Integrative medicine milestones
Dr. David Haase has always been curious. His search for better answers to his refraining question “what creates health?” Has lead him down some very interesting paths toward improving health care. As a result of this innovation, he has become known as a major leader and innovator in his specialty of functional medicine. This is Dr. Haase’s twentieth year practicing functional medicine—having made a conversion while still practicing at the Mayo Clinic—and he is more excited about what is next in health care than ever.
Dr. Haase is one of the first medical doctors to integrate EEG brain mapping and medical neurotherapy into his integrative functional medical practice. He coined this the “integration of soup and spark” which is how biochemistry and electrophysiology intersect in the brain. He recognized that all of health centers around brain function. Dr. Haase thought it was not wise that with as much technology as is available, doctors were not examining the function of the brain in clinical practice, so he sought out the least expensive, most information-rich, in-office, functional brain imaging available. Over the course of many years, he has learned how to use that technology to improve patient outcomes, and now teaches doctors how to implement this tool in their practice.
He was also one of the very first doctors in the Unites States to integrate whole metabolomics into individualized clinical care. This is where over 1,000 molecules in the patient’s bloodstream are measured and then the doctor can have the opportunity to see “the forest and the trees” of that individual’s health. Now he pairs whole genome analysis with metabolomics analysis for further layers of insight. This has led to unique discoveries and innovative approaches for individualized healthcare.
Dr. Haase is also the first physician in the United States to offer a whole genome tumor load assessment test utilizing cell-free DNA and Copy Number Instability metrics. This test is now close to being commercialized for wider use and holds the potential to change the face of cancer treatment by helping to assess when a therapy has been effective and to use a non-invasive cancer screening tool.
Dr. Haase’s latest innovation is the creation of the MaxWell 6-S M.A.P. (Multifactorial Analysis and Plan), which is a service that supports the delivery of a functional and integrative medicine approach to reverse cognitive decline. Preventing and reversing the process that leads to Alzheimer’s is the goal. Thousands of data points are accumulated, analyzed and prioritized to assist progressive physicians in the daunting task of personalizing care plans for these most complex of patients.
Dr. Haase is also one of the first doctors to bring personalized nutrition packets to the United States for the distribution of supplements supported by an expert guidance tool that includes over 4,000 references in medical literature and takes into account nutrient indications, drug-nutrient interactions, and nutrient depletions. From the idea, he brought the technology to XYMOGEN to be used in its PersonalogiX and MedPax programs.
Dr. Haase modestly says he can’t take the credit for thinking of all of the technologies because he is in frequent contact with other outstanding research scientists as he investigates the health of his Deep Dive patients.
"We all stand on the shoulders of giants and if I think of or do something first, it is only because I have had the privilege of learning from some of the best minds in transformative health care," he says.
What got you interested in integrative health?
DH: It started with reading Andrew Weil while spending my days visiting with a medicine man on an Indian reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina. This was during a time where I was recognizing how diagnosing and treating disease is different from enabling the creation of health. Things that cause disease are called pathogenic. Things that cause health are salutogenic. A good doctor must pay attention to both sides of this coin to best enable the creation of health in his/her patient. After I understood this in my bones, I started searching for the answers to the salutogenic side of the equation, and that lead me to functional/integrative medicine.
Tell us a little about your background
DH: I grew up on a farm in South Dakota and was responsible for helping living things thrive. I saw the process of life and death on a daily basis. When a farmer or a doctor works in concordance with natural laws and principles, life is enabled. But when we don't honor the way reality works, that’s when we see dysfunction and a lack of achieving full potential. I milked cows in the morning before going to school and in the afternoon after getting home from school. That taught me the value of higher education because I certainly knew I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life!
What do patients say is the most important thing they learn from your practice?
DH: They are continuously surprised that the rest of healthcare doesn't practice this way. Functional/Integrative medicine makes sense for common sense people. After they have experience the results of person- centered care, they wonder why they haven’t gotten this before. Also they are amazed that our capabilities for testing go far beyond a traditional medical practice. I question everything, all the time. It can be a bit exhausting, but better questions lead to better answers and this serves the best interest of the patient. Because I know all brains are biased, including my own, I am always seeking new objective sources of data to either confirm or refute my diagnostic and therapeutic conclusions. This is why we offer whole genome testing, whole metabolome testing, whole brain functional assessment, cancer genomics, and the full scope of functional medicine evaluations. I love data because it allows me to see the bigger picture and solve previously "unsolvable" medical conditions.
This reminds me of a joke: A policeman comes up to a man underneath a street light at night. The man is on his hands and knees looking at the ground. The policeman asks, "What are you doing?" The man replies, "I am looking for my keys." The policeman asks, "Where did you last see them?" The man says, "Well about a half a block up is where I dropped them." "Then why aren't you looking there?" the policeman asks.
The man answers "Because there is no light there."
As doctors, we keep doing the same tests because that’s where the light is, but instead we need to grab a flashlight and go to where the solution is likely to be.
Can you share a success story with us?
DH: Mary was the epitome of health. She was a member of a Crossfit gym, ate organic, and was very strict with herself in all types of ways. She came to me with fatigue, anxiety, and an overall sense of feeling unwell. We completed some basic testing which showed no deficits but because of her symptoms. I recommended a program of nutritional supplement therapy. She listened politely, asked questions, and then she stated, “I don’t believe in supplements. I can get everything from my food.”
This fascinates me. I’ve learned over the course of time that beliefs are not necessarily held in the space of the brain that includes rational thought. A nutritional supplement shouldn’t be something you do or don’t believe in. Instead, it is a physical reality that either does or does not have an effect on the individual. We agreed to make changes in her sleep patterns and intense dietary changes and we would do some additional investigation. When she returned she was still tired, anxious and queasy. Her organic acids, fatty acids and oxidative stress marker testing all pointed to deficiencies of nutrients that I had prescribed during the previous visit. I told her these tests would suggest that her body has deficiencies that are impairing her ability to best create health. Still she said that she didn’t like in nutritional supplements because they were like drugs. I told her that I think of them as remarkably pure, convenient, palatable food concentrates. She resonated with that perspective and agreed to start a targeted nutritional supplementation program. In just four weeks her symptoms improved markedly. She came back very happy about the results but sad that her belief system about supplements had held her back for so long.
What is your favorite supplement?
DH: XYMOGEN's Opticleanse GHI. It is the Swiss Army knife of advanced gut healing. It is a wonderful product for gentle daily detoxification for individuals that have completed an elimination diet or whole food cleanse diet. I see remarkable incremental improvement in health with this formula on a consistent basis. It tastes good and decreases the number of pills necessary to support nutrition at a high level.
I have to say that I may have a new favorite: XYMOGEN's Omega MonoPure, which is a highly absorbable form of high purity fish oil that has completely changed my mind about what fish oil is capable of doing in human health.
Are there any charitable organizations you are involved with?
DH: My wife Janet and I, together with dear friends co-founded and continue to support thefoodinitiative. org where youth fall in love with food by planting, growing, cooking, and serving organic food. It's a summer job for a diverse group of students from all walks of life in our local community. They find common ground through team building and a common purpose through service. They create wholesome foods that build their own health and the health of our community.
What do you do for fun?
DH: I practice medicine! To me this feels like a trick question because I love what I do in medicine so much and have such a diverse work life that it feels like a hobby. I love to have great conversations with out-ofthe-box thinkers, and solve previously unsolved problems for both individuals and companies. And, I do love to cook. When I have a pile of ingredients handed to me, I get to be creative. I love everything about food: The understanding of how it was grown, smells, textures, unique ways to combine food such that they are more than the sum of their individual parts. I like to use many different spices to cook in Indian, Vietnamese, German, Mexican, and southern styles. I am inspired by the creative aspect of using ingredients that are the best in class and then helping to bring out what is already present by applying the correct cooking techniques and seasoning combinations for that particular dish. Come to think of it, this is how I formulate supplements and how I view in medicine in general. Everyone has a unique maximum potential, which they are already expressing in part. With the right ingredients added in the right way at the right time an even better "dish" can be created.