Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Dr. Paul Gannon, a Naturopathic Physician,Who Discusses His Approach for Rheumatoid Arthritis Using Detoxification
We are speaking with Dr. Paul Gannon, ND, on how he views the process of detoxification using a combination of cleanses, dietary changes, exercise, a good nutritional program and a positive lifestyle.
Tell Us a Story About a Patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis and How You Helped
I had the pleasure of helping Karen in one of my group cleansing programs I was leading at the time. Karen had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years and was treated solely with traditional medication. She thought she was doing everything correctly – the way her doctors knew to do: doing all the tests and follow-ups and taking the prescribed medications. But Karen never stopped looking for other answers.
Up until Karen started working with me she had never heard of a naturopathic physician. She was completely aligned to a more holistic approach to her health but Karen did not know at the time that there are true licensed doctors out there offering a different and effective approach. When she first discussed with me with how she felt, I suggested to do some base work with her first. What was paramount was to have full participation in a liver cleanse program that combined proper nutrient supplementation with dietary eliminations – which would explore the potential of food intolerances.
All too often I encounter clients who have done three to seven-day liver cleanse programs that are nothing but supplements loaded with herbs to help stimulate bowel movements. Taking cathartic herbs is really not a cleanse. Karen fully took on our recommended cleansing program, adhering to the dietary eliminations, exercising, and choosing supplements that supported her goals. The results were nothing short of astounding and life changing for her. Karen found that after three weeks into the program her joint pains stopped.
When she started bringing her eliminated foods back in, she found that her pain returned when she started eating wheat again. It was a no-brainer for her to stop eating wheat. She subsequently went off of her rheumatoid arthritis medications and has not needed them since! Had Karen done only that sort of program without the food eliminations, or had done her program for only five days, she would have never gained the life-long knowledge to truly change her health like she did. For me, it is truly magical to work with someone who is open to exploring other paths for their health and see them achieve it.
A good detox program should address the liver plus much more
One important aspect of any cleanse program is supplementing nutrients to support the liver’s ability to metabolize toxins such as heavy metals, chemicals from prescription drugs, and even foods that the body does not like. I encourage clients to eliminate the most allergenic foods, like wheat, dairy, soy and corn to determine if these are a burden to their health. The other prominent aspect of a good program is to eliminate sugar and alcohol, which makes sense, as we all know the effects of alcohol on the liver.
As the body’s processes are all interdependent on each other, the benefits of added nutrients along with the positive lifestyle changes allows the body to reset, so to speak. The elimination of wheat (and perhaps all gluten containing grains) and the elimination of sugars and alcohol usually creates a situation for weight loss, especially if the person also exercises. The reason for this is that as fat is burned, the body is inevitably releasing toxins that were deposited in the fat. Supporting the liver’s ability to metabolize toxic substances – along with excellent nutrition – is crucial during any weight loss program to get the toxins out of the body.
Explain how the modalities or therapies you implement work
Food Elimination: As I have stated already, a true liver cleanse program is one in which foods will be eliminated in order to find if these are a burden to your health. That burden, if it exists, is discovered when you start bringing the foods back into your diet after having eliminated them for 3-6 weeks. Any food at all is worthy of investigation in this way, especially if there is a chronic health situation going on.
Nutrients: These are extremely useful supplements. B vitamins are used heavily by the liver, especially B6. A comprehensive multi-vitamin may be enough for some, where for others stronger doses of B vitamins may be needed as they are not stored in the body.
Probiotics: I always include good strong probiotics to help the body actually eliminate the toxins from the body.
Amino acids: These are crucial and are best gotten from a diverse and healthy diet with proper protein and vegetables.
Antioxidants: I encourage everyone to get their antioxidants predominantly from their food. Getting antioxidants from diet is always a great way to know you are going to have the best amounts for daily health. Northern berries like black, blue and raspberries are excellent and low in sugar. Frozen is actually preferred over raw as it breaks open the cells of the fruit that release the anti-oxidants. Raw vegetables like broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have wonderful detoxing and cancer fighting constituents that should be part of our diet every day. And green tea also has excellent antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. Personally, I do not find a small amount of caffeine to be a problem on a cleanse, as long as the client uses caffeine normally anyway. One thing I do caution against is the over use of so-called antioxidants unless of course you are getting a high toxic exposure on a daily basis.
Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?
I chose to be a naturopathic doctor after I had finished traveling around the world for two years. My undergraduate degree was in fine art and I wanted to switch my focus to a career where I could help people and naturopathic medicine was something I had a keen interest in. When I first found out about this profession I knew immediately it was the path I wanted to take. I find myself more and more convinced of the power of this medicine with each passing year.
What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?
I’ve been in practice for twenty years and during this time I have learned more than when I was in medical school for five years. Staying up on research is crucial for what I do as I need to be on the cutting edge of what is being presented to the public as effective. The experience with each and every patient always teaches me something and inadvertently adds to my knowledge and experience of what works and what is just hype. Clients want only truth and real experience and anything short of that will not serve them or me. I always find that I must remain true to myself and who I am.
Dr. Paul Gannon graduated in 2000 from Bastyr University in Seattle as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Since then he has been in private practice which included five years as a Naturopathic Oncology provider at a cancer hospital. He specializes in the naturopathic co-management of cancer, in gastro-intestinal health, and in women’s health.
Dr. Gannon was a co-founder of the Gastroenterology Association of Naturopathic Physicians. He served as President of the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and was on the board of the Florida Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Paul Gannon, N.D.
Miami, FL USA
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