Dr Jeff and Heather Nielsen attended the Annual International Conference for the IFM (Institute for Functional Medicine) in June 2023 out in Orlando, Florida. Thanks to our TEAM for covering the office so we could be away, learning the latest science to bring into practice for our clients and community!!! 

Here are a few of the most EXCITING takeaways that you – our clients – can benefit from!! 


An Amazing Gut Health Discovery

Akkermansia is a “Keystone Bacteria” for the mucin layer of the GI tract. This means that it creates an intact, protective barrier to keep the mucosa in good health. Why is this really so important from a Functional Wellness perspective? Basically this is a fundamental component of healing leaky gut!  Another beautiful thing – it is a key producer of small chain fatty acids. Small chain fatty acids (SCFA) get converted to Butyrate. These small chain fatty acids help with glucose regulation. Butyrate circulates throughout our body. Potent natural anti inflammatory AND helps us metabolize glucose. This is in part why healing leaky gut reduces inflammation and improves metabolism. Akkermansia is something we naturally have, but 

Additionally, akkermansia has valuable immune activating effects.  A new company, co-owned by the actor Halle Berry, is Pendulum Health. Hally’s personal journey with diabetes 

A current health fad is to use Ozempic and other GLP-1 agonists (semaglutide) for weight loss. This is a workaround, NOT a root cause resolution. Akkermansia itself has been linked with an increase in GLP-1 – THIS addressed the root cause of the insulin resistance and weight gain. Super Exciting!! 

Now we have the ability to measure this keystone bacteria. It is an anaerobe – it can’t survive in an environment where there is ANY oxygen, so it’s been difficult to find a way to make it stable so it can be used as a probiotic. Advanced technology has resulted in a unique delivery method for this essential bacteria. 

There’s a new company, Pendulum, that has created the highest-quality probiotic supplementation to address these root cause imbalances. SUPER EXCITING! 


Toxins and Autoimmune Disease

Dr. Aly Cohen, a functional rheumatologist, gave a talk about the role of environmental toxins in autoimmune disease. This makes so much sense to us, as the rise in autoimmunity since Dr. Jeff graduated from medical school in 1992 has been exponential and largely unexplained. Dr. Cohen offers three key pointers – simple but not so easy. Clean Air. Clean Water. Clean Food. 

One specific suggestion for clean food is to avoid anything from a can with BPA in its lining. Almost all cans are lined with this endocrine-disrupting  

There are over 95,000 chemicals that are legal to use in our country that are KNOWN to have detrimental effects on our health. This of course seems mind bogglingly ridiculous to us, so political activism can be helpful to address the systemic issues AND protecting ourselves where we can is the best thing. 

As we constantly remind ourselves and our clients – in the big picture, please create a daily mindset around practicing “less toxins in, more toxins out.” This can feel incredibly daunting, so take it in baby steps.  Ex: of Less Toxins IN: get a high quality air filter for your  home, especially if you live in an area with frequent wildfires or poor air quality. We love the Air Doctor and Molekule brands. Ex: of More Toxins OUT: make sure you are pooping every day – priority # 1!!!! If that’s all moving along well for you, another couple of easier practices are to have some type of cruciferous vegetables daily (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, cabbage to name a few). Also, a daily “sweating” practice – whether by exercising, sauna, or whatever method you choose. 

If you know you have a toxic overload, discuss this with your provider, as there are many additional metabolic detox and cleanses that can be incredibly helpful to keep toxin levels at a manageable level for your body, and minimize your risk of developing an autoimmune disease triggered by toxin overload. 


Benefits of Antioxidant Foods

Dr. Helen Messier MD/PhD discussed oxidative stress’s effects on oxidative health. You can actually measure nitric oxide levels in your body which can be important for the health of your endothelial glycocalyx – keeping this healthy can prevent kidney and heart disease as two examples. Anti-oxidants are essential!! We can focus on getting adequate antioxidant support through our daily colorful fruits and vegetables. 


Electrolyte Replacement We Love! 

LMNT electrolyte powder HSA/FSA eligible!  Electrolyte boosts can help so many different people and address various health issues. People with mold need additional electrolytes due in part to the hormone disruption from mold – including hormones that regulate fluid and electrolytes. Athletes and people using regular heat therapy who are sweating a lot definitely benefit from additional electrolytes. We sampled this powder and enjoyed several flavors. It’s available on Amazon or direct from their website. 


Quick Notes 

Tania Dempsy presented on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) – this has been increasingly associated with post-Covid syndrome as well as mold and other environmental toxin illnesses. 

Michael Snyder – Benefits of wearables. High quality research has been done! We are LOVING the Freestyle Libre for any of our clients interested in optimizing their blood glucose levels. Talk with your provider if you think the Libre might benefit you. Many other wearables can be helpful for sleep tracking, heart rate and HRV – heart rate variability- tracking. 


There was much much more we learned – plus, we had the true pleasure of connecting with our peers and colleagues in person for the first time in over 3 years!! But we hope you enjoy these brief takeaways.