Provider Spotlight: Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle
by Wynter Kaiser
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle (Dr. ACE) is a Licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor who specializes in personalized natural medicine, including joint, gastrointestinal and hormonal health as well as regenerative and athletic performance medicine. She completed her medical education at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) in Tempe, Arizona where her clinical training encompassed a wide range of medical conditions. She has also completed extensive training in Regenerative Injection therapies.
Dr. ACE is passionate about movement, health and community. She is a lifelong athlete with a diverse sports background including competitive basketball, swimming and triathlon at the collegiate level and strength and conditioning. She loves getting outdoors and enjoying our beautiful California weather and the healthy opportunities our community offers.
DUTCH: What inspired you to become a healthcare practitioner?
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle: I was plagued with health issues relatively early on in life. At the age of 9 I sustained 7 pelvic fractures following a car collision and had a long history of indigestion and gut issues. I didn’t plan to become a doctor, but life nudged me. Once I realized that my highest priority was to create health for myself and to empower others it became a powerful mission. I am a doctor today to free people from disease and to enable them to contribute their talents to the world.
DUTCH: What is your training?
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle: I am a Naturopathic Medical Doctor, having attended an integrated medical school that combines conventional and holistic medicine. I also blend my experience as an athlete and fitness professional in treating my patients.
DUTCH: What other functional testing do you use in your practice?
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle: I utilize functional diagnostic testing to guide my treatment strategies for patients. This includes a wide array of stool, saliva, urine and blood testing, depending on what the patient presents with. The most common testing besides the Dutch that I run are organic acid testing, stool testing, and comprehensive blood work. I screen for a lot of digestive and microbial imbalances, hormonal imbalances, markers of toxicity, inflammation and oxidative stress.
DUTCH: How have you incorporated DUTCH Testing into your practice?
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle: Dutch testing allows me to treat women with infertility, peri-and menopause as well as younger women with hormonal imbalances and allows me to get a deeper look into the hormonal pathways. It also allows me to treat men with stress induced low testosterone, high DHT mediated hair loss and other complaints from a more data driven perspective. I love being able to see how hormones are converting into one another as well as how they are cleared out or metabolized by the liver. No other testing allows me to get as much information, especially about liver function as it pertains to the liver’s ability to detoxify and clear out hormones.
DUTCH: What are the changes you have seen in your patients and practice since incorporating the DUTCH Test
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle: People understand hormones in terms of pathways and love to use herbal and nutritional strategies to balance their hormones as a first line option as opposed to jumping to hormone replacement therapy. Blood work alone doesn’t give you enough information to understand WHY hormones are out of balance like the DUTCH testing does. More information is better and allows my patients to choose from a wide array of treatment options, not just the end product hormones progesterone, cortisol, testosterone or estrogen.
DUTCH: Where do you see functional/ integrative medicine 20 years from now?
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle: I hope it gains ground towards becoming the standard of care for everyone. It is a no-brainer to treat the causes of dysfunction with the least-toxic and most foundational treatments first, and only progressing to drugs in acute or extremely challenging cases. People are realizing that there are options beyond pharmaceutical drugs and are driving the demand for more individualized and functional care. At the same time regulatory agencies are cracking down on compounding medications and natural therapies and pharmaceutical sales have continued to dramatically climb. We live in challenging and interesting times and I vow to be a proponent of empowering my patients to choose treatment options that work best for them in treating the cause of their concerns.
DUTCH: What do you like to do outside of work?
Dr. Alexandra Carswell Engle: I love to be outside in the California sunshine! I also maintain and build a strong body with strength and conditioning and gymnastics and love being active. We are opening an integrated fitness facility in 2019, OPEX Santa Barbara, and I am very excited to blend functional fitness and medicine to keep my patients stronger and healthier throughout their whole life with an individualized program, much like how I treat medically. I also love being connected to my Santa Barbara community via farmer’s markets and community events.