In June 2018, I attended the annual Institute of Functional Medicine conference. I am a certified functional medicine practitioner by the IFM and attending is a way to keep up with the latest insights and treatments in the functional medicine field. The conference was devoted to the topic of autoimmunity. Autoimmune disease, which includes celiac disease and thyroiditis, is on the rise in the United States.
There were many wonderful physician speakers. The conference started off with Dr. Alessio Fasano, the celiac expert, talking about zonulin, which is released by the intestines after exposure to gluten and microbes, and which leads to leaky gut. He also stated that iron deficiency anemia that does not respond to iron is most likely celiac disease.
Another interesting talk was by Dr Steven Gundry, a cardiac surgeon. I had read Dr Gundry’s book, The Plant Paradox, and I can report that he sounds in person very much like he does in the book and is not afraid of being controversial. He spoke about the dangers of lectins in beans and other foods and how we should strive to eat 12 tablespoons of olive oil a day.
There was a thyroid panel consisting of authors Dr Datis Kharrazian, Dr Susan Blum and Dr Amy Meyers. All talked about the connection between the gut and dysbiosis and thyroiditis.
Dr Leonard Weinstock helped to educate me on mast cell activation syndrome and the uses of low dose naltrexone.
Finally, I listed to a lecture and picked up literature about a fasting-mimicking diet, which is supposed to give you the benefits of fasting in a 5-day period. I ordered a kit and plan to try it!
Jeanne Shiffman, MD