Functional Food 4 Thought

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Are You Deficient in Vitamin D?


Recent research indicates that vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 32 % of us are vitamin D deficient. However, the serum levels the CDC considers “normal” are far below what researchers now consider optimal for health. Many more of us could benefit from managing our levels of this fat-soluble vitamin.

Does it really make that much of a difference? Research shows that optimized D3 levels reduce the risk of many cancers, autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses. What’s more, those already suffering can greatly improve and manage the course of their diseases with optimized levels. For those with cardiovascular disease, it’s been found that a heart attack victim’s mortality rate is much higher with a vitamin D deficiency. Optimized levels also make it easier to fight off infections – bacterial and viral – and assist with DNA repair and metabolic processes.

Why is vitamin D deficiency so prevalent here? Our latitude has much to do with it. Vitamin D is different from other vitamins. Our bodies create it primarily from exposure to the sun. The equatorial region has more direct sun exposure and lower rates of vitamin D deficiency. In the latitude of most of the United States, we get the sun less directly, at an angle, so the atmosphere interferes with our exposure. In addition, the use of sunscreen in our country is widespread which further reduces our exposure. Of course sunscreen is important for cancer prevention, especially during the middle of the day, but a little sun exposure in the early morning or late afternoon could be beneficial. Our individual risks vary so it’s wise to follow your doctor’s advice. Certain populations produce vitamin D at a reduced rate from comparable sun exposure, such as the elderly. Since vitamin D is instrumental in calcium absorption, D deficiency may play a role in age-related osteoporosis.

Since we each create vitamin D and metabolize supplements differently, the right blood test to determine serum levels is crucial as we determine how much more we need. The doctors at Atlanta Functional Medicine can help you to determine the best course of action in optimizing your Vitamin D profile.

By Cheryl Salinas


Posted in: Chronic disease management Atlanta, Preventative Health Care Atlanta

All Things New: 2016

Healthy workout food

At Atlanta Functional Medicine we love the New Year because it is a time of renewed hope when we can encourage our patients to start fresh and have a new start to achieve optimal health.

It is also a time when we like to announce some exciting and new programs that we have added to our practice to benefit our patients.

One of the foundations of holistic treatment here at AFM is nutrition and a proper diet.  Truly, we believe that “food is medicine”, therefore we have decided to offer our patients some remarkable nutrition plans and support programs.

New for 2016

  1. Boston Heart Comprehensive Labs and Lifestyle program:

This program is a personalized nutrition and lifestyle plan that is based on your Boston heart Lab results and information, to create a customized, scientifically designed nutrient and lifestyle plan. This comprehensive program helps lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes.

Participation in this plan also includes a personal nutritionist/health coach to support you and help you to reach your health goals.


  1. Atlanta Functional Medicine Lifestyle website:

This is a program that gives our patients daily support with tips, meal plans and recipes on the various diets that we may recommend for you, such as the Elimination Diet, Anti-candida Diet, Paleo diet, Detox diets, and various weight loss diets.


Whether you are brand new to Atlanta Functional Medicine or one of our existing patients, give us a call to schedule a visit to find out how you can take advantage of these wonderful new support programs.


Here’s to your health in the New Year!

Atlanta Functional Medicine

Posted in: Healthy Lifestyle

How’s That New Year’s Resolution Going?



IMG_1588We’re a few days into 2016 now and, for many of us, an ambitious start out of the gate is slowing at the first turn. Why? The first workout or the first carefully planned meal usually goes well and makes a resolution aficionado feel like a superhero. Let’s face it – going from nothing to anything at all represents an improvement of 100%. It makes sense that the first step should make us feel good about ourselves, but what about the second workout? The glow of ambition has faded, tangible rewards are nowhere in sight and all we have to look forward to, in that moment, is deprivation. Is it time to throw in the towel? Instead, it may be time to recalibrate.


It’s quite common to set expectations against the standards of others. Even if we aren’t competitive by nature, we take note of those individuals in our community who appear to be doing well. “I’ll have what she’s having,” we think to ourselves, and we imagine ourselves transformed. This approach almost always fails. Each person’s genetic, emotional and personality profile is different. Even if a certain approach is always effective, it will look different on each of us. The key is to understand what will work for us realistically, where we are right now. Rather than striving to emulate a role model, we’ll be more successful and satisfied reaching for our own personal best.


With recalibration, instead of trashing a resolution we modify it to make it more doable. This starts with taking an honest look at ourselves.

  • Keeping a food/exercise/meditation diary (or whatever area of life you’re working on) is a big help. Sometimes our perceptions and reality don’t match. It’s helpful to understand where we’re truly starting. There should be no judgment here, just an honest assessment.
  • Consider personality traits that will affect outcomes. Are there times of the day when willpower sags? What will make a workout more fun, food more delectable?
  • When recalibrating, keep in mind that it’s what we do on a regular basis that will affect the result. So a half-hour walk every day may be better than a longer, harder workout a couple of times a week. Also, those infrequent workouts can too easily be pushed off to the next day, or the day after that.
  • If giving up your favorite treat altogether is unrealistic, maybe limiting it to once a week will work at first.


There’s always a chance for another recalibration later on in the year, when you’re armed with the confidence that comes from seeing results from all your hard work. The doctors at Atlanta Functional Medicine can help you with practical and proven strategies as you establish your personalized plan.


By Cheryl Salinas

Posted in: exercise, Healthy Eating, lifestyle

Are Your Supplements Safe?

By Linda Hall, RN

Per the New York Times:

In early February 2015, the New York Attorney General’s office investigated and accused 4 major retailers of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements. These retailers are G.N.C., Walgreens, Target, and Walmart. In their research, it was found that 4 out of 5 products didn’t contain any of the herbs listed on the label, and instead, often contained a variety of fillers. Other studies have found some vitamin “fillers” to be potentially harmful or allergenic. (Only time will give the consumers the information of whether the accusations are valid).

So the question is, “Why should I purchase supplements at Atlanta Functional Medicine or through the suppliers that are used by the Practice?”

1. Our doctors have “vetted” our products. Only products that have benefited patients are sold. Many of the products have been used by our physicians for over 10 years.

2. Shopping online for less expensive supplements may save you money, but there is no guarantee that these supplements are actually legitimate and are not expired, repackaged, or counterfeit.

3. AFM supplements are considered pharmaceutical grade or professional grade whenever possible. We source our supplements from companies that use the most rigorous quality standards in the industry. This is in an effort to provide our patients with the highest quality products, and therefore, the best clinical outcomes.

4. The practitioners and staff desire each patient to have access to the highest quality and grade in every product purchased.

If you have any questions about this article, or about our supplements, please do not hesitate to call our office at (770) 667-3006.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Could an undetected gluten sensitivity be contributing to your symptoms?

At your local grocery store, you may have noticed the increased availability and labeling of foods that are ‘gluten free’. What is gluten, and why do so many people want to be ‘free’ of it?

So what exactly is gluten? Gluten is the protein found in wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Gluten is composed of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gluten’s structure acts like ‘glue’ or elastic, to bind bread and baked goods so they keep their shape. Gluten protein is difficult for our bodies to digest. Problems occur when the body’s immune system reacts to gluten.

What is Gluten sensitivity? 70% of our bodies’ immune system is located in the gut. If for some reason the body has been sensitized to gluten, the body attacks the components of gluten as if they were unwanted intruders, causing inflammation in the gut and other symptoms (see below). Gluten sensitivity is not the same as Celiac Disease, in which the body is completely intolerant to gluten.

Why might more people become sensitive to Gluten? The following are ideas that have been proposed by the medical and scientific community to explain the increasing prevalence of gluten sensitivity:

  • Environmental Toxins (pesticides, pollutions, etc.)
  • Selective Wheat Breeding
  • Genetic Modification of crops
  • Consumption of gluten products before 6 months of age
  • Gastric viruses (Stomach flu)

What are the symptoms of Gluten sensitivity?

  • Digestive issues
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches/Migraines

Could an undetected gluten sensitivity be contributing to your symptoms? Call Atlanta Function Medicine 770.667.3006 to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive evaluation of your health today!

Posted in: bloating, diarrhea, fatique, Functional Medicine Atlanta, Functional Medicine Atlanta Alpharetta, headaches, Healthy Eating, Healthy Gut, Integrative Medicine, stomach pain, Symptom Releaf, Uncategorized




Please join us in congratulating Elizabeth Board, M.D. and Sonza Curtis, N.D. on passing the 2014 Institute For Functional Medicine Practitioners Certification exam!!!!

  • There are only 3 “IFMCP”s in Georgia!!!! This means they know their stuff, as if we did not already know that! In fact, there are only 213 IFMCP’s in the country!
  • Also, Dr. Board is  board certified in Pain Management and Acupuncture and Dr. Curtis is a certified physician’s assistant and naturopathy practitioner.

So what does “Board Certified” mean?

1) PHYSICIAN – Anyone who graduates from medical school is called a “PHYSICIAN”.

2) LICENSED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE – Legally, they cannot practice medicine without be “LICENSED” by the state in which they wish to practice.  This sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients.

3) BOARD CERTIFIED – In addition to medical school, physicians can go into Residency where they receive training in medical specialties (e.g. anesthesiology, obstetrics) and subspecialties (e.g. pain management). Medical specialty certification in the United States is a voluntary process and can last three to five years after medical school.  Training is longer for subspecialties. Each specialty has their own Board (e.g. American Board of Anesthesiology) and the American Board of Medical Specialties oversees all certification programs. At the end of training, physicians take an exam and if they pass, they become “Board Certified” in their given specialty.Depending on the specialty, physicians need to study for and take recertification exams to maintain their ‘Board Certified’ status.  For example, this year Dr. Board took the renewal exam for Pain Management and scored in the top 13%!  Historically, 25% of physicians who take this exam fail, which indicates it takes rigor to stay Board Certified.

Currently, there is not a Board of Functional Medicine; however, IFM may become a Board of Functional Medicine.  In the interim, they remain the preeminent resource and training facility for Functional Medicine, therefore, a Practitioner Certification from IFM carries weight in the medical community.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Acupuncture for Allergies!

Acupuncture for Allergies!

  • Did you know acupuncture relieves allergy symptoms like stuffiness, headache, itchy eyes, and runny nose?
  • Acupuncture reduces inflammation and irritation by strategically placing itty-bitty needles the size of a human hair on your skin.  Dr. Board is so good; I cannot even tell when it is being done!
    • Opens up your sinuses – improves circulation to congested areas
    • Boosts your immunity – increases white blood cell count
    • Stops coughing – traditional Chinese Medicine views coughing as “qi” flowing in the wrong direction and acupuncture redirects the “qi” downward thus stopping the cough
    • Stops headaches – increases blood circulation and relaxes muscles
    • Addresses ROOT causes vs. masking with medication which may cause dryness and drowsiness

Works best against allergies when done as soon as possible.  Prevention and relief in as little as 3 sessions, so book your appointments now!  Call us at

770.504.6197 or schedule on our website:

  • RESEARCH: In a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers foundpatients who received acupuncture had “statistically significant” improvements in their reportedquality of life and in reducing the amount of allergy medicine they took, compared with the othertwo groups (placebo acupuncture for one and just medicine for the other).- The Effects of Acupuncture on Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: Annals of Internal Medicine.
  • TIP – also eating a tablespoon of locally produced honey everyday can help relieve symptoms.


Posted in: Acupuncture, Acupuncture Alpharetta, Allergy Relief, Dr. Board, Functional Medicine Atlanta Alpharetta, Integrative Medicine, lifestyle, Natural Medicine Alpharetta, Natural Medicine Atlanta, Preventative Health Care Atlanta

What Does Florence Nightingale Have in Common with Healing Touch?

IMG_0866Florence Nightingale believed in assisting the body’s natural ability to heal itself and touch (the human touch) was a major component in her work! She was the forerunner of treating patients as a “whole”, which is holistic.

Energy Medicine, which has been utilized in most cultures for thousands of years, has many different modalities. Our Native Americans see the power of nature in healing. The Chinese utilized energy medicine 2500-5000 years ago.

Healing Touch is a non-invasive, heart-centered approach to enabling the individual to balance, center and re-energize the parts of the body, mind and spirit that are causing some type of symptom, issue or problem.

The human energy field or biofield (which was named by Hippocrates) and the major energy centers of chakras are the main focus of Healing Touch which utilizes the use of the human touch.

I find the work fascinating, fun and most rewarding for not only the patient/client but also for me!

by Linda Hall

Posted in: Uncategorized

Efficient and Effective Digestion for the New Year


It’s that time of year again – when we strive to make sweeping changes for the better, often to see our resolve crumble in a matter of weeks.  As we’ve suggested before, try implementing smaller changes, and set yourself up for success. If making a change in diet this year consider the following:

  • Cleanses should be supervised by a Medical Doctor. Otherwise, imbalances can rapidly occur.
  • Consider fresh vegetable juices for a rich daily mega-dose of phytonutrients, but as a supplement to regular healthy meals, not instead of them. Juices provide nutrition while giving the digestive system a break, but the missing fiber means it’ll still need to be consumed in other foods you eat such as whole grains, beans, or whole vegetables.
  • A whole foods, or Mediterranean style diet rich in plants is well-tolerated by most of us, but be mindful of the order of food consumption. Fruits and vegetables are most easily digested. Juiced forms of both are more digestible still. If you consume your fresh phytonutrients after something more “tube-clogging” they will oxidize and ferment in the warmth of your system while they sit in a “traffic jam”, and the full nutritional benefit will be lost. What’s worse, the fermenting veggies will begin “off-gassing” resulting in indigestion, heartburn and gassiness. The optimal consumption order for digestion and assimilation of nutrients is:
    • Fruit and vegetable juices – fully digested in an hour or so
    • Whole fruits
    • Whole vegetables
    • Whole cooked legumes
    • Whole cooked grains (not processed as in breads or pasta)
    • Fish
    • Chicken
    • Lamb
    • Breads and pastas
    • Beef and pork – these remain in the gut for days, sometimes longer if insufficient fiber is consumed

Each person’s body is different, but being mindful of the general rates of digestion helps. Juicing (removing the pulp) is one way of beginning the digestive process, as are cooking and thoroughly chewing food before swallowing. These “pre-digestive” practices will reduce the duration of digestion for all foods eaten. Fermented foods like natural pickles and other probiotics will also assist digestion. The process of digestion is laborious to the system when a traffic jam occurs, and will lead to fatigue among other maladies.

Posted in: Healthy Eating, lifestyle, Natural Medicine Alpharetta, Preventative Health Care Atlanta



Recently, on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday”, Kris Carr, self-proclaimed “wellness warrior and cancer-thriver,” debuted an original short film where she shared some exciting news. For those of you unfamiliar with Kris’ story, in 2003 at the age of 31 she was diagnosed with an extremely rare vascular cancer, epitheliod hemangioendothelioma. Her lungs and liver riddled with tumors, Kris learned her cancer was incurable and inoperable, with no proven treatment. One oncologist suggested her best chance for survival was a triple organ transplant.  Though Kris’ tumors were “slow-growing”, she wasn’t expected to live ten years.

After much research and soul searching, Kris decided to keep her original organs and did everything she could to support her body as she focused on living. With the help of Integrative and Functional medicine, meditation, stress-reduction, exercise and the elimination of toxins from her environment and her diet, Kris is achieving her goal of wellness.  In her original short, Kris shared that her recent scan, ten years after her diagnosis, revealed her tumors are shrinking! The implications for healing and even regeneration from Kris’ testimony are a fitting endorsement of the Functional approach. Kris is indeed a cancer-thriver!

By Cheryl A. Salinas


Posted in: Chronic disease management Atlanta