Janet Abshire, M.D.,
Integrative & Functional Medicine
Our health is influenced by what we eat, drink, inhale, absorb, and think, our positive or negative thoughts, our social networks, our families, our jobs, our commutes, our quality and amount of sleep, our beliefs, our level of exercise, and even our unique communities of microflora that live in our bodies. My approach could also be called green medicine as it takes into account the entire ecosystem in which humans reside, including that which resides in us.
I believe that using food as medicine and optimizing your environment is a very powerful approach to chronic disease and prevention of illness. Food as medicine is not a new concept. Hippocrates said, make food your medicine and medicine your food. Emerging science more and more shows us how this is wise advice. In the last few years we have discovered how molecules from food and our environment interact and communicate with our genes. Certain molecules in plants, often in the color component, promote health by preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging etc. The more variety of plant colors you get in your diet, the more opportunity you have to get the benefit from these molecules known as phytonutrients. These are powerful, molecular messages providing information to our genes. When we over process foods we wipe out many benefits including this information. Likewise, when we create artificially flavored, colored and textured foods, we cannot fool our DNA into thinking it is real food, and we do not yet know all the messages these artificial molecules bring. Phyto- means plants, however other messenger molecules can come from animals and other messages can come from outside chemicals whether man made or natural. Messages can influence us from an animals own stress hormones or antibiotics or hormones given to the animal. The food the animal is fed can change the ratio of the omega 3 fats to the omega 6 fats impacting levels of inflammation and promoting. When we look at how we have removed so many of the stress reducing molecules from food such as phytonutrients and added other stress causing molecules it makes sense that our new food does promote disease. Although phytonutrients are not considered essential nutrients, perhaps they should be. In the short term you can seem fine with not eating your vegetables, however over time you end up with chronic disease. The real cost of our new, cheaper, food is hidden in our healthcare bills. I believe in using food as medicine. What we put in our mouth has a huge influence on our health, and fortunately it is the one influence we have the most control over.
We can look at the body as an ecosystem that is in balance between the mind, the various organs, the microflora that live with us, and the outside world. All of our health or disease is based on the interaction between our unique set of genes and our environment. Science is showing us the powerful role that environment plays modifying the expression of our genes. Molecules carry messages from the environment to the body, and molecular messengers move around the body. The body burden of toxins can have an overpowering message, such as severe asthma or cancer from traffic exhaust. The amount of food in number of calories we eat sends a message to the body and can result in obesity and disease or longevity. The balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat, and the quality of each of these nutrients along with other tiny messengers such as phytonutrients send messages to our body. An individuals intolerance to certain foods has a powerful influence on health. Research is showing us that another way the messages from the environment are translated to the body is through the ecological balance of types of bugs your gut. That means the meta-genome, the genome of our bugs that live with us, our microflora, makes a difference in our metabolism.
We are living in a toxic environment. Not only because of the obvious pollution issues that plague us. But also because of how our communities are designed. It is hard to get exercise if we must drive because it is too far to walk, or if we feel the neighborhood is not safe. We are often too busy to fit exercise in with our fast paced lifestyles. We have such busy schedules and relatively little vacation time in this country that we suffer from more stress. Noise pollution and artificial lighting limiting sleep takes it toll. Our social tendency to minimize the importance of sleep, and brag about how little sleep we need or we get is detrimental. Lack of sleep results in stress and inflammation leading to health issues. The easy availabity of fast food, and in some areas very limited availability of fresh fruits and vegetables is a big problem leading to obesity and related diseases. The processed food industry provides us with cheap, convenient food, or food like substances, but there is a huge cost to society as processed food causes disease. The western diseases are related to the western diet.
'We can no longer afford to separate the problems in healthcare
from the problems in the environment causing them.' Dr. Abshire
Many of the changes that are good for you are also good for the planet and future generations. I believe that many people will tend to make healthier choices if they truly understand the reasons behind the choices. Just being told what is good for you is not enough. I try to simplify the research findings but provide enough detail to motivate you. A doctor or a dietician can give advice, but the bottom line is the patient needs to do 90% of the work. I have a nutrition degree before my MD and I have been following the nutrition literature for years. Please contact me if you need help with a chronic problem, need support in changing your lifestyle, or would like to optimize your health. I created this website for my patients and I hope others benefit as well.
Dr. Abshire obtained both her Nutrition Science degree and her M.D. from the University of California at Davis. She obtained highest honors in nutrition, and was an Alumni and a Regent’s Scholar in medical school. She learned to think like a functional medicine doctor addressing the root causes of disease during her undergraduate training in Nutrition Science, particularly giving credit to her professor, Dr. Richard Freedland, Ph.D. She studied nutritional approaches to medicine, called Functional Medicine, for about 10 years before she opened a private practice in integrative medicine, and she continues to keep up with the exploding field. She offers a personalized approach to illness and conditions utilizing a personalized, systems biology approach to medicine and functional lab testing with nutrition based treatments to promote optimal health.
What is Integrative & Functional Medicine?
Integrative medicine simply means taking a mixture of modern medicine and combining it with alternative styles. Functional medicine has a different approach than mainstream medicine in that it incorporates individual genetics, environmental exposures, lifestyle, a very detailed history, exam, labs often including non-standard laboratory evaluations and organizes this information in the form of a matrix. This matrix model for complex, chronic disease focuses less on the diagnosis of a disease and more on the antecedents, triggers and mediators of a condition or conditions. I do not feel it is truly alternative, as it is using the same scientific journals and the same scientific language as mainstream medicine, but simply incorporates more nutrition and physiology into a systems biology approach.
Office Location is Inside The Sacramento Center for Complementary Medicine
2701 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
by appointment only 916-208 2522
or email Dr.Abshire@janetabshiremd.com
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All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for personalized care from your physician. It has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration or any other regulatory agency, and is not intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disease.