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About Dr. Whitten

My Story


Thanks for stopping by. I am a plant-based, whole food promoting nutritionist and neuroscientist, passionate about health and wellness. There are so many awesome avenues to achieve health and wellness. There is no fixed pathway to reach your health destination. The path constantly evolves. As you begin to make life-changing decisions about your health, momentum gains and your goals may change. It starts with taking the first step. It starts when you identify your top three or four motivators. One positive change almost always leads to making another positive change. However, this process is not always linear nor easy. Sometimes we need a caring heart, empowerment, enthusiastic support, education and expert guidance. If you are ready to experience a true pathway to health, we are here to support your journey.


My story begins about 20 years ago when I met a famous neurosurgeon. I was a full time professor, teaching at Loma Linda University, when I met Dr. Iacono, MD, FACS (1952 - 2007). My mother had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1990. As her disease progressed, I began to search for options. Her neurologists and internists seemed content with medicating her and watching her symptoms progress. This was frustrating and devastating for our family. It all changed when a friend suggested I schedule an appointment with Dr. Iacono, a local neurosurgeon. She flew from Texas to California for the appointment and everything changed.


At her first appointment, Dr. Iacono kept her for over eight hours. During this time he showed us what an adequately treated person with Parkinson's disease should look like. He not only gave her Parkinson's medications, but he literally gave her handfuls of anti-oxidant supplements. He educated us about drug-nutrient interactions, he treated her for depression with a large dose of an SSRI (anti-depressant medication used to re-build brain chemistry in Parkinson's patients), he gave her thyroid support, and identified and treated other co-morbid conditions. It was an exciting and life-changing experience. It was during this epic appointment that Dr. Iacono suggested I join his clinic.


In the beginning, I wondered how I would contribute to the neurosurgery clinic. I started by showing up and observing. Almost every patient, whether they had a chronic neurodegenerative condition, chronic pain, post-partum depression, ADD, and pretty much just about any number of neurological conditions, seemed also to have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It was fascinating and exciting to see the extent to which nutrition played a role in many neurological conditions. I began to delve into new and older scientific literature and textbooks. I scoured old nutrition and medical textbooks for explanations linking simple symptoms such as vertical ridges on ones fingernails or vitiligo to the biochemistry of how the brain experiences Parkinson's disease. It turns out nutrients play a LARGE role in how the brain functions, maintains its functions, and declines in functions. 


It was the beginning of an exciting collaboration. After Dr. Iacono asked me to join his clinic, I eagerly re-set my full-time teaching schedule to accommodate one day per week in his clinic. One project we worked on together was the "Iacono Triad." Dr. Iacono had already observed the presence of depression and sub-clinical hypothyroidism in a high percentage of his Parkinson's patients. When I joined his clinic, we began to consider the possibility a significant percentage of his patients also had reversible dementia due to vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid hormone deficiency. We tested this hypothesis on a hospitalized patient with Parkinson's and severe dementia. The local movement disorders specialist had advised the patient's family to prepare for her immediate death. However, Dr. Iacono had a different plan. He obtained blood tests which showed almost no vitamin B12 was present. He ordered vitamin B12 injections three times per week in addition to thyroid and an SSRI. It didn't take long to see the results. Within several months, the patient completely recovered from severe dementia, was able to drive, and lived an additional ten years. Over the years, this scenario played out hundreds of times with different patients. 


Dr. Iacono was the first person to link serotonin deficiency to the development of sub-clinical hypothyroidism which we then linked to the development of a vitamin B12 deficiency. The biochemical pathways are inter-connected and temporally speaking, the Iacono Triad explained the presence of co-morbid conditions and progression and worsening of Parkinson's disease. These three symptoms are present in a high percentage of Parkinson's patients, hence the name, "Iacono triad." This condition is treatable and reversible. Does the patient still have Parkinson's disease? Yes, but when fully treated, the patient may significantly improve and the progression of the disease is significantly slowed. 

In the crucible of a functional neurosurgery & neuroscience clinic, I learned how to think about and approach symptoms. Inductive thinking is essential to the process of reverse engineering a condition with multiple symptoms. It also requires in-depth knowledge about chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy & physiology, nutrients, phytochemicals, drugs, and food.


I am not a physician, so my approach to treating symptoms and infirmity does not involve pharmaceuticals or invasive diagnostic techniques (although I routinely work with clients and physicians to obtain labs, etc). I do a nutrition-focused assessment and physical exam that addresses all the body's systems with emphasis on neurological, endocrine and gastrointestinal systems. Many common conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, allergies, etc., oftentimes have underlying neurological, endocrine and gastrointestinal involvement. Frequently, when elimination of toxins is addressed and the body is given therapeutic levels of nutrients, the body experiences a healing reaction and is restored to health. My philosophy is to make the body so healthy it will not "harbor" nor be prone to disease. 


This is why I am passionate about health and wellness. Nutrition matters. The right combination and timing of nutrients matters. Think about optimal health as a Mahler symphony or a Bach cantata. Every instrument is used to its full advantage. The conductor brings together various instruments, executes the tempo, determines the mood and motivates the musicians. It is a similar concept in designing nutrition-based approaches to health. Every nutrient, in the right amount, the right proportion, and the right timing is essential to reversing symptoms of disease and restoring health. While there are no guarantees it seems like a great idea, 100% supported by research and experience, to optimize every pathway, saturate every tissue with essential nutrients, ensure abundant electrons are present and support the body's natural healing mechanisms as much as possible. I hope to be part of your journey to health and wellness.

  • In-depth nutrition- and physical exam based assessment

  • Orthomolecular nutrition

  • Natural approaches to health restoration

  • Digestion, absorption, utilization and elimination

  • Pre- and post-surgical optimization

  • Nutritional guidance for a number of chronic conditions

  • Detoxification (chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, pre-weight loss and other conditions)​​

  • Supplement consultation

  • Healthy cooking / meal planning

  • Raw food chef and chef educator

  • Grocery store field trips

  • Pre-conception couples counseling

  • Nutrition-based pregnancy monitoring

  • Breastfeeding support and trouble-shooting

  • Designer vegan infant formulas

  • Growth monitoring (birth to 18 years)

  • Grandparents check-up (in house)

  • Transition to vegetarian, vegan, raw diets

  • Circulatory, heart disease, lipid metabolism

  • Parkinson's & Alzheimer's diseases

  • Ketogenic diet for refractory seizures and other conditions

  • Dementia, depression, pain syndromes

  • Cancer

  • Immune competence

  • Slow down and potentially reverse aging through nutritional and lifestyle choices

  • Fun and educational raw food preparation and juicing  experiences (corporate and home parties)

  • Concierge services (monthly contract)

  • Others

Blueberries contain folate, known to play a role in DNA synthesis and repair, preventing formation of cancer cells due to DNA mutations.

Population-based studies have shown blueberry consumption  can reduce the risk of cognitive decline as well as Parkinson's disease.

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