Dr Nathan Curran is the newest medical team member at Harpal Clinic. He is an experienced doctor passionate about putting power back into the hands of his patients. Dr Curran has always been drawn to evidence-based, cutting-edge advances in science and technology that support physiological resilience, human performance and longevity.
Discover more about Dr Curran and his work at Harpal Clinic below.
After I became qualified, I spent a decade practising conventional medicine. I became increasingly frustrated with not having the time or tools to get to the root cause of the symptoms my patients were presenting with. I’ve always been fascinated by how the body’s systems work together at a fundamental level – and if you look at the ways in which medical intervention has the potential to change someone’s quality of life in a significant way, then hormone balancing has to be at the top of the list. Trying to restore or maintain hormone balance requires a nuanced understanding of a complex spider web of bodily systems. For me, it is imperative to address the endocrine system when dealing with almost any health issue – it tells us so much about a person’s state of health, and indicates the best way to move forward with treatment.
There’s definitely a growing awareness that health isn’t just merely the absence of disease. Years ago, the binary construct that you are either healthy or diseased was a popular belief, but it is now widely accepted that health is a spectrum. There is more awareness that disease can be preceded by months – even years – of functional decline. Functional medicine has provided the framework for us to intervene in a meaningful way when patients first begin to experience changes to their physical or cognitive functioning – as opposed to when they have crossed a threshold to meet disease diagnosis. It allows us to provide earlier intervention, which in my opinion offers incredible potential for disease prevention and, in some cases, reversal of disease.
Between 70-80% of disease burden is driven by lifestyle and environmental factors. There is more to medicine than simply matching drugs to symptoms. By optimising health and identifying the root cause of the disease, we can meaningfully shift the outcomes and try to actively reverse the underlying processes, rather than just stabilising the problem.
For me, it’s all about empowering patients. I’ve been a doctor for more than 20 years and it was only after experiencing medical intervention as a patient myself that I realised how disempowering conventional medicine can be. It can feel like patients are bystanders and that medicine is something given to them on someone else’s terms. I find most of my gratification comes from the potential that functional medicine has for collaborative engagement with patients. It’s incredible to be able to help someone restore control and clarity around what may be a complex disease. And it’s immensely rewarding to watch someone reclaim their health and become who they want to be.
Whilst the prescription of bioidentical hormones can be duly powerful and life changing, there are more pieces to the puzzle and functional medicine implores us to be mindful of these. Hormones are a complex spider web. Focusing on one segment of the web isn’t enough; it takes a multipronged approach to restore harmony and balance.
We go beyond prescribing and look holistically at how lifestyle, emotional and environmental factors can be addressed too. Nutrition is important; the building blocks of hormones come from nutrients that we consume, so a healthy endocrine system requires good quality food. Stress management is another important element; hormones are very sensitive to interruption from peak or sustained periods of stress. The endocrine system is the first system to get knocked out of whack as a response to stress and is usually also the last to recover.
Yes, hormones are important, but so is developing robust resilience strategies that complement and sit alongside any effective hormone intervention, targeting health from all angles.