An interview with
Dr. Ruben ValdEs, DC
“One of the initial steps in a functional medicine model is testing the patient thoroughly. Detailed findings are then used to customize a plan for patients based on underlying root causes.”
The world of medicine is experiencing a cataclysmic paradigm shift and Dr. Ruben Valdes, director of Integrated Health Center of Miami, is at the forefront of this NEW approach in Healthcare called Functional Medicine.
Hailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he had a successful practice for many years, Dr. Valdes completed his undergraduate studies in Miami and then went on to earn his doctorate degree from Palmer College. He has completed extensive post-doctoral training in functional medicine and functional nutrition.
As a child, Dr. Valdes suffered from severe blood sugar issues, requiring 3 major long-term hospitalizations and setting the stage for his enormous drive and passion to find a real solution for the spectrum of blood sugar disorders. His determination to help people who suffered from Type 2 Diabetes, led Dr. Valdes to open Integrated Health Center of Miami in March 2015 to help patients learn how they could reverse this possibly fatal condition. IHCMiami focuses on working with individuals who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes as well as Hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Using the Functional Medicine model, IHCMiami’s mission is to uncover and correct the underlying mechanisms of their patients’ condition.
According to Dr. Valdes, the plagues of the 21st century, the wave of illnesses that are now destroying our population, are much different than those of the previous century. We are in the era of chronic illnesses. Diabetes, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Cancer are among some of the illnesses with which we are confronted with more often than we would like. Sadly, these chronic diseases do not respond well to long-term conventional management with the “Silver Bullet” approach used to treat infectious and other acute diseases.
“By the time a patient has developed a “disease”, and they have been given a label and have symptoms, there has already been underlying mechanisms in that patient for years before the disease has ever surfaced,” says Valdes. Unfortunately, most chronic illness treatments are designed to address the disease and its symptoms, rather than treat the root causes.
This is where Functional Medicine shines. One of the initial steps in a functional medicine model is testing the patient thoroughly. Detailed findings are then used to customize a plan for patients based on underlying root causes. IHCMiami’s success lies in looking beyond the label of a patient’s disease to uncover WHY a person is no longer able to regulate their blood sugar. This is done by uncovering hormonal imbalances, organ dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, etc. that are associated with the condition.
“We test blood, stool, saliva; we will do immune testing, DNA Testing, heavy metal testing, toxicity testing, anything we need to look at to understand where this patient’s physiology is breaking down, resulting in the disease with which they have been labeled,” says Valdes. In fact, testing, testing and more testing before the onset of symptoms is the key to stay in top condition.
This approach is now sweeping the Nation’s outlook on chronic disease and has even been added to the list of services at prestigious institutions such as The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Dr. Valdes’ practice in Miami is a beacon of hope for individuals suffering from chronic diseases. Offering hope with integrity is his commitment to the population afflicted with chronic illness.
“It is exciting to see patients’ recover their health by reversing chronic conditions.” says Valdes. IHCMiami aims to be very accessible to their patients and available to answer their questions through email, cell phone, text, etc. They can be confident that they will dedicate TIME to them in understanding their specific clinical presentation, frustrations and major health concerns. Dr. Valdes knows the urgency of their conditions. For this reason the clinic keeps a couple of available spaces weekly for highly motivated patients that want to find a solution and a way out of their current situation. They strongly believe that it doesn’t make any sense to have a two-month wait for a person that could die waiting.
“By the same token, we expect our patients to be committed to their overall health and well being; to follow the lifestyle and nutrition changes we recommend and to have the motivation to win back their life. Together, We are changing the face of Healthcare.” Says Dr. Valdes.
Latest thoughts on Diabetes:
Lately, Dr. Valdes has been doing more extensive research on the cause of Type 2 Diabetes. For years, doctors believed the reason why individuals developed diabetes and insulin resistance was primarily problems at the receptor site for insulin. Through Dr. Valdes’ studies, he has learned that, for most of these patients, their receptors were not only working perfectly fine, but also instilling the proper intake of glucose into the cells by passive transporters in the cell membrane. Another interesting finding, is that a patients’ meal is only responsible for 15-30% of blood sugar elevation. According to Valdes, much of the sugar we see in the blood is actually being made by the patient’s own body. And the insulin does not have as an important role in taking that sugar into the cells, as we formerly believed it did in Type 2 Diabetics. Giving these patients too much insulin might actually be making things worse long term.
For more information on Integrated Health Center of Miami, please visit
www.ihcmiami.com or call 786.801.3977.
By Ava Mallory