Robin Berzin, founder of Parsley Health, has worked with a lot of patients and witnessed many healing journeys. But there’s one journey, that of a young autoimmune patient, that sticks with her and reminds her of the power of a functional approach to medicine. It’s also a story that brings tears to her eyes, even years later.
When a 24-year-old woman visited Dr. Berzin with a severe autoimmune disease called Behcet’s autoimmune vasculitis, she was in bad shape. She had ulcers in her mouth that went all the way down her GI tract, and none of the conventional treatments were working. In fact, the patient had been “fired” by the top autoimmune doctor at Cornell because all of the drugs he’d given her had failed to produce any results. She came to Berzin feeling defeated, and hoping for a miracle.
The first thing that Berzin did was to set expectations. “This type of medicine is a process,” she explained. “We don’t have quick fixes, it doesn’t come overnight.” But Berzin knew that, at a minimum, she could help the patient feel better and address some of the other issues that had arisen because of her body-wide inflammation: insomnia, weight gain, and acne.
To start, Berzin prescribed some dietary changes, including removing common antigens, or food allergies, like gluten and dairy. She also had the patient do a gut-healing protocol to shift the bacteria in her gut, and ran a number of tests to determine nutrient deficiencies and inflammation.
Six weeks later, the patient returned — and Berzin was nervous. She didn’t think that the young woman would be better. She knew that her approach worked, but she also knew that it took time, and that it would take work to convince the patient to stick with it and keep working.
But when the young woman returned, this was not the case at all. She’d brought her mother, who was crying, and who said through tears, “Thank you for giving my daughter her life back.” In those six weeks, the young patient’s ulcers and acne had disappeared, she was sleeping through the night, and her excess weight had come off. The dietary adjustments had done what countless powerful steroids had failed to do. To this day, Berzin comes close to tears just recalling this moment.
Two years later, the patient is completely med-free, her inflammation level is within a normal range, and, most importantly, she knows what she needs to put in her body to remain healthy. Berzin feels great pride in this accomplishment, noting that “we not only saved her thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in medications, and so many hours going to doctors she didn’t need to see, we put her in the driver’s seat of her health.”
Watch the full interview with Berzin to learn more about Parsley’s functional and integrative approach to healthcare, the importance of using a health coach, how to get doctors to learn about nutrition in a useful way, and much more.