The 70-year-old man, a patient with Parkinson’s disease, showed up at our office with a host of familiar symptoms of a central nervous system disorder: fatigue, poor balance, a droopy face and an inability to speak.

As a functional, or precision, medicine specialist, I aim to prevent, diagnose and treat the root causes of disease, not just the most visible symptoms.

In this patient’s case, a comprehensive round of genetic testing, along with screening for pesticides and heavy metal poisoning, found extremely elevated levels of arsenic. The source? Imported jasmine rice from Asia, a favorite of both the patient and his private chef.

Chelation therapy is a proven treatment involving an oral medication that binds to lead, mercury, iron, arsenic and other toxic metals in the bloodstream. The treatment, which can also be offered intravenously, creates a compound that is eliminated from the body through your urine.

In this patient’s case, a weekly oral dose of Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) over six months led to a 70% improvement in brain function, 30% increase in mobility, and 50% improvement in his facial expressions.

And the inclusion of a detox-focused boost of nutrients such as Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, fish oil and zinc, led to a 50 percent increase in his testosterone levels.

By his second visit, the once non-vocal septuagenarian was humming Christmas carols in our offices. And the inclusion of a detox-focused boost of nutrients such as Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, fish oil and zinc, led to a 50 percent increase in his testosterone levels.

A 2008 research study in the Journal of Toxicology found that arsenic, in combination with dopamine, could cause enhanced degeneration of brain tissues — a key link in better understanding a disease that entails the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain.

Some medical providers also use chelation therapy to treat other conditions, from inflammation and cardiovascular disease to autism and Alzheimer’s, and some over-the-counter products tout its broader applications. As always, we ask that you please consult with your physician prior to making any substantial lifestyle, health or nutritional changes.

At Naples Center for Functional Medicine, our evidence-based, holistic approach to medical care — also known as precision medicine — relies on information about a person’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose and treat disease.

Unlike the mainstream, “one treatment fits all” approach of conventional medicine, precision medicine analyzes the DNA, blood, urine and tissue specific to an individual to provide a personalized diagnostic approach and plan, allowing for patients to be treated according to their unique characteristics.

This approach was also the subject of a recent keynote address I delivered to the Florida Association of Accountable Care Organizations (FLAACO), entitled “The Future of Better Outcomes – Precision Medicine for All.” A video recording of that presentation can be viewed here.

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