With the world's most advanced medical system, have you ever wondered why we're not healthier?
A Tulsa doctor said that question is pulling her into a whole new approach to medicine - one she believes is the wave of the future.
Dr. Leslie Masters has 17 years of postgraduate medical training and more than 20 years as a practicing physician - all of which left her with one nagging question:
“Why is it in a day and age when we have the most advanced medical system ever in the history of mankind, do we have a population full of sick, insomniac, stressed out, overweight people,” she asked.
Masters believes the answer doesn't lie in our bodies, but in our environment which has changed dramatically over the years.
Forget the stress hormones that come from running from a saber-toothed tiger.
“Nowadays I'm more likely to be running from the IRS or my ex-wife. My hormones go up, but they'll go up and stay for years, and our bodies were just not designed to do that,” Masters explained.
The result, she said, is a sick nation that's getting sicker with skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
To find the answer to the cycle, Masters believes we need to expand the scope of traditional medicine, so, along with her medical degree she's now getting a master's degree in the field of metabolic medicine.
“In traditional medical school, I know how to treat you once you get sick, but do I know how to keep you healthy? I thought I did, until I started doing some of these classes and realized I didn't have a clue,” she said.
So what exactly is metabolic medicine?
Masters said it’s an individual approach to healthcare - looking inside the body at up to 250 biomarkers, checking enzymes, hormone levels, vitamin levels, inflammation, and coming up with a plan specifically for you.
“This is my objection to the Dr. Oz type medicine, here take this, it’s supposed to be good for you, well it may be good for some people, but it’s definitely not good for everybody,” said Masters.
Metabolic medicine is similar to something called integrative medicine, both of which are gaining a foothold in respected medical schools and hospitals across the country.
Not everyone is sold, though. Some critics call the approach a fad, saying it lacks scientific evidence; Masters begs to differ.
“Everything that I practice is evidence-based medicine. It’s had to have gone through a placebo-controlled, random, double-blind study and proven to be safe and effective,” she said.
No matter what science says, some of her patients, like Tischa Davidson, said it’s working.
“It’s totally changed how I live,” she said.
Davidson is an ICU nurse at one of Tulsa's biggest hospitals. It’s a job that puts her under tremendous stress each and every day, and she said her body was the showing the strain.
“I started not sleeping. I would wake up after two hours; have a hard time going back to sleep. This went on for like a year,” she said. “Then I started waking up with anxiety attacks.”
By the time Davidson made her way to Masters, she was on medication for both anxiety and depression.
Masters suspected a hormone imbalance, but the metabolic testing found something else - a problem with Davidson’s level of amino acids.
Masters worked with a compounding pharmacy to come up with a supplement, and Davidson said the results were amazing.
“It took about ten days, 14 days before I could see a difference. And I'm now sleeping six, seven, eight hours, instead of three or four,” she said. “It was easy. I stopped all my pharmaceutical medicine I was taking from the doctor.”
And most importantly, she said she's feeling better than ever; which Masters said goes to the heart of metabolic medicine, correcting imbalances before they cause disease.
“I put her name out there because she has completely changed how I feel and how I live my life,” Davidson said.
Masters said, “It has got to be the medicine of the future or we're all in a lot of trouble.”
Masters said as it becomes more popular, the cost of testing for metabolic medicine is going down and some insurance companies will now pay.
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