top of page
  • Writer's pictureFMF

Episode 29: Real Solutions for Autoimmune Disorders Beyond Suppressing Symptoms with Dr. David Musnick, MD

Podcast Drop Date: 2/7/2024

In this episode of the Functional Medicine Foundations Podcast, Dr. David Musnick, MD, a distinguished expert in functional medicine, delves into the intricacies of functional immunology and autoimmune diseases. With a focus on uncovering the root causes, Dr. Musnick, M.D, shares valuable insights into the complexities of the immune system and its role in various autoimmune conditions. Listeners will gain a deeper understanding of the integrative and holistic approach of functional medicine, discovering effective strategies for addressing autoimmune disorders beyond symptom management. This episode is a must-listen for healthcare professionals, individuals seeking answers about autoimmune conditions, and anyone interested in optimizing their health. Join the conversation and empower yourself with knowledge on the path to lasting well-being.



Amber Warren, PA-C: Welcome to the Functional Medicine Foundations podcast, where we explore root cause medicine, engage in conversation with functional and integrative medicine experts, and build community with like minded health seekers. I'm your host, Amber Warren. Let's dig deeper. Welcome back, everybody to our podcast. I'm here tonight with Doctor David Resnick. Um, back at our Eagle location to have a really good discussion on functional immunology and frequency specific microcurrent. So Doctor David Musnick is a highly accomplished clinician and diagnostic diagnostician specializing in orthopedic sports medicine and functional medicine, with board certifications in both sports medicine and internal medicine. He brings an impressive 33 year background in sports medicine and internal medicine, and 26 years in functional medicine. Doctor Resnick's extensive experience has led to the development of his unique assessment and treatment approach, showcased through countless cases. Not only has his work been published in numerous books, he's also a sought after speaker on various conditions, notably arthritis and concussions, or originating from Boston and spending much of his career in Seattle. Doctor music now calls Idaho his home, bringing his expertise and passion for athletics, outdoor activities, and specialized treatments in the community. And we are so grateful. How are you this evening?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Good, do you want to hear something funny?

Amber Warren, PA-C: Always.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So the 33 years is now 35 years.

Amber Warren, PA-C: We have to update that.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Because I've been here for two years.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I can't believe you've been in Idaho for two years. Yes, star. Star is actually his local.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Star is my home.

Amber Warren, PA-C: He takes great pride in that.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Yes.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So we're going to spend some time tonight talking about a couple of different things. But I wanted to start with just your area of expertise within functional immunology, because I think it's really important. Obviously you and I both know as of late, autoimmune diseases continue to be on the climb and on the rise, and we're seeing more and more of these

patients in our clinic. So what is functional functional immunology.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So, uh, functional immunology is an approach to immunology. So first of all immunology is the study of the immune system. But functional immunology is the study of the interrelationships of the parts of the immune system and what will affect the different parts, and is a very sophisticated set of information about this, because there is so much information about what affects parts of the immune system. And the immune system is a very dynamic, important system. It's our defense system. And we're now seeing like literally an epidemic of all kinds of problems with the immune system, because autoimmune disease is a big problem with the immune system, and it's on the rise.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And why do you think that is? Why do you think it's on the rise?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: That's a good question. Um, first of all, I want to define what it means. So an autoimmune condition would be something like rheumatoid arthritis. But what a lot of people don't realize is that there's many different autoimmune conditions that have been characterized like lupus, but they don't. They also don't realize that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition. So we can have autoimmune conditions of the nervous system like Ms., and then we can have autoimmune conditions that aren't necessarily just simply the immune system. So some autoimmune conditions are targeted towards very specific tissues and some of them are much broader, like lupus is much broader in terms of the immune system targeting many different tissues. And so what this is, is where a person's own immune system mounts an immune attack, really on certain tissues, causing a tremendous amount of inflammation and tissue damage. And it's a dysregulation of the immune system because our immune system should be able to realize, okay, this is my cells, this is my tissue, this is my myelin. This is, you know, synovial tissue and rheumatoid arthritis. And what happens is the immune system gets dysfunctional and dysregulated and doesn't recognize these tissues as self. And then mounts immune reactions, which are usually very destructive and damaging causing a lot of inflammation but also tissue damage.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: And a lot of people don't realize that like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, thyroiditis is primarily an autoimmune condition. The other thing a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of people and I found this patients, they think you you get a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, and that's all you're ever going to get that one. It's like my motto is like you have got to prevent further autoimmune conditions. I saw a patient here with four autoimmune conditions and they were all pretty severe. But the rheumatologists that saw her never talked about prevention of more autoimmune conditions. And so it's a dysregulation of autoimmune conditions, dysregulation of the immune system in terms of the immune system going after self tissue. It depends on genetics. It depends on why it's going on. And we can talk about. The why it's going on, and there seems to be a marked increase in it. And we can also talk about an interesting topic in functional immunology like, well, you go to the rheumatologist and they use the biologics. What's the difference between that and functional immunology. And if you want to talk about that that's a huge topic.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I think we should. So what. Let's start with my first question. Why do you think we're seeing this rise in autoimmunity.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So there's a lot of different theories. And um, I remember I was really impressed. There was um, the Institute of Functional Medicine's annual meeting in 2017 was on autoimmune diseases, and some of the biggest known researchers in the world were there. And, um, so one of the, one of the um, theories is that we have so many chemicals that we're being exposed to in toxins that when they're in our tissues, our immune system may not be able to recognize that this tissue, like the lining of the small intestine or a piece of thyroid tissue or myelin is actually self. Yeah, because there's chemicals in there, metals, pesticides, herbicides, toxins. And it makes the immune system literally confused.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I've described it I 100% agree with you. And I've described it to my patients before is kind of like it's kind of like a conveyor belt. And there's, you know, different things coming down like, oh, we know what to do with that. We know what to do with this. Um, oh, there, there's that component, that antigen. Right. But then all of a sudden it starts to get overwhelmed. And it's kind of like there's, you know, you've seen funny commercials where products start flying off off the conveyor belt. Right? And it's like your immune system is like, oh my gosh, gluten and glyphosate and bpas. And I don't know what to do with all these things. So it does just start to get really confused and just attacking everything because that's his job is to protect us. Right? Yeah.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So so I mean you brought up some good points there. And so, so one of the theories that I, that I agree with and I think is very important, is this toxin theory confusing the immune system. Um, and the average person could think of this as there's too many toxins that are stored in their tissues that they haven't detoxified because these toxins, they're in our tissues, they're in our muscles, they're everywhere. And, um, you know, the seed, even the CDC has done studies where they take fat biopsies from the average person's abdomen, and they've done it with like 100 people. And these people weren't even industry workers. And the average person had at least 35 highly toxic chemicals, if not 50, in their fat samples. And this was they allotted like $15,000 per person to test all these things. And this has been repeated a number of times. They did this actually in the state of Washington with 35 people.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So interesting.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: But there's other theories. So I think there's multiple factors. It's not just one. So another factor I think I really do think that intestinal permeability or leaky gut is a is a factor, because if the intestine is supposed to have these tight junctions and only let certain things through and not let other things through, like, you know, small food particles that have been digested and other things, but not let parts of bacteria through called LPs and not let big molecules through. And then I'm seeing really a very significant rise of intestinal permeability and leaky gut with antibody testing to things like zonulin and actin and LPs and, and in a lot of patients that have autoimmune conditions or gut conditions. And I'm convinced a lot of it is from, you know, glyphosate and other insults to the gut. But I do think that intestinal permeability is a gateway, because then what a lot of people don't realize is on the other side of the intestinal lining of these cells, called dendritic cells, and they're kind of like the cops and they're like sitting there, you know, it's like if there are dendritic cells and Eagle, they'd be at State Street and Eagle Road, and they're looking as anything not right here. And they're surveying all the time. Well, if they start seeing really huge molecules from food that is not being broken down or parts of bacteria, um, or even, you know, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, um, they're going to sound the alarm and say, uh, I don't think this is self and that's going to start an immune response. Um, then there's something called molecular mimicry, which is where the immune system gets confused with parts of bacteria that might be in there because we still have some bacteria in the small intestine. We have a lot in the large intestine, but the immune system is supposed to go after bacteria. But if it goes after. Amino acid sequences and the same sequences are in our tissues. That's called molecular mimicry. So there is actually a role for microbiome testing in people with autoimmune conditions. Um, so.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Is that where you start with microbiome functional microbiome testing?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: It depends on what the case is and what the person is. Because I think in, in and initially, like with someone that has an autoimmune condition, it's better to gather as much information as you can. So I usually start with an intestinal permeability test. Then um, I do I sort of do an assessment of, you know, toxin exposure. Um, that part of the problem is that I've done enough of these total tax burdens to I see so much of it that I'm almost assuming that people have so much of it. I know. So if I'm trying to save people money with diagnostic testing, I'm going to get a leaky gut test. I'm going to get a stool analysis because I want to know, um, do they have a parasite? Because there's a theory that parasites can even trigger this through allergic mechanisms.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Are you finding that testing pretty accurate? I just don't find stool testing very accurate.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Well, it's, um, there's a lab Genova that is has correlated certain bacterial strains with certain autoimmune conditions. So I like to get the whole test, not just part of the test. I want to get the whole test. I want to know what the strains are. Yeah. Um, sometimes I'll order a food allergy panel because it appears that the total burden of allergic mechanism, that person. And this gets into what is functional immunology. So let's just say a person says I'm allergic to a lot of foods. And why am I allergic to a lot of foods. And you find out, yeah, they do have immune responses on a test like 25 foods. Um, they say, okay, something is really wrong with your immune system. You shouldn't be allergic to so many foods. And they say, I can only eat a certain number of foods. Um, then what that does is it means in some respect that certain parts of the immune system are out of balance. And so you can get at the same time something called the Th2 system upregulated because of so many allergies. And the Th1 system that's supposed to defend against viruses will go down. It's like a it's like a seesaw. Yeah. Um, and then the Th17 system that does relate to immune tolerance and autoimmunity. And then something called the Treg cells will go out of balance.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So part of what functional immunology is, is evaluating these cell populations and seeing what you need to do to get them back into balance. Because that brings up a really interesting point of if you if if I'm evaluating a person with an autoimmune disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Ms., whatever it is, one of the biggest goals is to decrease triggering an autoimmune flare. So what most people don't understand is that this these things go almost like they get triggered, they get worse for weeks and weeks, and then they calm down and they get triggered. So what we're trying to do also is decrease the triggering of the autoimmune flare that will decrease tissue destruction. Um, because I've had some patients say, hey, can can you totally reverse this? And this has been a debate in functional immunology for a while. And the, the the issue is you may not and you likely cannot totally reverse the tendency towards autoimmunity because the body has memory T cells that are going to remember this tissue and go after it if something triggers it. But you can greatly decrease the triggers, and you can make it so that that person has very few autoimmune flares and is not continually suffering from tissue destruction, and also is less likely to develop another autoimmune condition.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Right? Can we spend a little time talking about Hashimoto's? Yeah, one of the most common autoimmune diseases. Yeah. Where do you think that root cause lies with that?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Well, it probably is one of the most common, um, autoimmune conditions. And, you know, one of the things that said, and I think this bears out, is I think that a very high percentage have a problem, either gluten sensitivity or celiac, but more probably gluten sensitivity. Yeah. Um, I think there's some mimicry going on with this. And, um, and so I do think that, um. That it's indicated to take people off of gluten completely. Mhm. Um, to check for leaky gut. Yeah. To check for other food allergies. Mhm. Um, and you know some forms of hypothyroid are also autoimmune graves disease. But it's much more common to be the hypothyroid type. Do you, do.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You find yourself putting these patients on thyroid replacement to get them euthyroid or to treat the hypothyroid state. Yes it helps the most part.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So I think it's so here's the interesting thing. The nonfunctional medicine nonfunctional immune approach to Hashimoto's, if you go to an endocrinologist, is either to do nothing right or to put the person on thyroid hormones if they're, um, have a low thyroid situation, I think you do have to make the person euthyroid. Mhm. I think that's very important. But you have to go after all the possible right triggering mechanisms and there's triggering mechanisms and there's self perpetuating mechanisms. And um and I do think there's a toxin issue with that with that one too.

Amber Warren, PA-C: What's difficult about our conventional system is there's a lot of conventional practitioners or even endocrinologists that aren't even looking at the thyroid antibodies. And that's how you diagnose Hashimoto's, right? So they're just chasing maybe even just the TSH. They might not even be looking at the T3 levels. Right. You know, or T4. Um, and so a lot of times we're just replacing increasing the dose, increasing the dose, and really not looking at root cause and not even seeing if that patient carries that diagnosis. Because Hashimoto's is what's driving the hypothyroidism. Right. So if you can't get the patient to be euthyroid and get them feeling better if you don't know what's causing it.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Yeah. And you also brought up a really good point which is monitoring antibodies. Yeah. So one way you can tell if the person's immune system is improving is monitoring antibodies.

Amber Warren, PA-C: How often. So I'm so glad you brought this up too. How often do you monitor their antibodies with the treatment protocol plan that you've laid out for them? Because they take a long time to respond. They do.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Antibodies don't shift quickly because the antibodies can stay up for a while. So I think say um. Say you do like you say. I start seeing a patient and then I start some pretty significant interventions and I want to see, okay, how are these interventions working? Besides the fact that, you know, we might have them fill out an MSC, which is a medical symptom questionnaire, like how is how how is it working in terms of also the antibodies. And so I think, you know, you can check them say you start interventions. And if someone's going to do these interventions because I usually say if you do the intervention for three months, then in four months we're going to check the antibodies okay.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So I usually wait six months and maybe I'm waiting a little bit too long to repeat these antibodies.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Not necessarily. I mean, um, I think 4 to 6 months is reasonable. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. Okay. That's interesting. Um, what are some of your favorite autoimmune conditions to treat?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: I love treating Ms..

Amber Warren, PA-C: I knew you were going to say that. Why is that? Well, it's because you're really good at neurological conditions. Well, that's why.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Um. First of all, miss has a lot of physical findings. Miss really affects people.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Mhm.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Um. So Ms. is an autoimmune condition of myelin sheaths. It's very specific. And you can actually measure um there's actually a lab called Vibrant Labs that measures antibodies to myelin. So you can measure those antibodies over time. But one of the things I really like about Ms.. Because the way people know that they have Ms.. Besides, they're having coordination problems or pain or spasm or nerve pain is they'll have an MRI of their neck and or their brain and they will show these lesions. And these lesions on MRI are very inflammatory. And so the biggest thing that's going on with this is not only are they losing myelin, but these they have these areas of inflammation and edema that are impinging the ability of their spinal cord to work and their brain to work. And so I like to integrate functional immunology with frequency specific microcurrent. And then I'll use the frequency specific microcurrent, abbreviated FSM, to decrease the inflammation in the lesions and shrink them. That's amazing. And that's.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Exciting. Can you break down how frequency specific microcurrent? We do a lot of it here at our Eagle Outpost, as you like to call it. So break down. How does that work? What is it and what's the mechanism behind how it works?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So, um, it's called frequency specific. I still want to talk about some more functional immunology.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Sorry. I know we can go back to that, but I want you to as well.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Um, yeah, I get very excited about frequency specific. It's called frequency specific because because it it is specific frequencies in frequency specific microcurrent. There are two channels. Channel one. Channel two, channel one is the condition channel like there is an inflammation frequency 40. Um, so there's a lot of different conditions that we can treat like nine is for allergy. So I will use that for auto I will use FSM for autoimmune conditions and often improve the the specific tissues um, or run it over the thyroid or whatever it is. Um, so channel two is the tissue channel. So channel two could be myelin. Channel two could be the nerve like 396. Channel two could be the spinal cord. So for instance, just for instance I'll run in a person with Ms. that has spinal cord lesions 40 on channel one and ten on channel two to decrease inflammation in the spinal cord, but also run nine and some other called condition frequencies because I've designed a lot of programs for Ms. and and other things, many other autoimmune conditions and all kinds of conditions. But, um, it's nice because in general, FSM, um, it's very comfortable.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: It's very relaxing. Um, there's, there's almost never any side effects. I mean, sometimes people get a little sleepy or rarely a little dizzy, but that's uncommon. Um, so the person's experience of getting an FSM treatment is, wow, I get to lie in this really comfortable table, and it's relaxing. Uh, they could listen to music. I don't let them stay on their phone or get exposed to EMF because they don't want a lot of EMF while they're doing it. But, um, so what's really interesting also is there's been studies on the biological mechanisms of FSM. It turns out the 40 frequency decreases all almost all inflammatory cytokines. Wow. In the tissue. The other thing, it turns out that the frequency just almost any frequencies do is increase ATP. They've discovered in tissues almost a five fold increase in ATP. Wow. And then there's something called cell signaling that gets improved. So what happens is in diseases and in tissues that aren't doing well, cell are trying to communicate with each other and signal. And we don't talk about this a lot but it improves cell signaling.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um that's wonderful.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Those are the biological mechanisms of it. I, you know, I've treated so many conditions with it, I can tell you successes with all kinds of things that it can do. But those are the biological mechanisms.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Treated my knees with it. And it got me to go on a ski trip. And I didn't have any knee pain on my ski trip and I was struggling. So yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's I can speak.

Amber Warren, PA-C: To that. My own testimony. Yeah.

Speaker3: Are you tired of cookie cutter health that doesn't address your unique needs? It's time to discover functional medicine care designed to help you flourish. At FMI, you'll gain access to a range of benefits tailored to support optimal health and longevity, experience the power of personalized care, and take control of your health. With an annual membership at FMI center for Optimal Health, visit FMI today. And start thriving.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um, let's talk about. Well, I know you wanted to return to functional immunology. Marcus, can we talk about mast cell activation syndrome? Because I think that's a big one. And I think that's one that, um, people walk around undiagnosed not knowing what's wrong with them because practitioners don't know how to diagnose it. They don't know how to recognize it. It's just not talked about enough. So what is mast cell activation syndrome and what are mast cells.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So mast cells are part of the immune system and they are part of the defense system. So they're designed to take care of organisms that shouldn't be there like bacteria and viruses. And they also are very they're very reactive in allergic situations. Mast cells produce a lot of things. They have their granules. And in the granules are the things they produce. The thing they're most well known for is histamine. But they also produce other things bradykinin and a lot of other things actually. Um, so if someone's having a mast cell, a lot of, if a lot of mast cells are reactive. So this gets really interesting because did you know that mast cells like almost have nerve endings near them?

Amber Warren, PA-C: Wow. I didn't know that.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: In the interstitial tissues. So there's a nervous system issue involved with this. That's why stress could trigger a reaction or something. So years ago nobody was talking about mast cell activation syndrome. I remember when I was in medical school I thought I had a mast cell disease. You know, when you're in PA School of Medicine, you say, oh my God, do I have this disease right? Oh, here's another one added to the list because I had dermato grafia, which means if you took your fingernail and wrote on my back because they used to be very athletic and would swim or whatever, and one time. So how come when I write my name on your back, you can see it for like 20 minutes?

Amber Warren, PA-C: Why are people writing their names on.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Just one time? It was like it was during med school.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay, because they tried to be funny.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: No, no, it was a lab. They told us to do this. We were studying.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That makes so much more sense. Studying the immune system. Okay.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: We all had, you know, we had to all.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Do this.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Anyway.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I thought you were part of, like, a really strange fraternity. No. So.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Um, so if you get this red reaction, that's not unusual. But if it stays around a while, it is. It's called dermatographism. And there is a mast cell disease that actually leads to cancer. So of course I thought I had that. But then I realized, you know, I probably.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Didn't.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: But I knew about mast cells a long time ago thinking about that. But I've been following this field for a long time. So I would say that in order to have mast cell activation syndrome, you have to have mast cell related symptoms. And why this is important. As I had a patient recently, I'm not going to say who she was, came in and thought all her conditions were related to MCAs because somebody some other providers said that's what it was. She had almost no symptoms related to histamine or bradycardia or anything like that. You know, like runny eyes, runny nose, excessive mucus, um, hives, dermatitis, any of the things usually associated with allergy because usually in order to say something's got mast cell activation syndrome, people are going to be, you know, having those things. But there's also GI symptoms associated with.

Amber Warren, PA-C: It and headaches and.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Headaches. So there can be all kinds of things associated with it. And so, um, I think the best way to approach it, first of all, determine is this all that's going on? Because I found almost every time someone has this, it's not the only thing going on they have. They have some other condition too, or they have mold biotoxins they have something that's started or something that's perpetuating it.

Amber Warren, PA-C: It's not necessarily root cause medicine. It's a diagnosis we can treat. Right. We want to find out what's triggering the mast cells to go haywire.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Right. And so I mean there's so many approaches to it like low histamine diets. And but I also think you got to get to the root of it. And I've also incorporated frequency specific microcurrent and designed programs to treat the mast cells. Because the other thing you have to treat with this is the autonomic nervous system. Right. Because it has some control over mast cells.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Mhm. Mhm.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. Interesting. Um do you see long haulers Covid creating mast cell activation syndrome or even an acute onset of Covid. That's not long.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Haulers. What's the.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Relationship there.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Well if someone already had mast cell activation and it was a bit quiet because of whatever we were doing and then they got Covid, yeah, it can trigger it and make it a lot worse. Um, and there are people definitely with long haul Covid that have long haul Covid and mast cell activation syndrome. Yeah. And so you can like the problem is now it's like people are complicated enough before Covid. And now you got to consider okay are these because some people have had. In brain fog and many, many, many different symptoms. Fatigue. Even if you just take that headaches, brain fog and fatigue and say what could it be due to? There's a number of things that could be due to besides mast cell activation syndrome.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And I think we get in trouble too. I mean, in medicine in general, but functional medicine, when we think we're going to find one thing that's causing the issue. Right, right. A lot of people mold in Lyme, go hand in hand for a lot of people, it's toxicities and molds included in that or it's stress trauma and mold. So I think it's that tack theory, right, that we learned early on in our functional medicine training. If someone's sitting on five tacks, if you pull out one, they don't feel better, right? You have to find all five tasks tacks and.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: All the tacks.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. And I think that's where like your approach where you're starting with the gut and then kind of casting a wide net is really wise, especially when it comes to these autoimmune issues.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Well, I find these days also you've got to look at okay, what possible reactivated viruses they might have.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Reactivated Epstein-Barr. Yeah.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Because that's very common with long haulers Covid. And could they have mold biotoxins. Um, because that's very common. And then could they have Lyme or co-infections? I mean, those kind of things. A lot of people have a number of these things mixed together. And then you have to have a very strategic approach to this, because if you just if you miss one of these things, you're missing a big deal.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So are you looking at just Serum Labs, just blood work to look for these reactivated viruses. How are you. Yes. Okay.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So in functional immunology, one of the rules of thumb say is if the level of certain antibodies is 6 or 6 or more times higher than, quote, the labs normal, then the virus is reactivated. And there's always certain things to look at with each virus. Like um, something called abna with Epstein-Barr is usually like I mean, especially if you see something like greater than 600. I've been seeing that a lot lately. And then, you know, it's reactivated.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay. And how are you treating those patients?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So I do want to explain what reactivated means.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh, that's a good point.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Because that's really important. Yeah. And this relates to functional immunology. So almost all of us say just for instance, have Epstein-Barr in our bodies and the immune system is supposed to contain it and supposed it's supposed to be like, okay, you have a party and Epstein-Barr is invited because they're invited to all your parties because they're there. If you've been exposed to it with mono or whatever, a lot of them have been exposed to it, and you just want the Epstein-Barr to eat some chips and not destroy the furniture and not multiply and not scream and yell and have a tan. You just like, okay, just you stay over there and just stay calm because you actually don't want it multiplying and you don't want it doing damage. Um, and so reactivated virus, reactivated virus. Whether it's reactivated Epstein-Barr. I'm not seeing CMV, something called CMV. I'm seeing all kinds of herpes viruses reactivated. And a lot of people don't realize that herpes zoster or zoster is actually reactivated. Chicken pox virus. So it's the immune system becoming dysfunctional and not being able to stop replication of a certain virus. Um, um, and I would say I, I'm not going to state everything that I do for reactivated Epstein-Barr because I've gotten some I've got some incredible protocols for it. Um, but I so, for instance, I'll just mention one thing. I do use homeopathy in my practice. Um, I like it because it's very low. The homeopathy remedies themselves usually are low cost, but there are homeopathic methods to treat reactivated Epstein-Barr. So I usually use a combination of homeopathic methods and certain herbals to treat it.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um, and I imagine.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You're working on the immune system, gut.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Health. Yeah.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: But the other thing that I think is very interesting in terms of functional immunology is you can get some lab tests to assess natural killer cells, like the I've been finding a lot of people that have low white counts. And often if they have a low white count, it's indicative that their white count is not high enough to be able to protect them against viruses. And so then.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Why is their white blood count low?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Well, I want to finish this one thing.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay. Go ahead. So, um.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Because I'm seeing that a lot.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So. Right.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So so what what's interesting is it seems like a lot of people and this is a common, um, pattern I'm seeing. And a lot of people in functional immunology know about this pattern. These part of the immune system that's supposed to defend against viruses has gone down. And. Or is weaker than other parts of the immune system. It's like out of balance. And so one way of then dealing with viruses is to improve the Th1 and natural killer cell part, to be able to counteract viruses. And we even have a product here. I was going.

Amber Warren, PA-C: To say we have great.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Product. We have great products that we use for functional immunology here. Um, that these 2 or 3 products that we have here especially were developed by this doctor that's like the founder of functional immunology.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: He's one of them's.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Called innate immune support.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: It's a great product in terms.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Of why the immune system, why white cells can go down. That's a really good question. That's called neutropenia. And in general, I like to see more than 5000 of those white cells.

Amber Warren, PA-C: But it's mind boggling how many people are well below.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: I'm seeing a.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Lot of people below 3.5.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Me too. Yep.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So I think a lot of this is bone marrow suppression. I think there's certain toxins that are doing it, but viruses can definitely do it. Yeah, I've seen it with viral. I've seen it with Epstein-Barr. I've seen it with chronic viruses. I've even seen it with Lyme I so I think in order to assess that, we have to say, okay, is this the only thing that's low? Right. Because oftentimes I'm seeing a normal blood, a normal hematocrit, normal platelets. It's the only thing that's low.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Agreed.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: So then you say okay, the immune system is out of balance. Then I want to measure, um, natural killer cells. I want to get a panel like that. There there actually is a panel. There is a lab that will measure your whole immune system. Cyrex lab has an amazing panel to do that where you can see it. But I think that you can't always tell exactly. Okay. Is this heavy metals? Is this viruses, is this toxins, is it glyphosate? But it's probably one of those.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: That is suppressing the stress.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Do you think the stress can drive the neutropenia.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Yes it can. Yeah. And that's really an interesting thought because stress really can adversely affect the immune system. Oh I know it's one of the triggers.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: We don't want to miss that one.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Yeah. But you know what else can adversely affect the immune system's ability to fight viruses. Um, less than seven hours of sleep.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I was actually just going to say that. Sleep deprivation. Yeah. It's such a physiological stressor to the body.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: It affects the immune system.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. And it drives up inflammation, like overnight. Within a few hours.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: It does.

Amber Warren, PA-C: It's pretty wild. Are you using frequency specific microcurrent specifically for this like molecular mimicry topic. Does it help that specifically?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Well for molecular mimicry, I would I would use frequency specific microcurrent. Say in an autoimmune condition to treat the tissue like.

Amber Warren, PA-C: The inflammation and the cytokines.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Right. Yeah. But I.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Often use frequency specific microcurrent to get at causes like, believe it or not, there are frequencies for Molde, there are.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Frequencies for.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Toxins, there are all kinds of condition frequencies. And then you can use that say with the tissue.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Are there frequencies for reactivation of viruses? Yes.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: There's viral.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: There's actual there's a number of viral frequencies that you can use. Well. So one thing that I think is fascinating is, um, the vagus nerve controls a lot of things. Um, yes. From the heart down to the gut. Yes. And, um, there's something called retrograde transmission of viruses, where a person can be exposed to viruses that then go from retrograde up the vagus nerve, even into the brain. And so there's frequencies for viruses that that I've designed in programs for the vagus nerve to help the vagus nerve get healthier, because we can do exercises like high intensity gargling and singing at the top of your lungs. But sometimes they do need that added treatment of of, say, FSM for the vagus nerve, for viruses and for mold and whatever we think is going on.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, vagus nerve dysfunction, that's all we could do a whole podcast on just that topic.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: But you know what's.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: One of the most fascinating things with FSM?

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: What's that is.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Being able to take a patient with an enlarged fatty liver and get their.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Liver back.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: To a normal.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: Size.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That is amazing.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: That's um, I've done that numerous times with it. I usually combine it with phosphatidylcholine injections and such and milk this and whatever to protect the liver. But the FSM is the thing that's so cool because you can treat the fat in the liver, you can treat the fibrosis in the liver. And literally within two months, a liver that was like halfway down the abdomen to where it's supposed to be.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh that's incredible. Yeah. The work you're doing is so important.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: I used to like liver when I was a kid. Now I, I don't really like to eat it, but I like to treat it.

Amber Warren, PA-C: We should.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Eat it. It is such a super food. But there are really good quality capsules that we can take now, so you don't necessarily have to eat it. I try and sneak it in. I'll sneak it into like spaghetti sauce or taco meat. My husband grew up eating liver because his family was really poor, but he. So he'll walk in the house and be like, I know what you did. And I'm like, don't you dare tell the kids because they don't know. They can't tell when. It's when I was.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: A kid, I knew it was liver, but I didn't know what it was.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh, yeah.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: It's called chopped liver. I didn't know what it was. And it tastes. My mother made it so good. I just, like, didn't argue about it. The only thing I argued about is when they made this thing called tongue, and I was like, then I knew it was a tongue. Yeah. I'm not eating.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That. I'm not sure.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Tongue, heart. I haven't gone there yet. But the liver, that's definitely something I've been trying to embrace more of. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for your your expertise and your knowledge, Doctor Musnick. It's always such a pleasure to to pick your brain. You're welcome. Thank you for your time.

Dr. David Musnick, M.D: You're welcome. Thanks, everyone.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Thank you for listening to the Functional Medicine Foundations podcast. For more information on topics covered today, programs offered at Optimal Health, and the highest quality of supplements and more. Go to


bottom of page