100 episodes

Functional Medicine Research with Dr. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C. covers cutting-edge research with practical health information that you can actually use in your life to understand your body and get healthy. Dr. Hedberg covers Functional Medicine, thyroid disorders, gut health, autoimmune disease, nutrition, hormones and much more. If you're tired of long-winded podcasts without useful information that actually works then this show is definitely for you.

Functional Medicine Research with Dr. Nikolas Hedberg Dr. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C. - Functional Medicine Researcher

    • Alternative Health
    • 4.7, 44 Ratings

Functional Medicine Research with Dr. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C. covers cutting-edge research with practical health information that you can actually use in your life to understand your body and get healthy. Dr. Hedberg covers Functional Medicine, thyroid disorders, gut health, autoimmune disease, nutrition, hormones and much more. If you're tired of long-winded podcasts without useful information that actually works then this show is definitely for you.

    What is the Best Diet for Your Gut Microbiome?

    What is the Best Diet for Your Gut Microbiome?

    It this episode of Functional Medicine Research, I interview Dr. Lucy Mailing in a discussion about the best diet for your gut microbiome.  We had a fascinating discussion focused on all of the different diets out there and how they affect the gut microbiome including the ketogenic diet, plant-based diets, high-fat, low FODMAP, and the autoimmune paleo diet.


    We also talked about fiber, protein, hydrogen sulfide, resistant starch, butyrate, gluten, lectins, stool testing, and whether or not you should take probiotics after taking antibiotics.  I think you'll find this conversation quite eye-opening about a number of exciting topics related to the gut micobiome.

    Below is a transcript on the best diet for your gut micobiome:

    Dr. Hedberg: Well, welcome, everyone to "Functional Medicine Research". I'm Dr. Hedberg and I'm really looking forward to my conversation today with Dr. Lucy Mailing, PhD. She is a microbiome researcher, educator and passionate scholar of integrative, evidence-based gut health. Lucy received her bachelors in biology from Kalamazoo College and her PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois where her graduate research focused on the impact of diet and exercise on the gut microbiota. She has authored numerous peer reviewed journal articles, regularly presents at national, international conferences and was named an emerging leader in nutritional sciences by the American Society for Nutrition in 2017. Lucy is the founder and sole author of lucymailing.com, a website dedicated to integrative, evidence-based articles about the gut microbiome, health and nutrition science.

    Dr. Mailing, welcome to the show.

    Dr. Mailing: Thanks so much for having me.

    Dr. Hedberg: Great. So you've done some great writing and research on some topics that a lot of people are interested in. That's why I wanted to have you on. So why don't we begin by really focusing on diet and the gut microbiota and what the research is really showing at this point? So why don't we start with one of the very popular diets out there which is the ketogenic diet and we can kind of lump in just the high-fat diet in general with that. So what can you tell us about high-fat diets, ketogenic diets and how it affects the gut microbiota?

    Dr. Mailing: Sure, yeah. That's a great place to start. I think one of the key things to keep in mind here is that we're still in the infancy of microbiome research and especially in our understanding of what constitutes a healthy microbiome. And we have certainly done a number of studies looking at how diet can impact the microbiome. A lot of this has been done in animal models where we can essentially really control the diet of the animals and determine what effects that has on their microbiome. So a lot of the studies with the high-fat diet in the literature are kind of misleading because they're labeled as a high-fat diet but they're really more accurately a diet that is very high in refined fats and also high in refined sugar and low in fiber. So we can't really take that and compare it to the equivalent of a very healthy, like a health-conscious ketogenic diet that's got lots of non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats. There's just really not much comparison we can make there.

    And the other thing is that the gut microbiome has really evolved with us, often in the context of periodic ketosis. So if we think about human evolution, we've been coevolving with our gut microbiome for thousands of generations. And the environment we evolved in required regular adaptation to changing conditions. When there was nutrient scarcity or even just carbohydrate ...

    • 59 min
    How to Overcome Trauma with EMDR

    How to Overcome Trauma with EMDR

    In this episode of Functional Medicine Research, I speak with therapist Martina Barnes about how EMDR can help people overcome trauma.  I have personally used EMDR with great success in overcoming trauma and I routinely refer for EMDR to help patients get well.  One of the most important aspects of practicing functional medicine is understanding how much trauma can be connected to chronic illness.  Many patients won't get well until they address their past and how it is affecting their current health issues.  All the healthy diets, supplements, exercise, sleep, exposure to nature, community etc. won't be enough if there is underlying trauma history wearing you down.


    Mental health professionals are severely underutilized yet they should be the first line of therapy for the majority of patients with chronic illness.  Unfortunately, they usually end up being the last.  This interview should help shed some light on the benefits of EMDR and how it can help you heal and get well for lasting health and well-being.

    Below is a transcript on overcoming trauma with EMDR

    Dr. Hedberg: Well, welcome everyone to "Functional Medicine Research." I'm Dr. Hedberg and really excited today to have Martina Barnes on the show. Martina has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Carolina University and that was completed in the year 2000. So, many, many years of experience and Martina's theoretical underpinnings are informed by attachment theories of human development which determine our interpersonal basis for relationships. And when working with individuals together, we seek to understand the attachment wounds developed in childhood and how your style impacts your relationship with yourself and others.

    And Martina says you can transform your life by transforming the way your brain and nervous system are wired. She utilizes a range of evidence-based yet cutting-edge holistic modalities such as Trauma Resilience Model, EMDR, which is what we're gonna be talking about today in detail, Internal Family Systems, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and mindfulness, and Martina has been a speaker and educator at trauma recovery conferences and seminars for victims of murder, suicide, and even sudden death. So, Martina, welcome to the show.

    Martina: Thanks, Nick, and great to be here. I'm excited to share what I know about EMDR.

    Dr. Hedberg: Yeah. I'm excited as well. This is something that I've been wanting someone on the show for a long time to talk about EMDR. This is something that I've used myself and recommended to many patients. So, why don't we just talk about some of the basics and why don't you give us an idea of what exactly is EMDR and what does it stand for?

    Martina: Yeah. Great. So, EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. And it's a modality that originally only used eye movements to help give the brain bilateral stimulation to help clear trauma. It's gone to incorporate other types of bilateral stimulation. Maybe hand taps or also bilateral auditory tones can be incorporated as well. And it's one of the most powerful trauma recovery modalities that I've ever utilized. It was discovered in 1988. So, it's been around quite a long time.

    Dr. Hedberg: And who invented EMDR?

    Martina: Francine Shapiro who was a psychologist invented EMDR quite by accident. She loved to take long walks and when she was walking, she would notice if she was thinking about something that's setting or something disturbing that her eyes would dart back and forth, back and forth, and then they would stop darting, and she would notice that she had cleared that disturbing thought. So, it occurred to her that she might be able to develop some kind of protoc...

    • 54 min
    Is Genetic Testing Helpful or Harmful?

    Is Genetic Testing Helpful or Harmful?

    In this episode of Functional Medicine Research, I interview Dr. Tommy Wood on the question of whether commercial genetic testing for SNPs is helpful or harmful.  This is a topic I have wanted to cover in detail for a long time so when I read Dr. Wood's paper and listened to him speak, I knew his expertise would be invaluable to this conversation.  It is important that practitioners and patients know the truth about the current state of genetic testing and whether or not it is scientifically valid or invalid.

    Dr. Wood has done the necessary research to outline all of the reasons why genetic testing is not a valuable tool in practice and he presents compelling data that it can be more harmful than helpful.  As stated in the interview, this is an area that I have never bought into because the science simply doesn't support genetic testing or interventions to address SNPs in clincial practice.  I think you'll find this interiew invaluable to your understanding of genetic testing.

    If you have any published papers to refute any of this information, myself and Dr. Wood would love to read these papers.

    Below is a transcript of the interview if genetic testing is helpful or harmful:

    Dr. Hedberg: Well, welcome, everyone, to "Functional Medicine Research." I'm Dr. Hedberg and very excited today to have Dr. Tommy Wood on the show. We're gonna be talking about genetics and genetic testing. And Dr. Wood is a research assistant professor of pediatrics in the University of Washington, Division of Neonatology. Most of his academic work is focused on developing therapies for brain injury in newborn infants but also includes adult neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases, as well as nutritional approaches to sports performance. Tommy received an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge before obtaining his medical degree from the University of Oxford. After working as a doctor in central London, he moved to Norway for his PhD, and then to the University of Washington as a postdoc.

    So, in addition to his academic training, he's coached athletes and dozens of sports, weekend warriors to Olympians and world champions. He's the outgoing President of the Physicians for Ancestral Health Society, a Director of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine, and sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of Hinson performance, which includes researching performance optimization strategies for Formula One drivers. Tommy's current research interests include the physiological and metabolic responses to brain injury and their long-term effects on brain health, as well as developing easily accessible methods with which to track human health performance and longevity. So, Dr. Wood, welcome to the show.

    Dr. Wood: Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

    Dr. Hedberg: Great. So, before we got on, we were just talking about a lot of the big issues in functional medicine include, unscientific and unvalidated testing and therapies and things like that. And so that's why I was really looking forward to this because genetics is something that I've never really got on board with as far as testing and treating patients. So, why don't we lay some bedrock for the listeners? And if you could just let us know, what is the current academic position by scientists on commercial genetic testing for SNPs and the interventions that some practitioners are using?

    Dr. Wood: That's a great question. And having spent a lot of time sort of straddling both traditional allopathic medicine, traditional academic research, and then also functional medicine, particularly with athletes, but also with various clients with chronic health conditions, there's this real tension between the two in terms of, you know, what's done and the evidence that supports it.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    The 5 Best Adrenal Adaptogens for Fatigue and Stress

    The 5 Best Adrenal Adaptogens for Fatigue and Stress

    Adrenal adaptogens are one of the most commonly prescribed supplements by functional medicine practitioners due to the impact of chronic stress on the majority of sick patients. Stress breaks your body down in every way imaginable so mitigating the negative effects of stress is priority number one in most patients.

    I’ve been using adrenal adaptogens in my practice for over 15 years now and I’d like to share my favorite adrenal adaptogens that may help you feel better. Adrenal adaptogens can cause negative reactions in some patients so do not take any of these without proper evaluation from a healthcare practitioner to avoid side effects.

    What is an adrenal adaptogen?

    An adaptogen has “non-specific” activity and acts by increasing resistance of the organism to a broad spectrum of adverse biological, chemical, and physical factors. Adaptogens act by regulating and normalizing organ and system function in the body.  Adaptogens work primarily by affecting the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system. Thus, adaptogens modulate our response to stress (physical, environmental, or emotional) and help regulate the interconnected endocrine, immune, and nervous systems.

    Your adrenal glands produce cortisol and adrenaline which make you more susceptible to infections and weaken the immune system. Adaptogens can help with infections through immune-building properties over time.

    Adrenal adaptogen myths

    Adrenal adaptogens do not increase cortisol levels above that of normal physiologic levels. Adrenal adaptogens do not lower cortisol levels below that of normal physiologic levels. Adrenal adaptogens will only help to normalize levels that may be too high or too low.

    “Adrenal fatigue” does not exist based on the most recent scientific evidence. There is no doubt that adrenal gland and HPA-axis dysfunction exists but not in the way that adrenal fatigue has be traditionally described. I still use the term on this website since it is searched for online so I want people to be educated when they come to this website.

    Rhodiola Rosea

    Rhodiola rosea is a flowering perennial native to sub-Arctic regions around the globe, notably Scandinavia and Russia, where it has been studied extensively since the 1960’s. Traditionally used in Russia and Mongolia for the treatment of long-term illness and weakness caused by infection, Rhodiola root has been studied for its favorable effect on central nervous system activity and neurotransmitter levels (e.g. dopamine, monoamines and beta-endorphins).

    Widely regarded as an effective natural antidepressant, rhodiola is distinguished by its lack of side effects. In addition to mood health, rhodiola has been shown to help improve sleep quality, memory and learning, to help reduce binge eating and to help increase stress tolerance in astronauts. Rhodiola is rich in potent antioxidants including vitamin C, catechins, organic acids, proanthocyanidins and the active compounds salidroside and rosavin.

    Rhodiola has the following positive effects on the body:

    * Enhances utilization of glucose

    * Increases serotonin levels in the brain

    * Improves energy and stamina

    * Balances norepinephrine (adrenaline)

    * Improves dopamine levels

    * Reduces anxiety

    * Enhances memory and brain function

    * Antioxidant properties

    * Stimulates healing

    * Increases work productivity

    * High altitude sickness

    * Improves Depression

    * Antimicrobial

    * Cardio-protective

    * Neuroprotective

    * Immunomodulatory

    * Improves female fertility

    • 23 min
    Leaky Gut and Hashimoto’s Disease

    Leaky Gut and Hashimoto’s Disease

    There have never been any studies on leaky gut and Hashimoto’s disease but now we have a new study on this connection. Leaky gut was something rejected by conventional medicine despite the fact that papers on leaky gut date back to the 1970s. For many years functional medicine practitioners have been testing for it and treating it which has helped many patients overcome their chronic illnesses. There are currently over 500 published scientific papers on leaky gut so there is no doubt it exists.

    Before we get to the new paper, there was an interesting paper published in 2004 which looked at the gut barriers of patients with Hashimoto’s disease. The paper is entitled “Ultrastructural changes in enterocytes in subjects with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis” by Sasso et al. The authors biopsied the small intestine of patients with Hashimoto’s disease and compared the microvilli to healthy controls.

    The results showed that patients with Hashimoto’s disease did in fact have structural changes in their microvilli which are the finger-like structures that line the gut barrier. Healthy microvilli are required for proper absorption of nutrients as well as preventing unwanted particles from entering the blood stream. These patients with Hashimoto’s disease had abnormal looking microvilli under the microscope compared to normal looking microvilli of the healthy controls.

    The authors also performed a lactulose/mannitol test which is used to assess gut permeability. The results showed that the patients with Hashimoto’s disease had abnormal lactulose/mannitol test results indicating abnormal intestinal permeability.

    Now let’s cover the new paper on leaky gut and Hashimoto’s disease entitled “Children With Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Have Increased Intestinal Permeability: Results of a Pilot Study”.

    The authors begin by discussing the connection between increased intestinal permeability (IIP) and autoimmune diseases. Zonulin is a compound that controls the tight junctions in the gut barrier which are involved in movement of nutrients in and out of the gut. The higher the zonulin levels, the more severe the increased intestinal permeability. Higher zonulin levels have also been found in patients with autoimmune disease and in those leading up to the onset of autoimmune disease.

    How was the study done on Leaky Gut and Hashimoto's Disease?

    30 children and adolescents with Hashimoto’s disease and 30 age, gender, and BMI matched patients with congenital hypothyroidism.

    Blood tests included zonulin, TSH, free T4, anti-TPO antibodies, and anti-TG levels.

    What were the study results?

    Serum zonulin levels were significantly higher in the subjects with Hashimoto’s disease compared to the control group. Free T4 levels were higher in the control group but differences in TSH levels were not statistically significant. Anti-TPO and anti-TG antibody levels were higher in those with Hashimoto’s disease as we would expect.

    Higher zonulin levels correlated with higher thyroid medication dose (levothyroxine). Zonulin levels did not correlate however with anti-TPO or anti-TG antibody levels.

    • 14 min
    Hashimoto’s Disease Improves by Eradicating Blastocystis Hominis

    Hashimoto’s Disease Improves by Eradicating Blastocystis Hominis

    There is a new exciting paper on the connection between eradicating the intestinal parasite Blasctocystis hominis and improving Hashimoto’s disease. I previously reported this infection connection in a case study which revealed an individual with Hashimoto’s disease getting better after eradicating Blastocystis hominis. Case studies aren’t the strongest scientific proof of a particular therapy but now we have an excellent paper with three research groups including a much-needed control group.

    This paper is entitled, “Improving Hashimoto’s thyroiditis by eradicating Blastocystis hominis: Relation to IL-17” published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism by El-Zawawy et al.

    The author’s begin by pointing out a very important fact that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis was once thought to be a TH1-mediated disease but once TH17 cells were discovered it became clear that it is a TH17-mediated disease. TH17 cells drive autoimmunity through production of the cytokine IL-17.

    Blastocystis hominis is the most common intestinal parasite in humans and most individuals never get any symptoms. This parasite is opportunistic however so if your gut or immune system becomes compromised, it can multiply and cause gut symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea, joint pain, drive autoimmunity and a host of other health problems.

    Blastocystis hominis has a prevalence of 1.6% to 16% in developed countries and up to 60% in developing countries. You can get this parasite from contaminated food or water.

    How was this study done on Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Blastocystis hominis?

    60 patients aged 19-57 with 19 females and 1 male in each group.

    Group 1: 20 patients recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis without Blastocystis hominis infection.

    Group 2: 20 patients recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with confirmed Blastocystis hominis infection.

    Group 3: 20 healthy subjects without Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and not infected with Blastocystis hominis infection.

    All subjects in group 1 and 2 had a history of fatigue. 9 patients in group 1 and 7 patients in group 2 had a history of constipation. 6 patients in group 2 had a history of diarrhea.

    Interestingly, all subjects in group 2 who were infected with Blastocystis hominis had significantly higher blood pressure than the other 2 non-infected groups.

    The following tests were done on all subjects:

    * Free T4

    * Free T3

    * TSH

    * Anti TPO antibodies

    * IL-17

    * Stool analysis

    * CBC (complete blood count)

    * ALT and AST (liver enzymes)

    * Albumin

    * Bilirubin

    * Cholesterol

    * Triglycerides

    * BUN (blood urea nitrogen)

    * Creatinine

    Group 2 which was infected with Blastocystis hominis was treated with the medication Nanazoxid for 3 days to eradicate the parasite and then retested 6 weeks later.

    What were the study results?

    TSH levels were higher in groups 1 and 2 compared to the healthy group 3 as expected.

    Free T4 was lower in group 1 compared to group 3 however group 2 did not have lower levels than group 3.

    Free T3 was significantly lower in group 2 compared to group 3. Free T3 levels in group 1 were not significantly different than the control group.

    • 17 min

Customer Reviews

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44 Ratings

Kseniya mece ,

Great podcast

So much great information!

Clarisse Gomez ,

Awesome Podcast!!!

Dr. Hedberg, host of the Functional Medicine Research podcast, highlights all aspects of health, wellness and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

BethListens ,

Science-driven functional doctor

Dr. Hedgeberg is an exacting and serious physician whose podcasts have helped remotely guide me through a complicated autoimmune disorder. We all need to start listening to the new wave of physicians like this.

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