North Texas Holistic Pediatrician Promotes Upstream Medicine for Children, Education for Parents
Dr. Deborah Bain MD, owner of Healthy Kids Pediatrics, began her career practicing traditional Western care. During her first decade in pediatrics, she endured multiple back and neck surgeries, and she was later diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. During treatments of chemotherapy and radiation, she brought a chiropractor, a holistic nutritionist and a naturopath aboard her wellness team. Her mind was opened to new approaches she hadn’t learned in traditional medical training.
“Until then, it was all about the compartmentalization of medicine, because that’s what my training was all about—basically Band-Aid fixing. I bought into that model because that was all I knew,” she recalls. “After I got well from detoxing and nutrition, I couldn’t go back to the way I practiced for 10 years. I had to break out of that mold.”
Bain opened Healthy Kids Pediatrics in 2006. She’s certified through the Institute for Functional Medicine and integrates holistic and traditional approaches toward children’s healthcare. “My practice is very nutrition and root cause-focused. I determine, ‘What got you to a state of health where you don’t want to be?’” she says. She sees newborns through teens.
Bain treats everything from autoimmune diseases like eczema, allergies, celiac, Crohn’s disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis to neurologic problems like seizures, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism. During her 25 years in pediatrics, Bain has seen a spike in autoimmune disease, eczema and serious food allergies in children, especially since the late 1990s and early 2000s. She says many of those issues can be traced to nutritional deficiencies and toxins.
“There have been so many changes to our food supply, with a lot of genetically modified food like wheat, soy and corn, pro-inflammatory foods like wheat and dairy, and highly processed food diets,” she explains. “Some children have weakened immune systems to begin with, because their gut flora was disrupted by repeated antibiotic exposure or never got fully established due to C-section birth.”
Because functional medicine addresses the underlying cause of disease, Bain asks very specific questions during check-ups. If she finds that families don’t have sources of omega-3 (found in nuts, seeds and fish) in their diets, she will use that opportunity to start a conversation.
“As a pediatrician, my goal is to raise a healthy kid into adulthood, which sparks a generation of healthy kids and healthy adults,” says Bain. “But if we never have the conversation because we don’t get any training in medical school on what healthy nutrition is, and every generation is just getting sicker and put on medication, people will rely on lots of medication and not actually own their health.”
Nutrition is the biggest factor that parents often overlook, says Bain. “The bottom line is that we need to manage fruits and vegetables, antioxidants and eat foods of all colors of the rainbow. The body needs to have omega-3s, but cashew or peanut butters don’t count. We’re talking about almonds, walnuts and healthy nuts—unless you’re allergic—along with probiotic foods and drinks like kombucha, or taking probiotics. Those are the foundational things we need to manage,” she explains.
An overload of processed foods, or routine antibiotics for ear infections can disrupt healthy gut flora, leading to inflammatory illnesses, Bain emphasizes. She does specialized lab testing to figure out the causes of ailments and then creates a customized treatment plan for each patient. She will follow up with patients every couple of months to measure benchmarks.
Bain offers health guidance to parents because their habits can affect their children. “Infants can have issues from mom’s milk, which is related to mom’s diet, so I’ll give mom an elimination diet to help clear up the infant’s issues so we don’t have this battle with chronic disease as the baby gets older,” she says. “It’s not hard, but you have to get into that mode of thinking. We like to call what we practice ‘upstream medicine,’” she advises.
Healthy Kids Pediatrics is located at 4851 Legacy Dr., Ste. 301, Frisco. For more information, call 972-294-0808 or visit HealthyKidsPediatrics.com.