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Functional Medicine with Dr. Niko Hall

6 years ago

Dr. Niko Hall is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Practitioner. His private practice is Santa Barbara Wellness For Life in Santa Barbara, California. He received his DC degree from the Southern California University of Health Sciences. Dr. Hall completed a postgraduate program to the University of Functional Medicine, becoming a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. He is currently working towards a diplomate in Clinical Nutrition from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. Dr. Hall uses Chiropractic Therapy to restore structural issues, functional diagnosis to identify dysfunction and clinical nutrition to restore health down to the cellular level. Dr. Hall creates a natural healthy solution to achieve long-term wellness.


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Functional Medicine with Dr. Niko Hall

Please welcome, Dr. Niko Hall.

How are you doing, Dr. Pecca? Thanks for having me on.

Niko, where are you from?

I am from Santa Barbara. I grew up in Los Angeles originally. I moved up here, high school days. I did my undergrad at Union College in upstate New York.

How did you like the East Coast, coming from the West Coast to the East Coast?

I liked it enough to move back to California. It was great experience for sure.

Is that a tough transition, going from West Coast to East?

Not too tough. A little colder but that’s about it.

What made you want to go to chiropractic school?

Funny thing is I actually found a job to work at a chiropractic office off of Craigslist while I was studying for the MCAT’s to go to medical school. I started working for him. After about a year of being there, I decided not to go to med school and to go into chiropractic school. Seeing patients who are excited to go to the office, who are getting healthier, getting off their prescription medications, losing the weight they want to lose, all these things in a stress-free environment, it was a no-brainer for me.

Were you familiar with chiropractic before?

After seeing it firsthand and experiencing it firsthand, I was a firm believer.

Not at all. I’d never been to a chiropractor. My dad was a surgeon and a physician. I grew up in that household of Western medicine. I didn’t have any experience with chiropractic. To be honest, at first I wasn’t quite sure of the validity of what they practiced. After seeing it firsthand and experiencing it firsthand, I was a firm believer. I decided to steer my career in that direction.

You have a specialty within the chiropractic field that we’re going to get into called functional medicine. I honestly don’t know too much about it. I know it does great things and just wonderful things for patients. Niko, what is functional medicine?

Functional medicine basically is not even really a specialty. Anybody can practice functional medicine; from your MDs to your osteopaths, naturopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors. Any healthcare practitioner can follow a functional medicine model. In general, there are a number of principles that make functional medicine unique. One of the core principles of functional medicine is the understanding that there’s dysfunction that precedes disease in the body. There are imbalances or things going on before a disease can be named and diagnosed in the body. Basically, our focus is on uncovering these underlying causes of dysfunction and then restoring the optimal functioning of the body; from the cellular level to the whole organ systems of the body.

How does it work? A new patient comes in, do you do blood panelling and blood test to see what they’re deficient in? How do you determine what the patient is deficient in?

As you know, all good healthcare starts with a thorough history. That’s drilled into us in school. I have a comprehensive history that the patient will fill up beforehand. I’ll review that history along with any lab work that they previously had. I liked that sent over to me to review that all. Then we’ll have that initial consult. We’ll go over any things that might be influencing their health, what their main healthcare goals are, what their main symptoms are, and then based on that, we’ll decide which course to take as far as ordering labs or which dietary supplements to take. Basically, from a clinical standpoint, there are three main roles of functional medicine in my practice. First one you could say is the prevention of disease and dysfunction. Here, identifying any risk factors in the patient’s life that should be reduced or avoided. These can include problematic foods, family history that might increase your chances of developing something, many environmental exposures whether this is pollution or stress, anything like that that’s influencing health. Another main role that we see is the early detection of disease and dysfunction. This is where a lot of those labs you just mentioned come in. After the focused history and physical exam, a good starting place is a Functional Chemistry Analysis. Essentially, we do a blood panel on steroids, I like to call it. We order 64 plus different markers and look at everything metabolically.

How many of those markers are on a standard blood test would you say?

The standard blood test: they’ll do a CBC, they’ll do lipids and they’ll do a basic metabolic which margins six or seven. The total might be twenty or so.

You said you’re doing 64 different analyses to get to the bottom of what’s going on with this patient?

We can look at them in patterns and recognize certain values being out in relation to each other.

Exactly. Even when we have all these values too, rather than looking at each value individually, we can look at them in patterns and recognize certain values being out in relation to each other and what that might suggest. In addition to just looking at the lab values based on the lab ranges, the lab ranges are established, they take the average of all the patients that are coming in to their lab to get their blood results done. Then they get two standard deviations in each direction. That’s what their lab range is. If you think about it, who’s getting their lab work done more? It’s probably sick people. They’re taking the average of all these sick people and getting their range based on that. In functional medicine, we actually look at a different range. It’s the optimal range which reduces the patient’s risk of developing a certain condition. We apply those to the lab results rather than just the lab range.

You’re looking at the other end of the spectrum, what the optimal should be.

It’s the optimal ranges. They’re more defined and refined to actually have clinical effect. Not just say, “You have this disease. Take this medication.” It’s establishing a risk and preventive options for the patient. Along with that, the Functional Blood Analysis, functional medicine is very ingrained in evidence-based practices and pursuing the most recent research and scientific literature. Along with that, there have been some awesome tests that have come out in the last decade that really allow us to look into underlying physiology in patients. One, you can do digestive and gastrointestinal assays, do a stool analysis that identifies all sorts of different bacteria, yeasts, fungus, viruses in the stool and compares the ratios of those. You can look at digestive markers for enzyme function, a whole host of things. We can measure hormones in salivary assays. Basically it’s just the saliva test but you can measure the patient’s hormone levels there if that’s an issue.

A test I just started using that I really like is through SpectraCell Labs. It’s a micronutrient test. With a typical blood test, say you want to measure vitamin and minerals, it’s measuring the serum concentrations of those. For example, B12, they’ll measure it in the blood and they say high or low. A lot of that depends on, did you have vitamin B12 that morning? It’s water soluble. If you take some, it’s going to increase your blood levels. What this test does is it measures the intracellular, inside of the cell, concentrations of all the vitamins, all the minerals, number of amino acids, antioxidants, all these great information that tells us exactly, does the cell have the nutrients it needs to function how it should function?

I have a question for you and I just want your opinion. How many diseases and just sicknesses do you think would go away in our modern society if people strictly just change what they were eating?

Just diet, I’d say 80%.

I would say the same. You get the blood panel and everything back. What’s the next step that you take with that patient?

What we’ll do is we’ll make a functional diagnostic report. With that panel, it’ll come with a description of what all the markers are, what they mean, where they fall on those markers for the lab range, and where they fall for the optimal range. They’ll send the patient the report. They can review it. If they have any questions based on any of the markers, they’ll have those to ask me at our next follow-up to review the results with them.

They go to the follow-up. Do you put everybody on supplementation? How does that work?

To some degree, some people should. There are the foundational supplements that everybody should really be taking: high quality Omega-3s, you want your B vitamins, vitamin D. In today’s society, we’re really being bombarded with the chemical soup of pollutants and toxins and stressors. Our capability of handling this increase in amount, this toxic burden has not quite caught up with the burden we’re putting on ourselves. You want to support antioxidant systems, liver detoxification, things like that, with N-Acetylcysteine and other antioxidants as well. Basically, it’s just vitamins and minerals. Basically, with the results of the tests, we’ll make lifestyle recommendations. Are they under a high amount of stress? Do they need to do breathing exercises, relaxation techniques? We’ll look at certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

You do forms of meditations as well too?

100%. Even just twenty minutes of meditation a day can actually change the expression of your genetics to a less inflammatory state. It can decrease homocysteine, have all sorts of beneficial effects just by deep breathing twenty minutes a day. It’s very cool stuff. In addition to lifestyle modifications, we’ll include therapeutic exercises for structural support, chiropractic’s there of course. The funny thing I like to say is that chiropractic is essentially a functional medicine approach to structural issues. I like how there are so much similarities between functional medicine and chiropractic. You talk about innate in chiropractic. The body has the ability to heal itself. Same principle in functional medicine, you want to add to the body what is lacking and remove what’s impeding it from being to where it needs to be. With that, chiropractic obviously, you want to remove the subluxation that’s impacting nervous system function. In functional medicine, what we’re going to do is identify any imbalance. Maybe it’s an overgrowth of bacteria. You remove that to allow the body to start functioning how it should again.

That’s where functional medicine comes in so beautifully because you can remove the interference in a patient in the nervous system and it can be completely gone, but people are also putting themselves at such an unfair advantages just by what they’re eating: McDonald’s, Wendy’s, all these inflammatory foods. You can put everybody back into alignment but there are so many other factors going against them that it’s tough for chiropractic to do that alone. What you said with nutrition and meditation and exercising, that is a huge factor for healing as well.

That was one thing that turned me on to functional medicine in the first place. We are ingrained that innate philosophy in chiropractic school. By learning about these other things that we can do to help our patients get better outcomes in other aspects of their life, it just made sense to pursue that as well. There are sometimes patients that I don’t even adjust sometimes because they see another chiropractor but they come to me for other issues.

What do people see you strictly for functional medicine? They’ll come into your office. What are some of the common things you see them come in for?

Most common complaints, you have the fatigue and blood sugar dysregulation. Other complaints would be gastrointestinal things, food sensitivities. I’m seeing more and more people who are reacting to various foods that they never reacted to before. You have to address dysbiosis and GI dysfunction there.

Does the blood testing show what they’re sensitive to and what they should stay away from?

Typically if somebody has food sensitivity there’s going to be dysbiosis in their gut. They’re not naturally sensitive to that food.

A lot of people do these fancy tests to identify food sensitivities, for example. Typically if somebody has food sensitivity, there’s going to be dysbiosis in their gut. They’re not naturally sensitive to that food. There’s an underlying imbalance going on that’s making them more sensitive to that food. They can get these tests back and they might have a leaky gut for example, increased permeability where they’re reacting to all these foods. It’s not because they’re genetically susceptible to these foods. It’s because of leaky gut. They’ll spend $600, $700 on this test, come back, “I can’t eat 30, 40 different foods.” If you heal the leaky gut, you should be able to eat all those foods, no problem.

The gold standard that we use in my office for food sensitivities is just starting with elimination diet, cutting out the common food allergens, going on a Paleo-Mediterranean type anti-inflammatory diet. If the patient wants to reintroduce dairy down the line, we’ll have them eat dairy for all three meals that day and then stop. See how they respond for the next few days. If there’s no issues, no inflammation, anything like that, they’re probably okay with the dairy. Again, if there’s any dysbiosis, leaky gut, then you really have to remove all that stuff and focus on healing that before you can run any sensitivity panels.

Can you touch on how important gut health is?

It was Hippocrates that said, “All disease begins in the gut.” It’s pretty important.

Do you know what the percentage is? Like 90% of our immune system is in the gut or something?

Yeah, up to 70 to 80. I know 90% of our serotonin is produced in the gut. That’s another one most people don’t know about either, which is pretty impressive. The gut health is everything. If I ever encounter a patient where they have all these symptoms, all these issues and it’s hard to really pinpoint what the cause is, 99% of the time, you start with the gut, everything’s going to clear up.

What can diminish gut health and gut flora and all that?

You touched on it; standard American diet is probably the number one cause, just all this inflammatory foods, junk foods, refined carbohydrates, starches, sugars. Not eating a balanced diet is a big one too. With our microbiome, you want to promote diversity more than anything. You’re going to get the diversity by feeding a diverse range of bacteria. Eating just one type of food, say you eat a lot of protein and some carbs, but you eat that all the time without veggies, you’re going to be causing an overgrowth of one type of bacteria. You want a balanced diet, plenty of vegetables, basically a whole foods plant-based diet. Weston A. Price, it’s a really good diet to look into for that. The GAPS diet is really good as well for gut health. As far as other things, GMOs are a huge one too. There are all sorts of studies out there that show issues with it.

What about people taking antibiotics with a common cold? That punishes gut health, right?

I get that antibiotics are necessary sometimes but when you’re taking it for a cold, the cold’s going to basically run its course in the amount of time it’s going to take the antibiotic to help. When you’re doing the antibiotics too, you’re impacting the immune system so you’re going to be more susceptible by knocking down the good bugs as well. How many MDs prescribe a certain probiotic after their antibiotic? None probably.

Right now, we’re talking about how gut health gets diminished and how our immune system is mostly in our gut. How do you build it back up to health? What are some good things that people can take to build up that healthy bacteria and get their immune system firing again?

From a food standpoint, bone broth is really good for gut health. You can either use it to make your soups in your stews or you can just do quarter cup, half a cup in the morning with your breakfast. It’s excellent nutrients for the gut. It provides all the food that your enterocytes or gut cells need. The good news about restoring gut health is enterocytes, they turn over every three days. They’re the most rapid reproducing cells in the body. As long as you’re giving it the right nutrition and removing the problems from it, it’s pretty quick to repair in most cases. If there’s a pathology issue, it can take longer. Some actually say six months to a year on average to really reverse some serious dysfunction. But they are quick to turnover. As far as supplementation goes, glutamine is a big one. There’s a lot of research out there supporting glutamine as far as rebuilding the enterocytes. Again, that’s basically just food for gut cells. As far as soothing the lining and rebuilding that mucilaginous layer that protects the rest of the body from coming into contact with pathogenic bacteria or other toxins is DGL. It’s a form of Licorice. Marshmallow is really good too. It’s an extract from marshmallow.

What about this guy right here, Kombucha?

Kombucha is good for gut patients that are having issues. I have them avoid them it at first because it can be high in histamines which can add to leaky gut, but down the line, absolutely. With probiotics, it’s a good source for that for sure. Any kind of fermented vegetables are great too. You really want to start fermenting veggies yourself if you get into that. If you go to the store, you’ll buy some fermented foods. It will say, “1 billion, 2 billion CFU of probiotics. That’s so much.” That’s really nothing. When you’re fermenting yourself, you’re getting them the trillions of beneficial bacteria. It’s significant.

I’m also curious because you can probably treat brain fog, headaches, and just brain health in general. That’s huge. What’s your stance on just optimizing brain function and brain health and clarity? What would you say to people to get that going?

The functional medicine standpoint, first we’re going to address what’s contributing to the brain fog.

The brain is so sensitive to different issues. The functional medicine standpoint, first we’re going to address what’s contributing to the brain fog, what’s slowing down this person’s cognitive function? Is it an inflammation in the gut causing permeability that’s crossing the blood brain barrier, creating inflammation there? Is it adrenal fatigue where they just don’t have the energy to sustain brain function? Is it an autoimmune condition in the brain? There are so many different factors that impact brain health. Finding that out is number one. After you do that, aside from that, just general support for the brain. You really want to be taking Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA. A high DHA to EPA ratio is really good for brain health. There are other factors too if you want to get into neurotransmitters and those pathways. After an exam, if we find a patient to be deficient in acetylcholine, we’ll supplement the precursors for acetylcholine and the cofactors needed to assimilate and use it. That can significantly impact memory.

Can you tell people what the significance of Acetylcholine is?

It’s a neurotransmitter in the brain that’s an excitatory neurotransmitter that helps with all regions of the brain really, if you want to retain memories or learning cognitive development. Anything like that, Acetylcholine comes into play. It’s a messenger molecule in the brain.

How do you feel about the ketogenic diet?

With the ketogenic diet, I really only reserve that diet to put on patients with overt dysglycemia, meaning if there is blood sugar imbalance. Part of the panel that I run on patients, we check HbA1c which is a glycosylated form of hemoglobin, which means it’s a hemoglobin which is part of your red blood cell that has a sugar attached to it. Hemoglobin lives about three months. It’s a three months snapshot of the average level of sugar in your blood. If this is above a certain number, obviously the patient is having issues processing that sugar. In that case, I would put them on a ketogenic diet to help.

Can you just breakdown what the ketogenic diet is real quick too for those just curious?

Basically, you want to go into ketosis. Essentially, you’re going to cut out all carbs and sugars. You’re going to do mostly vegetables, some fruits that are going to be low glycemic fruits and proteins and fats; primarily proteins, fats, and vegetables. No carbohydrates at all. People think, “Whole grain bread is totally healthy.” But some whole grain bread’s one slice has more sugar than a Snickers bar. That’s all it is, carbohydrates or sugars, just not broken down yet.

Even in the ketogenic diet, they even say the fatty meats are better because your body is burning fat instead of sugar. I did it for three weeks one time. I was eating a lot of red meat with fat on it, bacon, avocado, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, all that. I felt really great. Any strict diet’s tough to follow. I did it for three weeks and I felt great. I didn’t feel like keeping to do it but I did feel good on it.

It’s a great way to reverse the process of your body requiring sugar for energy and reversing the fat for energy, which it should be doing. Our ancestors, they didn’t have all the sugar stuff to get them through the day. They were eating animal fats and vegetables, protein sources like that. Switching that physiology over, sometimes you need to just cut it all out and give it time. It can be really hard at first for people who are used to eating carbohydrates, but over time the body will eventually begin burning fat for fuel rather than requiring sugar. Something I tell patients too that gives them a little bit more encouragement, because it can be difficult to make these changes, is once your body creates a fat cell, that fat cell never goes away. They can get smaller as it uses lipids that are in the fat cell but that specific cell once it’s created through lipogenesis it never goes away. Knowing that and how many fat cells they’ve built to this point, we don’t want to build anymore. Let’s make the ones that we have smaller. We do that by introducing a ketogenic diet, restoring the blood sugar balance and going from there.

Your brain feeds off fat too. That’s really good for brain health and everything.

Glucose as well, but your body makes glucose out of vegetables. You don’t need to eat the carbohydrates to get it. It might not be used to that if you’ve been eating glucose for a while. It goes back down to reversing that physiological process. It needs fat. Our brain is made primarily out of cholesterol. You need that cholesterol. Cholesterol is not bad. Cholesterol is totally good. There’s even research out there that shows people with low cholesterol have much more significant risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s down the road than people with high cholesterol.

I’ve been looking at a couple articles lately. I feel like most people are saying these days that the worst thing for you is sugar. One of the worst things for you is sugar. Can you just touch on that?

The reason why it’s considered the worst thing for you is its distribution and prevalence in everybody’s diets every day. You pick up anything on the shelf at the grocery store, it’s going to be loaded with sugar. There are a couple of reasons that it’s the worst thing for you. Let’s talk about the inflammatory component really quick with the sugar. What happens is when you eat sugar and it spikes your blood sugar level, if all that blood sugar doesn’t get into your cells right away, it’s going to float around in the body. What it does is it glycates, which means it attaches to different proteins and lipids, and this process creates what we call AGEs. They’re advanced glycation end products. Basically, what this do is it causes premature aging, developing or worsening degenerative diseases like diabetes, atherosclerosis, contributes to chronic kidney disease, contributes to Alzheimer’s Disease, all these issues because the body is getting too much sugar that it can’t handle.

Once we get the sugar in the cell, what it does is it triggers the mitochondria, the cell’s energy power horse, to produce ATP. That’s what we use for energy. A by-product of ATP being produced is a reactive oxygen species or free radical. This is totally normal. When we’re getting tons of sugar in the cell producing tons of ATP, getting people through the day, they’re getting fatigued by 4:00, you drink a sugar-y drink. They’re pumping out all these free radicals. The body should be able to handle them to an extent but not that extent. Glutathione is the body’s main antioxidant that it produces to eliminate free radicals. Normally, there’s no problem. Your body can make billions of these molecules. But when they’re overburdened like this or when you start aging or you’re exposed to environmental toxins, the glutathione’s busy dealing with all these other issues that are going on. It doesn’t’ need to be dealing with your chronic sugar intake that you’re doing. That oxidative stress is going to start damaging other things too.

One of the most sensitive parts of the cell to oxidative stress from these free radicals is what’s called the endoplasmic reticulum.

One of the most sensitive parts of the cell to oxidative stress from these free radicals is what’s called the endoplasmic reticulum. This is where our enzymes are made. If you get these reactive oxygen species damaging your endoplasmic reticulum because there’s not enough glutathione to keep up with the sugar burden, your cell’s going to be dysfunctional. The enzymes are needed for a certain chemical reaction so your cells just aren’t going to work anymore. We know that all health and disease really begins and ends at the cellular level.

Can you touch on, since we’re talking about free radicals and everything, the importance of getting antioxidants into your diet and what they do to the free radicals?

It’s huge. I mentioned it earlier how we’re walking around in a chemical soup these days. Our livers are overburdened. Antioxidants essentially bind to these free radicals and make them not reactive anymore. Essentially, quick chemistry here, free radical is basically oxygen with a lone electron on it that’s looking to bind to some other molecule. That can be the lining in your arterioles and that damages your arteriole. Anywhere it’s going to go, it’s going to create damage. It’s reactive. An antioxidant is basically a molecule that binds to that free radical and eliminates it and makes it no longer reactive.

What are some foods that are high in antioxidants?

Any vegetables are really high in antioxidants. All your vitamins, your A, vitamin C, vitamin E. N-acetyl-cysteine’s a really good one. Any heavy plant-based diet, you’re going to be getting loads of antioxidants in there.

We did talk about inflammation and everything. What are some foods that reduce inflammation? We talked about what caused it, but what are some good foods that can definitely decrease inflammation in the body?

As far as foods go, any of the curcumins and turmerics. What I like about turmeric and curcumin is that it works on the genetic level. You have genes that are turned on that promote inflammation that are turned on by inflammation. It’s a feed forward loop. Alternatively, you have genes that are anti-inflammatory that when acted on, they turn off the pro-inflammatory genes and stop the release and stop that cycle. Curcumin acts on those anti-inflammatory genes, turning them on and turning the pro-inflammatory genes off. Turmeric’s a great one. Milk thistle’s really good. Green tea is good too. If you’re talking inflammation, just cut out the inflammatory stuff, that’s number one.

You’re better off subtracting it from your diet than just keep eating the bad stuff and trying to counteract it with the good stuff. Dr. Hall, is there any other information you want to get out there or touch on that we haven’t touched on yet?

Coming back to what functional medicine is, what it does, it was born out of the lack of ability for mainstream Western medicine to deal with these chronic lifestyle related diseases. Acute care, it’s great. The whole tenant of “a pill for every ill” doesn’t work with heart disease, doesn’t work with these degenerative disorders, doesn’t work with Alzheimer’s. All these conditions are lifestyle-related, which means they’re preventable. People just need to have the right resources, the right direction and the right help to find what works for them. Another thing with functional medicine is that it’s so individualized. You can’t just have a protocol for this condition for every patient. Part of that really in-depth history is identifying what that specific need is for that patient. To compare the functional medicine approach to the Western medicine approach, we said Western medicine is more disease-oriented. It’s a pill for every ill. They tell patients, “You have this disease,” whereas functional medicine, it’s patient-centered. We ask what patient has a disease not what disease does the patient have to truly address that.

Unfortunately, most of the patients that we see have been in the Western medical realm for so long. By the time they get to us, especially in neurological degenerative diseases, it’s tough to flip the script and get them healthy again. It does happen occasionally. That’s why a podcast and the internet are so good because if people would seek this stuff out first when it first comes on, they would have a better chance of success and healing rate than going the standard medical route, taking a pill for everything. I’m not saying that there’s not a necessity for that because there is.

There’s a growing need for primary care providers in the US with all MDs going into specialties now. Functional medicine is really designed to be the ultimate primary care provider. You’re going to look at everything from preventative standpoint. If they do actually have a condition then we’ll refer them for a surgical consultation, for a pharmaceutical intervention but not until it’s absolutely necessary. Doing this first, going from a prevention standpoint would save the US billions of dollars every year in healthcare cost. It would reduce the amount of suffering. It would reduce incidences of all these chronic lifestyle related diseases. It just makes too much sense not to be implemented in every city across the US.

What’s the dynamic now at these functional medicine seminars? Is it still mostly chiropractors and a couple DOs? Or do you see the dynamic changing?

It’s a pretty good mix. The ones that I’ve gone to recently, there’s been a lot of acupuncturists out. The last one I went to, I sat between a medical doctor and a naturopath. It’s cool to bounce ideas and our own experiences with patients off of each other and how functional medicine really can be administered by any healthcare provider out there. They just need to be open to it. It does take a little bit more work. I’m always trying to find new research articles out there. That’s part of it, it makes it fun.

The research is constantly changing in that department too. You definitely have to stay on top of your stuff.

That’s probably one of the biggest issues with Western medicine, is they’re just so slow to catch on.

That’s probably one of the biggest issues with Western medicine, is they’re just so slow to catch on. It takes on average 18 to 25 years for new research to be implemented in the clinical setting in hospitals. Do you want to wait around 25 years when that Omega-3s could help you with Alzheimer’s? It’s just crazy. If anybody wants to do any more reading on functional medicine, there’s a great book called The Disease Delusion by Dr. Jeffrey Bland. He’s considered the father of functional medicine. Great book to pick up.

What kind of practitioner was he?

I believe he was a medical doctor. Great book, explains what we were just talking about, the principles and the foundations of functional medicine. It goes into approaches that you can take to start implementing better lifestyle habits. He reviews a lot of research in there too about everything from how spiritual, having a sense of spirit and purpose in life actually reduces mortality in people. It addresses every aspect of health and what you can do to improve that.

Obviously, if you’re listening right now, Dr. Hall is a wealth of knowledge on nutrition. If you’re having any dietary deficiencies or issues, great guy to go to. He’s in the Santa Barbara area. Doc, what’s your website and everything where people can find you on the internet?

It’s just I do phone consults and telemedicine, it’s what they’re calling it these days. I have patients in New York, DC, even a patient in Germany. We can do a consult over the phone, start filling out that paperwork and decide what testing is best for you, whether you have a condition that you’ve been struggling with, you’re not getting the help that you want or you just want to run the panel and see where you’re at as far as prevention goes, where you stand right now. It really can be for everyone.

That makes so much sense. You can actually do consultations with people across the world with this. They send you their blood work and then you start the process from there and then you can coach them on what to do from there. Is that how that works?

Along with the history, I’ll recommend blood work. Outside of the country, it’s a little more difficult because they don’t have the same labs that we do that I’m already set up with. Essentially, they need to go to their doctor and get the blood work and then send it to me. Anywhere across the US, if it’s a specialty kit testing for a stool sample, we mail that out to them. If it’s any lab work, the labs that we use are national labs so they’re in every major city in the US.

Dr. Hall, you’re doing some amazing work. I really appreciate you coming on here. It’s always a pleasure catching up with you.

I’m glad you had me. Thanks again.

I’d love to do a functional medicine 2.0 sometime in the near future. If you have new research comes out and you have anything you want to share, get in touch. I’d love to have you on again.

Maybe if any of your listeners have a topic in mind: brain health, GI health, autoimmune, inflammation, anything like that, we can delve deeper really into specific strategies they can implement in their life now to address those problems.

Niko, thank you.

Thanks, Kevin.

You’re welcome.

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