The Functional Medicine Approach To Treating COVID-19 And Post-COVID Syndrome

Episode 150 1h 7m


COVID has taught us a lot over the last year, and continues to do so every day that we battle this pandemic. We’ve seen what an overburdened medical system looks like and been faced with the reality of social distancing for many months now. Perhaps one of the most important lessons we have learned, though, is that a body that’s already suffering from chronic disease has far greater risks of COVID severity and even death.

In the US, where the majority of people are metabolically unhealthy, we’ve seen our population faring much worse than other countries against this virus. Here, there are 500 COVID deaths per million people (at the time of this episode recording). In China, that number is 3 per million. Look at that alongside the 42% obesity rate here and the 2.6% rate there. COVID has shown us just how out of balance we are as a nation and how our baseline of disease has gotten us into such a mess.

I sat down with my colleague, good friend, and former roommate Dr. Patrick Hanaway to talk about the Functional Medicine approach to treating COVID-19. We discuss why we need to start looking at this pandemic from an integrative perspective, and how that carries over into recovery long after a negative test result. Dr. Hanaway and I dive into the current state of COVID and his experience treating patients. Integrative practices have actually shown to reduce hospitalizations from COVID 8-times more than conventional treatments alone.

Dr. Hanaway points out that it’s not about dismissing all of the conventional methods of treatment—it’s not either OR, it’s both AND. We talk a good bit about post-COVID syndrome, also called long haulers syndrome, which is when a patient who’s had COVID experiences long-lasting symptoms.

Functional and integrative treatments are key in addressing this problem; Dr. Hanaway and I discuss certain factors that tie into this, like mitochondrial energy production, and how we can use them to support healing. Dr. Hanaway also shares his experience in managing stage IV cancer, again using an integrative approach, and how he collectively used the ketogenic diet, fasting, radiation, chemotherapy, and his spiritual practices for maximum benefit.

This is a very important episode, I hope you’ll tune in.


This episode is brought to you by BiOptimizers, Paleovalley, and Cozy Earth. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • Rethinking our approach to COVID-19 by focusing on improving our overall health and well-being

    (5:02 - 9:12)

  • Why does the United States have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world?

    (8:43 - 12:53)

  • The Functional Medicine approach to preventing and treating COVID-19 and post-COVID syndrome

    (9:58 - 14:08)

  • Is vitamin D effective as a treatment for COVID-19?

    (16:00 - 20:10)

  • How COVID and chosen therapeutic models highlight our response to life’s uncertainty

    (20:20 - 24:30)

  • How Dr. Hanaway treats COVID-19 patients

    (22:54 - 27:38)

  • The role of mitochondrial function in relation to COVID-19 and post-COVID syndrome

    (26:43 - 31:26)

  • The Functional Medicine approach to treating post-COVID syndrome, or long hauler syndrome

    (30:47 - 35:31)

  • Dr. Hanaway’s personal journey facing stage IV cancer

    (41:23 - 46:07)

  • Dr. Hanaway’s experience pairing a ketogenic diet, fasting, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy

    (48:01 - 52:41)

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Ep. 150 - The Functional Medicine Approach To Treating COVID-19 And Post-COVID Syndrome