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Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDS) presents a unique challenge for those who experience it—a persistent sensation of motion, often after travel, that can endure for months or even years. While conventional medicine may struggle to provide definitive solutions, Functional Medicine offers a holistic approach that considers the interconnectedness of bodily systems and focuses on addressing underlying imbalances. In this article, we’ll explore how Functional Medicine in Boulder CO can play a crucial role in helping individuals with MdDS manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.


UNDERSTANDING MDDS:

MdDS is characterized by a lingering feeling of motion, such as rocking or swaying, despite being in a stationary environment. This syndrome challenges traditional medical paradigms, and the etiology remains elusive. Functional Medicine, however, embraces a systems-thinking approach that seeks to understand the root causes of symptoms rather than merely addressing surface-level manifestations.


FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE PRINCIPLES IN BOULDER CO

  1. Individualized Care: Functional Medicine recognizes that each person is unique, and MdDS can manifest differently from one individual to another. By understanding a patient’s specific health history, genetic makeup, and lifestyle, Functional Medicine practitioners create personalized treatment plans tailored to the individual. Here at Wolfe Functional Medicine, we understand the importance of testing our patients for genetic variations or mutations. The most common genetic variant that we see in our MdDS patients has to do with the COMT gene. The COMT gene provides instructions for making an enzyme which is essential for the proper metabolism and excretion of excitatory neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Anyone with this specific genetic variation, will hold on to these neurotransmitters for far longer than normal, which can lead to elevated and prolonged levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and subsequent neural inflammation.
  2. Addressing the Gut-Brain Connection: Emerging research suggests a strong connection between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis. Functional Medicine often focuses on optimizing gut health, as imbalances in the gut microbiome can influence neurological function. For MdDS patients, addressing any potential gut issues is a key aspect of their care here at Wolfe Functional Medicine. Through our comprehensive testing of gut function and immune blood markers, we are often able to discover an overgrowth of certain microbes that predispose some patients to irritation and inflammation of their central nervous system.
  3. Nutritional Support: Nutrition plays a pivotal role in overall health, and Functional Medicine emphasizes the importance of a nutrient-dense diet. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit individuals with MdDS. A Functional Medicine approach includes assessing and addressing these critical nutritional deficiencies. At Wolfe Functional Medicine, we also often see chronic deficiencies in neuro-protective nutrients, such as B1, B6, and B12 vitamins, as well as essential minerals for proper neurotransmitter function, such as Magnesium, Zinc and Iron.
  4. Stress Reduction Techniques: Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of MdDS. Functional Medicine incorporates stress reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and biofeedback to help patients manage their stress response and improve their overall resilience. We have recognized a common theme of Type A personality among our MdDS patients at Wolfe Functional Medicine. This usually means that it’s more difficult for these types of individuals to de-stress on a regular basis because they are often perfectionists. As a result, they have higher levels of cortisol running through their bodies on a daily basis than the average person, predisposing their nervous systems to “burning out.”
  5. Detoxification Support: Functional Medicine acknowledges the impact of environmental toxins on health. For individuals with MdDS, especially considering its potential vestibular connection, supporting the body’s detoxification pathways may be explored to reduce the burden of environmental toxins. The genetic variation testing that we perform here at Wolfe Functional Medicine has also demonstrated to us that many MdDS patients struggle with detoxification due to genetic methylation issues. Methylation is a natural process in your body that enables it to properly detoxify, de-flame and support neurological and immune function. Some of the methylation variants that we see in MdDS patients include MTHFR, MTHFD1, PEMT, AND DAO. These variations can certainly be supported and enhanced in regards to their function, but they require specific testing and targeted supplementation that most conventional health providers are not aware of.
  6. Hormonal Balance: Hormonal imbalances can influence neurological function. Functional Medicine practitioners assess hormonal health and work to restore balance, which may be particularly relevant for certain individuals with MdDS, as hormonal fluctuations can impact symptoms. Besides high cortisol levels, many of our patients at Wolfe Functional Medicine also have reproductive hormone abnormalities, especially with estrogen. Estrogen in appropriate amounts can actually be both neuro and immuno-protective. However, any excess levels of estrogens, particularly from the 4-OH- E1 and 16-OH-E1 metabolites, can have an opposite effect. We believe this why MdDS is typically more common in female patients.
  7. Case Management: Functional Medicine takes a comprehensive approach to managing MdDS, recognizing that multiple factors may contribute to the syndrome. A patient’s journey with a Functional Medicine practitioner often involves thorough assessments, including in-depth consultations, laboratory testing, and collaborative discussions about lifestyle factors. Here at Wolfe Functional Medicine, we provide a promising avenue for individuals navigating the challenges of MdDS. By addressing the root causes of symptoms and considering the interconnectedness of various bodily systems, we aim to empower our patients to actively participate in their healing journey. While the understanding of MdDS is constantly evolving, we at Wolfe Functional Medicine will continue to offer our unique personalized and holistic perspective that has enhanced the quality of life for those affected by this enigmatic syndrome.

CONCLUSION

Don’t wait to take charge of your health and find relief from your complex symptoms by contacting us today! Our clinic specializes in comprehensive diagnostics and least-invasive treatment options for MdDs and many other debilitating conditions. We invite you to get in touch with us to find out how we can assist you in taking back control of your health.

Also stay updated on our latest insights about MdDs and other topics by following us on Instagram at @wolfe.fm. Join our community as we journey towards health and wellness together. Your journey to optimal health and improved quality of life begins now!

Yours in health,
– Dr. Eva Dec

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