8 Take-Aways from UM’s ICAMP Seminar – The Power of Integrative Medicine

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Talk about information overload!

Last week I attended the University of Miami Integrative and Complementary Academic Medicine Program seminar appropriately titled, Healing the Whole Person – The Power of Integrative Medicine.

So from Friday to Sunday I was soaking up hour after hour of the latest research and information in the field of integrative medicine.

It was seriously so overwhelming at times. But not to worry, I have compiled the top 10 take-aways for you … let’s take a loo

The Gut-Brain Axis:

Fatigue, lack of endurance, decreased concentration/attention could all indicate early brain degeneration and decreased activation of the vagus. Datis Kharrazian DHSc, DC, MS, MNeuroSci, FAACP, DACBN,DIBAK,CNS (whew) explained that although we all know there is a gut-brain connection thought to be flowing from the gut up toward the brain, this pathway could also potentially be reversed flowing from the brain (traumatic brain injury) down to the gut via vagus nuclei. Brain on fire = Brain Fog, Gut on Fire = bloating, distention. Pay attention to those thoughts (and lack there of) people it could indicate something more!

Low Fat/Calorie Restriction Diets:

Are short-term fixes for weight loss. Essentially, there are  many factors to consider when it comes to a weight loss strategy and maintaining healthy weight status. Dr. David Ludwig explained that conventional treatment for obesity is not working long-term and a dietary strategy aiming to lower insulin secretion can help to support the effectiveness of long-term weight management. What is your insulin looking like?

Breathing Exercise as Pain Management?

Mindful breath and movement with normal patterns of breathing is the exception, not the rule. Dr.Robert Bonakdar says we have to retrain our breathing patterns, especially for those with chronic pain. Yoga, Tai Chi, and even apps can provide support bringing awareness to the breath and away from the inflammation… Woosaaa.

Eat the Rainbow:

I mean, who really does? If you do, I would like to meet you personally and shake your hand. Getting our daily fruit and vegetable servings is very difficult (but not impossible). Dr.Deanna Minich functional nutritionist and author of The Whole Detox and explains that the fruits and vegetables represent a different organ system and can reflect on our emotional and spiritual selves.

Integrative Cancer Therapies (my FAV):

It’s time to rethink cancer treatment. Dr. Mark Rosenberg certainly is. Dr. Rosenberg believes that chemotherapy can have a place in treatment, but not in the way it is presently given and targeting the cancer stem cells is the key. This was by far the most intriguing presentation with staggering statistics (chemo curative in only ~2.1% in the U.S?!). Dr. Rosenberg is using low dose chemotherapy in practice as opposed to high dose single treatment, essentially managing cancer as a chronic illness. Fun fact, not all cancers feed on sugar (yes, still limit sugar intake) but, I learned that cancer cells do not HAVE to feed on sugar and they can change their fuel source as needed to be fat or protein

Genetics + Metabolic pathways:

WHEW! This one was a doozy. Trying to understand genetics is intense, but what I liked was Dr. Bridget Briggs communicated the information in terms that were easy to follow. Dr. Briggs comprised the ten common genetic SNPs (snips) that can be evaluated to elevate patient care. Yes, there other SNPs aside from MTHFR. The methylation cycle is just one “gear” and it involves the use of other gears, cofactors, genes and vitamins to run efficiently and properly. Sometimes the issue is not in the methylation gear but in another gene that is involved in the process. The plot thickens! Dr. Briggs wants us as practitioners to understand that folate and methyl-b12 are not always the answers for everyone and sometimes it takes testing for other genetic mutations to fully assist the patient.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Immunity:

Age, stress and overindulgence = malnutrition (basically) according to Dr. Robert Rountree. Loved his presentation! This man made a three-hour lecture entertaining and informative. Rountree explained that inflammation, autoimmunity,  chronic fatigue is demonstrated by decreased natural killer cell (NK) function and supporting our NK cells with vitamin C, lactoferrin, vitamin D, ginseng and chlorella can be supportive.

Sleeping Well ? 

Not likely. In today’s get up and go culture, it can be difficult to make sure to get that 8 hours per night that has been preached to us since we can remember. Well my friends, this time we have not been lied to and for good reason. Phyllis Zee MD, PhD explained that sleep does more than gives us “rest” from the day. Sleep helps with our learning and memory, our mental and emotional health and sleep deprivation is associated with health multiple health conditions. Fun fact! after 16 hours without rest, our function and alertness declines significantly, and at 20 hours it is as if we were legally drunk! Want to just take one day to “sleep it off”, well news for ya – it takes about 5 days to recover from that kind of deprivation! So unless you want to unnecessarily use your PTO, I suggest to get at least 6 hrs /night.

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I hope you learned something new, I definitely did! It was a great conference and I am looking forward to more. Would love to hear your thoughts!

I don’t bite 😉

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