Grounded in sound science and committed to an individualized, multi-faceted approach, the Carolina Center provides you with the resources and tools you need for complete healing. The Center provides a diverse array of therapies as well as educational guidance in the areas of health promotion and preventive medicine. We have also developed protocols for the treatment of a number of conditions that we see routinely.
Between ages 40 and 55, men can experience the male equivalent of menopause, and this is now referred to as andropause or “menopause”. Virtually all men will experience a decline in hormone levels with age. For example, the average testosterone level of a 70-year-old man is ten times lower than that of a 25-year-old man. According to the April 2006 issue of the American Journal of Therapy, the circulating testosterone level declines steadily from age 19 at an average rate of 1% per year. By age 70, about one in every three men has very low serum total testosterone levels. Symptoms of andropause include loss of energy, loss of muscle mass, increased body fat, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, loss of mental focus, and increased anxiety and depression. At the Carolina Center, we embrace a three-pronged approach to andropause that includes specific antioxidants, nutrient repletion, and hormonal balancing. By restoring optimal levels of nutrients, antioxidants and hormones, many man report that their vitality, self-esteem, performance and overall functioning are radically improved. These men have an entirely new lease on life!
The two leading causes of death for U.S. men and women over the age of 50 are heart attacks and strokes. Atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," is typically involved in the pathogenesis of these conditions. The initial focus of our approach is to use nutritional therapies and lifestyle modifications to reduce various risk factors that predispose an individual to atherosclerosis—factors such as a high ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoproteins, and elevated blood levels of homocysteine, fibrinogen, insulin, or C-reactive protein. In addition, we favor the use of therapies that are aimed at removing plaque and restoring blood flow throughout the entire circulatory system. This includes therapies that remove calcifications from blood vessels and eradicate the underlying causes of these calcifications.
We have treated a number of patients with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, scleroderma, psoriasis, and dermatomyositis. Multiple therapies are often utilized in treating these patients, including targeted support for cellular and intestinal detoxification processes, and the correction of nutritional deficiencies. Overall, the goal is to calm down the immune system rather than increase its activity. In many cases, toxic factors or infectious agents may trigger or further amplify these autoimmune processes, and combinations of innovative therapies have shown the potential to resolve these health problems.
The Carolina Center’s approach to cancer therapy was developed in response to requests from our patients for innovative therapies that could be used either to complement conventional cancer treatments or perhaps even to serve as an alternative to conventional treatment that had failed to slow the disease or produce a remission. Before accepting cancer patients for treatment at the Carolina Center, we require them to undergo a complete evaluation of their condition by a physician trained in conventional oncology and make clear that we support the full use of conventional treatments. In order to more effectively manage and control cancer, our approach relies on nutritional, botanical and pharmacologic methods that attack cancer directly while also shifting the body’s chemistry in ways that curb or thwart the growth and progression of cancer. To this end, we also teach our patients how to incorporate specific supplement and lifestyle strategies that may help bolster the body’s anticancer defenses. Some of these strategies have demonstrated the potential to enhance the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments while also rendering those treatments less toxic to the body. Our clinical experience indicates that this research-based, integrative approach is likely to enhance the quality of life and, in many cases, promotes longevity as well. Back To List Read the Article on Vitamin C and Cancer
The most common medical complaint is fatigue or lack of energy. This can range from mild, functional fatigue (i.e., you get through the day yet feel constantly tired) to severe, incapacitating fatigue requiring constant bed rest. People who suffer from chronic fatigue often speak of “dragging” or feeling “tired all the time”, as well as in many cases feeling "stressed out" or “overwhelmed” by life in general. They often experience problems such as mental fuzziness, poor memory, moodiness, sexual problems, more frequent colds and flus (poor immunity), and a tendency to gain weight. Some forms of chronic fatigue are associated with manic episodes in which hyperactivity alternates with profound fatigue. Some individuals appear to be hyper on a frequent basis, yet behind that hyperactivity they also feel exhausted. About 40% of these patients have numerous allergies and/or multiple chemical sensitivities, most of which are hidden or unrecognized. Once the underlying biological causes are identified and addressed, many cases of chronic fatigue resolve with ease, and the individual goes on to experience the delights of enduring vitality and resilience.
Note: People who experience chronic fatigue do not necessarily have the condition known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have established specific guidelines for giving the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and many patients who complain of fatigue and body aches often do not meet the specific criteria set by the CDC.
Most infections are hidden from view, and yet they tend to steal away our vitality and amplify our vulnerability to other health problems. Many people have a history of frequent infections or a tendency to get sick fairly often. Over the years, these individuals often received either repeated courses of antibiotics or large doses of powerful antibiotics for brief periods. This tends to result in damage to the balance of beneficial intestinal bacteria that are needed to process micronutrients and maintain a healthy metabolism. Even without antibiotics, there are a number of factors that can predispose one to this common intestinal imbalance, which is known as dysbiosis. These factors include being born by C-section, being formula fed (minimally breastfed) as infants, eating an imbalanced diet, and habitual ingestion of sugar, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. Dysbiosis can result in progressive cellular nutrient deficiencies as well as damage to the lining of the intestine and an increased tendency to develop food allergies. With the immune system working overtime and reacting to what it “perceives” as foreign invaders, there will be a gradual decline in the system’s ability to handle the day-to-day organisms with which we all come in contact. Integrative therapies that target the deep underlying sources of these infections and the restoration of cellular immune function to a more normal state can reverse years of chronic illness.
Age-related neurodegenerative diseases are becoming increasingly common as the number of elderly people in the U.S. population continues to increase. These diseases include multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and other disorders that threaten the personal well-being and sanity (from the Latin sanitas, meaning “health”) of so many Americans with advancing age. There is increasing evidence that excessive levels of free radicals—as occurs during normal and pathological brain aging—contribute to the loss and dysfunction of brain cells. Some research has shown that natural antioxidants may help prevent or delay the occurrence of age-related cognitive deficits and neurodegenerative diseases. Other related contributors are mitochondrial dysfunction, heavy metal overload, chronic inflammation, and hidden infections. For example, lead exposure has been implicated in age-related cognitive decline, and chronic viral infections have been implicated in MS. Mercury and lead toxicities are extremely common in older patients who are losing their hearing and memory. According to a 2007 scientific review, there is now a “decisive role for inorganic mercury in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease”, with other metals, inflammation, nutritional factors, oxidative distress, and metabolic problems acting as cofactors. With the right overall integration of therapies (including removal of heavy metals), Alzheimer's disease and many other neurodegenerative conditions may be prevented and perhaps ultimately reversed as well.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that has a substantial impact on the health, quality of life, and life expectancy of people diagnosed with this condition. Although conventional pharmaceuticals are often necessary, such treatments can have adverse side effects and are not always satisfactory in maintaining blood sugar control and avoiding late-stage diabetic complications. Exercise, diet, and weight control continue to be essential and effective means of improving blood sugar control and in many cases can help reduce the need for medications and prevent long-term complications such as lipid disorders, heart disease, infections, and kidney problems. In addition, our clinical experience confirms a growing body of evidence indicating that the selective use of nutraceuticals, botanicals, and minerals may promote healthy glucose and lipid metabolism. More and more diabetic patients and health care professionals are seeking out this integrative approach, and clinical research is increasingly substantiating the use of supplements such as chromium, Coccinia indica, American Ginseng, and Gymnema sylvestre—all of which are most effective in the context of a comprehensive approach that includes specific lifestyle changes and appropriate use of pharmaceuticals for blood sugar control.
This chronic and often debilitating condition is frequently associated with chronic fatigue. It is not usually the initial symptom of the syndrome, but one that develops gradually after onset of other symptoms, ultimately surpassing these symptoms as being more aggravating. Often patients cause further harm to themselves in this stage because they take large, daily doses of anti-inflammatory medications, resulting in damage to the intestinal lining and the development of “leaky gut syndrome”. This can lead to more rheumatologic complaints as the immune system begins to overreact to undigested materials entering the blood stream. These antigen-antibody complexes then deposit into joint spaces and muscle tissue, further aggravating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Musculoskeletal complaints can also vary widely in CFS/Fibromyalgia patients, with symptoms often coming and going in cycles. This is a strong indicator of an underlying digestive disorder as one of the factors contributing to this condition.
At different stages of life, and particularly in later life, many glandular systems in the human body produce decreasing levels of hormones (e.g., DHEA, melatonin, growth hormone, and testosterone), and this contributes to many aspects of the aging process. Hormonal therapy has evolved in response to an expanding body of scientific evidence indicating that replacement of hormones in older individuals can slow or even reverse the aging process, as well as prevent many serious degenerative conditions. Only by performing accurate hormone testing is it possible to know your individual status and determine the exact hormones you need. Many patients, concerned about the potential adverse effects of using synthetic hormones, are expressing an interest in “natural” or bio-identical hormones. We offer pharmaceutical-grade bio-identical hormones, dispensed through a compounding pharmacy, as well as an array of nutritional and herbal preparations that support healthy hormonal production and functioning. To determine which strategy is best, we conduct a thorough evaluation of body systems and seek to correct any abnormalities that could hamper the success of hormone replacement. Many people are surprised by the improvements they rapidly experience in terms of energy, sleep, sexual vitality, joint health, muscle strength, and overall personal well-being.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a widespread condition involving recurrent abdominal pain, along with either diarrhea or constipation or both; this is often associated with stress, depression, anxiety, or hidden intestinal infections. IBS is thought to afflict millions of Americans, and yet three out of every four IBS sufferers in the nation will go undiagnosed. At the Carolina Center, our main treatment objectives for helping people with IBS including the following: (1) improving digestion; (2) rebuilding the intestinal mucosa; (3) reducing oxidative damage; (4) eliminating intestinal pathogens; (5) re-establishing the normal flora; (6) removing intestinal toxins; and (7) managing your stress level better. Though stress is not the cause of IBS, it can trigger or exacerbate your symptoms; thus, learning to manage your stress level is important for preventing IBS flare-ups in the future.
Ticks are capable of transmitting numerous pathogens to both humans and their pets, and the risk of contracting Tick-Borne diseases is rising steadily. The most common of these diseases is Lyme Disease, a chronic inflammatory condition caused when the Borrelia Burgdoferi bacteria is transmitted by the bite of a deer tick or black-legged tick. Early detection is the key to fighting this disease. Although Lyme Disease is easily treated with antibiotics in its early stages, it is often either misdiagnosed or goes undiagnosed until it has progressed considerably. At this point, the individual exhibits such debilitating symptoms as chronic fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, extreme mood swings, severe arthritic pain, and irregularities of the heart rhythm. Many afflicted individuals who have been to numerous doctors may eventually be diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease or some other tick-borne illness, but treatment options are often limited and confusing.
The Carolina Center’s approach is grounded in Dr. Pittman’s many years’ experience in treating patients with chronic mysterious illnesses leading to his discovery of the Lyme connection in 2002 when he attended his first International Conference on Lyme Disease in Hartford, Connecticut. Over the years since, he has developed treatment concepts taught through his extensive involvement with the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society and their training programs, working closely with some of the most knowledgeable and well-respected Lyme and tick-borne illness experts in this country.
This approach integrates various stabilization procedures in preparation for pulsed cycles of various antibiotics that kill the Lyme bacteria as well as co-infections. Further supporting this approach is the evidence-based use of bioactive agents or supplements that provide targeted support for the immune and nervous systems. When used in combination with commonly prescribed medications, specific nutrient and botanical supplements can afford increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection and help relieve or eliminate Lyme-related symptoms, as reported by University of California researchers in the September 2009 issue of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The careful combining of these supplements with prescribed medications may increase the effectiveness of prescription medications while also helping to reduce painful symptoms and speeding up the recovery process.
Comprehensive Integrative Care for patients with Chronic Lyme Disease (and co-infections). Dr. Pittman was an early adapter to the concept of Chronic Tick Borne Infection as the cause for many unexplained illnesses and has been expanding his educational experiences in this area ever since. A member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, he has attended their annual conferences regularly since 2006 and in 2012 entered the ILADS Education Foundation Physician Training program, undergoing three preceptorships with experienced Lyme physicians. Dr. Pittman’s training was with Dr. Richard Horowitz of Hyde Park, NY, Dr. Bernard Raxlen of Manhattan, NY, and Dr. Joseph Jemsek of Washington, DC. Building on his 10 years’ experience working with Lyme patients, Dr. Pittman has created an individualized Lyme Stabilization Program providing intensive nutritional, digestive and detoxification support in preparation for targeted treatment protocols using both antibiotics and herbal antimicrobials. The Carolina Center is a full service Integrative facility and is set up to provide IV therapies including IV antibiotics when indicated. A central concern in being able to provide IV antibiotics for our patients has been finding a home health facility that can provide affordable products and services. The number one concern voiced by potential Lyme patients is cost. We have been successful in finding the lowest prices for IV antibiotics as well as methods of helping patients obtain as much insurance coverage as possible, so we feel we are in a strong position to help the many patients we are now seeing with this condition.
Memory loss is commonly associated with the aging process. In most cases, the process manifests early with a tendency to forget little things such as appointments, details from a recently read book, or key items for a “to-do list”. It may eventually progress to forgetting important dates, locations, or even names of friends and family members. Nutrition, exercise, stress management, and mental activities can all play vital roles in preventing memory loss or slowing its progression. Nutritional factors serve as the raw material and fuel for neurotransmitter production. At the same time, environmental toxins or pollutants must be minimized and removed. Toxic metals, pollutants, pesticides and radiation are examples of environmental factors that eventually may erode memory. In some cases, chelation therapy and hyperbaric therapy may play important roles in restoring cognitive health.
Menopause is a natural event for women that normally occur between the ages of 45 and 55. Symptoms of this process can be mild, moderate, or severe, and are linked with changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. With aging, the ovaries gradually make less of these hormones. (Note: Menopause can also be more abruptly triggered by medical treatments such as chemotherapy or surgical removal of the ovaries.) As estrogen levels decline, the woman’s body adjusts to the hormonal changes, and she will typically experience as hot flashes and sweats for the first one to two years after the last period. Other common symptoms include irregular menstrual periods, vaginal dryness, skin flushing, heart pounding, sleeping problems, headaches, forgetfulness, and joint aches and pains. These symptoms may last five years or longer. A typical panel to assess the need for hormonal intervention will include estradiol, FSH and LH, and a pelvic exam and bone density test are also recommended in many cases. For optimal therapeutic outcomes and to minimize cancer risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, many integrative medicine clinics have turned to the use of bio identical hormones. We have found this approach to be very helpful for women going through pre- and peri-menopause. Adjustments in dosage, hormone combinations, and lifestyle habits will be recommended based on subsequent testing.
Multiple-chemical sensitivity, or MCS, is a condition in which individuals have an acute (yet often hidden) hypersensitivity to low levels of chemicals found in everyday substances, such as pesticides, fresh paint, household cleaning agents, fresh carpeting, synthetic building materials, newsprint, perfume, and numerous other petrochemical-based products. MCS is also referred to as environmental illness or toxicant-induced loss of tolerance. This condition remains somewhat of a mystery to the medical community, and most often it goes unrecognized and untreated. The lack of treatment and the ubiquity of chemicals can lead to job loss, social isolation, financial stress, and even homelessness for those afflicted with MCS. In the United States, practitioners of environmental medicine represent the main sources of treatment of MCS. The condition is chronic, and responses occur to multiple chemically unrelated substances at very low levels of exposure—much lower than are commonly tolerated. Symptoms can involve multiple organ systems and will only improve or resolve when the triggering chemicals are removed. The Carolina Center’s approach aims to restore the body’s core detoxification systems and uses a low-cost testing method that can help discern multiple chemical sensitivities.
Note: MCS is a controversial diagnosis and is not recognized as a bona fide chemical-induced illness by the American Medical Association. However, a diagnosis of MCS can often be made based on a careful patient medical history and on the observation that the patient feels dramatically worse, and has numerous physical symptoms, when he or she is unknowingly placed in the presence of the offending chemicals. Various types of laboratory studies and sophisticated diagnostic procedures also may be helpful.
If nutrients are lacking or do not reach body cells, then organs and organ systems will tend to function poorly and tissues will not heal well. At the Carolina Center, one of our first priorities is to evaluate your nutritional status to ensure that you are well supplied with nutrients known to be critical to healthy functioning. Many individuals we see have various cellular nutrient deficiencies, making it extremely difficult for them to generate the energy needed to carry out cellular functioning. Such deficiencies may contribute to virtually every health problem known to humankind. Of course, every patient’s nutritional issues are highly individualized. Individual nutrient requirements can vary by 20-fold or more, depending on the genetics, biochemistry, physiology, and bioenergetics state of the individual. Through comprehensive nutrient analysis testing (which is largely designed to determine whether cellular nutritional needs are being met), we are able to construct a tailored nutritional regimen that includes both dietary changes and supplements aimed at correcting the deficiencies and bolstering one’s nutritional status over the long term. Correction of these deficiencies will invariably support other aspects of your integrative treatment program and result in profound and often surprising improvements in your health and well-being.
Obesity and being overweight are important risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and premature death. The need to lose weight and improve body composition has emerged as a critical health issue for the majority of U.S. citizens, and waistlines are expanding at an alarming rate across the globe. Though dozens of dieting regimens have been touted as fat-burning panaceas, the reality is that most individuals continue to struggle with portion control, food choices, logistics, and low satisfaction over the long term. Our approach at the Carolina Center makes strategic use of whole-food-based meal replacements that include highly nutritious shakes and bars. This approach enables you to feel well-nourished throughout the day with very little effort or planning. Clinical studies indicate that these programs provide the best outcomes in terms of successful weight loss and reduction of disease risk. To complement the meal replacements, we recommend low-glycemic meals that have been shown in numerous studies to engender long-term weight control. Dr. Pittman is available to address medical issues such as insulin resistance, metabolic weaknesses, circulatory problems, and chronic inflammation, and to provide individualized nutritional, metabolic and hormonal testing when needed or desired. Our newest and most exciting program includes the use of a homeopathic product to accompany of very low calorie weight loss plan. This formula contains homeopathic amino acids that greatly enhance satiety, metabolism and detoxification. This product does not contain actual HCG. To help you achieve your goals and keep the weight off, the Center offers integrative health coaching sessions in order create a personalized plan for reaching your optimal weight and body composition.
As men and women age, they may experience any one of a number of physical changes, such as loss of energy, wrinkles and blemishes in the skin, deteriorating body composition (increased body fat along with loss of muscle), loss of libido, anxiety, depression, and loss of mental focus. When several of these changes occur at the same time, they can add up to a very disheartening situation. Fortunately, with the help of an integrative approach, and utilizing the tools of “functional medicine”, the aging process can be slowed and even reversed. With the help of individualized testing, we seek to identify the factors that are most likely accelerating the aging process in your body. By then addressing each of these factors, we can turn this situation around and restore a high level of vitality and overall functioning.
In today’s world, the human body is exposed to a steady stream of toxic metals such as cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), and lead (Pb), all of which are serious neurotoxins as well as hormone disruptors. These heavy metals become increasingly concentrated as they are passed up the food chain, but even very low-level exposure poses a threat to young and old individuals alike. Our understanding of the consequences of increased body burdens of heavy metals has evolved considerably in recent years. We now know that both mercury and lead exposures in pregnant women must be kept to a minimum in order to prevent neurodevelopmental problems in the developing fetus and child. Mercury, in the form of mercury vapor (from dental amalgams) and methyl mercury (primarily from tuna consumption), is easily transferred from the pregnant women to the fetus, and boys are particularly susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of lead and mercury following exposure early in life. Cadmium, found in food and cigarette smoke, increases the risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and other hormone-related cancers. Because of these and many other environmental health concerns, and based on your health history, we may recommend testing assessing your body burden of heavy metals. If excessive levels of heavy metals are found, chelation therapy (both oral and intravenous) in tandem with mineral-antioxidant support can be very effective in reversing this situation; subsequent testing can then be used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. Often within 6 to 12 months, patients will be free of heavy metals, and many of their chronic symptoms will have resolved in the interim. Our clinical experience suggests that the health-stealing effects of heavy metals are perhaps the biggest blind spot of conventional medicine.