Natural Psoriasis Treatment
Natural Psoriasis Treatment is A Reality with Functional Medicine
Natural Psoriasis Treatment is a passion of Dr. Shook’s since he personally lives with psoriasis. Over the past 10 years Dr. Shook has supported his own autoimmunity through the science of functional medicine. Functional medicine seeks to identify the root cause(s) of chronic health conditions, most of which are autoimmune. In the presentation below, Dr. Shook reviews many of the causes of autoimmune conditions, including advanced diagnostic testing used, and some ideas on what appropriate treatment and support may involve. One of the key things to understand about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, is that it is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions have causes, or drivers of the autoimmune process that when properly identified can be naturally supported. The key is properly identifying the causes of the process.
Until a scientific approach was taken to looking at identifying the drivers, or causes of autoimmune conditions, natural psoriasis treatment consisted primarily of topical applications or light therapy. Along the way some foods were identified through trial and error, and many, many alternative “green medicine” approaches were promoted, but all were “hit or miss.” With an understanding of the causes of autoimmunity, individualized, and science based natural psoriasis treatments are accessible to the general public. As there are no cures for Psoriasis, because it is an autoimmune condition, the goal is remission. Long-term remission without the use of powerful, and potentially dangerous medications is possible.
Take a few minutes and learn about the natural psoriasis treatment approach that Dr. Shook has taken to keep his psoriasis in remission.
Natural Psoriasis Treatment
[Start 0:00:00] – Natural Psoriasis Treatment
Hi, I’m Dr. Shook, and I’d like to welcome you to this presentation.
Today, I’m going to talk about something that is I’ve had a personal experience with, and that is psoriasis and we’re also going to talk about psoriatic arthritis. In particular, we’re going to look at the new science that’s current today on natural approaches to identifying the causes of psoriasis and how we can approach those to help your body heal naturally. That’s what I’ve done for myself, and I’m able to keep my psoriasis in remission.
What we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about the drivers and causes because so many people that come to me and that I see as patients have no idea on what these drivers and causes are. They have no idea that there are other options other than the steroids and these creams and a lot of the immunosuppressant medications that are out there that are being used today. That’s what I want to talk about, and we’ll go ahead and get started.
Why I Work with Autoimmune Patients
The reason I work with patients that have psoriasis and that are autoimmune because psoriasis is an autoimmune condition is because I am autoimmune. I have psoriasis. My story – when I was about 13 years old, I developed today what would be diagnosis as irritable bowel syndrome, and I’ve had problems with my digestive tract on and off from 13 until I was in my late 20s. In my late 20s, I developed psoriasis. I developed it first on my elbows, and then on my knees. I didn’t know really what I had.
At that time, I was in my doctoral program, so I had an idea that I had psoriasis, but it wasn’t a really large rash on my elbows at that time, and I couldn’t really see it. There weren’t a lot of the scaly patches. But as soon as I felt that it might be psoriasis, I called my mother, of course, and I said, “I’ve got this going on with my elbows.” I said, “Do we have any psoriasis or anything in our family?”
She proceeded to tell me that she had psoriasis, and that she initially had it as a child, that she had it all over her body, and that it seemed to go into remission. Then she’s had it as an adult, and I had no idea. She told me that – this is when I called her. She said, “I had large plaque psoriasis all over my whole body right now.” I had no idea because she kept it covered as a lot of people with psoriasis and these skin lesions do because they are so embarrassed by it.
We had a long conversation, and she suggested that I use certain creams, that I go see a dermatologist. So I thought, “Okay, I’ll go see a dermatologist and see what they have to say.” I go see a dermatologist, and of course, I got told the same thing that most people that have psoriasis were told. Use cortisone cream. Use steroids, oral steroids to suppress the immune system, and if it gets bad enough, then we can use these immune suppressing drugs.
I just said, “Why do I have it? Why do I have psoriasis?”
They were like, “It’s an immune system problem.”
I was like, “Okay, why is there a problem with my immune system?”
They were like, “We don’t know. We don’t know what causes it, or why you have immune system problems, but your immune system is basically attacking the skin and it’s causing an overproduction of cells and you develop psoriasis. This is what we have.” She gives me a prescription for topical cortisone cream, an oral steroid, and just mentions to me some other options.
I was appreciative. She was doing everything she could do. I said, thinking to myself, “There’s no way that this is ‑ I disagree with this overall philosophy. That’s treating a symptom. I want to treat the cause. Why do I have an immune system problem?”
I mean here’s the thing. If you cut your hand, it will clot. You won’t have to do anything. It will clot by itself. It will heal itself because your body is self-healing, and I knew that. I was like, “If my body is self-healing, why is my body attacking itself? Something has to be wrong. Something has to be happening that’s causing my body to do that because my body is always working toward a state of self-preservation. So why would it be attacking my cells?”
So I started searching, and I started researching, and I started learning about a lot of different drivers of the process of autoimmunity. There is a lot of stuff out there. What I did at first I started doing things like diets and taking different supplements and all these things that were nonspecific. They were still based on symptoms. I just said, “You know what I need a scientific approach to this. You can waste a lot of time, and you can spend a lot of money doing things that appear to be good. I needed science. I needed a scientific approach. That’s when I found functional medicine. That’s how I’m controlling my own autoimmunity.
[0:05:32] – Natural Psoriasis Treatment
So I don’t digress too far, I developed psoriasis. Then last year, I worked hard and I’ve had my psoriasis and my autoimmunity under control and in remission. But I didn’t feel too good last year, near the end of the year because I’ve been working really hard, long hours, staying up late, pushing myself, and I didn’t feel great. I was like, “You know what, I’m going to do some labs. I’m going to take a look at myself again and make sure that‑”
I thought I just needed a rest, but I decided to go ahead and decided to do some labs anyway because there’s some new labs that came out that I wanted to check, but I ran labs. Lo and behold, I had Hashimoto’s or I have Hashimoto’s. My immune system now I have another autoimmune disease that I know about. My immune system is attacking my thyroid gland, and what it was doing was it was causing inflammation. That inflammation was basically causing my thyroid hormone that’s circulating through my bloodstream to not have the same effect, so I have to get my inflammation levels down so that my thyroid can have a normal effect and I have my normal metabolism.
So I have two autoimmune problems, and most people that have one autoimmune problem, you actually don’t know it but these autoimmune problems come in groups. You usually have more than one tissue that’s being attacked. That’s something we can do additional testing to find out, but the literature tells us today that they come in groups.
This is my story. This is why I work with people that have autoimmune conditions, and I have a personal experience with Hashimoto’s, with irritable bowel syndrome, and then also with psoriasis. Then my nails are becoming ridged ‑ I got the ridges in my nails and my joints ache. I’m pretty sure that I’ve got some autoimmunity against my joints as well, so I’ve got some psoriatic arthritis that’s going on.
I’m really serious about figuring out and identifying drivers of the process, and I am able to keep myself feeling good and in very good shape physically and keep my autoimmunity in complete remission like I have no psoriasis. I have no joint problems right now. If I get exposed to certain things or I do certain things, I can have a flare-up. But knowing the triggers, it’s a huge difference from what I had large plaques of psoriasis in both elbows and both knees and eczema to where I am now. It’s a huge difference.
Through functional medicine, we can identify these drivers and help you to unwind this process, heal your body, and then through that process of healing, you learn what the triggers were. If there are certain things that we need to eliminate, we need to take protocols to kill or get out of your body, then we do those things, so that you heal maximally as much as we can get you. Then we have a strategy to work on yourself if you have an exacerbation or flare-up. You know how to help yourself.
We’re going to talk about some of the things that I just kind of alluded to.
My Professional Background
I want to tell you a little bit about myself. My doctorate degree is a doctorate of chiropractic, and I love to talk to my patients about that because they say, “You’re a chiropractor. Why are you doing functional medicine or things that are considered internal medicine a lot of times?” That’s because I have a personal experience with it, and not many people know this, but chiropractic as a profession is a natural healing profession. Its focus is on helping people to maximize the health of their body.
A lot of people don’t realize this either that the chiropractic doctor program is a 4-year year-round program with an internship that requires you to have a pre-medicine 4-year degree prior to entering that program, so it requires 8 years of school. The curriculum itself has more hours than a medical doctorate, and we take very, very similar classes. We have gross lab anatomy, so we have cadaver dissection. We do histology, and pathology, and endocrinology, and neuroanatomy, and fluids in all of the classes, the foundational classes. We just don’t take pharmacology because we are a natural healing profession. We take a lot of nutrition and a lot of biochemistry to understand how the body works.
Do you know that there is not one single hour of nutrition in a medical doctoral program, not one single hour of nutrition?
[0:10:03] – Natural Psoriasis Treatment
The father of medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Medicine be thy food, and the food be thy medicine, and look to the gut for disease.” This is just foundationally chiropractic is a perfect fit. The stuff that we do is functional medicine, and it’s based on additional training that I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of hours of training post-doctoral training I’m going to talk about.
I’m board certified in integrative medicine, which is basically blending Eastern, Western, and alternative medicines together to get the best practice to approach a lot of these inflammatory conditions. I’ve trained through the American Board of Nutrition. I’m getting trained towards a diplomate through the American Board of Nutrition, and that is a post-doctoral or diplomate, which is a 300-hour program that basically I sit alongside medical doctors, DOs (doctors of osteopathy), naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists that have doctoral-level degrees towards this certification. I’m almost there right now, but it’s taught me quite a bit.
I studied under Dr. Datis Kharrazian, who is the leading thyroid doctor in the world right now, and I studied a lot under Datis because Datis has written and trained doctors in functional medicine for numerous different courses. Thyroid is being the one that he is most well known for, but I have taken his mastering brain chemistry, his functional blood chemistry, his functional endocrinology class ‑ numerous, numerous classes from Datis and he is fantastic. He teaches functional medicine as well.
I’m taking classes. I take one or two classes – continuing education classes per month. Absolutely, I’m required two for my license. They’re all in natural health. They’re all in functional medicine, and then I’m also doing some training in functional neurology because the neurology and the brain and how they coordinate these functions, it really blends right together. It does, and sometimes we can utilize functional neurology with patients but primarily, what we’re going to talk about is functional medicine.
What you’re going to Learn
What you’re going to learn in this is you’re going to learn about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. You’re going to learn why it occurs and why you may have difficulty getting better. You can’t just squash the immune system and suppress it and get better. That’s not how your body heals. You might be able to suppress the immune system with an initial round or dose of antibiotic or a strong steroid, and you feel like you’re all better. It puts you in remission.
But what happens is you’re not identifying the drivers of what’s causing the immune system to be flared up or exacerbated, and you’re just suppressing the immune system. Then what happens as soon as the medications are out of your body, it will come back and it may manifest differently. Instead of having a rash, you may have ulcers. Instead of having psoriasis in one area, it may spread to a lot of others. I’ve seen it happen. It happens. It’s something that most people that have these problems are aware of. We want to identify why you have it.
You’re going to learn and understand that basically treating a person from the perspective that I’m going to teach you – looking at the drivers, really looking for root cause using functional medicine is much, much different than just treating your symptoms because treating your symptoms and just prescribing medications do nothing to address why you have the problem you’re having. We look for a root cause, and we look to address root cause and help you heal maximally. While you’re going through the healing process, and you’re being guided by me and my staff, what happens is you learn strategies to help yourself so that you’re not dependent upon us. We’re here, but you’re not dependent upon us.
The third thing you’re going to learn are natural ways to support and nourish your digestive health to allow your body to heal. I can’t be specific because everyone has different drivers. What I can tell you are in general the things that we see that push this process along.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a disease of…what? Is it the skin? What’s psoriasis a disease of? Disease of the joints? Is it a disease of your tissue, of your connective tissue? It’s a disease of your immune system. See that’s what people don’t realize. This is an autoimmune condition, and you know that autoimmunity has similar thread. It has similar causes, but how it manifests in you is what’s unique. It will manifest in us in different ways, so that’s us – myself and if you’re watching this and you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis and it’s attacking similar tissues. For someone else, it may attack their brain or spinal cord and they have multiple sclerosis.
What happens in psoriasis is that these immune cells, they attack basically healthy skin and they trigger an immune response that causes faster growth and multiplication of the skin cells, so they thicken and they build up quickly and then you have the silver scales and cracking. It can bleed and itch.
[0:15:08] – Natural Psoriasis Treatment
Thirty percent of people develop psoriatic arthritis, and this is something where you typically start developing the ridging of the nails and it can be very debilitating, so these are very, very serious things. It’s not just an outward appearance as some people think. This is really serious. I mean people that have psoriasis don’t realize that psoriatic arthritis is a real possibility unless they start experiencing symptoms, so I like to teach everyone that this is a real possibility. About one-third of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, and it is no joke. It can be a very, very major debilitating condition.
We want to control this naturally and dampen this so you’ll have a great quality of life.
Psoriasis increases a lot of risks with eye conditions, inflammation of the front part of the eye that can cause a lot of issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease.
Something that’s not really thought about a lot are the psychological condition. I mean people don’t understand that if you don’t have it, it’s an immune system problem. They think that they might catch something, or that it’s a rash. It really causes people to be depressed, have low self-esteem, and then also isolate themselves because they’re embarrassed about it.
I mean I understand. I’ve lived with it. I mean I didn’t want to wear shorts. I didn’t want to wear short sleeves because people look at me and say, “What’s wrong with your elbow?” Psoriasis. So I understand. I want to help with that.
Current Medical Approach
The current medical approach is basically topical steroids, light therapies. They do all these excimer lasers and whatnot, but again that is just treating the symptoms, not doing anything to treat why you have it. Although these oral medications or steroids or injections and ask yourself do any of these things address why you have the problem to begin with. Why do you have psoriasis?
If we want to look at why you have it ‑ you’ve got think about this – we have to look at the underlying processes that cause it. What process is causing the psoriasis symptoms? What’s driving the symptoms? It’s autoimmunity. It’s the immune system. We have to look at autoimmunity and address why your autoimmunity will help the psoriasis. To do that, we have to do the right tests.
Here’s the thing I’m going to teach you about some tests. I’m going to teach you about some things that you’re not getting done medically because your medical doctors don’t know about this stuff, because what I’m going to teach you is stuff that’s within the last 10 years of the literature, all the way up to within this year. I’m going to talk about contemporary, current things. This is what you learn in functional medicine. This is what you learn when you aggressively educate and that’s what I do because I’m serious about getting people better.
Autoimmune Disease in the US
Autoimmune diseases affect 1 in 6 Americans. They are growing at an alarming rate, and just know that you’re not alone with this. I see a lot of people – I mean my practice revolves around supporting autoimmunity. You’re not alone. If you want to know how to fix your problems, you got to first know how it works. If we want to know how to address psoriasis, we got to know how the immune system works because it’s an immune system problem, right?
The Basics of How the Immune System Works
So we’re going to talk about the basics of how the immune system works, so that you can understand how it breaks and then how we address the problems.
You have two parts of the immune system: the barrier systems and white blood cells.
Barrier systems are your skin, your blood brain barrier, your lung barrier, and also your GI barrier, your intestinal wall. It keeps the bad stuff in and keeps it from getting into the bloodstream.
Your white blood cells have two different divisions. They are the TH1 and TH2 systems. TH1 are blood cells that if you cut your hand, they go there and they kill something immediately. The TH2 system is a system that circulates the bloodstream and it looks for things that are inside the bloodstream and it will tag with what’s like a Sticky Note and that Sticky Note lets these other blood cells know come along to kill it or eat in. It gives your system immunity memory.
In a well-regulated immune system, these things have balance. If you look at this as a seesaw, the TH1 and TH2 are balanced. The TH3 system, which sits in the center ‑ it’s a triangle with the TH3 – it produces these regulatory T cells that balance the system. That’s an appropriate immune response. You’re in balance.
If you’re sick or let’s say you get a cold, your immune system will shift temporarily to produce cells to kill that infection, and then it will shift back in a well-regulated system. When it shifts, you have an increase in this down here, which we call the TH17 system. The TH17, when it’s stimulated, there’s a lot of inflammation, a lot of tissue destruction and damage, we don’t want that.
In autoimmunity, there’s an imbalance in the system. This is where the immune system in your body will attack its cells. What you have is you have a shift in the TH1 or TH2 system where one is dominant, and it stays that way. That dominance creates chronic inflammation and will trigger and push autoimmunity. This is what we have to understand. We have to understand what causes that to happen when you don’t have a cold.
What would trigger your immune system to lose normal regulation?
What would trigger your immune system to lose normal regulation, and there are two categories of things that we’re going to go through.
There are things that cause you to lose regulation. We call those dysregulators, and then there are things that your immune system will constantly try to attack when they’re present in your body.
Those are called active antigens. These are long-term things, they’re long-term stimulating your immune system. You’re going to identify those things and remove them and then heal that system so that you can have better regulation.
The Dysregulators of the Immune System
What causes this dysregulation or loss of normal regulation of the immune system? We’re going to talk about the dysregulators or that first category.
- Inflammation from poor diet. Inflammation from a poor diet will do it. All this food here is high in omega-6 fats. Those omega-6 fats what they will do is they will put you in a pro-inflammatory state. So, we’ve heard of the omega-6s and the omega-3s. So the omega-6s are very, very high in fried foods and all this type of food you see on this plate. If you eat those, it puts you at a much higher rate like your ratio. They said the average American ratio is 25:1, 50:1, 50 omega-6s to omega-3s.
Do you know what we know is ideal is about 1:1? Our diet is killing us and putting in this proinflammatory state that will cause us to have immune system problems and dysregulation and help trigger and push the autoimmune process, so we have to look at this. This is one of the easiest things that we can address, but this is one of the things we’re going to look at.
- Bad blood sugar and stress. The next thing is blood sugar and stress. Blood sugar spikes and dips cause problems with your neurotransmitter or your immune system chemistry that runs your nervous system. It also causes spikes and dips in cortisol. Cortisol is your stress hormone. It’s made by the glands on top of your kidneys. With elevated cortisol, you have all kinds of problems with your hormones, but it will also thin your barrier systems.
One of the main things that we’re going to talk about is that elevated cortisol can thin the gastrointestinal wall, your GI wall or your intestinal wall, and it can cause intestinal permeability. The lay term for that is leaky gut. We know and that’s a scientific fact that is our real thing. We know in the last 5 years, we have rock-solid proof that it occurs and that is a pathway to autoimmunity. You have to have that to develop psoriasis. We’re going to talk a little bit more about it. So blood sugar and stress are things that we have to address, and we have a lot of ways that we can do that.
- Hormone imbalances. Hormone imbalance is another problem, so hormone imbalances can be that you have dominance in your testosterone and estrogen. Men and women both make male and female sex hormones, which are testosterone and estrogen. If you have a slight shift, let’s say as a man you become slightly estrogen-dominant, which can happen through several other mechanisms, it can cause that we look for, then what happens is that slight estrogen dominance can cause a shift in your immune system.
We know that with women, whenever they’re at puberty, pregnancy, and perimenopause, they have shifts in their hormones, and those are very common times that they can develop autoimmune conditions. We know that this can happen. A lot of these hormones play very important roles, so we look for them, and we look for problems that can cause them.
This is part of the training with functional medicine. You look at these relationships, and you learn how to put them together and make sense of it, and then work backwards to help reverse these processes because there are always mechanisms, things that cause that to happen. That’s what you learn to identify, that’s how you learn to help nurture and help someone get their health back.
- Neurological imbalances. When we talk about neurological imbalances, we’re really talking about the autonomic nervous system. See that’s part of your nervous system that drives everything involuntarily. That’s all of your involuntary function. This might make a little bit more sense. Your fight or flight system, that is the autonomic nervous system. Your respiratory and digestive system, that’s part of your autonomic nervous system. In our modern lifestyle, we get stuck in this really wound-up and typically overdriven that fight or flight system, and that pushes all kinds of hormonal and all of our involuntary functions in ways that we don’t want.
We look at that and we consider those things. There are a number of techniques and things that we can use to address that, from stress relief techniques to actual different nutraceuticals that we can use to support normal stress responses. Lots of things that we have to consider.
- Poor absorption of fat. Poor absorption of fat is also a very, very big problem because see your fat, you need to absorb your fats so that you can produce normal hormones, so that you can also absorb your fat-soluble vitamins, so vitamins A, D, E, and K have to be absorbed with fat. If you have problems absorbing fats, there’s a lot of different reasons that can occur, then you won’t have normal immune system function because remember I was telling you about the TH1 and the TH2 systems, and in the center, there was that triangle and it had the TH3 system that produced regulatory T-cells that balance?
Guess what? Vitamin D sits right in the center and influences that TH3 system and helps it produce regulatory T cells, so you have balance. Without that, you’re going to have dysregulation. Vitamin D is critical for autoimmune patients. This is something we look at on every single patient.
- Methylation problems and genetic SNP. We also look at methylation problems and what we call genetic SNPs or single nucleotide polymorphisms. I know it’s a big 5-dollar word. It just means genetic SNPs. We know now with genes that you can have a deletion or an addition or replacement of your DNA bases. All you need to know is this: we can look at your genetics to find out if you have genetic problems that could be pushing this along.
Why that’s important is because sometimes people don’t respond as we would expect with the techniques that we use, so we need to look at the genes to see if there is something else that we can do, if there is another strategy that we can use to improve your health because it’s a big deal with methylation. That’s how your body detoxifies. You can have these issues, but there are techniques and strategies that we can use for a lot of these genetic SNPs. I have genetic SNPs. I have to really important ones that I have to address my own health differently, so that’s something that we look for.
What Causes Prolonged Activation of the Immune System?
Now we’re going look at the other category, these things that cause prolonged stimulation of the immune system, which we call active antigens are what cause prolonged activation or stimulation which holds you in a shift for a long period of time of your immune system. We don’t want that. That will trigger and make the autoimmunity worse.
- Food sensitivities. First thing we look at are food sensitivities. Food sensitivities will cause prolonged immune system stimulation. It’s one of the first things that we address and we look at, and we can order a lot of different tests to figure that out.
- Chronic hidden infections. We can also look for hidden chronic infections. This is such a missed driver to these disease processes because parasites and overgrowth of bad bacteria, bacteria like H. pylori, which can sit in the stomach, Candida and yeast overgrowth in the gut, these typically inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, the stomach and the GI tract, the small intestine, the large intestine. This is absolutely critical because this will be a prolonged source of an infection and we can look and we do different tests to identify if this is going on.
A lot of people have this. You think, “Well, I don’t live in the Third World. How do I have a parasite?” Well, you can have parasites very easily. If you eat salads or if you’ve ever been swimming in a lake or the ocean or swimming pool, you can get parasites. These are all real things that we have to look for that can cause prolonged immune system activation.
- Environmental toxins. We look for environmental toxins because these toxins, we know now that they can get into your body through a number of different methods and techniques. We never had exposure to these things like we do now and these things all can get into our body, in our bloodstream and stimulate an immune response and cause a shift in our immune system because this is foreign. It’s foreign to us, so we have to look at these things in some cases, and they can be one of the primary drivers of the process causing us to have an expression of autoimmunity.
- Leaky gut (intestinal permeability). Finally, we have to look at the gut. The gut is absolutely critical with any autoimmune condition. The intestinal permeability, we know now, which is leaky gut, lets proteins and bacteria and things into the bloodstream that your immune system sees as foreign and will attack that will stimulate the immune system that can drive this entire autoimmune process. We have to look at things that are causing gut inflammation and intestinal permeability.
The scientific literature tells us now that leaky gut is a prerequisite to an autoimmune disease. It mean you have to have it. You have to have it. Just like this colander is letting water leak through, the gut is letting breaking down bacteria and proteins in your food leak into your bloodstream that shouldn’t be there. It should be a solid wall. It only lets amino acids, tiny building blocks of protein, into the bloodstream so that your body can use it for health and healing. This is something that we look at on every patient that’s autoimmune.
The Right Testing
You have to do the right tests if you want to figure out what’s driving this process and I just can’t emphasize that enough. We look at a look of different types of tests. We do blood tests. We do a lot of different urinary tests. We do genetic testing. We may do testing for deficiencies, for problems with your detoxification-methylation system.
We might look at stool testing for bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
We look for immune responses to environmental chemicals and triggers.
We look at immune responses to foods.
We got a lot of different tests that we can do. I’m serious about getting you better, and I would do whatever it takes. I leave no stone unturned to figure out what’s driving your process.
[0:03:04] – Natural Psoriasis Treatment
We’re going to look at your genetics. We’re going to look at the methylation if that’s something that needs to happen. That genetic testing, we can do that pretty simply. We can really determine a lot of these potential drivers and reasons you might not respond, as we would expect you to.
Have you been told that all your tests are “normal?”
A lot of my patients have been told that their labs look normal. The reality of the situation is that your labs, when you look at the lab ranges, you’re being compared to an unhealthy population of people because think about it. When you go to the lab and get your blood drawn, there’s a man that’s breathing oxygen. There’s the guy that’s getting drug tested. There’s a lady who’s battling breast cancer. There is this morbidly obese man that’s getting his blood drawn, and everyone is sick, and you go in there.
Do you know that those lab ranges you’re compared against an average of all those people? It’s a bell curve, just like you’re in a class and you’re graded for something. You’re being compared to a sick population. What we do in our clinic and what most functional medicine doctors do is we don’t use – if you look at this top bar, this is the lab range and the green would be “normal.”
When do you start getting sick? You’re supposed to be right in the middle. When you get close to the edge here, like if I’m a few points from the top or the bottom number, am I sick? What we do in functional medicine is we use optimal health ranges, which are more narrow. You see how we represent this here is these are the green here, which are smaller range, and then if you go out beyond that, you’re outside of the optimal range and that’s the functional high or functional low.
It’s more sensitive for problems developing in your body before they become diagnosed with disease processes. These are developed by consensus statements, from groups like in the endocrine society or from the American Association of Clinical Chemists. This is how we know and we can look to see if things are more sensitive or if your body is in a state of decline, so I like to look at old labs that you have.
This just gives you an idea like for example glucose, which is fasting blood sugar. Functional ranges are 85 mg/dl to 100 mg/dl. A lot of standard lab ranges are 65 mg/dl to about 110 mg/dl. So for example, if you had 73 mg/dl with your blood sugar, and you had your standard lab range, 65 mg/dl is the bottom number. It says you’re fine. Your blood sugar is great, but we know that below 85 mg/dl is not ideal, so we would actually diagnose you as functionally hypoglycemic. That’s important because that gives me an idea that you’ve got a blood sugar dysregulation issue, and I know to support blood sugar because that’s one of my priorities. It’s one of the things I’m looking for.
Typical Medical Approach: Steroids
The typical medical approach to this is to use steroids, and we’ve already talked about this. We’ve got to identify the driver, what’s causing the process. I ask you is shutting down the natural response that your body has the right thing to do, I mean shutting down the natural response of the body? Your body is trying to help itself just like I give the example of cutting the hand. Come on! This is your body trying to work.
What I say, I just tell my patients, “Listen, logically you got to think is there another way than just shutting down or turning off a system? There’s got to be a reason and look for the cause. That’s what we’re going to do.
My Different Approach
What makes my approach different is I look for the root cause and I want to heal it naturally, and that’s what we do. That’s why we look at all those different things. That’s why we look at all these different tests. I know this because I live this and my mom lives this and I have patients that live this.
Psoriasis is a very devastating condition. It affect’s people’s self-esteem. It affects their ability to work. It affects everything. Social activities ‑ they don’t participate in because they’re embarrassed. Work ‑ it can be embarrassing at work. You don’t participate in things outside of work. It creates depression and it really predisposes you to all these other autoimmune and arthritic conditions. It is a real problem.
I know this. I live it. I tell my patients this all the time, and I say, “Listen. Look inside and ask yourself a question. What’s important to you in life? Because this stuff is not just about your skin. These problems lead to very serious issues later in life, and you have to ask yourself do I want to go down that path of the medical management and just treat those symptoms and that’s it while the process rages on, and expands, and gets worse? Or do I want to go down this path of looking at really what’s causing my problem?”
That’s what I tell you is that you got to consider what’s important to you. Because if you want to be around and have a good quality of life as you age, when you’re sitting in that rocking chair later in life and you’re looking around and you’re there with your family and your grandkids, do you want to be able to participate? Do you want to be able to do things and have a good vibrant life and travel and do the things that you want to do or just participate in your community?
If you want to do that, then you have to ask yourself and be very honest with yourself and look at what you want for your future because that’s really what we’re talking about here because just addressing those symptoms is not going to give you that vibrant quality of life in the future.
First Two Visits
In my clinic, we have a two-visit process.
On that first visit, what I do is I have you fill out a very extensive intake packet because I want to know everything about you. I have you return that at minimum 2 days prior to your appointment. I review that and when I meet with you for 30 minutes first case review the first visit, I will know everything about you prior to us even meeting. Then I will discuss with you any questions that I have and then we will come up with a plan to do testing, typically the first thing we do.
Here’s the thing. I may not be able to accept your case. Listen, if I don’t think you’re a good fit, then I will tell you. I’ll give you an explanation. There’s a lot of different things. Expectations have to be there, but some people aren’t a good fit and I won’t accept you as a patient, and you know what, that’s okay. I’m not trying to be rude. I’m just not going to set you up for failure.
What I do is I order testing, and then after we get lab results back, I’ll have you come back with your significant other and your significant other has to be with you, no option because I have done this long enough that I know this. You have to make lifestyle and dietary changes to get better, and your significant other has to know, not optional, has to know what’s going on with you so that they can realize how serious and significant these changes have to be, how important it is to your health and your future health.
Without them there ‑ I’ve seen this time and time again ‑ the person comes in. they start treatment with me, and then they fail because they don’t have support of their family and primarily because their significant other wasn’t there when I explained the problems that took me 45 minutes to explain. I lay out everything, and the significant other was not there.
Listen, this is a team effort. I will not accept you as a patient unless your significant other is on board because you cannot do this by yourself. You have to have the support of your family, and I’m sorry to say that if you don’t have that kind of relationship, you have to have that. You have to have that. I’ve seen it time and time again. They have to know how bad you are and they have to know what it’s going to take to get you better.
Listen, I want you to take this information, and I appreciate you taking time to listen and learn about your health in the future of healthcare and the treatment of what I believe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
I want you to go and spend time with the people that you love, think about this, and let us know if we can help you. I want you to go and have a wonderful day and let us know if there is anything that we can do for you.
I appreciate you taking time to learn about your health. One of the most important things that you can do is to educate yourself.
[End 0:37:46] – Natural Psoriasis Treatment
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