from a heart attack or stroke compared to women who don’t have cardiovascular disease but normal levels of homocysteine. This is a big deal and an example of preventative medicine at its best.
Why wait to have the stroke or heart attack when you can identify clear warning signs and then work to prevent the stroke or heart attack? Homocysteine is more predictive of a stroke or heart attack than cholesterol.
Is High Cholesterol Bad?
Cholesterol is not a bad thing. Yes, I said it. Of course, if cholesterol goes dangerously high, do everything you can to get it into an acceptable range. However, your body needs to cholesterol to be healthy. Without cholesterol, we would all die.
Brain health is dependent on having enough cholesterol. Sterols (what your brain needs to stay healthy) are made from cholesterol. Sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) are made from cholesterol.
Your body heals and repairs chronically inflamed and damaged tissues through cholesterol. Cholesterol, even the “bad” LDL cholesterol serves as an antioxidant in the body.
A common cause of high cholesterol is chronic inflammation. Tissues that are chronically inflamed have to be continuously repaired and that is what cholesterol does. Cholesterol helps tissues heal and repair.
Statin drugs suppress cholesterol but one of the most common side effects of statins is muscle and joint aches/pains. That is because statins can break down skeletal and lean muscle tissue.
People past the age of 65 lose 1-2% muscle mass a year as part of the natural process of aging. Why would someone want to add another 1-2% of muscle breakdown a year than what is normal? Who wants to sign up to potentially decreasing brain health and at the same time decreasing libido or performance because of a statin drug? Not me.
Do Statin Medications Deplete CoQ10?
In addition, statins cause a “drug induced nutrient depletion” of CoQ10. CoQ10 is what your heart and other tissues use to make energy. Statins deplete the very thing your heart needs in order to stay healthy.
Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer in America. Cardiovascular disease kills more people annually than all forms of cancer combined. CoQ10 could be really important when it comes to maintaining heart health.
On my Currie Panel blood work, I also check a special cholesterol panel called the “Cardio IQ”. It shows your risk of stroke or heart attack based off of your levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, cholesterol/HDLC ratio, and Non-HDL cholesterol.
The Cardio IQ test breaks down the individual components and shows a graph stating whether your levels are: Optimal, Moderate, or High Risk for stroke or heart attack based off of the findings for each component of the test.
What are Some Functional Medicine Tests?
In my clinic, I also offer many other Functional Medicine tests such as: the Adrenal Salivary Index (to identify abnormal cortisol levels and the connection with sleep wake cycles/Circadian rhythm), Parasitology Testing, Spirometry (to check lung function), Computerized Urinalysis Testing, Urinary Indican Test (to check for undigested and rotten food particles/protein in the gut), Food Sensitivity Testing (to see if foods that you eat are contributing to an immune system response leading to inflammation, sickness and autoimmune disorders), Metabolic Acidosis Testing, and many others.
I am having the best time of my life working with so many wonderful people and helping them improve their health through natural methods.
Can Type 2 Diabetes be Helped?
An example of this would be that I was recently working with an extreme diabetic whose blood sugar was 400 when he had his second stroke. In his third week of treatments with me, he came to me and said, “Dr. Currie, my blood sugar is less than 100 for the first time in over 30 years. I don’t think that I need these medications. What do you think?”
I said, “Well, I can’t tell you to quit taking your medications. That is between you and your primary care physician, but isn’t it wonderful that we are getting to have this conversation?”
This is a carbon copy of the conversation that I get to have with my Functional Medicine patients over and over again. I love it when I see the lights start to come on and people begin to realize that there are natural ways to get and stay healthy that don’t involve potentially risky choices.
Why Are so Many Tests Necessary?
I believe that if you aren’t testing, you are guessing. So, with my Functional Medicine patients, I test them with the Currie Panel. It’s like an auto mechanic looking under the hood of the car.
How can a mechanic know what is going on with the engine in the car without doing the proper amount of diagnostic testing? Mechanics usually don’t do one test to determine what is going on with a car.
They usually do multiple tests. Why is that? Because when one part goes bad, it can place extra wear and tear on other parts. The initial problem can mushroom into other problems over time.
We are dealing with the human body. It is infinitely more complex than a car. So why would we want to check one or two things to come up with our game plan?
Once specific areas of focus are identified, I lay out nutritional recommendations for my patients. After approximately 2 months of following those guidelines, we do some retesting to see what changes have taken place and modify our road map.
Is Functional Medicine for Me?
I would like to make it very clear that Functional Medicine isn’t for everyone. I had a patient who came in and said, “Dr. Currie, I’m too old to change. I like drinking my beer and eating my pizza. Can you still fix my back and neuropathy?”
I told him that I would try my best. This patient and I did no Functional Medicine or nutritional work together. Upon completion of his care, he rated his low back pain and neuropathy a 0 (zero) on a scale of 1-10!
So, if you need help for neuropathy, neck or low back/leg pain, sciatica, spinal stenosis, arthritis, and natural pain relief from a failed neck or low back surgery, there is a good chance that I can help you with or without any of my natural health protocols.
However, if you want to be healthier, I feel very confident in my ability to help in any capacity that you desire.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie