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UltraLite™ Dietary Ketosis Weight Loss Program

Turn on your body's fat-burning switch!

Meet Karen*, age 65

This past fall, Karen was looking to lose 10 pounds.
She lost even more than that in just 4 weeks with Ultra Lite™!

Integrative Medicine Weight Loss UltraLiteAt age 65, Karen was healthy and energetic. She took very little medication and had few concerns about her health. There was one thing that was nagging at her - her waistline. Since menopause, Karen had slowly put on about 10 pounds, and it wouldn't come off! Her Body Mass Index (BMI) was still considered in the "normal" range, but her clothes weren't fitting well and she just didn't' feel comfortable in her own body. With the Holidays approaching she was looking for a program that would produce results - fast!

Karen started the Ultra Lite™ to jump-start her weight loss. After one week she had lost 7.6 pounds, and after four weeks she was down 12.6 pounds. She lost 4.5 inches off her waist and 3.4 inches off her hips. Best of all, she felt full of energy!



What is Ultra Lite™?

Ultra Lite™ is a dietary ketosis weight loss program. It is designed to reduce hunger and cravings, increase mood and energy and maintain muscle mass while burning fat.  Ultra Lite™ is a great program for those who are motivated and ready for fast weight loss results or are looking to "jump-start" their weight loss/


How does Ultra Lite™ work?

The Ultra Lite™ program combines a balance of lean protein and limited high-quality carbohydrate to put your body into a mild state of dietary ketosis. This biochemically sets the body to burn your own fat as fuel for maximal fat loss. 


What is dietary ketosis?

The cells of your body typically use glucose, or blood sugar, as their primary source of fuel (I discussed this recently in my post about insulin resistance). When the amount of carbohydrates in your diet are restricted below a certain level, the cells of your body change their fuel!  They go from burning sugar for fuel to burning fat.  When you begin to burn fat as your primary fuel, your body produces ketone bodies which are circulated in your bloodstream.  The circulating ketone bodies have the benefit of reducing hunger and increasing energy and mental clarity.  You can measure the levels of ketone bodies in your urine to stay in maximal fat mode.  (Nationally known Functional Medicine neurologist Dr. David Pearlmutter makes an argument for lifelong dietary ketosis in his best-selling book "Grain Brain")


Is Ultra Lite™ a high-protein diet?

No! As a matter of fact, people will typically eat less protein than they normally do, but enough to not lose muscle mass (a key issue with weight loss is to protect your muscle mass; as muscle mass is your body's calorie burning engine).

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How is Karen doing?

Well, 2 weeks after transitioning out of dietary ketosis and into a normal, balanced diet, Karen was doing fantastic!  She had lost nearly 3 more pounds and her energy was still soaring high.

Are you interested in the Ultra Lite™ weight loss program? This is just one tool of many that I use with clients to customize weight loss and lifestyle change programs for their needs. Learn more about my approach to weight loss by visiting our website www.MyOptimalDiet.com.  

Yours in Health,

Carin Nielsen, MD

www.CarinNielsenMD.com

*while this represents a true story, the patient name has been changed to protect his/her identity and privacy.



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineI use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  6000 Hits

Your gut has everything to do with your health - Part Two

What causes problems with your gut... and what to do about it.

We have a recurring theme this month. It's about our cells and the information we present to them.

Integrative Medicine Leaky GutRemember, our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, and each cell contains a complete copy of our genetic blueprint, which makes us unique. Different parts of our blueprint will be activated in different cell types (muscle cells vs. skin cells).  The parts of the blueprint activated will also change depending upon the information presented to the cell. Food is information.  Many people do not realize that the information our food gives the cells in our body is as powerful, if not more so, than the information provided by prescription medicine.  Let's take this one step further - do you know how one medication may cause side effects in one person but not another?  That is because of our different genetic blueprints.  The same thing happens with the food that we eat.  Depending on our blueprint, the food that we eat will affect us differently.

Recently, I wrote about the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, or gut, and the huge role it plays in our immune system, nervous system, mood and more. I explained how a properly-functioning digestive system works, and also what can go wrong and cause gut imbalance and "leaky gut" - leaking food particles and proteins into your bloodstream that the cells of your immune system don't recognize, activating inflammatory pathways which can lead to many medical problems, including autoimmune disease, eczema, fatigue and more. Today we'll explore the causes behind "leaky gut" and how to repair and rebalance your GI tract.

Causes of "Leaky Gut"

There are many factors that can contribute to your GI tract becoming out of balance, including:
  • Chronic stress and use of over-the-counter pain medications, antacids or PPIs (proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec or Nexium) reduce your stomach acid. Other medications can reduce saliva production.
  • If your gallbladder has been removed you lack the "control switch" on your bile salts. 
  • High intake of sugar, alcohol or genetically modified (GMO) food can break down the protective mucus barrier that lines your intestines.
  • Loss of "good bacteria" from low fiber intake and use of antibiotics may impair digestion and breakdown of food particles and increase growth of "bad bacteria", which along with toxins and irritants can attack and break down both the mucus barrier and the intestinal wall.

Healing your leaky gut.

Identifying and healing your core gut imbalances is one of the most important first steps you can take to promote health and well-being. Originally pioneered by naturopathic physicians, the "4Rs" program of gut repair is used routinely by Functional Medicine physicians to restore health and balance to the GI tract.

The "4Rs" Program

REMOVE - Get rid of what might be irritating your system! Start an elimination diet to remove commonly offending foods. Consider testing for food sensitivities with IgG antibody testing. Identify any abnormal bacteria, yeast or parasites with functional stool testing (I use the "GI Effects" test from Genova Diagnostics) and take appropriate measures to remove them!

REPLACE - Replace any missing factors needed for proper digestion. Working with a functional medicine practitioner can be useful to identify which enzymes or acids are missing. Betaine HCL can be used to replace low stomach acid, digestive enzymes can replace low pancreatic enzymes, and bile salts can be added if needed. The idea is not to remove acid, but rather to support your digestion with the acids and enzymes it needs, giving your gut less work to do!

REINOCULATE - Add back "good bacteria" with a high-quality probiotic blend and promote growth of good bacteria by increasing your intake of fiber and fermented foods.

REPAIR - Promote healing of the GI tract lining by supplying needed nutrients, such as zinc, antioxidants, fish oil, and glutamine.

In my experience, patients generally see positive results in as little as 10 days of this process, with less pain, bloating and stiffness, clear skin, improved energy and mental clarity.


Yours in Health,

Carin Nielsen, MD
www.CarinNielsenMD.com



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineI use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  5001 Hits

Your gut has everything to do with your health - Part One

The Functional Medicine TreeMy traditional family practice has evolved into an Integrative/Functional Medicine practice, and my approach to health and healing has changed in many ways. Digestive health and wellness is one of the biggest changes.

Every day, I sit across the table from my clients and talk about the gut. The "gut" we speak of is referring to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is a long tube that starts at your mouth and ends "where the poop comes out" (I have twin 10-year-old sons, so in my house we have many terms for this area).

As a Functional Medicine physician, I often look to the gut first when encountering any chronic medical condition. Why? Because your gut has everything to do with your health. I'm not just talking about symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating or abnormal bowel movements - there are many more symptoms and conditions that occur outside of your gut, yet may be closely linked to GI tract imbalance, including:
  • chronic headaches
  • weight gain
  • eczema/skin rashes
  • asthma
  • depression
  • fatigue/low energy and "brain fog"
  • autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus)
  • chronic sinus problems
  • joint and muscle pain
  • mood swings

Read more about Functional Medicine


Why is the gut so important?

Integrative Medicine GI TractYour GI tract contains the first line of defense in your body. 70% of your immune system lies in your gut! Every day, when you eat, drink and breathe, you bring various toxins and infectious "bugs" into your body through your mouth and nose. Your gut provides one of the most important and difficult balancing acts of your immune system, seeking out and destroying these foreign invaders (toxins, viruses, bacteria) while ensuring that proper nutrition and micronutrients can be absorbed and assimilated from the foods that you eat.


Your gut is a key factor in regulating your emotional health and nervous system. There is an enormous amount of communication that occurs between your GI tract and your nervous system (which consists of your nerves and brain). The connection between your gut and your nervous system is so strong that scientists have referred to your gut as your "second brain"! Your gut balance can directly affect your mood - 95% of your serotonin (a key neurotransmitter involved in depression and mood) is in your GI tract, and serotonin regulation is a key factor in depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

"Leaky Gut"
How GI tract imbalance can affect your entire body

If you used the term "leaky gut" with me 10 years ago, I may have looked at you like you were crazy! As a matter of fact, if you use this term with many of my traditional Western medicine colleagues, they will probably do the same. That is because this is a concept that is not familiar to traditional Western medicine. This is part of Functional Medicine, which involves "getting under the surface" to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms, rather than just treating your symptoms with a medication.

Let me describe "leaky gut" to you the way I described it to my patients in the office. 

A healthy, properly functioning GI tract looks something like this: 
  • Saliva and chewing break the food in your mouth
  • Stomach acid breaks down food particles further, while muscles and nerves work together to keep everything "moving forward" in your intestines.
  • Digestive enzymes and bile salts (from your pancreas and liver) break down your proteins, fats, and starches.
  • Food particles then enter the small intestine. The small intestine has a very important job! 

This is where all of the nutrients and proteins in the food that you eat are absorbed into your bloodstream, while at the same time preventing toxins and infections from being absorbed. In order for everything to work as it should in the small intestine, several things need to be in working order:
  • First, the small intestine has a thick mucus lining that provides protection against toxins, infections, and other irritants.
  • Second, the small intestine contains adequate amounts of "good bacteria". These bacteria work to digest your food and also maintain a balance that prevents overgrowth of "bad bacteria" or other infections.
  • Third, the wall of the small intestine is tight and strong. This wall is what separates the food particles from your bloodstream. If the wall of your small intestine remains healthy and intact, only well-digested small food particles and proteins are let through into your bloodstream. 
So, when everything is functioning properly, your food is digested well, infections and irritants are kept from getting out of control, and small nutrient particles and proteins are entered into your bloodstream where they can find and enter your cells to provide them the nutrition and energy they need.

What happens when the gut becomes leaky?

Integrative Medicine Leaky GutIf your food is not broken down properly, the size and structure of the nutrient particles and proteins presented in your small intestine may be larger and shaped differently. If the integrity of your small intestinal wall is compromised, these larger, different nutrient particles and proteins may be let into your bloodstream.

As we have discussed before, food is information! The food you eat provides information that interacts with the genetic code that resides in each and every cell in your body. By changing the structure and size of these food particles and proteins, you are changing the information presented to your cells, which may activate pathways that promote inflammation.

The cells of your body's immune system are particularly sensitive to this. High inflammatory foods, such as sugar, along with increased "bad bacteria" or toxins in the gut may send a signal to your immune system to be "on alert" for problems. This is followed by the altered food particles and proteins entering the blood stream, causing your immune system to feel under attack! The cells of the immune system activate pathways that increase inflammation. Depending upon your genetic code (or "blueprint", as I like to call it), certain cells may be affected more than others. That is why leaky gut may present with a rash in one person, fatigue and headaches in another, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis in yet another person. Your genetic blueprint determines your susceptibilities.

Common signs of "leaky gut" include:

  • rashes/eczema
  • headaches
  • fatigue and "brain fog"
  • muscle and joint pain
  • weight gain and water retention
The good news - identifying and healing your core gut imbalances is one of the most important first steps you can take to promote health and well-being. We've covered the basics of digestive health and where problems can arise, stay tuned to learn more about the causes of "leaky gut" and what to do about it!

Yours in Health,

Carin Nielsen, MD
www.CarinNielsenMD.com



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineI use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
 
 
 
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12 Weeks = Amazing Results

Recently I wrote about Insulin Resistance, a common disorder I see in my practice. This post highlights my recent experience with Beverly*, who lost nearly 30 pounds and dramatically increased her energy in just 12 weeks - simply by identifying where her imbalances were and making a few simple changes that improved her insulin sensitivity.


Meet Beverly*, Age 60

When Bev first sat across the table from me this past August, she said "I feel off balance". She couldn't pin-point it, but something just didn't feel right. She felt more and more fatigue, especially mid-afternoon when she had her energy "slumps". She was gaining weight steadily and was feeling "old".

During our discussion I learned more about Bev. She had her thyroid removed a few years ago due to a large goiter. While her temperature fluctuations and heart palpitations had improved, her energy levels had not. She had also described high levels of stress during the past few years. She had made progress with her stress management but in general felt "worn down".

Bev's medication list included thyroid replacement, and two medications for high blood pressure. On examining her I noted that her weight gain was primarily around her abdomen. I also noted an elevated heart rate and increased reflexes.

We then obtained some data with a blood draw, and Bev's laboratory results confirmed my suspicions. Now remember - I am a Functional Medicine physician - so I often order labs that other doctors may not order. I also interpret the lab results differently, looking for patterns and clues that relate to the individual and their symptoms, and desiring "optimal" results, not "normal" results. Bev's blood sugars were normal, but she had significantly elevated morning insulin (normal less than 10, hers was greater than 50. While her thyroid tests were "within normal range", they showed her thyroid was functioning on the high-end of normal, which explained her elevated heart rate and hyper-reflexes.

Now it was time to get to work. Bev had insulin resistance! This had likely been creeping up over many years, and was made worse the past 3 years by elevated cortisol as a result of the stress she had been experiencing. To make matters worse, one of the two blood pressure medications she was on was known to worsen insulin resistance. My Functional/Integrative approach to Bev's care was simple and straightforward, focusing on:
  1. Correcting her underlying hormone imbalance
  2. Removing the foods that were working against her by limiting the refined carbohydrates and sugar from her diet
  3. Using targeted supplementation to treat her insulin resistance


Hormone balance

While getting to work on treating her insulin resistance, we also had to balance Bev's thyroid. I lowered her dose of thyroid medication and within a week she felt a difference. Her heart rate came down and she began to feel more "at ease". This is an important point because so many women want to add more thyroid medication - but more isn't always better! An overactive thyroid can also contribute to fatigue. It's all about balance!


Removing offending foods

I presented Bev with a meal plan that included real, clean food. Her plan involved 2 prepared meals, two meal replacement shakes, and healthy snack options. Her two prepared meals each included lean, clean protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fat. We limited her starches and grains and had her choose from gluten-free, high-fiber varieties. The timing of her meals was also important! She was not to go more than 3-4 hours without eating (to balance her blood sugars). We used meal replacement to provide adequate protein and help her with meal structure (meal replacement can often help take some of the "work" out of diet change.

Targeted supplementation

Bev's supplementation recommendations were designed to help correct her insulin resistance, and included chromium, ALA, Fish Oil and PGX.

Chromium - helps insulin to do it's job! Chromium helps insulin transport blood sugar into cells more efficiently, providing cells with much-needed energy.

Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA) - enhances the insulin receptor on the cell's surface, allowing insulin to enter the cells more easily (there is actually a direct binding site for ALA on the insulin receptor). ALA also acts as an antioxidant, reducing cell damage.

Fish Oil - contains two key substances - EPA and DHA - which help form and strengthen cell membranes, keeps them from getting stiff. This improves cellular communication and helps insulin receptors work properly.

PGX - a novel fiber blend, PGX is taken with a glass of water about 15-20 minutes prior to meals. The flavorless granules can also be sprinkled over food or taken as capsules. The PGX fiber expands into a gelatinous "blob" in your stomach. This helps you to:
  • feel full after eating less food
  • release any glucose from your meal into your blood stream more slowly
  • reduce insulin and blood sugar spikes
  • reduce hunger and sugar cravings.



Within 2 weeks Bev had lost over 7 pounds and reported less brain fog and more consistent energy.
At the end of 12 weeks she had lost 29.6 pounds, 5.5 inches off her waist, and 3 inches off her hips!

She felt great and was no longer getting a dip in her energy levels in the middle of the day. Repeat blood testing showed that her fasting insulin level was cut by more than half. She was completely off one blood pressure medication (the one that was making her insulin resistance worse) and was down to a fraction of a dose of her other blood pressure medication. She had lost so much weight that we had to lower her thyroid dose even further!

The best part? She kept saying over and over "I really just can't wrap my head around it, this has been so easy". The changes Bev made were simple and straightforward. She continued to live her life and did not have to remove herself from society in order to make the necessary changes (she even traveled, ate at restaurants and hosted parties). In just 12 weeks, Bev not only changed her life, she created a plan for lasting change.

Yours in Health,

Carin Nielsen, MD
www.CarinNielsenMD.com

*while this represents a true story, the patient name has been changed to protect his/her identity and privacy

Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineI use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  3610 Hits

Could Insulin Resistance be causing your weight gain and fatigue?

Proper insulin and blood sugar balance can be a key factor in optimizing hormone balance and improving energy, mood and weight.

Integrative Medicine Insulin ResistanceBelly fat and low energy?

Is it getting more difficult to button your pants due to belly fat? Does your energy plummet at different times during the day, especially around 3pm? These are both clues that your body is not maintaining normal blood sugar levels. If insulin and blood sugar aren't working together properly not only will you see your waistline get larger, but you may also feel more tired or even depressed.

Insulin and Blood Sugar - the Basics

Integrative Medicine Insulin ResistanceOur body is made up of trillions of tiny cells. These cells work together to form all of our organs, our blood vessels, our nerves,muscles and everything else that makes us, well us!
In order for our bodies to work, our cells need energy.

This energy comes primarily in the form of blood glucose, also called blood sugar. Blood sugar cannot just enter into cells to provide energy - the blood sugar has to be carried into the cells - this is the job of insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is made in the pancreas.
Your pancreas makes insulin in response to the normal increase in blood sugar that occurs after you eat.

The insulin binds to blood sugar in the bloodstream, and transports the blood sugar into your cells through an insulin receptor on the cell's surface. This provides the cells with the energy they need to stay alive and function optimally.

Think of insulin like a gas pump -
it gets the gas into the car for energy!

Insulin Resistance

When you have insulin resistance, your cells don't allow insulin to transport blood sugar into your cells so easily. It's like the nozzle of the gas pump no longer fits and your cells become "resistant" to the action of insulin. To compensate, your pancreas has to make more and more insulin to get enough fuel into your cells.


Integrative MedicineInsulin Resistance = Higher Insulin Levels = Higher Blood Sugar Levels = Low Energy

Why is insulin resistance a problem? For many reasons. Both high insulin and sugar levels contribute to inflammation in the body. Excess insulin also causes changes in energy levels, especially feeling tired after a meal, and increases hunger and sugar cravings. The higher blood sugar levels cause more of your blood sugar to be stored as fat, promoting weight gain, especially in your abdomen. When cells aren't getting the energy they need, your body doesn't operate efficiently, and you experience more fatigue, brain fog, and low stamina. Insulin resistance contributes to infertility, and if not corrected, insulin resistance is likely to turn into Type 2 Diabetes and elevated risk of heart and vascular disease.


Are you at risk for insulin resistance?

You may want to discuss testing for insulin resistance with your physician or booking an appointment in my office for a consultation if you have one or more of the following:
  • you struggle with weight gain, especially in your abdomen
  • you experience energy "slumps" after eating, especially mid-afternoon
  • you have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes
  • you have a personal history of gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy)
  • your diet is high in "fast carbs" like sugar and white flour
  • you experience chronic stress
  • you have dark patches of skin on the back of your neck, elbows, knees, or armpits
  • you have a lot of skin tags, especially around your neck and armpits

Can insulin resistance be reversed?

YES - insulin resistance can be reversed! As a matter of fact, we help walk people through this process frequently in my office. Insulin levels can be normalized fairly quickly if the problem is caught early enough and the right action is taken. Treating insulin resistance makes weight loss easier, improves energy and mood, and reduces hunger and sugar cravings. The mainstays of treating insulin resistance in my office involves the following:
  • Changing the types of foods in your diet. Removing "fast carbs" like sugar and white flour, and incorporating more "slow carbs" that are high in fiber and micronutrients
  • Learning how to read a food label to look for hidden sugars, fiber content, and more.
  • Stress management to avoid cortisol and blood sugar spikes
  • Supportive supplementation to correct underlying deficiencies, reduce inflammation, and make your cells more responsive to insulin
  • Prescription medication is sometimes used in advanced cases as one part of the treatment plan
Are you or a loved one interested in testing and treatment of insulin resistance? Feel free to send an email my way, or contact our office to schedule an appointment, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.

Yours in Health,

Carin Nielsen, MD
www.CarinNielsenMD.com



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineI use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  5005 Hits

New Year - New You!

Five ways our approach to healthcare can help you find your balance in the New Year.

Integrative Medicine Petoskey Balance Hormones

#1 - Balance your Hormones and Neurotransmitters!

Looking for more stable mood and energy? Balanced hormones and neurotransmitters are the key! We can help you:
  • Evaluate your Thyroid using the right tests, and look for optimal levels, not the "normal range"
  • Examine the effects of stress on your Adrenals, which can be rebalanced with customized herbal blends
  • Learn about both hormonal and non-hormonal options for peri-menopause and menopause
  • Serotonin is a key factor in depression and anxiety, you can boost your levels by improving digestive health and providing key nutrients for serotonin production, not just with anti-depressants
Visit our website for more information about our approach to Emotional Health.

#2 - Figure out which Foods are working for you, and which are working against you.

Food sensitivities and intolerances are underlying factors in a number of chronic medical conditions, including:
  • chronic headaches
  • weight gain
  • eczema/skin rashes
  • asthma
  • depression
  • fatigue/low energy and "brain fog"
  • autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus)
  • chronic sinus problems
  • joint and muscle pain
  • mood swings
We have the tools and experience to help you determine your optimal diet, including food sensitivity testing, customized elimination diets, and evaluation for "leaky gut".

Integrative Medicine Weight Loss Petoskey

#3 - Shed Pounds and Gain Energy with a Customized Diet Plan

We offer everything from a 10-day detox/cleanse to a 12-week weight loss and lifestyle change program to help you look and and feel your best. All programs are customized to your individual needs. No fad diets and no "one size fits all" program.

Visit our website for more information about our My Optimal Diet program.

#4 - Learn more about what is going on "under the surface" with Functional Laboratory Testing.

Assess the micronutrient status in your body. How well is your liver working? How balanced are the microorganisms in your gut? Our laboratory testing options go beyond "standard values". Examples include:
  • micronutrient testing
  • adrenal saliva testing
  • screening for heavy metals
  • advanced lipid testing
  • food sensitivity testing
  • hormone testing for men and women
  • assessment of cellular energy production
  • functional stool analysis

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#5 - Customize your Nutritional Supplements to meet Your Needs

Every cell in our body contains a copy of our genetic code, or "blueprint". The nutrients we obtain from our food and vitamins/nutritional supplements will provide us with varying benefits, depending on our blueprint. Your genetics, your medical history, and your current state of health should all be taken into account when choosing nutritional supplements. Dr. Nielsen can provide you with sound evidence-based recommendations to meet your needs. Micronutrient testing is also available.

Visit our website for more information about Customized Vitamins/Supplements.


Yours in Health,

Carin Nielsen, MD
www.CarinNielsenMD.com



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I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  3665 Hits

Functional Medicine may be just what you are looking for

I am a Functional Medicine physician. I use Functional Medicine every day to optimize the health and well-being of my clients, yet many of my clients aren't familiar with the term "Functional Medicine". It's time to change that!

Functional Medicine practitioners promote wellness by focusing on the fundamental underlying factors that influence every patient’s experience of health and disease. 

Modern Western medicine does a really good job with medical emergencies. If you've sustained an injury, suffered a heart attack or stroke, or have a serious infection, modern medicine has the tools, technology and ongoing research to take care of your immediate need.

In my opinion, modern Western medicine falls short with it's current approach to chronic disease. With the emphasis on technology and promotion of pharmaceutical therapies, modern Western medicine has lost "the basics". The system is so focused on pills to treat your symptoms that it no longer asks the most basic question:


Funtional Medicine Carin Nielsen MD
"What are the root causes of your symptoms?"

Functional Medicine asks this question and more.
  • What is going on under the surface?
  • What happened "upstream" to cause this "downstream" effect?
  • Where is the underlying imbalance?

Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among each patient's genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence their long-term health and development of chronic disease.  Functional Medicine recognizes that the factors underlying disease are unique from person to person, and that optimal health and well-being can only be achieved by examining the person as a whole, rather than just treating a symptom.


Functional Medicine is Integrative Medicine

Functional Medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “complementary” therapies. The focus is not on diagnoses/labels but on prevention, wellness and balance. Some of the tools I use every day in my office include:
  • personalized nutrition, diet, and exercise recommendations
  • state-of-the art laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques
  • prescription medication and/or botanical medicines
  • evidence-based supplements and therapeutic diets
  • detoxification programs
  • stress-management techniques 

Do you feel your healthcare needs are not being met?  Do you have unanswered questions?  Are you looking for healthcare that involves more than a prescription pad?  Are you looking for tools to help you achieve optimal health and well-being?


Functional Medicine may be just what you are looking for.

For more information please visit my website www.CarinNielsenMD.com or send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also learn more by visiting the Institute for Functional Medicine's website https://www.functionalmedicine.org.

Carin Nielsen, MD



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I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
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Mindfulness – Feel less stressed by reducing your “brain chatter”.

Today we finalized and published our fall Mindfulness class schedule and I am really excited about it.

What is Mindfulness?

Here is a textbook definition:  Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to our thoughts and feelings purposely, in order to become more present within our own lives.

Need more clarification? Here is how I explain the concept of Mindfulness to my patients:  Mindfulness is a tool to create some distance between yourself and your “brain chatter”.

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There will always be stress. Often in life it seems we finish dealing with one stressor, and there is another waiting around the corner. We can't change that. What we can change is our reaction to stress. We don't have control over the presence of stress in our lives, what we do have control over is our response.

When you start to think of stress in these terms, the concept of stress itself becomes external. You can put a little distance between yourself and the stress. By doing so, the effects of stress are less likely to "take over" your mind and body.

If you feel chronically “stressed”, it is likely that you have a good amount of what I like to call “brain chatter”. As a Type-A busy working mom, I am very familiar with this concept.  “Brain chatter” is all of that stuff that is spinning around in your brain.  It is the to-do lists, the thoughts about what happened at dinner last night, about where the kids need to be picked up later, about your worries about your job, about that kitchen faucet that still needs to be fixed, and everything else.  It is all of those thoughts that are spinning around in your brain while you go about your day.

With a brain so full of chatter – it’s difficult to concentrate on anything else.  You go about your day almost on “auto pilot”. You could get yourself ready in the morning, eat breakfast, and drive to work and yet be totally unaware of your actions because you are so distracted by your “brain chatter”.  If that chatter is full of worries and negativity, it can cause you to be irritable and snap at others for no apparent reason. You react quickly, perhaps in a negative way, because you are not focused and present within moment, your brain is focusing instead on negative chatter. The chatter escalates and spreads throughout your body, causing you the physical symptoms of stress (muscle tension, headaches, and heart palpitations to name a few).

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It is called Mindfulness practice for a reason. You can read about the concept all day long, but it is putting it into action that gives you results. It isn't easy! It takes time to retrain your brain to become more aware and less reactive. With patients I often use the analogy of running a marathon. You wouldn't just wake up one day and run a marathon. You would spend months, oftentimes up to a year, to train. It is similar when training your brain. When learning Mindfulness meditation, you start with a few minutes here and there, and gradually work your way up to longer meditations.

S.T.O.P. 

"STOP" is a quick and easy way to start incorporating Mindfulness into your daily routine as a means of reducing the effects of stress. It takes about 30 seconds. I often do this routine in between seeing patients.

S = Stop what you are doing

T = Take a deep breath.  A " belly breath", Relax your abdominal muscles and breathe deep as though you are filling your belly with air.

O = Observe. How is your body feeling? Where are your thoughts right now? If your mind is spinning with "brain chatter", acknowledge this chatter and then set it aside. Put a little bit of space in between you and your "brain chatter"

P = Proceed. Go on about your day with a mind that is slightly more clear and a body that is slightly more relaxed.

Have I sparked your interest? I’ll discuss the science and research of Mindfulness in future posts, but if you are interested in getting started this fall we will offer everything from one-night workshops to a six-week course to teach the principles and practices of Mindfulness.

Chris Frasz, MSW

Back by popular demand, we will be offering our six-week introductory course "An Introduction to Mindfulness for Stress Reduction". This course is facilitated by Chris Frasz, MSW who has facilitated several courses for us in the past and gets many rave reviews and requests for additional classes. Chris recently completed a week-long Mindfulness intensive under the direction of Jon Kabat –Zinn, the founding and executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Learn more about this class and Chris Frasz by clicking here, www.carinnielsenmd.com/stress-reduction.

Kelly Daunter, PsyD, LLPIn addition to the six-week introductory course, clinical psychologist Dr. Kelly Daunter will be offering three one-night Mindfulness Workshops - Mindful Eating, Mindful Parenting, and Mindfulness for Stress Reduction During the Holidays. These workshops are a great way to “get your feet wet” and see what Mindfulness Practice is all about, while applying the concept to everyday life stressors. If you’ve ever mindlessly ate a bag of potato chips, snapped at your kids and regretted it, or felt run-down by Holiday stress, one of these workshops might be for you!  www.carinnielsenmd.com/events

Workshops will be held at Integrative Medicine | Carin Nielsen, MD in Downtown Petoskey. Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Please contact us to reserve your spot (231) 638-5585 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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