In addition to treating tick-borne illnesses, Dr. Crist also addresses hormonal issues. He has found patients with a tick-borne illness commonly have multiple endocrine (hormone) deficiencies or insufficiencies. Symptoms and diseases caused by hormone insufficiencies are similar to those caused by tick-borne illnesses.
The endocrine system may be complex in nature. The pituitary gland within the brain, along with the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys, produce hormones. Hormones may be bound to proteins in the blood, which may make them ineffective or inactive. Hormones that are not bound to proteins are free to work in the body. For example, a free testosterone level is the testosterone that is not bound to proteins and works better in the body.
Why is this distinction between inactive and active hormones significant? When ordering lab testing for testosterone, Dr. Crist focuses on the free testosterone level as opposed to the total testosterone level, which measures both protein bound (inactive) and unbound (active) testosterone. Why is this important? This is important because a normal total hormone level in the blood does not always depict what is really happening within the body.
When it comes to treatment, Dr. Crist prefers a patient’s hormone levels to be in the upper half of the normal range, not merely within the normal range. This is because chronically ill patients often respond better to the influences of hormones on their tissues when at optimal levels. Healthy people may do fine with hormones in the lower half of the normal range. Those who are ill often require help through prescriptions that are identical (bioidentical) to those produced in the body, which are preferable to synthetic altered drugs. Dr. Crist has found that most patients respond favorably when given the proper hormone supplementation.