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Functional Medicine

At the Vibrant Health Center, we don’t treat symptoms, we treat people with Integrative Functional Medicine.

Symptoms are clues our bodies give us when something is wrong, but too often conventional Western medicine treats symptoms while ignoring the underlying cause. As a result, many of us walk around each day wondering why we don’t feel “quite right”. And when conventional medicine tells us there is “nothing wrong” – at least nothing that they can find – we sadly believe that a suboptimal level of health is just our normal and that it is the best our bodies can achieve.

Fortunately, with the proper healthcare approach, our bodies are capable of remarkable healing and immense vitality.

In our Functional Medicine practice, we look beyond symptoms – and even beyond disease – to gain a deeper understanding of the functioning of the entire person. We work in close partnership with our patients to uncover how every aspect of their lives – from genetics and environment to nutrition and stress – intertwines at the deepest level to affect the long-term health and wellness of the whole person.

Our Integrative approach also utilizes the latest scientific research and diagnostic testing to obtain unique insight into the function of the body, from how it responds to stress to its ability to absorb and utilize nutrients. We use the most modern and advanced testing methods.

Vibrant Health Center will help you to find the most effective way to supplement your nutrition. We even offer you the ability to have in-person consultations and evaluations all from the privacy and safety of your own home! (click here for more about Telemedicine.)

The knowledge and understanding we gain from our patients, combined with our research-based diagnostic approach, enables us to tailor a personalized treatment plan targeted specifically to address the underlying causes of disease and enable the patient to return to a state of optimum health and vitality.



What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a holistic, collaborative approach to healthcare that places the patient front and center. Rather than only managing disease, functional medicine seeks to address the root causes of poor health. 

The discipline of functional medicine was founded by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, a biochemist, in 1990. Dr. Bland recognized that our “pill for an ill” conventional medical system was not effectively addressing the underlying causes of disease, and saw a need for taking a more comprehensive, systems-biology approach to the prevention and management of chronic disease. The result was the establishment of functional medicine, a distinct approach to healthcare that is science-based, cross-disciplinary, and considers all aspects of health when caring for the patient. In subsequent years, Dr. Mark Hyman and The Institute for Functional Medicine furthered the development of this growing field. 

The differences between conventional and functional medical care can be compared to managing a garden. In your garden, which represents your body, you need to feed the soil, keep pests away, and control weeds, which represent factors that contribute to chronic disease. The conventional approach to (disease) management is to spray the pests and weeds with pesticides or herbicides or to mow the weeds down with a weed whacker. While these strategies eliminate the pests and weeds over the short-term, they sometimes come back with a vengeance! 

Furthermore, the organism, soil, and garden are weakened and damaged by the toxins. On the other hand, functional medicine works to strengthen the entire system, improve the terrain itself, keep pests away holistically, and pull the weeds of disease up by the roots. We work to promote a healthier garden, and a healthier you, for the long-term. 

The growth of functional medicine hasn’t come without pushback from the conventional medical community. However, the scientific community is slowly recognizing the profound benefits of this healthcare approach. In fact, a recent study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the functional medicine model of care may have “the ability to improve global health in patients.”2 In coming years, we will likely see continued research into this model corroborating the positive experiences of countless functional medicine providers and patients.

Functional Medicine is Patient-Centered

In the conventional medical model, doctors spend a mere 15 minutes with patients in a single appointment.14 This is barely enough time to greet the patient, let alone get to the root of the patient’s health problems, and offer helpful solutions! The functional medicine doctor, on the other hand, will frequently spend an hour or more thoroughly getting to know the patient.

Understanding what led to symptoms/disease takes time.  At CCFM, we know that it’s imperative to spend time going through a patient’s history. We want to know everything that has happened to you from when you were in your mother’s womb until the moment we meet. By gathering a comprehensive medical history, we can often connect the dots and begin the necessary investigation and detective work.

At CCFM, we take a comprehensive care-team approach to help you recover.  Our team includes a physician, a midlevel provider (NP/PA), a nutritionist, a health coach, and compassionate admin staff.  We use a variety of comprehensive tests that allow for a deep dive into inflammatory markers, gut health, adrenal/hormone imbalance, nutrient deficiencies, mold markers, and hidden infections such as Lyme, coinfections, and others.

We also recognize the mental and emotional burden you can experience when you don’t necessarily look “sick” on the outside.  Many of our patients have been disappointed in the past by their healthcare encounters, or they feel like they were ignored or written off by their providers.  We understand that feeling unwell doesn’t always have external manifestations and that many suffer from invisible illnesses that leave them unseen by the healthcare system, and family, friends, and society in general.  Our team is here to support you every step of the way on your journey back to health.

Functional Medicine is Individualized

The root causes of illness differ from one person to the next based on diet and lifestyle variables, genetics,  biochemical individuality, and environmental exposures.  Functional medicine recognizes that there is no single cause of any given disease, and there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach to chronic disease treatment. Instead, at CCFM, our functional medicine approach treats each patient as an individual by first collecting a detailed health history and laboratory testing, and leveraging this information to direct the development of a personalized treatment plan.

The personalized treatment plan developed by your functional medicine team may include:

  • Nutrition prescriptions
  • Lifestyle recommendations that address sleep, exercise, and stress management
  • Treatments for supporting gut health and targeting gut infections
  • Hormonal and adrenal support
  • Individualized options for Lyme and/or co-infection treatment
  • Solutions for treating CIRS and/or MCAS
  • Emotional healing and brain retraining modalities to heal your nervous system

Functional Medicine is Evidence-Based

Research indicates that it takes approximately 15-17 years to translate emerging scientific research into clinical practice, but as healthcare costs become increasingly unsustainable, we don’t have that kind of time. Functional medicine practitioners dramatically reduce that gap by using solid scientific foundations to translate new scientific research findings into clinical practice much more quickly. Functional medicine practitioners are typically early adopters of innovative knowledge and practices because we strive to offer our patients the very best in testing and treatment.

Excitingly, change is coming to mainstream medicine. In 2014, the Cleveland Clinic opened the Center for Functional Medicine, the first functional medicine clinic to exist within an academic medical center in the U.S. The Center is working to transform healthcare using an innovative model of care that shifts the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach.

The Center is committed to doing quality, rigorous research that evaluates the impact of the functional medicine model of care on patient outcomes. Current research includes investigations of the model of care and targeted interventions for specific chronic conditions.

At CCFM, we believe that science and technology are our allies, and are powerful forces that must simultaneously be married to evolutionary knowledge respecting the ancient needs of our body, mind, and soul.

Conditions We Treat

Our functional medicine approach helps you to systematically address root causes of your illness. We focus on 12 central health domains: digestive health, nutrition and food as medicine, hormonal balance, metabolism, neurology, brain function, inflammatory disease, infectious disease, immune dysfunction, environmental toxins, sleep, and genetics. With our broad toolkit, we treat a wide variety of illnesses and health conditions, including the many manifestations of tickborne diseases.

Digestive and Gut Health

The gut is home to over 70% of your immune system and proper gastrointestinal function is vital for health. Our comprehensive gut health focus takes a deep dive into testing and gut treatments to restore microbial, immune, and inflammation balance.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Heartburn/GERD/Reflux
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating or gas
  • Hidden bacterial, fungal, parasite infections
  • Dysbiosis and microbiota imbalances
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis

Food as Medicine

Food and nutrition can be used as a key therapeutic intervention and can enable your body to reset, decrease inflammation, and decrease immune activation. Although there is no one nutritional approach that works for everyone, almost all health conditions can be modulated through food, and optimizing nutrition is a core part of our practice.

  • Paleo template diet
  • Gluten-free diet
  • Autoimmune paleo
  • Elimination diet, allergies
  • FODMAP diet
  • Anti-inflammatory diet
  • Ketogenic diet
  • SCD diet
  • GAPS diet
  • Low histamine diet
  • Low oxalate diet

Hormonal Balance

Your body’s hormone systems are deeply interconnected and in constant communication, making proper function and balance vital for health. Comprehensive testing, nutrients, supplements, lifestyle factors, and judicious replacement can play a significant role in recovery from a wide range of conditions.

  • Adrenal hormones
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Sex hormones
  • Female disorders (PMS, Menopause, Infertility, PCOS, Endometriosis)
  • Acne


Poor food choices, lack of nutrients, toxins, stress, and inflammation contribute to metabolic imbalance and diseases which are responsible for the majority of chronic illnesses. Metabolic interventions are an important lever to decrease inflammation, restore proper immune function, and enhance function across all of your body systems.

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes and “diabesity”
  • Cholesterol imbalances

Brain, Neurology, and Emotional Healing

The burden of cognitive and neurologic disease is enormous and these conditions are complex and multifactorial. Brain disorders can be triggered or exacerbated by imbalances in other body systems,  and improved by focusing on your gut, hormones, toxin exposure, infections, and more.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Cognitive decline
  • Attention and focus issues
  • Brain retraining
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Neurological disorders

Inflammatory Disease

Inflammation is a central pathway through which most illnesses can be exacerbated or improved. Unresolved chronic inflammation takes a tremendous toll on all parts of your body and brain, and is a central focus for functional medicine diagnosis and treatment.

  • Arthritis
  • Eczema/Psoriasis
  • Airborne Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Cognitive decline
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Fatty acid balance
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia

Undetected Infectious Disease

Disease is frequently triggered or caused by microbial imbalance or pathogens. Microbiome balance and composition is key to health, as human cells are outnumbered by bacteria, fungi, and viruses by a ratio of 10 to 1. Imbalances can lead to inflammation, immune dysregulation, and autoimmune activation.

  • Eczema/Psoriasis
  • Viral infections
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Hidden bacterial, fungal, parasite infections
  • Reactivated infections
  • Mycoplasma
  • Chlamydia pneumonia

Immune Dysfunction

With a steep rise in complex immune-mediated illnesses that have severe consequences, many patients have turned to functional medicine for treatment of immune and autoimmune illnesses. Due to the broad toolkit that we have, treating autoimmune patients is some of the most rewarding work we do at CCFM.

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Immune deficiency
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Restoration of immune balance

Tickborne Diseases

Lyme and other tickborne diseases cause complex, multisystem illness that can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and can cause significant disability. With over 400,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, careful expertise is needed to help you recover as fully as possible.

  • Lyme disease and other Borrelia
  • Relapsing fever
  • Bartonella
  • Ehrlichia and Anaplasma
  • Babesia
  • Rickettsia
  • Viruses
  • Tick bites

Environmental Toxins

Exposure to toxins can be disruptive to your gut, brain, hormone and immune systems, cause inflammation, and more. To properly address environmental toxins, we identify current sources of exposure and help support your body to best eliminate accumulated toxins.

  • Mold and biotoxin illness
  • Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
  • Mercury and heavy metal toxicity
  • Environmental toxins such as pesticides and other pollutants.


Insufficient or poor-quality sleep increases your risk of almost all health issues from immune imbalances, inflammation, metabolic diseases, brain and mood dysfunction, and even cancer. We offer support and technology to rebalance your sleep and achieve optimum health and longevity.

  • Sleep Disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia


Epigenetics (noun): The way that gene expression can be turned on or off based on what you are exposed to (diet, stress, toxins, microbes, and more).

At CCFM, we believe “zip code is more important that genetic code” — we teach you the role lifestyle and environmental exposure plays in turning genes on and off, and the ways you can control your health.

  • Genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Methylation

Long-Haulers and Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC)

As many as 30% of COVID-19 patients—even those with mild or asymptomatic infections—are at risk of ongoing health problems. With a variety of sequelae and symptoms affecting almost every organ system, PASC management requires a multidisciplinary approach.

We specialize in treating complex chronic diseases like PASC and continue to stay up-to-date on emerging research. We understand:

Nonuniform Symptoms

The nearly 200 possible symptoms experienced by long-haulers can be dynamic, relapsing, and unpredictable, and are unique for almost every individual.

Impact on Daily Life

COVID-19 and PASC affect all body systems and can be a burden on activities of daily living, with varying degrees of disability.

Specialized Treatment

We leverage your personal experience with lab findings, wearable technology data, and the latest research to create a personalized and effective care plan.