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Ask Dr. Mark FAQs

Ask Dr. Mark FAQs

ONE OF THE MOST COMMON questions that I am asked in my practice and elsewhere are grouped here, with more being added regularly. Also try browsing through my UltraWellness Library of articles and recipes to find more information on a wider range of topics, sample my Video Archive, or use the search box at the top of the right-hand column of each page.

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (41)

  • I am in the process of reading your book. I do not have a weight problem. My colestrol is 220, my good coletrol is in the good range. I have trouble sleeping and bite my finger nails. I am on a low fat diet, but eat cereal for breakfast and coffee. Am 5’5″ and weigh 145. Will your diet help me.

    Thanks Danny

    • Hi, If I can no longer breast feed what do I feed my child as I don’t want to use infant formula or dairy?

  • Hello Functional Medicine and Ultra Wellness Team,

    (I don’t know who else to talk to, who else to call–I’m out of ideas and becoming scared).

    My sister is 17, very sick and is getting worse. She has been diagnosed with gastroparesis and suffers from other symptoms which are bad but of less concern. These are from the lack of ability to absorb nutrients and from high stress (mostly resulting from the gastroparesis).

    She has been to her primary (more than once), the ER (more than once), GI specialists (more than one), and now the doctor is saying it’s time for surgery; immediately.

    My mom is an RN, my sister is an ER nurse, my grandma is a former surgical technician in the Korean war and taught Sociology, Physiology, and Anatomy at the college level and I am at the University of California Davis studying clinical nutrition and biochemistry. With all of the combined health knowledge of conventional doctors and my family–surgery has still come onto us.

    The surgeries include Nissen Fundoplication and/or Pyloroplasty–both of which cover-up/address the symptoms but do not address or correct the underlying cause of why or how she got this disease.

    We have tried “fat free” diets; fiber free diets; prokinetics; drugs that made her anxious, depressed, and/or emotional; antiemetics–and none of it seems to help and she is only getting worse.

    This has gotten so bad that she has been kicked out of choir (she was in the high ranking class) for absences, then was kicked off of the voleyball team (she was varsity captain) and now she is out of school and on independent studies (her senior year).

    She cannot eat, either sleeps too much or too little, is stressed, depressed, is losing weight, is malnourished, had to leave school because she couldn’t leave class every hour or so to throw up, and now she has not had a bowel movement in five days.

    To say her quality of life has been impaired is an understatement. We can reasonably conclude that this is no longer a matter that is just mildly interesting, not just a subject for intellectual debate, but a matter of life and death.

    Again, I do not know who else to go to or what to do anymore. I am being head butted with my ideas of mediation, yoga, juicing, exercising, electro-acupuncture, acupuncture, and herbs by the doctors that we are seeing at my mom’s work (since she’s an RN, that’s where our insurance is; Kaiser). Mostly because I cannot give any recommendations with certainty. I truly just do not understand this aggressive, invasive disease.

    PLEASE, if you can refer me any where, to any doctor, website or the like I would be so greatful. PLEASE just tell me where I can go next. If that means paying Dr. Mark Hyman lots of money to make sure my sister doesn’t go into cardiac arrest from a lack of available food she cannot eat–than so be it.

    Contact me soon.
    I’m not weird or trying to be dramatic. This is real and I just highly respect the practice of functional medicine. Thank you.

    (559) 972-1833
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    I Wish The Very Best and Look Forward To Your Reply ASAP,
    Michael Manning

  • i just started reading your book went on website seems like it will cost a lot of money for supplements.The supplements are they essential to go with the diet if you want to follow the diet.

    • Hi Linda,

      We all need different portion sizes based on build, activity and health requirements. Typically a healthy 6’1″ man could eat closer to 5 or 6 ounces of protein. Probably still 1/3 cup grains if watching blood sugars. But again, specific nutrition info would be tailored based on knowing more about him. Hi Sandy,

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  • The FAQ’s themselves seem to be fairly limited.. I’m trying to find out how to “Ask Dr. Hyman” a question on “House Call.” I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of fasting but don’t really know the best way to go about it. Should I simply not eat anything for a day or two or should I restrict my food intake?


  • My son has been diagnosed with IBS. Most of his issues are under control with the exception of one. He experiences loud gurgling which is most disruptive during his classes. He is currently taking Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes and Dicyclomine, Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • Mark,
    I am trying the 10-Day Detox. I am a single mom who works from 7am to 6pm monday thru Friday & I have a 30-40 minute commute both ways. I get up at 4:30am and walk my dogs for 30 minutes and then off to my nursing job which keeps me running. I get off work & go to my aerobics class and home by 8pm to start dinner for me & my kids. With the recipes you have listed they all contain a long list of ingredients & require alot of time to prepare. which puts my dinner time at around 9 or 9:30pm which is not good. I then work on homework & things I need to get done & in bed by 11pm. with the extended amount of time required to fix the meals it pushes everything to later & I am getting 4-5hrs sleep. I was wondering if you had recipes that had very few ingredients & took less than 30 minutes from start to finish? I an not overweight but I am finding myself as I get older I am 49 that I am tired by the time Friday gets here & (I also work a second job on the weekends) I am trying this detox to see if it will help with my fatigue. Please let me know if you have any suggestions as the unlimited salad bar for both lunch & dinner is not acceptable to my teenagers. Changing my schedule is not an option at this time.
    Thank you,
    Cynthia Northey

    • Hi Cynthia,

      It may help to prep as much of the meals as possible ahead of time, then you can just prepare the final touches at your meal time. I personally prep a week or so of smoothie ingredients, soup, hard boiled eggs and chicken breasts/proteins so making breakfast and lunch is very easy.

  • I am on day 3 of the 10 day detox diet. My stomach is so bloated that I can’t get the shakes or recommended glasses of water down. I am very uncomfortable. I took the magnesium citrate as recommended for constipation but today is the first day I have not gone to the bathroom. Help!

  • I’m making preparations to do the 10 Day Detox next week. I am doing this detox alone and the recipes make (on average) 4-6 servings. I can I eat the left overs from dinner for lunch the next day or vise versa?

    • Hi Laura,
      Thank you for your question. When preparing the recipes for one, you can cut the ingredients in half to make 2-3 serving and then enjoy the leftovers the next day. In addition, please feel free to try the recipes in any order (for example, Day 5 recipes can be made on Day 1.) If you would like personalized support during the 10-Day Detox, please contact the nutrition coaching team at:
      Wishing You the Best of Health!
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • My blood pressure dropped from 120 over 99 to 96 over 77 in ten days. I am light headed but no other symptoms. Should I be worried?

  • Hi,
    My faminly is attempting to do the 10-Day Detox Diet. Howver my dad is allegic to many of the things in the recipes, such as cucumber, ginger root, many seeds, kiwi,carrots, strawberries, blueberries.He can eat many of them frozen or cooked. I was just wondering if it would greatly affect the benifts of the diet to freeze or cook some of these ingedients or if there would be any alternatives.
    Thank you.

  • Is there a list of the fish you should not eat related to the 10 day detox diet research? I do not have local access to several species noted in the recipes.

    thank you

    • Hi CW,
      Here are some guidelines to help you with selecting seafood to eat on the 10-Day Detox Diet:
      • Look for small, wild, low-mercury, sustainably raised cold-water fish
      • Anchovies, clams, cod, crab, flounder/sole, herring, halibut, mussels, salmon (canned or fresh), sardines, small halibut, sable, shrimp, scallops
      • Great resources: Crown Prince Natural, Vital Choice Seafood, Ecofish, Inc., SeaBear
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • I started the 10 day detox on June 29th – all is goign well other than one issue. The PGX never dissolves into my glass of water and that makes it a bit unsavory to drink. Is there any way to get it to dissolve or is this how it is supposed to occur?

  • Hi, If someone can answer this frustrating question!!! Why haven’t i lost any weight??? I am 41 years old, I started the 10 day detox 31 days ago, after the 10 days are up I went on to the blood sugar solution cookbook. I eat NO dairy ( or fake dairy), sugar (including natural sweetners like agave or honey) carbs (including complex carbs or starchy vegetables) Basically I eat lean proten and veggies and NO starchy veggies. I eat 15 nuts in the mid afternoon and just started drinking caffeine about 6 days ago. During this whole process everything about me feels great, I have more energy my arthritis is bothering me my allergies have cleared up the ONLY thing that hasn’t happened is that I haven’t lost more then 2 pounds. I started this weighing 173 and I weigh 171 31 days later. I drink over 100 ounces of water a day and exercise 45 min a day. even though I feel good I’m discouraged to continue with this program without and weight loss benefit. has this happened to anyone else? One important bit of information is that I am hypothyroid and have been on Armour for about 3 years, I see my doctor every 3 months for blood work and adjustments in my medication. All of my fat is centrally located on my middle from below my belly botton to mid thigh, however lucky for me my 5’10 frame can carry it but I’m tired of it. Any response would be awesome

  • Dear Nutrition Staff,

    I am just finishing up on day 9 of my detox. I read the book thoroughly prior to starting and am again reading on a day by day basis. Everything has gone relatively well and I’ve lost 6 lbs, but only about 1 inch on my waist (was hoping for more there). I have, however, had some bad days intestinally, two of which happened this week. It may have been I drank my shake to quickly in the morning as I was in quite a rush and had intense cramps … almost like I could feel the flax seeds moving through me and it got me thinking about the effect of not having a gall bladder.. Because of Dr. Hyman’s explanation about the liver and the process of breaking down fats I was concerned about how this process is effected when someone has no gall bladder and although all the fats prescribed are healthy is there anything different I should be doing as my gall bladder was removed?



    • Hi Blake,
      Thank you for your question and congratulations on your success with the 10-Day Detox Diet. Did you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching where you can receive 1:1 support with Registered Dietitians, please see:
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • Hi there, I began the 10 day sugar detox 3 days ago. On day 3, I had an unexpectedly hectic day and ate nothing all day after my breakfast smoothie, than for dinner broke the plan and had wheat and cheese because I did not have the time or opportunity to have my detox meal. I made sure to stay away from sugar.
    I am serious about this plan and on day 4 am redoing day 3. I am wondering do I just redo day 3 and continue on forward or do I have to start from day 1? Please let me know. I am not seeing anything in the book about what happens when you cheat.

    • Hi Ana,
      We recommend that you pick up where you left off (on Day 3) to continue your 10 days. You can decide when you reach day 10 if you’d like to continue or transition to the Advanced or Basic Plan (see Chapter 18 for more information). Good luck with the rest of your detox!
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • I started the 10-day detox 6 weeks ago, during which I lost 5 pounds, and lost 1.5inches around my waist, almost 2.5inches around my hip area, and almost 1inch around my thighs. Post detox, I decided to continue on the super advanced plan. My aim is to lose a total 10 to 12pounds. I’m not overweight, I weighed 125 pounds at the start of the detox, at a height of 5″3.
    I’ve been on the super advanced plan for a total of 6 weeks now, and in the past 2 weeks I’ve gained 2 pounds, I’m very confused. I don’t understand how that would be possible. I have had a piece of cake, twice in the past couple of weeks (one piece a week), and 4 cups of coffee in the past 3 weeks, but besides that I’ve been following the plan. Also I want to say that I’m relatively active, I practice ashtanga yoga daily, and I live in a city so I walk almost everywhere daily..

    Could there be any explanation for my weight gain? This is generally my pattern, I lose the first 5 pounds easily then, it’s almost impossible to lose beyond that.. It’s very frustrating..

    • Hello Yogini,
      The 10-Day Detox Diet is designed to improve your health by reducing the toxic load from foods, stress, and the environment. For many people, this also results in the loss of excess body fat. For someone like you who is already at ideal body weight and exercising regularly, it is common to see a loss in inches and even some gain on the scale due to the addition of lean muscle. Continue to choose nutritious, whole foods to support a healthy body and a healthy weight. The Basic Plan may be your next best step.

      id you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching where you can receive 1:1 support with Registered Dietitians, please see:
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • It seems that not all the questions ask, Dr. Hyman’s staff replied to. I am interested to know what would prevent a person from losing weight if they are following the program religiously. I did the program for a total of 19 days and lost only albs. I have 20 to 25 lbs to lose and it makes no sense according to Dr. Hyman’s research. I read in his book that a small population of people that don’t lose could have an underlying cause. Can you please list what these causes can be? I did his program 5 months ago and have eliminated some of the toxins that are not great for optimal health, but yet I still have major issues with bloating, irregular bowels and trouble losing weight. I still take the vitamins and PGX. Thank you for a prompt response as I would like to start the program again tomorrow.

    • Hello Ally,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum and it is impossible to diagnose what may be preventing you from losing weight. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • I read that the appendix is important to make energy from the fiber in greens and vegetables. How much will removing the appendix impact what I should eat. (I have turned to an animal fat based diet till I know that eating vegetables is not wasted for me).

  • I read that the appendix is important to make energy from the fiber in greens and vegetables. How much will removing the appendix impact what I should eat? Should i compensate some fiber with saturated fat?

  • I am curious why lemon juice is ok but you have to avoid all other citrus. If you are trying to test for a citrus allergy, shouldn’t you avoid lemon juice as well? Also, can you explain what the purpose of lemon is in the lemon juice/olive oil drink?

  • Hi Dr. Hyman,
    I am 40 years old and 24 weeks pregnant. Which components of your program should I avoid?

  • I have a func medicine doc and have been working with him. I have given up gluten, dairy, sugar, all processed foods. I have been exercising aerobically and lifting weights 4-5 times a week. I have recently been on a 21 day Clearvite cleanse (today is day 19). I feel good, bowels normal and sleeping well, but have gained 3 lbs. Is this normal? I am also having daily, dull headaches. I am only 10 lbs over where I would like to be, but I thought the weight would just drop off. I am working hard at not focusing on the scale, but it can be frustrating. I went to a work function last night where they ordered 6 pizzas for our table, chicken wings and some kind of mac & cheese balls. They also had decadent desserts. I ate a very delicious salad and had a glass of red wine (a cheat on my cleanse). I didn’t touch, nor was I tempted to touch, any of the bad stuff. Then this morning I was up a pound. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Hi, I had a question about exercise. On the 10-day detox, we’re supposed to do 30 min of exercise in the morning right when we wake up. Is it ok to exercise later in the day instead? Should we restrict to 30 min or is longer also suggested?

    • Hello Tiffany,
      It is fine to incorporate your exercise into a different time of the day if it better fits your schedule. And if you feel like doing more than 30 minutes, go for it!
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • Hello,
    I have been doing the food portion of the 10 day detox. I find your ideas intriging and a lot of things I tend to agree. I am dealing with the idea I may be “addicted” to sugar and wheat and carb foods.
    Many years ago, I was told I had hypoglycemia. Over the years and many diets I have had trouble eliminating sugar and carbs. In the place I would eat artificial substitutes.

    Any way I do have a question that I really don’t understand I hope there is an answer that I will understand that is not too complicated. My first experience with a diet plan was many years ago with Weight Watchers. It has changed quite a bit since then, but they recommended the basic American Diabetic organization well known food exchange plan where you eat a balanced amount of all food groups and each serving has a name. Protein, dairy, fat, bread (or Carbs) Vegetables, fruit. You were allowed to have a certain number of servings from each category. As far as I know, the Diabetic organization recommends the same kind of things for Diabetes patients even today.

    My question is this, your programs all seem to center around the way the body reacts to the food we eat and the insulin connection. It seems to me that the medical community would know how to help people with their insulin and that they would have changed the recommendations for the diet that is key to the very people who have actually been diagnosed with the disease and not just be suspicious that they may have pre-diabetes. If cutting out all those foods you recommend helps people, why has the Exchange Plan not been adjusted accordingly? (Please do not “write off” all the other doctors in the world because I know better than that.)

    Question 2
    I realize you gave author input in the “Daniel Plan” program as well. That program allows whole grain carbs and vegetable carbs (high starch). Is there some reason why that is recommended and not in your other books? As a matter of fact I was considering starting the Daniel Plan after
    doing about 3 weeks on the detox. I did not do it 100% exact but cut out a great deal of things I normally eat. It is confusing to me that the carb foods are recommended in the Daniel Plan but not the Blood Sugar Solutions and Detox and minimally in Ultra Metabolism. (Also in relation the limited number of fruits you can eat).
    Thanks for a reply. Many replies above seem kind of the same. Please respond to the questions.

  • Hi, We are just starting the diet, doing our shopping, and had a few specific questions that would really help.
    1) Is genmaicha miso (rice miso) acceptable to include during the first week?
    2) One of us has about 12% body fat, is highly active, and is not in this to lose weight but rather for detox and skin conditions; what is the best way to increase the number of calories he needs to consume during the diet? We were thinking of multiplying the rice, fish and chicken serving sizes.
    3) We also have found a past intolerance to soy beans and soy milk and are considering treating this as a potential allergen. Does it make sense to eliminate it and if so, when would we reintroduce it?
    4) Rice vinegar is made with a fungus (Aspergillis) not yeast–can we use that a) during the initial week or b) thereafter before we reintroduce yeast?