Chronic Conditions

Individualized Approaches to Chronic Conditions

Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care, under the direction of David S. Berger, MD, is one of the few medical practices in the world that offers individualized wholistic treatment plans for children and adults prepared by, or under the supervision of, a Board Certified Pediatrician. Because we provide primary and sick care to our patients, we can provide comprehensive medical services for special needs individuals. We have developed age and weight specific protocols to safely utilize both natural and pharmacological agents in healing the patient. We prescribe specific brands and products that we have thoroughly researched for safety and efficacy.

We have found many biochemical and genetic similarities among patients with Autistic
Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorders (with or without hyperactivity), seizures, and other neurological, behavioral, communication, and social disorders. We have also seen common, specific findings in patients with allergies, asthma, eczema, and autoimmune diseases. Despite these commonalities, we appreciate that each person is truly unique and requires an individualized approach to evaluation and treatment to achieve optimal results. After obtaining a thorough patient history, we discuss treatment options with the family/patient to determine the best approach. This often includes a variety of lab tests, which helps delineate the individual needs of each patient.

The Gastrointestinal Tract

When working properly, the gastrointestinal tract is the primary body system that allows nutrients into and prevents toxins from entering, the body. A patient’s history of antibiotic or steroid use, and the form and frequency of stool passage may indicate the need for tests to check for the presence of intestinal pathogens, such as bacteria, yeast, and parasites. These pathogens may release toxins into the body, as well as cause local damage to the intestinal lining, which can lead to increased permeability of the intestine, resulting in inflammation, improper digestion, and inadequate nutrient absorption.

Although these toxins may cause abdominal pain, abnormal or foul-smelling stools, and bloating or flatulence, some patients will not exhibit any negative abdominal symptoms. Toxins may also impose a direct adverse effect upon the body’s immune and neurological systems. Furthermore, the presence of certain intestinal organisms can interfere with other therapies that may be needed to treat the patient. Lab testing can provide information about the presence of these organisms, as well as which treatments are most likely to work in eliminating them. We use both natural treatments and pharmacological approaches to eradicate these pathogens.

If the elimination of intestinal pathogens does not improve a patient’s bowel symptoms, the cause may be a compromised intestinal digestive capacity. We employ various digestive enzymes and other intestinal healing modalities to treat this problem.

Urine Testing

A urine test, called the Organic Acid Test, is often used to provide additional useful information about the toxins produced by yeast and bacteria. Sometimes a stool test will miss these organisms. Urine tests also provide information about particular vitamin and coenzyme needs, and how the body is metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Additional tests of the urine can check for opiate-like proteins derived from gluten and cow milk protein (casein), as well as Phospholipase A-2, a marker of inflammation that can be treated with a modified form of choline.

Heavy Metals

Many people with chronic disorders have mercury, lead, and other heavy metals accumulating in their bodies. This is often due to dysfunction of the detoxification pathways (see below). These metals can directly damage the cells of various organs, including the brain and nervous system, liver, kidneys, and hormone glands.

Testing for the presence of these metals is difficult, since they are often no longer circulating in the blood, but are instead bound to the tissues and organs they are damaging. Although blood tests that show metals to be present are significant, a negative result could indicate the metals have moved out of the bloodstream and into the organs. Hair testing often misses the metals as well. Since hair is an excretory organ, people who do not properly eliminate metals may not have it excreted into the hair.

We have found that a chelation challenge test is the best way to identify the presence of toxic metals. By comparing a baseline urine sample to a sample taken after the administration of a chelating agent that extracts heavy metals from the tissues, we can determine: 1) the presence of heavy metals in the body, 2) if the body is not properly screening the heavy metals on its own (assuming the baseline is normal), and 3) whether the chelating agent works for that particular individual. To accommodate our wide range of patients, we have protocols for oral, rectal, and IV chelating agents.

Detoxification Process

Current research initiatives are attempting to determine why some patients with chronic neurodevelopmental disorders have higher levels of certain toxins in their body while others do not. Research indicates the problem may be due to the inability of the patient’s body to excrete these toxins. Recent studies by world-renowned biochemists show that many people with these disorders have abnormalities in their sulfation and methylation systems, which are involved in the detoxification process. By testing the patient’s blood for metabolites of these pathways (e.g., methionine, homocysteine, cysteine, glutathione, sulfate, copper, and zinc), we can evaluate these critical pathways and employ specific therapies depending on the findings. Certain B vitamins (e.g., forms of vitamin B-12, folate, and B6), methyl donors (e.g., DMG and TMG) and other cofactors (e.g., NADH) can be very helpful in improving the function of the detoxification processes.

Food Reactions

Negative food reactions frequently occur in patients with chronic disorders. Avoiding certain foods often cause a patient’s condition to improve significantly. Various lab tests help to identify which foods are causing symptoms. For example, casein and gluten derivatives that produce opiate-like reactions can be isolated in the urine; IgE blood tests detect histamine related reactions; IgG tests identify delayed hypersensitivity, and white blood cell reaction tests can measure the response to specific food items at the cellular level. Although these tests are useful, an elimination/reintroduction diet approach is our preferred method for identifying problem causing foods. Under this approach, a particular food can be identified as causing symptoms if the patient shows a positive response to its elimination from the diet and a negative reaction to its reintroduction to the diet.

Compromised Immune Systems

We often find one or more major immune system abnormalities in patients with chronic disorders. Some individuals have weakened immune systems, allowing for repeated bacterial and viral infections. These infections often lead the patient to be placed on antibiotics, with resulting yeast and other bacterial infections as mentioned above. Other patients’ immune systems overreact, causing negative symptoms when exposed to particular foods or things in the external environment. Patients may also exhibit autoimmune reactions when the body creates antibodies that directly attack specific proteins in the brain, thyroid, joints, or kidneys. Many of these immune system problems can be identified through various blood tests, and we can then treat them with particular natural and pharmacological therapies.

Essential Fatty Acids

Many individuals with chronic disorders have deficiencies in certain essential fatty acids. These “good” fats are the preferred fat the body uses to make the membranes of nerve and cardiovascular cells. A blood test can help determine if there are deficiencies in these essential fatty acids, and fish and plant based oils can then be used to treat the deficiencies.

Many different treatment strategies may need to be utilized to provide wholistic treatment of patients with chronic disorders effectively. Often these treatments need to be used simultaneously. Under the supervision of Board Certified Pediatrician Dr. Berger, patients with these disorders have shown daily improvements in their symptoms. Please feel free to contact our office for a consultation.

Medical Cannabis Treatment

We are committed to providing our patients with the best possible care for a variety of conditions. Medical cannabis has been proven to be an effective treatment for conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, autism, and multiple sclerosis.

If you are interested in talking with Dr. Berger about medical cannabis certification, please call our Wholistic ReLeaf team at (813) 603-4425 or email (For non-cannabis related inquiries, please call 813-960-3415). We are proud to be able to offer medical cannabis treatment and serve patients in Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater and throughout Florida. More information on medical cannabis treatment in Florida can be found here.