The Best Blogs & Books on Functional Medicine for Beginners
Have you heard of “Functional Medicine?” If you’re like me, you may have heard the term ‘functional medicine’ before, but you might not know exactly what it means. However, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of this unique and groundbreaking practice in order for it to make the most positive impact on your life and health. Let’s take a look at some of the basics of functional medicine, and how CBD can be incorporated into a successful functional medicine approach. Below you’ll find the best blogs and books on functional medicine for beginners:
- Dr. Kara Fitzgerald’s Blog
- Dr. Mark Hyman’s Blog
- Dr. Frank Lipman’s Blog
- Dr. Jill Carnahan’s Blog
- Root Functional Medicine
- Your Longevity Blueprint: by Stephanie Gray
- The Inflammation Spectrum: Find Your Food Triggers and Reset Your System: by Will Cole
- Functional Medicine in Primary Care: Together, We Will Get You Better: by Aunna Herbst
- The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life: by Jeffery Bland
Bonus! Best Podcasts
- The Doctor’s Farmacy by Dr. Mark Hyman
- FXMed by Dr. Kara Fizgerald
- Revolution Health Radio by Chris Kessler
- Natural MD Radio by Dr. Aviva Romm
- The Functional Medicine Radio Show by Dr. Carri Drzyzga’s
What is Functional Medicine?
What exactly is functional medicine, and how is it different from conventional medicine? Simply put, functional medicine is a way to look more deeply at the causes of disease. The Institute for Functional Medicine explains that, “Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.”
This means that if someone is suffering from a disease, not only can there be many causes, but there can also be many symptoms. Rather than just treating the problem on the surface, functional medicine strives to go deeper and fix the underlying issues. Functional medicine focuses on overall health and wellness, and strives to help people lead lives that are healthy in every aspect. It’s a long term solution instead of a quick fix.
In order to do this, functional medicine views everyone as different, and aims to develop treatments based on the individual person, rather than on the general needs of sufferers of the condition as a whole. In this light, functional medicine looks at an individual person’s genes, biochemistry, and lifestyle.
Functional medicine is different from conventional medicine because it:
- focuses on health rather than disease
- is patient-centered as opposed to doctor-centric
- takes an approach that is holistic rather than specialized
- focuses on disease prevention rather than disease detection
If you’re skeptical of the approach many conventional healthcare providers today take, functional medicine might be for you. Functional medicine is becoming increasingly popular and many healthcare providers are using this kind of approach in their practices. There are many benefits that can be gained from incorporating ideas from functional medicine into your everyday life and your day to day habits.
Is CBD Considered Functional Medicine?
Since functional medicine tries to get to the root cause of disease, rather than merely treating symptoms with traditional pharmaceuticals, using CBD is a great example of functional medicine at work. For many, CBD can work to ease symptoms such as inflammation in people suffering from conditions like chronic pain and autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Will Cole of the Institute for Functional Medicine says, “For some, CBD has truly been the missing link in their health puzzle.” He goes on to say that not only does he recommend CBD to his patients, but he also uses it himself! Dr. Cole points out how reducing inflammation can have other benefits such as reduced anxiety and reduced ‘brain fog’. He points to CBD as an effective, natural alternative to traditional treatments.
CBD goes beyond helping treat physical ailments, and can also have positive effects on mental health. The endocannabinoid system plays an essential role in regulating levels of serotonin and cell growth. CBD boosts the body’s natural ability to improve these functions, making it a useful part of a medical approach that accounts for all elements of wellness and vitality. Incorporating CBD into your everyday routine can have many positive effects, and ones that work to improve your sense of wellness as a whole.
There are many CBD products on the market, but quality matters. It’s important to look for CBD that has been made from organic hemp, and has been tested and verified for quality. Taking time and care to select the type of CBD product and the appropriate dose is key to incorporating it into your routine. Luckily, there are plenty of useful guides that can help you make the right choice.
The Ins and Outs of Functional Nutrition
Food is a major component in functional medicine and a key factor in learning to lead a healthier lifestyle. Functional nutrition is a way of eating that takes into account all of the body’s systems as a whole and works to incorporate all aspects of health when determining the kinds of things one should be eating. This method examines all aspects of an individual’s life and looks at things such as medical history, lifestyle habits, and also tests for nutrient deficiencies. Though how you should eat is different for everyone, there are a few principles functional nutrition generally recommends:
- eating nutrient dense foods and focusing on vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics
- avoiding toxins by choosing foods carefully
- focusing on eating high quality food
- focusing on gut health by fostering good bacteria
- being aware of your individual microbiome
- choosing foods that are more natural and less processed
Who Practices Functional Medicine?
Many doctors are becoming pioneers in this field that allows many people to lead happier, healthier lives. The Institute for Functional Medicine offers great resources for finding practitioners in your area. A quick search on the site provided me with scores of doctors who implement functional medicine in their practice.
Doctors like Dr. Kara Fitzgerald advocate for people to be treated by functional medicine practitioners because, “ Practitioners examine each patient’s lifestyle and unique biochemical factors to identify the underlying causes of their disease and find treatments that help return patients to optimal health.”
The Best Ways to Learn About Functional Medicine
When I first became interested in functional medicine, the vast amount of information about the topic seemed a little overwhelming. Luckily, there are many great tools out there that are perfect for those interested in getting started. Along with using CBD, learning about functional medicine is a great way to take the first step in taking control over your own health and quality of life. From books, to blogs, to podcasts, here’s a list of everything you need to start your journey to discovering functional medicine.
Functional Medicine Blogs
These blogs are great resources to add to your list of internet reading material. They contain new, relevant, and frequently updated information about functional medicine and are written by experts. These blogs make understanding many different elements of functional medicine simple, since they are written in an easy to understand manner, and are short enough that you can read most posts in just a few minutes.
Dr. Fitzgerald is a Connecticut based functional medicine practitioner and a prominent name in the field. Her blog contains many great posts for beginners who want to learn about a variety of topics related to functional medicine. Her blog is frequently updated and contains posts about everything from foods, to environmental factors, to parenting advice.
You may have seen Dr. Hyman on TV shows such as Dr. Oz and Good Morning America, where he helps teach viewers the benefits of practicing functional medicine. As one of the most recognized doctors in the field, he also runs an extensive blog that offers a plethora of information. The blog is informative, engaging, and offers video posts, articles, and recipes.
Dr. Lipman has centered his entire career around functional medicine. He says, “My method is simple – remove what is harmful and add what is beneficial”. His blog contains useful subcategories such as sleep, movement, nutrition, and relaxation, making it easy to find exactly the topic you’d like to learn more about.
Dr. Carnahan of Flatiron Functional Medicine has a blog that publishes new content each week. Topics range from how to reduce your exposure to toxins in your environment to how to improve gut and heart health. Her posts are informative yet easy to understand and digest.
Created by a team of functional medicine practitioners and dieticians, this blog is great for anyone who wants to read posts written from several expert viewpoints. Just like functional medicine itself, the blog focuses on all aspects of health from hormonal health issues to autoimmune advice.
Functional Medicine Books
These books are great resources to keep on your shelf ( or e-reader) for when you want to go over the basics of functional medicine. From learning about functional nutrition to treating chronic disease, these books cover several important topics related to functional medicine.
This book is a 101 guide to all things functional medicine. According to the author, in this book you’ll learn “how functional medicine assesses the interaction of nutrition, genetics, hormones, toxins, and infections to improve your health and overall longevity.” It’s a great read for anyone looking to broaden their overall knowledge.
Written by Dr. Cole of the Institute of Functional Medicine, whom I mentioned above, this book focuses on how reducing inflammation leads to a healthier life. Dr. Cole explains how food is a key factor in our health, and teaches readers how to change their diets in order to reduce inflammation. Eating is an important and enjoyable part of life and this book will change the way you look at food forever.
Written for both patients and practitioners, this book is a first-hand account of how functional medicine worked to heal the author. After her remarkable journey to health, the author shares her story with anyone and everyone interested in functional medicine. This book is an especially great resource for anyone who is suffering from a chronic disease and is seeking inspiration.
#4. The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life: by Jeffery Bland
In this book, the author examines how we’ve been looking at chronic disease all wrong. Rather than treating the cause, we’ve been masking the symptoms with expensive pharmaceutical drugs. In The Disease Delusion Dr. Bland explains and examines how functional medicine can lead to healthcare that is not only functional, but that also radically improve our overall quality of life. This book will make you think differently about disease and healthcare overall.
Functional Medicine Podcasts
Who doesn’t love a good podcast? These podcasts combine expert knowledge with interesting content to help you on your journey to becoming more familiar with the science behind functional medicine. Turn on one of these great podcasts as you cook dinner, exercise, or even on your daily commute to work.
As I mentioned before, Dr. Hyman is one the leading experts in the field of functional medicine, so it’s no surprise that he hosts a fantastic podcast. The podcast airs every Wednesday and he covers similar topics to those found on his blog. He also features guests who add their knowledge, expertise, and insight to the show. Dr. Hyman says that, “We need to rethink disease and reimagine a food system and a health care system that protects health, unburdens the economy from the weight of obesity and chronic disease, protects the environment, helps reverse climate change and creates a nation of healthy children and citizens. This podcast is a place for deep conversations about the critical issues of our time in the space of health, wellness, food and politics”.
Not only does Dr. Fitgerald keep up an incredible blog, but she also has a great podcast. This podcast is a great option for those looking to get into the deeper science behind functional medicine. The podcast airs once a month when Dr. Fitzgerald interviews a fellow expert. She tells listeners to, “Expect thought-provoking ideas, new research, lots of clinical pearls for practitioners and step-change information for consumers and patients.”
Kessler describes his podcast as a show that, “debunks mainstream myths on nutrition and health and delivers cutting-edge, yet practical information on how to prevent and reverse disease naturally”. As a self-proclaimed ‘health detective’ Kessler explorers questions and mysteries surrounding our health and explores how functional medicine can work to address them.
This podcast specifically focuses on functional medicine specifically for women and children. Dr. Romm tells listeners, “In this show I dish on everything from thyroid and hormone problems to the truth about antibiotics and vaccinations. With 30 years of natural medicine experience, on Natural MD Radio I bring you the health news you want to hear and a voice you trust.” The podcast has plenty of episodes so you won’t run out of new information when it comes to women’s and children’s health.
Dr. Drzyzga calls herself ‘The Functional Medicine Doc’ and for good reason. She combines her knowledge with guest doctors to create a podcast that is versatile and well-rounded. Topics range from mental health, to pain management, to how to choose skin care.
Whether you’ve been aware of the benefits of functional medicine for a while or are brand new to the subject, there are plenty of blogs, podcasts and books on functional medicine available to the public to help everyone learn. By using the resources above, you should have everything you need to get started on your journey to a more vital, wholesome, and happy lifestyle. By taking steps like changing your diet or incorporating CBD into your daily routine, there are many things you can do to start leading your healthiest life. With many experts out there to guide you, you won’t be alone on your journey. So spend some time reading, listening, and learning all the ways functional medicine can work for you!
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