Dr. Anita Racic
I am passionate about improving the health outcomes of my patients and restoring them to their full health potential. Lasting health comes from the interaction of our genes with our environment and lifestyle. Personalizing this connection is the future of medicine and I am committed to bringing this to you now.
Dr. Anita Racic, MD
I graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1987 and my MD, also from UBC, in 1991. I practiced conventional medicine for over 25 years, working in general practice and in mental health settings providing care to patients with complex and chronic conditions.
I’m also fellowship-trained and board certified in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. I’m passionate about continuing my education in evidence-based Functional Medicine while staying current in the standard of care allopathic approach. Actually, I am kind of hooked on going to conferences where I can learn the latest in anti-aging, functional medicine and bio-hacking.
I’m affiliated and in good standing with the following professional organizations:
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC
- College of Family Physicians of Canada
- Canadian Medical Protective Association
- American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine
How I got into Functional Medicine
The truth is, the real reason is I got into Functional Medicine is… myself. Imagine you’re a doctor treating people daily for complaints of chronic fatigue, chronic pain, stress, mood and anxiety issues, issues with stubborn weight… and you’re not able to resolve those same issues for yourself!
I graduated from UBC School of Medicine in 1991 and have been a medical doctor for over 25 years. I’ve worked in primary care and in mental health settings providing care to patients with complex and chronic conditions. I became very adept at the conventional, standard of care therapies, yet… my patients weren’t healthy. If they were kept out of hospital, that was considered a success. I noticed that patients would be deemed “stable” but they weren’t living a quality of life that the doctors would accept for themselves. They were surviving but not thriving.
I noticed as well, among my peer group, that people who were previously high functioning, who had resources and what we call the “social determinants of health” – financial means, education, support systems – developed, not just nagging symptoms, but overt clinical disease once they hit middle age, sometimes even earlier. They thought they had reasonably healthy lifestyles and yet they were falling apart.
In medical school, and in all the training that followed, we were taught to make the correct diagnosis. Determining what is the condition that the patient has was the first step. The next step we were taught to take was to select the drug or procedure to use. The question as to why the condition arose in the first place was not thoroughly addressed. For someone like myself, with vague symptoms without a clinical disease state, very little could be done. Anti-depressants are the go-to pharmaceutical in cases like mine. Trust me, they did not solve my problems.
We pay lip service in conventional medicine to terms like patient-centered care, but it is not truly patient-centered because testing for biological individuality is not done. It is actually a diagnosis or disease-centered model.
At one point I heard about Functional Medicine and Anti-Aging Medicine. I started looking into this kind of medicine, reading books, researching online and attending conferences. I loved learning about this other approach to health, one that offered hope of true healing. I enrolled in a fellowship program and in 2017, I completed the Fellowship in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. It changed my life.
What I’ve learned through this process is that while it’s important to ask WHAT is the diagnosis, the more important question to ask is WHY did it arise? Virtually all chronic health conditions are related to lifestyle and environmental factors. If that’s the case, then why not address lifestyle and environmental factors?
I have learned that advanced functional medicine tests do exist and that they can reveal the biochemical imbalances at the root of diseases – hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, immune system dysfunction, toxic exposures and stealth infections. I learned about the fundamental importance of gut health and the effect of the microbiome on systemic health. I learned about genetic testing which can reveal our individual vulnerabilities and potential for disease. I also learned that genes are not destiny and there are ways to get around our genetic vulnerability once we know what it is. This was truly a personalized approach.
So what happened with my own case, and what could have been labeled as Depression, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue? Well, through hacking my own health with advanced testing and working with a Functional Medicine practitioner, I was able to uncover the root causes of my own chronic health issues. As is typical, it was not just one thing, but a perfect storm of underlying imbalances. I had gut health issues with imbalances in my gut microbes – dysbiosis, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), Helicobacter Pylori, and yeast overgrowth. I had hormonal issues – subclinical hypothyroidism, cortisol issues and sex hormone imbalances. I had nutritional deficiencies and toxic exposures. Turns out I also had food sensitivities! I learned through genetic testing, that I don’t detoxify well and that put me at risk for stress-related disease and estrogen dominance. While all this might feel disheartening and overwhelming, these imbalances can be corrected. Even genetic variations can often be hacked with lifestyle and nutritional approaches.
What I know for sure is that by correcting these imbalances, along with addressing proper diet and lifestyle, we CAN reverse symptoms and even disease states. My own health journey has helped me discover that my true passion in medicine is definitely not in being a pill pusher, but rather, working with patients using this personalized medicine approach to uncover their own potential for health, long life, vitality and optimal performance.
UBC Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry, 1987
UBC Medicine, 1991
Rotating Internship, Doctor’s Hospital, Toronto, 1992
Fellowship in Functional, Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine through American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, 2017