Precision personalized medicine is all about developing a plan of care to maintain optimal health and performance while minimizing the risk of illness, and it’s catered to the unique goals and needs of each individual person. How do we accomplish that?
It’s a big leap from protocols and population-based recommendations on exercise and diet to a comprehensive plan for what to eat and when, what type of exercise is best for you, which supplements or even medications are needed, and what other interventions should be considered. It all starts with your goals – do you want to perform better cognitively, or do you want to lose belly fat (or both)? Is your primary concern related to your moods, or is it the fear of early heart disease?
For some people, we need to focus on sleep. For others, stress management and the use of complementary modalities may be called for.
The Shift from Personalized Health Care to Precision Medicine
This precision personalized plan starts with your goals but is informed by what is going on with each person and what your unique risks are – risks for disease and for general hurdles that can get in the way of accomplishing those goals.
Let’s say your goal is to improve your libido and general energy levels. The first step would be to assess your current hormone status (your testosterone levels, estrogen, insulin, and thyroid) to know where to start. I also need to know what’s going on with your diet and exercise program.
But in order to create a plan that is specific to YOU that will be the most effective, I would need to go deeper. That’s where genetic testing comes in.
Baseline labs tell me where you are at. Genetic testing can explain WHY you are there. It can also guide me on where to start in terms of medications, hormone replacement, supplements, and even recommendations for what type of exercise and diet you should follow.
You may have genes that make it harder for your to detox effectively. That means I’d recommend a very different mix of hormones, supplements, and dietary components than someone who has great detoxification ability but has an inherent inability to activate certain neurotransmitters.
This can get very complicated, but it’s where we are heading in integrative and lifestyle medicine. And it’s beyond exciting. We are going from a one-size fits all approach to a personalized precise plan to help you accomplish the goals that matter to you. And that makes all the difference in living the life you’re here to live.
In my next blog, I’ll explain why I recommend the specific genetic test that I do. With all the tests out there, it can get overwhelming to know where to start.
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Myles Spar, MD, MPH is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Integrative Medicine. As a clinician, teacher and researcher on faculty of two major medical centers, he has led the charge for a more proactive, holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on cutting edge technology and preventative care. Dr. Spar has been a consultant with the NBA, presented a TEDx Talk, appeared on national television, and been featured in publications such as the Men’s Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He was most recently National Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of a national medical practice, but is available to consult with individual patients interested in a personalized approach to optimal performance and health.