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What 12 Leaders Are Saying About Functional Medicine

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Image depicts the insight from top functional medicine experts.
Guiding Well-Being reveals what top experts are saying about functional medicine, the future of medicine.

Mark Hyman, MD is Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Web site:

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE is the future of conventional medicine–available now. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership.

It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

Andrew Weil, MD merged his Harvard education with decades of integrative medicine, creating an approach to life that fully cares for the body, mind and spirit. He serves as the Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, which trains health care providers from around the world in treating the whole patient.

Web site:

As a practitioner and teacher of integrative medicine for the last thirty years, it has been my personal mission to drive research, education, and clinical practice to advance a philosophy of health that addresses mind, body and spirit. I believe that integrative medicine is the future of medicine and health care.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra, MD, F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T. is considered to be one of the top preventive cardiologists in America; he embraces conventional treatments along with alternative, individualized therapies. He says when it comes to the real nuts and bolts of staying healthy, two of the best things you can do are to keep your inflammation down and eliminate sugar.

HeartMD Institute:

Let me clear the deck right at the start. I don’t believe in the conventional medical theory that cholesterol is the primary cause of heart disease, nor that saturated fats are bad for you. My Recommendation: Like everything else, you want balance in your diet, and you want the right fat, and that includes (not excludes) saturated fat.

Ronald Hoffman, MD is recognized as America’s foremost pioneer of complementary and alternative medicine. He founded the Hoffman Center in 1985, which is one of New York’s first comprehensive practices for the delivery of innovative medical care. He is the host of the nationally-syndicated radio show Intelligent Medicine – one of the longest-running radio talk shows hosted by a physician. The radio shows/podcasts cover topics such as innovations in high-tech medicine, diet and nutrition, supplements, lifestyle and exercise. He advocates for common sense nutrition.

From Articles/podcasts:

As never before, you as a consumer need to be forearmed, lest you succumb to cookie-cutter care.

… utilizing a holistic approach to identifying and eliminating dietary allergies can put an individual on the right path to optimum wellness. By examining associated conditions, analyzing the present diet, keeping a food diary, eliminating possible allergens, starting a rotation diet, enhancing digestion and practicing stress reduction techniques, one can solve a problem that affects over 60% of the population.

So, remember, what is a normal healthy wholesome food for one individual, can cause allergies in another individual. One person's food can truly be another person's poison.

The next time you plan a meal or reach for a snack, ask yourself, is my diet making me sick?

Jill Carnahan, MD understands the critical role that nutrition plays in fighting disease first-hand. She survived cancer in her 20s and beat Crohn’s disease by eating whole foods and taking supplements. She looks for the triggers that contribute to illnesses.

Recent article/blog:

I believe environmental toxicity is one of the biggest contributors to the rise in chronic illness today. And yet, because doctors don’t really learn about chronic toxic burden in medical school, it’s now become somewhat of an elephant in the room.

The fact of the matter is when it comes to toxicity we mostly understand when it’s acute – when it causes sudden and definitive symptoms. However, most toxin exposures are chronic, involve more than one toxin, and happen after years, even decades of accumulation. This accumulation overloads the body’s detox mechanisms and causes symptoms such as: fatigue, memory disturbance, sleep issues and headaches.

Over time, if the environmental toxicity and detox pathways aren’t addressed, the toxic burden can lead to conditions like: cancer, autoimmune disease and neurodegenerative disease.

In my personal practice, I’ve seen the devastating effects of environmental toxin exposure. Because the symptoms are chronic and multi-system, it can lead to a perplexing situation for both the patient and the practitioner. I found the best method for helping a patient with a chronic condition is to reduce their levels of toxin exposure and improve detoxification to bring down their toxic burden.

Amy Myers, MD believes inflammation is the root cause of most diseases. When diagnosed with Graves’ disease, she experienced overactive thyroid, panic attacks, muscle weakness, tremors, and was underweight.

After intense health struggles, she turned to functional medicine, and discovered how food, gut problems and heavy metals contributed to her thyroid autoimmunity condition. Dr. Myers is the creator of the Autoimmune Solution, a diet and lifestyle program to help reverse autoimmune diseases.

Bulletproof radio interview:

I spent a lot of time researching for alternatives and couldn’t find any and ultimately had my thyroid ablated with the radioactive iodine so I don’t have a thyroid now.

Then eventually met Mark Hyman and found functional medicine and kind of realized that even though conventional medicine solved my disease so to speak by blowing up my thyroid, if I never really got down to those root causes, I was leaving myself wide open to some other form of autoimmunity.

You’re three times more likely to get another autoimmune disease once you already have one and if I didn’t deal with my diet, and my leaky gut, and all those heavy metals and toxins, and infections, and stress that I was just leaving myself open to something else. I then really spent the next several years diving into myself and then eventually opened my own functional medicine clinic working with people from all over the world with autoimmunity and thyroid dysfunction.

Mehmet Oz, MD is a cardiothoracic surgeon and teaches at Columbia University, however, he first became “famous” during his appearances as a health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show. His commitment is to health and helping patients get better. He has encouraged many Americans to think a bit more about their health. He embraces alternative medicine and willingly seeks out natural approaches.


I believe that the future of medicine is all about challenging misconceptions. To achieve the highest possible standard of wellness, the medical community should consider all aspects of healing and treatments, including those that may not be mainstream. The therapies of alternative medicine date back hundreds of years.

David Perlmutter, MD is a Board-Certified Neurologist and four-time New York Times bestselling author; he serves on the Board of Directors and is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He is a very unique neurologist who understands the connection between gut health and what happens in the brain. He advocates – avoid gluten entirely, take probiotics and follow a Mediterranean-style diet. In Dr. Perlmutter’s #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain, he discusses the devastating effects of gluten, sugar, and carbs on the brain and body.


And as it relates to things in my field, like autism, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, depression, you name it, I think that we’ve got a long way to go to really raising the bar in terms of public understanding that things that we choose to do in our lives—the food that we choose to eat, for example—these choices play huge roles in determining whether our brain will be healthy and functioning well. Or we’ll succumb to a potentially lethal issue.

Frank Lipman, MD is a psychiatrist in New York, New York and is affiliated with NYU Langone Hospitals. As a medical student, Dr. Lipman was taught to focus on the disease, not the patient. It’s no surprise that he found himself treating symptoms and not the root cause of illness. This frustration led him to explore other areas like nutrition, Chinese medicine, and meditation; he founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, allowing him to combine his appreciation for modern medicine with the healing techniques from the East.

Web site:

I believe that we all have the ability to live a healthy and vital life. As a leader in Functional Medicine, I practice what I call Good Medicine; an appropriate blend of cutting-edge, modern medicine with age-old healing techniques from the East so that together we can create your own personal health care plan.

My method is simple – remove what is harmful and add what is beneficial. This integrative approach takes into account your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing.

David Brownstein, MD is a Board-Certified family physician and is one of the foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is the Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success in using natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice to treat the whole person. He has written many books and provides knowledge to help us all achieve our optimal health Dr. Brownstein believes that holistic medicine will be the medicine for the 21st century.

Web site:

The major health problems affecting Americans and nearly all Western citizens are not due to a lack of prescription drugs. These health problems are primarily caused by lifestyle choices. I think the most critical lifestyle choice we face every day is what we will eat.

Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac is one of the most respected clinicians and educators in the field of functional medicine and ancestral health, Paleo nutrition and integrated medicine. He is the author Unconventional Medicine and The Paleo Cure. He has trained health professionals around the world. He is the creator of the ADAPT Practitioner and Health Coach Training Programs. He is the Co-director of the California Center for Functional Medicine, and a New York Times bestselling author.

Web site, books / interviews:

If you have one of the many chronic health problems that people suffer from today—such as IBS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune disease—you will likely be given a drug to manage your symptoms and not much else. The key to successfully treating these conditions, however, is addressing their underlying cause. This is the promise of functional and evolutionary medicine.

Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS is a doctor of chiropractic, certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. In 2008, he started a functional medicine center in Nashville, which grew to become one of the most renowned clinics in the world.

He is also founder of one of the most popular natural health websites in the world. Dr. Axe recounts how his mother's health crisis propelled him into a career in natural medicine; he describes how a "leaky gut" can be the antecedent to many challenging disorders, and how normal intestinal permeability can be restored.

Book Excerpt:

I can’t tell you how grateful I feel for my mother’s health—she is and will always be my greatest inspiration. Those awful months of pain and agony she endured when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer were what made me decide to become a doctor.

And the experience of helping her heal her leaky gut—and subsequently overcome her hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, depression, and cancer—crystallized my life’s mission as a medical professional. To me, her vibrant health makeover perfectly epitomizes the power of full-body healing that can take place when you first heal your gut.

The protocol that she followed, the same approach I’ve used with thousands of patients, forms the backbone of the Eat Dirt program.

If you would like to learn more about Functional Medicine or if you have questions about this article, please give me a call at 614 848 9687. Let's set up a 15-minute free consultation!

Resources / Article Excerpts from

Josh Axe

Chris Kressler

Dave Ausprey Bulletproof interviews

Physician’s personal web sites

Physician blogs and podcast transcripts, book excerpts

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