Functional Medicine for patients in Australia and Hong Kong
Discover an alternative. Functional medicine practitioners use a new paradigm in healthcare to evaluate the triggers and imbalances which contribute to chronic disease.
It’s the ability to get to the root cause of dysfunction, by evaluating through functional laboratory testing (stool, blood, saliva or urine) biomarkers which indicate toxicity, deficiency, imbalance, infection (pathogen), organ weakness and genetic determination.
Having a systemised approach to reviewing cellular metabolism, organ function, system integration with the total being provides a uniquely different viewpoint.
Firstly, we need to understand more about the triggers in your biochemistry which put you more at risk of developing the disease. This requires an understanding in the complexity of cancer initiation, which involves a variety of biochemical changes happening in the body. We are able to screen for these changes at our clinic, and welcome patients in Melbourne, Sydney and across Australia and the region to contact us.
Our functional medicine practitioners can screen for the following symptoms
- Inflammation: Inflammation is a process whereby the body responds to harmful stimuli like pathogens (viruses or bacteria), irritants or toxins by activating the immune system which creates signs of redness, swelling, pain, heat or loss of function. When inflammation is acute the healing process is short, the body returns to a normal state and inflammation goes down. However, in the case of chronic inflammation there is plenty of research indicating that it leads to gene mutations 1-4 DNA damage and ultimately cancer development and progression. Genomic instability refers to where the nuclear DNA and mitochondrial RNA creates a large number of mutations, and the greater number of mutations the greater the risk of developing cancer. Chronic Inflammation can contribute to genomic instability.5
- Oxidative Damage: Oxidation damage is the process which occurs when an increased level of free radicals produced by the body, creates tissue damage at a cellular and molecular level. These free radicals do damage to DNA, lipid membranes and various proteins in the cells, thereby increasing the risk of developing cancer6-8 Anti-oxidants are our first line of defense against free-radicals thus they protect the body from cellular damage. Protecting the DNA and RNA against free-radical damage is protective in maintaining optimal cellular function. There are a whole range of anti-oxidants which include vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients. Antioxidants are supported by various co-factors and detoxifying agents within the body which provides extended protection against free radical damage.
- Hormonal imbalances: Hormones are chemical messengers which travel around the body and they have specific cells they target to alter their expression or function. An example is insulin which lowers the levels of glucose in the blood, and shunts it to the liver, muscle or fat cells of the body. Hormonal regulation is primarily governed by various feedback mechanisms which tell the body to stop producing more hormones thereby maintaining a state of balance. However, there are certain times hormonal output is reduced as in a ‘hypo’ state. This is commonly found with the thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Studies have tentatively shown how a lowered output of thyroid hormone can increase the risk of cancer9, in some people it is when toxins disrupt thyroid function,10 that hypothyroidism can occur. Other important hormones to balance are estrogen to progesterone (our sex hormones) and the ability to detoxify hormones efficiently. Our functional medicine practitioners have identified that in some women (and men) there is an increased risk of developing cancer when the detoxification of estrogen produces carcinogenic estrogens eg. 4-hydroxyestrone and 16-alpha hydroxyestrone. So the way your body metabolises estrogen can influence your risk of developing cancer.11,12 The risk of estrogen becoming more prevalent in the body is when a particular life stage is reached (typically between 35-55 for women). It is at these times that estrogen can exert its cancer risk particularly for breast cancer13.
- Toxin overload: In Australia’s modern post-industrial society we’ve been exposed to hundreds of chemicals in our food, air and water supplies. Unwittingly, we’ve become unaware of the intricate nature which these toxins14-16 affect our health in particular the development of cancer. Persistent Organic Pollutants in particular have been known impair immune responses and trigger auto-immune reactions. As more potential toxins enter our foods, water supplies and air we breathe, we take to take protective measures to limit our exposure. This includes modifying the home and work environment to ensure the materials, chemicals, and solutions which we are exposed to have minimal impact on our metabolism.
- Genetic Disposition: We are made up of genes, hereditary material which is predetermined at birth from a combination of our parents’ genetic makeup. Sometimes when our genetic code is being determined from conception, there can be genetic weakness in the ‘code’ or DNA. These weaknesses are called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs for short. If these SNPs are found on parts of the DNA which affect cell detoxification, respiration, replication or division for example, then we could be at an increased risk of developing a particular type or cancer.17-19. While we cannot change our genetic disposition to disease we can change the way genes express themselves based upon environmental stimulus. This modifying of gene expression by foods and supplements is called nutrigenomics. We have the ability to ‘turn off and on’ certain genes based upon the foods and supplements we take20,21. This new and exciting field of genetics gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into our genetic code and exert healthy expressions from genes.
- Blood Sugar dysregulation: Our ability to maintain consistent levels of blood sugar(glucose) is controlled by a hormone called insulin which is produced in the pancreas. Sometimes we consume too much sugar in our diet and when combined with little exercise can create a situation when too much sugar is in our blood stream and insulin cannot remove it from the bloodstream quick enough. This is where the blood sugar makes the blood go ‘sticky’ and this causes damage to delicate membranes in the body, like the arteries, retina, and capillaries in the feet. When our cells become resistant to insulin and cannot take in any more glucose we become insulin resistant and this leads to diabetes. It is well known that diabetes increases the risks of a variety of cancers,22-24 due to an increase in inflammation, glycation and oxidation. Therefore, our functional medicine practitioners recommend that a low carbohydrate diet and doing consistent exercise will help in keeping blood sugar stable and low.
- Nutrient deficiency: Deficiencies in a whole range of nutrients, be it amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals or enzymes can contribute to the development of cancer.25-28 Therefore maintaining your optimal nutrient status is key. This is done by firstly ensuring your food and supplement choices are of the best quality and secondly ensuring your gastro-intestinal system is functioning properly. How do we know your gut is functioning properly? Firstly, observe your body for any reactions or signs, like indigestion, burping, flatulence, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea or loss of appetite. If you have any of these signs check with your local doctor further for evaluation.
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE TESTS FOR CANCER
There are a range of markers which, depending on the patient, their history and current lifestyle are indicative of dysfunction. These markers can assist our functional medicine practitioners in determining the overall risk of developing cancer.
OXIDATIVE DAMAGE MARKERS: lipid peroxides, DNA damage( 8OHdG)
INFLAMMATORY MARKERS: us-CRP, Serum Amyloid A, TNF-Alfa, IL-6, TNF-2, Mean platelet Volume.
BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION: fasting glucose, fasting insulin, HBAC1.
HORMONAL IMBALANCE: estrogen (estrodial, Estrone, Estriol) progesterone, DHEA, Cortisol. Estrogen metabolism – 2-hydroxyestrone, 4-hydroxyestrone, 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone.
DETOXIFICATION: Genetic Polymorphisms Test: Methylation & gluthathione expression.
TOXICITY STATUS: heavy metals, Persistent organic pollutants.
NUTRIENT STATUS: Vitamins, Minerals, detoxification compounds (glutathione, Superoxide Dismutase).
Speak to a functional medicine practitioner today
To determine which of these tests are suitable for you, I recommend booking a consultation with our functional medicine practitioner to review your lifestyle, dietary habits, family history and recent laboratory evaluations. If you have conducted any of these tests and would like additional interpretation from a lifestyle management perspective – book your consultation now! We can consult over Skype with anyone within a five-hour time zone difference of Hong Kong. So if you’re suffering from cancer in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin or anywhere in Australia, get in touch today.
For more information on this approach to cancer, or to book a consultation with our functional medicine practitioner please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Initial Consultation Fee: $1,500 HKD for 1 hour.
Consultation will include: Health history and lifestyle review, functional medicine testing discussion / recommendations, interpretation of functional medicine tests.