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     2355 Canyon Blvd.   |   Suite 102   |   Boulder, CO 80302

Author: Dr. Amy Reidhead and Dr. Terri Rebibo Fox

A New Perspective On Weight Loss: Functional Medicine Insights

The functional medicine approach to weight loss isn’t all about diet and exercise (although healthy lifestyle choices do play a role). Instead, weight loss in functional medicine is all about understanding and addressing your body’s unique needs and imbalances.

This article dives into the complex world of functional medicine and how it can support your weight loss journey. From common nutrient deficiencies that could be affecting your metabolism, to the role of supplements and peptides, we will guide you through cutting-edge approaches to weight loss. 

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado,  wants to help you uncover and address the hidden causes of stubborn weight gain. So, whether you’re just beginning your weight loss journey or looking for new strategies to enhance your progress, this guide is for you.

Diet and Exercise for Weight Loss

The first aspect of your health that you need to address for weight loss is diet and exercise. How much and which foods you eat, how often you exercise – these factors dictate how well your body processes fat. 

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine dietary recommendations for weight loss are: 

  • Eat mostly plant foods with some healthy proteins
  • Skip the grains as much as possible, especially white rice, pasta, and bread, as they can cause inflammation in the body. 
  • Try fasting for a “stuck” metabolism. 
  • Always remember to stay hydrated!
  • Adopt nutritional lifestyles like ketogenic diet or an anti-inflammatory diet for increased weight loss.

When it comes to exercise, the amount of energy you put out has to be more than the energy you put in (or food eaten). The benefits of exercise are enormous, and include weight loss, mood regulation, and optimum health and longevity.

Exercise should include both strength training and cardio, three to five times a week. But even a brisk 30 min walk will help. Get out and move your body, you will feel better in every way!

What Causes Inability to Lose Weight?

Many of Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine’s clients are frustrated by an inability to lose weight. They think that they don’t exercise enough or maybe they blame their diet, but truthfully, an inability to lose weight could indicate an even greater imbalance. 

Your weight is tied to your hormones and affected by inflammation. Weight gain could be the result of adrenal dysfunction, sleep deprivation, a high toxin load, or a myriad of other factors. 

Because an inability to lose weight could start in many different systems, you should always work with a medical professional. Especially if you live an overall healthy lifestyle where you get plenty of exercise and eat a well balanced diet.

Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of weight gain and an inability to lose weight.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation disrupts the normal balance of hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, leading to increased appetite and calorie consumption. Additionally, fatigue from poor sleep can result in decreased physical activity, further promoting weight gain.

Hormonal Imbalances

Thyroid imbalances may cause weight gain and make it virtually impossible to lose weight. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine typically recommends a full thyroid panel, including TSH FT3, FT4 and Reverse T3, to diagnose thyroid imbalances.

Other hormone imbalances may also contribute to weight gain. For example, low testosterone makes it more difficult to build muscle mass and makes workouts feel harder. In women, menopause may also cause weight gain.  

If you or your doctor suspects hormones may play a role in your ability to lose weight, you should check the levels of all of your hormones


Inflammation is often the root cause of weight gain and obesity. Gut dysfunction, undiagnosed medical conditions, and exposure to viruses and other pathogens are just a few of the many causes of inflammation in the body.

At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, the first step to decrease your inflammatory load is to do 1) a food sensitivity and allergy panel and 2) a stool study. Unknown food sensitivities will significantly increase your inflammation levels and removing trigger foods may have a dramatic effect on your overall health. 

A stool study can show you if you have overgrowth of bacteria, parasites, or yeast; the treatment of which can also dramatically decrease your total body inflammation levels.  

Both of these tests also give you a snapshot of the diversity of your microbiome or lack thereof.  Your gut microbiome is your biggest immunomodulator, meaning it is responsible for increasing good immune signaling and decreasing immune dysfunction. Immune dysfunction includes inflammation, auto-immunity and allergies. 

Probiotics are extremely helpful for people with gut dysfunction. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine recommends ProbioLEAN to improve the beneficial bacteria that help boost your metabolism.

Adrenal Dysfunction

Adrenal dysfunction can contribute to central weight gain, or weight gain in your midsection.  

Your adrenals are your stress response and are critical for survival. A prolonged state of stress is unhealthy in many ways, one of which is an inability to lose weight or weight gain. Elevated stress hormones also contribute to poor insulin and glucose control, further accelerating metabolic issues that can result in weight gain as well as other poor health outcomes. 

Mold Toxicity

Most environmental toxins are either fat soluble or become “less toxic” when stored in the fat cells of the body. A high toxin load is toxic to your cells, and as a result, your cells force your body to store more fat in an attempt to dilute the toxicity. 

This is how environmental toxic burden can contribute to weight gain. For some people, a detox protocol is exactly what they need for weight loss.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies and mitochondrial dysfunction are also big contributors to stubborn weight gain. Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies are B12 and Vit D. 

Micronutrients that are needed for optimum mitochondrial function are also critical for your metabolism. Some of these nutrients include all of your B vitamins, glutathione, Vitamin C and Alpha lipoic acid.

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD)

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme that is essential for metabolism and mitochondrial function. Some of the precursors to NAD can increase the metabolism. This coenzyme can reduce fatigue and cognitive dysfunction while improving athletic endurance and weight loss.  

Supplements for NAD support include:

Blood Sugar Dysregulation

Your body will not start breaking down fats until you have no glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. If there is a constant flow of glucose, the body has no need to break down your fats. 

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine recommends blood sugar regulation supplements that regulate or decrease your blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity. These improve the body’s ability to go into ketosis, where the body breaks down fats into fatty acids to use as fuel and maintain a steady blood sugar level. 

Supplements for blood sugar dysregulation include:

  • Berberine ES
  • AMPK charge
  • AlaMax CR


Semaglutide is a peptide injection, originally developed to treat Type 2 Diabetes. It can help with weight loss by improving blood sugar regulation, insulin sensitivity, decreasing appetite and slowing gastric emptying. 

This injection does come with some risks and we always suggest that our clients carefully consider the risk to benefit ratio. Talk with your functional medicine doctor to see if it’s appropriate for you.

Schedule an appointment with your functional medicine doctor to get a blood draw that includes a full thyroid panel, sex and stress hormone levels (including testosterone and DHEA), micronutrient levels, etc. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine also recommends an adrenal panel for stress response, a food sensitivity to identify allergies, and a stool study for microbiome health.

Weight Loss Solutions

In addition to the specific solutions listed above, Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine has a list of weight loss supplements that can support your body’s ability to detox, stimulate your metabolism, and speed up fat burning processes.

As always, speak with your functional medicine provider before you add or change your supplements to assist with weight loss.

Weight Loss Supplements

Green tea phytosome: boosts metabolism without giving the jitters

NAD: Resveracel, NAD platinum, Collagen Plus support healthy mitochondria and energy production

Skinny shots: B-12 inositol, choline to support energy and fat burning potential

Berberine ES-5: improves insulin sensitivity, healthy blood glucose levels, wt loss

ProbioLean Probiotic: lean body mass supporting probiotics

AMPK Charge: nutritional ketosis, blood sugar regulation, weight loss support

Peptides for Weight Loss

Semaglutide (Ozempic) troche: Semaglutide is a weight loss medication that works in a few different ways. It helps the pancreas release insulin when blood sugar is elevated. It also slows the movement of food through the GI tract, which in turn decreases appetite, therefore causing weight loss. Finally, it mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which regulates our hunger.

Weight loss medications like semaglutide should be taken seriously and combined with healthy diet changes and a standard exercise regimen. Lifestyle changes are a must when combined with weight management medications because without them, the medication may not be as effective and can cause rebound weight gain once it is stopped. 

A healthy weight loss medication rule of thumb is up to 2lbs/week.

The main side effect of weight loss medications is nausea. Other side effects you may experience are vomiting, diarrhea, headache, tiredness, dizziness, and heartburn. You should also learn to monitor your blood sugar and be aware of the signs of low blood sugar. 

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any other labs you should monitor while on this medication. There are other potential serious adverse effects of semaglutide, so we recommend proceeding with caution.

Work with Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, looks for the cause of your weight loss and inability to lose weight. All of the supplements and tests recommended in your body are designed to find imbalances that affect your ability to lose weight or cause your body to hold onto fat. Want to learn more about functional medicine support for weight loss? Contact Boulder Holistic to schedule an appointment today!

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Boulder, CO 80302

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Dr. Terri Fox interviewed on the functional medicine approach to biotoxin illness by Dr. Jill Carnahan!

Dr. Terri Fox interviewed on the functional medicine approach to biotoxin illness by Dr. Jill Carnahan!

Written by Dr. Amy Reidhead and Dr. Terri Rebibo Fox on . Posted in Boulder Holistic Blog.

Hello Friends
It was an honor and pleasure to be interviewed by Dr. Jill Carnahan! Dr. Carnahan is a functional medicine doctor, researcher and lecturer. She specializes in biotoxin illness and has a wonderful, informative YouTube channel interviewing experts in the field. Check it out!
In this video, Dr. Jill interviews Dr. Fox about the functional medicine approach to biotoxin illness. Biotoxins are toxins that come from a biological origin. Many chronic conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, insomnia, neurologic conditions, anxiety and headaches have roots in biotoxin illness. Common biotoxin illnesses include Lyme Disease, Lyme associated co-infections and mold illness as each of these contagions release biotoxins that can make people symptomatic. 
Functional medicine looks for the underlying root cause instead of just treating the symptoms. Dr. Fox explores how functional medicine can be applied to mold toxicity and Lyme disease. Watch this video to learn more about Dr. Fox’s personal journey, a look at testing and treatment approaches for mold toxicity and the relationship between Lyme and mold.

Thank you first responders and teachers

We would like to offer our gratitude to first-responders and teachers for their selfless contribution to the care of our beloved friends, family members and children during these extraordinary times.
Our doctors are extending a friends and family discount on new patient appointments and supplements to all first responders and teachers who book through March 2021.
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The Latest COVID-19 Updates from Boulder Holistic

On Friday November 20th 2020, Boulder and Denver counties entered the “new red” COVID restriction levels. So what does that mean for us at Boulder Holistic?
Due to the current risk of COVID-19 infection, we are trying to do our part in slowing the spread of the coronavirus by limiting the number of face-to-face appointments per state order. We are booking appointments with our doctors via telemedicine through zoom or over the phone over the next few weeks in order to best comply with the new restrictions.
We are allowing in-person visits for those patients who want or need to be seen in-person for medical reasons. Please discuss your concerns with the front desk when booking your appointment.  
Our goal is to continue to provide the best care possible to all our patients during these uncertain times. More than ever, it is important to stay connected with your doctor in order to maintain optimum immune health, sleep, nutrition and stay as healthy as possible. We are all in this together!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday, 
Dr. Fox and Dr. Reidhead
What to do if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus?
We recommend the following for patients who have been in close contact/exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the CDC, close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of the infected person for longer than 15 minutes.
1. The CDC, Colorado.gov and Boulder County websites recommend that all people who have had exposure to a known positive COVID-19 infected person quarantine for a full 14 days. We are finding that it may take up to 14 days for enough of the virus to grow in the body to know whether you will become symptomatic.
2. You should quarantine, even if you do not have symptoms. During your 14-day quarantine, you are to monitor for the development of signs and symptoms of coronavirus infection.
  • These symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, chills, loss of smell/taste, fatigue, headache and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or nausea. 
  • If mild to moderate symptoms develop, please contact your doctor and we can help you to get tested for COVID-19 and assist you with supporting your body during initial infection phase.
  • If severe symptoms develop, like difficulty breathing, blue lips or skin, or changes in mental status, please call ahead to the emergency room and let them know you or your loved one has been exposed to the virus and is experiencing severe symptoms and needs to be seen immediately.
3. People may wish to be tested for COVID-19 during their quarantine, even if they do not develop symptoms. In this case, it is recommended that you wait a full 5-7 days after being exposed to the coronavirus before you get tested so that we get accurate results. Testing too early may lead to a false negative result.
There is a list of testing facilities on Boulder County’s website. https://www.bouldercounty.org/families/disease/covid-19/testing/
For a list of Denver county testing sites, please visit:
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Using Your Supplements Wisely: How to Best Protect and Heal from COVID-19

As fall turns to winter, the number of coronavirus cases in our state and the country continues to grow. Thankfully, over the past months doctors and researchers have learned more about the virus and how to best approach prevention and treatment.
Functional medicine thrives when it comes to understanding root causes of illness and how to support proper immune function. The research has shown that a step-wise approach to the coronavirus may be the best medicine.
First step: Prevention

Basic prevention measures should focus first on maintaining a healthy lifestyle by consuming a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise; reducing stress and getting adequate sleep. And of course, don’t forget to keep your distance, wear a mask and wash your hands!

Supplementing during the prevention stage includes the basics:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Zinc
  • Melatonin
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine

Using herbs and supplements to boost the immune system is also nice at this stage. Herbs make good choices because one herb can have many different actions in the body. The following herbs can support all three phases of illness.

  • Helpful herbs may include: Andrographis, Licorice, Berberine, Dan Shen, Scutalaria/Chinese skullcap and Japanese knotweed
  • Allicin, from garlic, can also help support immune function
  • Olive leaf helps against viruses
  • Mega IgG and SBI Protect
  • Quercitin
Next step: What to do if you get sick!

Ok, so here is what to do if you happen to get sick. Quarantine and rest are important at this stage as they limit the spread of the virus and allow your body to focus its energy on killing the virus.

During the initial 7 days of infection, we also recommend that you keep taking all your basic prevention supplements. Just at higher dosing or frequency. If you were taking your prevention supplements once a day, maybe increase to twice or three times daily dosing. It’s important to also increase the amount of vitamin C you are taking if possible: every couple of hours until “bowel tolerance”. Infections consume a LOT of antioxidants, so replacing them helps your body keep fighting.

It is also recommended during this initial illness stage that you increase your attention on antiviral strategies. If you were taking herbs once or twice day, you can increase to 3 times daily dosing at this phase.

  • The same herbs apply here: Andrographis, Scutillaria/Chinese Skullcap, licorice, Berberine, Goldenseal and Japanese Knotweed.
  • Echinacea and Reshi mushrooms are also great at this stage.
Step three: Late stage Infection Support

If by 7 days you have not recovered from COVID, it is important to change strategies and be watchful of worsening of symptoms or your condition.

Late infection with COVID-19 requires a different approach. During this time, we encourage people to switch focus from an immune support plan and begin to support a more anti-inflammatory approach.

  • Fish oils
  • Resveratrol
  • Sulforaphane
  • Curcumin
  • Glutathione
  • High Dose Melatonin

Many of these nutrients are important during this phase as they address escalating inflammation and demand for antioxidant support so critical at this stage.

Be alert for and seek emergency help if you or a loved one begins to experience symptoms of worsening illness like difficulty breathing, blue lips or face and changes in consciousness.

At Boulder Holistic, we have made an antiviral tincture that can be used to help support your body at every step.
Our Antiviral Tincture combines 4 herbs that have both antiviral and anti-inflammatory actions and can be used in all stages to support your immune system.
  • Glycyrrhizin/licorice
  • Dan Shen
  • Scutilaria/Chinese Scullcap
  • Japanese Knotweed

Dosing instructions:

  • In prevention stage, we recommend taking 2 droppers full daily
  • During active and late infection, our tincture can be taken 2-3 droppers full every few hours or 8 droppers full 3 times daily diluted in a little water.
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Boulder Holistic stands in solidarity with LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities

We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities and are pledging to donate 10% of all IV sales for the months of July and August to organizations that support the health and wellness of these communities.

It is a fact that Black and LGBTQ+ persons have been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic. As we witnessed the collision of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movements unfold before our eyes, we were sharply reminded of the lifetimes of systemic discrimination and limited access to healthcare suffered by both communities. 

These disparities have resulted in poorer health outcomes for these groups and laid bare the longstanding public health crisis experienced by LGBTQ+ and black indigenous people of color (BIPOC) communities.  

If you would like to join us in supporting, here are a few well-researched, national and locally based organizations specifically supporting the physical and emotional heath and wellness of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people.

  • The Center for African American Health: CAAH is a local Colorado based organization focused on empowering the health and well being of BIPOC in the metro Denver area by offering evidence based, disease prevention and management programs and events. https://caahealth.org/
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative: Established in 1983, this organization has been dedicated health equity, and improving the physical mental and emotional health and well-being of black women and girls. https://bwhi.org/
  • The Okra Project: This organization sends chefs to black trans homes and communities to teach healthy eating and provides meals for food insecure black trans people in New York City https://www.theokraproject.com/
  • Black Lives Matter: BLM is a movement dedicated to fighting for freedom, liberty, justice and equality for all BIPOC. https://blacklivesmatter.com/
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