Proper gut function is key to a healthy body.
I had the pleasure of attending an Advanced Gastrointestinal Conference by the Institute of Functional Medicine, a whole entire conference on addressing and balancing the gut!
There were 240 health care practitioners from around the world, including MD’s, ND’s, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nurses, dietitians, physical therapists and pharmacists!
I was so excited to meet amazing and innovative IFM members who are dedicated to getting people well including:
Dr. Liz Lipski, nutritionist and author of Digestive Wellness. Dr. Lipski’s book was tremendously helpful in my healing journey and has a great amount of information on restoring the gut.
Dr. Susan Blum, author of The Immune System Recovery Plan. Dr. Blum was able to put her Hashimoto’s into remission and now has a practice dedicated to autoimmune conditions!
Dr. Sara Gottfried, author of the Hormone Cure who is a Harvard trained MD, yoga instructor and woman’s hormone expert and happens to be a huge thyroid advocate as well!
Dr. Datis Kharazzian, author of “Why am I Still Having Thyroid Symptoms when My Lab Tests are Normal” as well as a new book on functional neurology “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?”. Dr. K is not only brilliant but incredibly kind and dedicated to getting more people better. We are hoping to collaborate on a Thyroid Summit for patients sometime next year, so stay tuned!
WHY THYROID PATIENTS NEED TO WORK WITH A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE PRACTITIONER
For those of you not familiar with Functional Medicine, according to www.functionalmedicine.org, “Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership.” That’s right, a whole medical specialty dedicated to finding and treating underlying causes and prevention of serious chronic disease rather than disease symptoms.
I was tickled pink when all of the presenters were talking about treating the root cause of diseases!
When I first set off to treat myself with a systems perspective and to find the root cause of my condition, I did not realize that I was using a functional medicine approach, I just believed in cause and effect.
The basic theory behind functional medicine is as follows
Food is information. Beyond calories, the type of food you will eat will help determine if you are going to be healthy or sick. Functional medicine practitioners realize the value of a whole foods based diet as well as the role that inflammatory foods and food sensitivities can play in chronic disease.
Stress is a precursor to disease and weakens our body causing it to break down and makes us more susceptible to chronic infections.
Proper gut function is key to a healthy body.
Here is a glimpse of the information the attendees learned in the GI module
- If you work with the gut, 60-70% of any disease will get better
- The best way to give your patients the right treatment and diagnosis is through listening to them (I love that one!)
- Treat the gut before attempting detoxification, as the gut is the main elimination organ; detoxification first may result in toxins circulating when gut function is impaired.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a precursor to autoimmunity and chronic disease.
This last one resonated with me, as I was diagnosed with IBS in 2002, Hashimoto’s in 2009. Many of you may have never been diagnosed, but have had many of the symptoms. My IBS and GERD helped me connect the many dots to get to my root cause.
If we can catch IBS in the early stages, perhaps we can prevent thyroid and other autoimmune conditions. Additionally, since we understand that IBS is a precursor for the thyroid condition, treating the root cause of IBS will often result in remission of the autoimmune condition.
During the conference, three cases of IBS were presented, the root causes of these cases of IBS included
- Case #1: parasite
- Case #2: pancreatic enzyme deficiency, gluten sensitivity, overactive stress response
- Case #3: low stomach acid, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
Those of you that have read my book, Hashimoto’s The Root Cause, may have already been able to work out your root cause, and many of you have contacted me with great news of the success you have had from reading the book! But some of you may need additional guidance, and I hope that you will consider having a clinician trained in functional medicine as part of your healthcare team, and/or participate in my Hacking Hashimoto’s Program, which is a 12 week self-guided course with weekly activities, videos, and worksheets designed to help you find and address your personal root causes.
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CLINICIANS GET IT!
Now that I understand functional medicine, I am amazed that most traditionally trained physicians don’t recognize this links between nutrition, stress and gut imbalance that cause chronic illness.
While at the GI conference, I spoke with one amazing MD who said that she was so tired of being a doctor and seeing her patients deteriorate and get more and more medications at every visit that she almost gave up medicine!
Luckily, she found functional medicine, and now she is rewarded with patients that are actually getting better. She said that she recalls the patients she used to see with thyroid issues and remembers telling them that all of their labs were normal and treating them with the standard therapies despite their constant concerns. After receiving functional medicine training, she became both angry at the current medical model and determined to change.
“I wish I could call all of my old patients and apologize for not treating them as a whole person and treat them with a functional approach.”
Many of you have asked me for recommendations of doctors in your area that use the approach that I have outlined in my book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: The Root Cause. I’ve built a list of practitioners that treat the whole person and have been trained in integrative or functional medicine.
If you have a great practitioner to recommend, please submit your recommendation here but for now, whenever people ask me for recommended doctors in their area, I refer them to www.functionalmedicine.org
PS. You can also download a free Thyroid Diet Guide, 10 Thyroid friendly recipes, and the Nutrient Depletions and Digestion chapter for free by going to www.thyroidpharmacist.com/gift. You will also receive occasional updates about new research, resources, giveaways and helpful information.
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