What is Functional Medicine, and how does it differ from traditional medicine, or even chiropractic and naturopathy? In episode 3 of Conners Clinic Live Dr Kevin Conners interviews his old friend Dr Akiba Green and they discuss all things Functional Medicine, finding disease before conventional medicine, and more.

Dr Akiba Green has similar post-graduate studies as Dr Conners, including Functional Medicine and Integrative Cancer. At his clinic in North Carolina he provides Functional Neurology, Integrative Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, Brain-Based Therapy, and more. Much like here at Conners Clinic, Dr Green takes a holistic approach to finding the CAUSE of disease 💚

Relevant Links

To learn more about Dr Akiba Green visit: DrAkibaGreen.com

Stay tuned for Episode 4 (you can see all episodes on the Conners Clinic Live page!)

Listen to the Full Podcast Episode

Functional Medicine: Root Causes & Finding Disease with Dr Akiba Green | Conners Clinic Live

Transcript

Dr. Conners
Hello everybody. This is Dr. Kevin Conners. Welcome to another episode of Conners Clinic live. Today we have a very special guest a friend of mine that I’ve known for years, practices out in the Carolinas, Dr. Akiba Green. Dr. Akiba and I met at some functional medicine conferences that both he and I were speaking at. But we’re gonna talk about getting to the cause of disease and the difference in regular medicine practice and functional medicine practice. I think you’re gonna like this interview with Dr. Akiba he’s a great guy, has a great practice. And remember, I hope you enjoy this interview. If always, make sure you don’t forget to hit that “like” button, it helps us. If you’re on YouTube, make sure you subscribe and hit that little alarm notification so that if you want to catch our further episodes, you’ll be notified when those come out. So thanks so much. And let’s join Dr. Green.

Well, hello everybody. This is Dr. Kevin Conners again. I’m here with Dr. Akiba Green, who’s been a friend of mine for a very long time. Way back in the days when we were just learning functional medicine, right? And learning to help take care of people at a deeper level. You’ve done some of the same fellowships that I’ve done, you really practice as a natural medicine practitioner, functional medicine. We’re gonna talk about that a little bit. You have a fellowship in integrative cancer therapy fellowship certification through the American board of Anti Aging health professionals and a certified functional medicine practitioner. Let’s jump into that right away, Dr. Green and tell me, what is a functional medicine practitioner versus a regular medicine practitioner or chiropractor or naturopath or would you describe that?

Dr. Green
I would tend to say that a functional medicine practitioner is going to be a provider who is going to look first and foremost at the whole picture. And it’s going to involve understanding the origins and the prevention and the treatment of a patient’s chronic disease. You know, and I think having training as a functional medicine practitioner allows us to address the true underlying causes of the disease. But using, I like to say, a systems oriented approach. We can engage the patient actively. We work together with them. We have access to more diagnostic tools than a lot of the traditional providers, do better lab testing. A lot of times we go into other tools that we bring into our toolbox that may encompass Chinese medicine or energy medicine or other healing arts. And the whole goal is to be able to find those root causes that a patient’s dealing with and be able to work to effectively treat the patient and get them therapeutically where they want to be.

Dr. Conners
I’ve talked to a lot of practitioners that would call themselves functional medicine practitioners, and they all seem to have the same drive to get to some root causes to try to help the patient without covering up the symptoms. What brought you down this line? What was your desire in this?

Dr. Green
Yeah, I mean, I think if we really go back and we think, I started off, when I was young, went to the chiropractor my whole life, my parents were very into alternative care. I grew up vegetarian, eventually went to chiropractic college myself, started treating patients and realized that patients weren’t getting better. There were so many people who were continuing to suffer. And, the one day I realized I had to do more. I had to be able to figure out a better path. And, I started going back to school, and I started on a journey and that probably dates back, 12 years or so for me. And, it has been a ongoing journey of advanced training, more training, what can we do to help our patients better accomplish the goals they’re looking for? And again, a lot of times it’s learning techniques. Other times it can be an issue of being able to have a deeper understanding of one condition or another condition or a new approach towards treating. There’s things that I do that are definitely untraditional. You know, my patients have to let me step outside of the box, and I will step as far outside of the boxes I need to, if I’m going to get results with the patients. And that’s what it’s all driven by is how do we get patients better at the level that they’re really looking for?

Dr. Conners
You know, that brings up a memory of mine. I remember going through, my integrative cancer fellowship, I don’t know, 10 years ago or so through through th American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine, the same one that you got your fellowship through, and I I remember sitting at this round table with about 10 other practitioners that were going through the fellowship at the time and they said, “Oh, let’s introduce each other.” And they’re all like, pediatrician, anesthesiologist, I’m thinking “oh crap here I am a chiropractor” And it gets around, I happen to be the last person and they all have these wonderful resumes that they were sharing where they work at John Hopkins and this major medical center and such and got to me and here I am a chiropractor in a private practice thinking that I’d get kind of poo-pooed by them. And honestly I was shocked because they were like, “Oh my gosh, I want to come work with you.” I had four people at that table literally come up to me afterwards say, can I someday come work with you? And I asked them when they’re giving me this, these superlatives about why they’re so happy about my choice in profession. Initially, I thought they were joking, and then I realized they weren’t joking, they were dead serious. And I literally said, “well, why are you guys so excited about me being a lowly chiropractor in a private practice.” And what shocked me, they said, “because we can’t do anything that we’re learning here in practice.” And, you know, I never realized that, I used to kind of bash the medical profession and rightfully so, maybe sometimes. But I never realized that they claimed to me that they have, the first time I ever heard that term, was they had the golden handcuffs.

They can’t use natural things, they can’t think outside the box. Like you said, you want to go outside the box as far as possible and help this person. They can learn all these things that I was learning. And then I asked them, “well, why are you here?” And they were there for the CE credits and to help their families so they couldn’t even practice, they couldn’t even recommend fish oil in their practice at the verge of getting fired by the medical chief of their clinic. So it is difficult for a regular medical doctor to think outside the box unless they have their own little private practice, which there’s very few of them since they’re so tied to insurance and bound to state guidelines of what they can do. So you talk about thinking outside the box. What’s your thought or reason why people are getting sicker and sicker today despite these phenomenal advances in the practice of medicine and new drugs coming out? What your thought process?

Dr. Green
Well, I think it starts with the concept that most cases are really not properly diagnosed. So you have diseases that progress farther and farther and farther. I mean, you can take thyroid management, for example, they’ll run a test called a TSH and it’ll show normal for years before they finally see that something shifts off and they run a second test. Or take cancer, you’ll have a mammogram every year and how big does that tumor have to be before it shows up on the mammogram? And it could be months or years before they finally catch it. So what we know is that the traditional diagnostic tools that are used to find disease don’t find it in time. And so people get sicker and sicker. In fact, I mean we know with cancer treatment, what is it? Over the past 50 years, I think a study that I read a few years ago said that cancer survival rates overall had improved approximately two months.

Dr. Conners
Yeah.

Dr. Green
I mean that’s unacceptable when you have that level of care.

Dr. Conners
Well, it’s probably just because they’re getting diagnosed two months earlier too.

Dr. Green
Probably right on that as well. And listen, I’m not going to say that there are not advances in medicine. I’m not going to say that there are not new tools. I think the concept of immunotherapy is something that excites me with checkpoint inhibitors. And it’s something that I’ve read so much about, but you know, the key concept is it’s still looking at an approach of being reactive and trying to go against the body versus trying to figure out how to help support the body. You know? If we look elsewhere, the U.S. How much do we use the world’s pharmaceutical? It’s 50% we spend more in healthcare than almost what? 10 other countries. And yet people don’t get better. They continue to suffer. So we treat our patients and they’re not getting better. Why? Because the system that we’re using is broke, you know, they go and when the whole affordable care act came out, and you said more people are going to get access to healthcare, that’s great, but the healthcare itself doesn’t change, so we’re not going to see improvements in our patient model.

Dr. Conners
Yeah. It’s kind of a broken system. There really isn’t any solution except at grassroots solutions really, that people start taking responsibility themselves, not giving over their power just to their doctor. And keep digging themselves and not wanting to just take a simple diagnosis and covering up their symptoms with a medication. So, you see people go to the doctor and, the question is that everybody has is, why don’t I feel better after I’ve taken this medication?

Dr. Green
Well, we’re taught what from an early age, you go to your doctor when you’re sick and our doctor knows best and they’re going to get us well. The problem is, they are not trained in helping fix the types of chronic health problems that we’re seeing in our country. I mean, the standard of care has to be followed. You come in, you have a symptom, they say, let me look at the algorithm that I’ve been trained on. Let me look at the algorithm that my hospital system allows me to use. And then you have to fit into that mold in order to have a treatment. And they step outside of that. I mean, it wasn’t until the early two thousands at the state of North Carolina allowed medical providers to give you a treatment that was outside of the standard of care without risk of losing their license.

Dr. Conners
That’s crazy.

Dr. Green
And many States, I know that that is a risk. I think that’s some issues, you know, up in the North or maybe Midwest where you are, where doctors can’t do everything they want to. It really is that, like you said, that handcuff. But, so what do we do? We have patients that say, “Hey, let me go to the doctor. I’m going to get treated.” The doctor runs a lab test and says, “the lab tests is normal. I’ll see you in six months” and nothing is done because they’re only running that one lab test. They’re only running a small little screening test instead of actually digging in deeper to find out where the problems are coming from, and patients are told the wrong thing. They’re told there’s nothing wrong with you or your normal, instead of being told, this one test that I ran came back normal, and I can’t do anything about it because that’s all I’ve got. Patients need to be given the opportunity to say, “this doctor hasn’t gone deep enough. Let me find somebody who has.”

Dr. Conners
Yeah. And they get land blasted if they do. So you practice in North Carolina, you’ve always practiced there is that correct?

Dr. Green
Correct.

Dr. Conners
In in a town called Cornelius, area called Lake Norman. Tell us a little bit about where you are, your practice. Let us know what your website is too. People are going to be interested in that.

Dr. Green
So we’re in a northern suburb of Charlotte. We’ve got a beautiful Lake that’s over 500 square miles. It’s not as big as the great lakes up by you, but it is a beautiful Lake, and it’s a real great atmosphere for people. I have people love to live there. But in my practice we see patients that come in typically from a two to four hour round each way drive. And so we draw from multiple atates, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina. And we also see a lot of patients virtually, from all over the country or really the Western hemisphere. Our emphasis in our clinic is functional medicine. We also do a good bit of brain based therapies for patients who are able to commute to our clinic. I use several advanced tools in my office, something called neurofeedback therapy, a treatment called pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, or PEMF therapy, as well as Rife therapy, just to name a few of them. And the whole goal is how can we treat our patients, how can we fix the damage that’s been done to their body while we use functional medicine lab testing, Chinese medicine to figure out why the damage occurred and get those root causes corrected.

Dr. Conners
So if I was a patient and I was struggling with let’s say fatigue, and I thought I had thyroid issues and I went to my doctor and he did a TSH and it’s been kind of normal and maybe he suggested some medication. But how would my visit with you look differently if I came to you?

Dr. Green
The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to do a really good case review. And so many answers with, for example, a thyroid patient, are going to start with an issue of looking at where their symptoms actually are. So you’re on medication, you’re on centroid or armor or whatever they put you on and you still have fatigue, you still have sleep issues, you still have depression, you still have all these symptoms. And so obviously something’s being missed there. They’re not where we need to be. So we dig in deep, we help to identify what types of lab tests can help us get those answers we’re missing. We usually do a neurological examination as well as identifying and looking at the thyroid itself and we try to come up with an understanding of what’s wrong with your body? We then really put together a blueprint for, how do we find the reason why you’re not getting the results you’re looking for with your medication?

Dr. Green
Sometimes you stay on your medication because you don’t have the ability to produce hormone anymore, if there is damage. Other times we work with your doctors to change your medication to something that’s better, but it’s all about, let’s start with the understanding of where do we have to get answers? Let’s get those answers and start getting tests. We talked dietary modification, we talk tools in our toolbox, which includes supplementation and again, we go really deep to be able to say, let’s fix what we’ve found wrong so we can not only make changes, but let’s also track and really make sure we’re seeing those changes that the patients are looking for instead of just saying, :I’ll see you in six months.”

Dr. Conners
Yeah, it’s exciting when you see people that have struggled finding answers for, many times, years that start to turn their life around and start to see results. I’m sure you have hundreds of cases like that. And that’s what’s satisfying and continue to drive what you do. Lets plug your website again and your clinic again.

Dr. Green
So the clinic name actually, Lake Norman Health and Wellness has been my clinic for 17 years, but we have rebranded over the past year to Lake Norman Integrative Wellness. As we expand our services, our website is still the same. It’s at www.drakibagreen or drakibagreen.com. Our website also holds my blog. We also have a really robust social media presence on Instagram and Facebook. It’s at drakibagreen and it’s a great resource to learn about our clinic, to see patient testimonials and reviews. We always do different webinars and workshops that we post live. And you can also get information about becoming a patient, whether you are in the Charlotte, North Carolina area or across the country.

Dr. Conners
I’d love to have you on again, and talk about some other things that I know that you’re doing. I’d really like to talk to you about neurofeedback cause that’s a big interest in people’s lives right now. And just have a whole show just on neurofeedback and some of the results that you’re seeing too, and some of the cancer work you’re doing and the work with Rife. So loved it. Bring it back on if you’re interested.

Dr. Green
Sounds like a great idea.

Dr. Conners
Thank you for coming on. You’ve been a friend of mine for a long time. Dr. Akiba Green In North Carolina and we will share on the website at the end of this as well. Thank you Dr. Green.

Dr. Green
Thanks for having me it was fun.

Dr. Conners
Alright, bye. Bye.