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LIVE WELL PODCAST | EPISODE 15 - What is Functional Medicine?

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Functional medicine is a branch of medicine focused on getting to the root cause of illness. Instead of simply asking “what disease do you have?” functional medicine practitioners also want to know why you have it.

Join me and Kristen Brown, ARNP as we explain the functional medicine approach and how it might help you with your chronic illness. Kristen provides functional medicine care at Altheda Health and is a Nurse Practitioner with years of clinical experience in functional medicine, urgent care, women’s health, and family medicine. As a graduate of The Institute for Functional Medicine Certification Program (IFMCP), Kristen Brown is uniquely trained in the Functional Medicine model to identify and treat the root causes of chronic disease.

Kristen’s interest in functional medicine began even before she knew the name for it. Coming from a family with several members suffering with the symptoms of hypothyroidism, type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, she wanted to be proactive and live in better health. This sparked her quest to improve her lifestyle and diet to help prevent these diseases in herself and to make positive changes to influence the health of her family.

Kristen is passionate about helping people suffering with autoimmune disorders, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, emotional eating disorders, and weight loss. She most enjoys working with daring patients willing to seek out and challenge the root cause of their illness.

LISTEN BELOW (AND DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE SO YOU'LL NEVER MISS OUT!)

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Show notes:

  • 0:00 Intro

  • 0:46 Introducing Kristen Brown, ARNP founder of Altheda Health

  • 2:44 Kristen speaks about her path to functional medicine

  • 4:44 What is Functional Medicine?

    • “It’s not what do you have but why do you have it?”

  • 6:15 Typical day at a family practice clinic vs. functional medicine practice

  • 8:40 What is the functional medicine approach to autoimmune disease?

    • Bio-individual approach

    • Focus on shutting down immune responses

    • Inflammation contributes to 85% of our chronic conditions

  • 10:40 Common sources of inflammation

    • Stress

    • Underlying infections

    • Food sensitivities or allergies

    • Leaky gut

    • Toxin exposure

    • Nutrient deficiencies

    • Genetics

  • 12:00 Difference between food allergies and food sensitivities

  • 15:20 What is functional medicine’s role in the care team?

    • Investigator

    • Listener

    • Advocate

    • Coordinating care with other practitioners

    • Support (pep squad!)

  • 20:30 A typical functional medicine visit?

    • Intake history

    • Lab tests

    • Physical exam

    • Create a plan of action

  • 26:00 How to contact Kristen at Altheda Health

  • 28:20 Piece of advice from Kristen

    • “When you know better, do better. When you don’t, do better and ask yourself why.”

  • 29:38 Outro


If you loved this episode, I'd be honored for you to give me a rating on iTunes. This helps me to get content out to others who are interested in getting control of their health through diet, lifestyle shifts and personal empowerment.


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Health coaching is a necessary extension of the health care system in that together we have more time to uncover issues, implement strategies and assess outcomes together. Autoimmune disease is complex and to address it we need to come at it from all angles (pharmaceutical therapies from your doctor while also focusing on root cause factors like gut health, diet, sleep and stress). I offer accountability, a knowledgeable resource and most importantly support.

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