The Gut Doctor: Functional Medicine Practitioner Dr. Sonza Curtis Gets Into The Belly of Good Health

The Gut Doctor: Functional medicine practitioner Dr. Sonza Curtis steps into the belly of good health

To consumers who take their health for granted or prioritize weight loss goals over conscious nutrition, Dr. Sonza Curtis, ND, PAC, IFMCP, functional medicine specialist based in Atlanta, GA, known under the name “The Gut Doctor,” advises considering the first three letters of the word “diet.”

The effect of eating habits on the brain and the gut-brain connection is what propelled Curtis into the world of medicine.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, brain function depends on high-quality foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that serve to nourish and prevent oxidative stress.

Foods high in refined sugars not only cause oxidative stress, but can also promote inflammation and worsen existing mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

The gut is the root of all health

Stress and anxiety can affect the movement and contractions of the gastrointestinal tract. When stress is chronic, it results in gastrointestinal and health issues.

Curtis’ understanding of the links between good health and wellness comes from his grandmother and great-grandmother who were herbalists.

Curtis knew medicine was his calling after his father died prematurely at age 50 from a heart attack and his grandmother fell ill.

Later in life, Curtis’ knowledge came in handy when his daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. The autoimmune disease affects the thyroid gland, which releases hormones that help regulate many bodily functions.

A battery of tests carried out showed that her daughter was sensitive to gluten and dairy products. The first step in his recovery was to remove these foods from his diet. These changes helped send his autoimmune disease into remission.

Certified by the Institute of Functional Medicine, Curtis has successfully helped many other patients find the root cause of their problems. She founded Three D Wellness, a full-service functional medicine practice staffed by dedicated and experienced practitioners who believe in working with patients to maintain and improve their overall health. She also co-authored “No More Band-Aids 2.0: Finding Answers in a Broken Medical System”, a book about finding the root cause of a problem instead of covering it up.

Many of her patients come to her with thyroid issues, lupus, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a debilitating extension of PMS that can damage relationships and self-image, among other things.

Curtis works with patients to develop individualized plans to improve mind, body, and spirit to get their diet and sleep cycles back on track by removing inflammatory foods from their diets and introducing them to stress management techniques.

Focus on functional medicine

Through functional medicine, Curtis combines allopathic and natural medicine training to treat the whole person and help balance their overall health. It starts with a complete blood test. Vitamin D levels, for example, are tested every three months, for lower levels, and for hormonal disorders every 6-8 weeks.

“When you feel better, you’ll do better,” Curtis said. “The body speaks to us [and it’s up to us to] Listen.”

Like a good therapist, Curtis brings insight to his patients, but the decision to stick with their new healthy lifestyle is up to them.

“It’s not just me telling them, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that,'” explained Curtis, who compared patient wellness journeys to a GPS system. “When you go down, it’s a rerouting. If you fall off your horse, it’s your choice. How do you want to keep feeling?

Gratitude and Healing

After preparing a plan for the mind and body to deal with stress, the mind comes next.

“I tell my patients to spend five minutes in the morning reciting three things they are grateful for and again in the evening,” Curtis said, adding that it changes every 72 hours. These range from gainful employment to gratitude to family.

“Gratitude increases dopamine production in the brain, decreasing inflammation at the cellular level,” she said.

She also encourages her patients to look at both sides of the coin before becoming upset over perceived misfortune.

“I try to make them understand that we have a lot to be grateful for, and it worked.”

While people are more health-conscious in the age of COVID-19, many continue to struggle with lingering stress-related mental health issues.

“I’m sincere with my patients, I don’t make sweets,” said Curtis, who spends a good hour and a half getting to know his patients. “I will do it gently and use wisdom. Together, it takes a village to heal a community.

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