When Carolyn and I began working together she had been to several doctors including multiple trips to the ER and neurologist for extreme muscle weakness, difficulty walking, difficulty thinking, difficulty carrying out day-to-day tasks without exhaustive failure, and fainting spells.
Conventional blood chemistry and imaging did not bring her any answers and perplexed the neurologist who said there was nothing neurologically wrong with her, and the kind ER doctor who told her that they believed her that something was wrong, but didn’t know how to help her and encouraged her to keep fighting for herself and not give up.
But fighting for herself was becoming very difficult. Carolyn was not feeling like the strong, intelligent woman she had always been. She was doing all the right things – eating well, doing yoga, working with a PT, working on mindfulness, avoiding toxins in her environment – yet her health continued to deteriorate. She knew that there must be something that was missing. She found the strength to persist.
When Carolyn arrived at my office she was experiencing extreme chronic fatigue and several neurological symptoms including headaches, slow mental processing, lightheadedness, episodes of fainting, tremors, and difficulty walking that caused her to use a cane to get around and carry a stool so she could sit down and take breaks. Her health had declined to the point that she was in need of a home caregiver and was encouraged by her other doctors to seek disability benefits and get used to this low level of functioning. Carolyn wasn’t satisfied with that and I wasn’t either.
Investigating The Root Causes Of Brain Health Problems
Because Carolyn had multiple neurological symptoms that the neurologist deemed “not a neurological problem,” we had to cast a wider net. We started looking for sources of chronic inflammation and nutrient deficiencies that alter energy production, metabolism, and brain health.
We ordered blood chemistry to assess metabolic markers, nutrition, inflammation, cardiovascular health, and thyroid and hormone function. In addition, we ordered functional lab tests that look for root causes, including a stool analysis to assess digestive health and screen for chronic infections as well as a specialized nutrient screening to check for problems with mitochondrial function (vital for energy production and brain health), neurotransmitters, and environmental toxicity. As we waited for the test results, Carolyn started her personalized nutrition and lifestyle plan and did several acupuncture treatments with me to accelerate the healing process.
When the test results we in, we found several root cause problems to work with. There was a chronic infection of opportunistic bacteria known to cause inflammation and trigger autoimmunity as well as yeast in the large intestine.
In addition, there were signs of a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine which correlated with further inflammation as well as ongoing bloating and indigestion Carolyn had been experiencing.
We also identified problems with mitochondrial energy production which is important for overall energy, metabolic processes, detoxification, and especially brain and nervous system health. Your mitochondria are your energy producing organelles which are located in every cell in your body and are most highly concentrated in your heart and brain.
A Root Cause Plan To Heal The Gut & Brain
Carolyn continued eating a gluten free and dairy free diet as well as avoiding toxins in her environment, resting and getting enough sleep, and limiting stress. I prescribed antimicrobial botanical medicines to eliminate the gut infections, nervous system support, and targeted nutrients to decrease inflammation, support detoxification, and increase energy production (mitochondrial health) for 30 days. She continued working with a PT to increase her strength and flexibility. She also focused on her mindset, confidence, and self worth.
30 days later Carolyn arrived for her follow up walking without a cane, danced into my office, and took a bow. She shared that she had followed the treatment plan exactly and how her extraordinary recovery unfolded.
- Before starting her treatment plan she would lose motor control after 10 minutes of walking and have to sit down to rest.
- Treatment x4 Days: Able to walk 16,000 steps without having to sit down.
- 2nd Week: Able to use the cane less and back to work 5-6 hours per day.
- 3rd Week: Stopped using the cane to walk completely.
- 4th Week: Went back to working 8 hours per day. Blood pressure drops, fainting, lightheadedness, tremors, and muscle twitching all resolved.
Next, we made a plan to continue the anti-microbial plan to make sure the gut infections did not return. Carolyn tested herself by discontinuing the anti-microbial herbs and had a brief return of her symptoms. We got her back on track to finish the treatment and afterward she was able to discontinue the herbs and supplements we were using without the return of symptoms.
Carolyn has now been symptom-free with a healthy brain, full function of her legs, and optimal energy for more than 9 months. She is a remarkable woman who had the strength in her darkest hour to keep going and find the resources and guidance she needed to recover.
I am forever in awe of the strength of our patients at Thriving Force and the amazing transformations that can occur when we work to identify and eliminate root causes to provide the body with the cellular signals we need to heal. In honor of Carolyn and the epidemic of neurodegeneration and brain health problems so many Americans experience today, Thriving Force is dedicated to helping people who are suffering with brain fog, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, ADD, ADHD, multiple sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Thank you, Carolyn, for showing us all what is possible and for being willing to share your story so others can find the solution they are searching for!
Dr. DeFrancesco partners with patients seeking a smarter & sustainable approach to health by doing the detective work to uncover root cause(s) and design a personalized and comprehensive plan that includes nutrition, lifestyle, functional medicine, and root cause therapies.
This approach benefits people who are seeking help with chronic inflammatory conditions, autoimmunity, thyroid conditions, digestive problems, brain health, and health optimization.