Integrating Functional Medicine into Cleveland Clinic’s Inflammatory Bowel Program

Episode 36 39m


In medical school, we learned how to diagnose diseases and treat symptoms. What we didn’t learn is the science of cultivating a healthy inner garden; a strong microbiome that supports the rest of the body, but that is where the research is headed, especially in the field of gut health. Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is estimated to impact more than 2 million Americans. This term encompasses different disorders relating to inflammation in the digestive tract, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. And up until now, traditional gastroenterology took a linear view of treatment options, ignoring the impacts of diet and lifestyle, while many patients continued to struggle.

Today’s guest on The Doctor’s Farmacy, Dr. Miguel Regueiro, is part of the positive shift happening in the conventional approach to IBD. Dr. Regueiro is the chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology; his main clinical and research interest is IBD, with a focus on the natural course of these diseases and postoperative prevention of Crohn’s disease. Recently, he has been involved in developing new models of healthcare, including the first-of-its-kind specialty medical home for IBD. This innovative healthcare delivery system has defined the concept of specialty medical home and will lead to further clinical programs and investigation of alternative models of care.

In this episode, Dr. Regueiro talks about his progression into using dietary and lifestyle changes as part of IBD treatment. He believes in a multidisciplinary approach and has seen amazing results when combining his knowledge of traditional gastroenterology with the principles of Functional Medicine. I’ve seen this myself too; during our conversation, I share the story of one patient I helped to avoid major surgery through just 6 weeks of integrative care. The microbiome plays a huge role in the treatment of IBD and studies continue to reveal more about this complicated living organ.

Dr. Regueiro and I also cover the topics of probiotics, fecal transplants, and the Functional Medicine 5R program for gut health. Throughout our talk, we dive deep into the need for a collaborative approach in treating IBD. Twenty years ago this set of diseases was thought to be predominantly genetic, but now we know that is a small piece of the puzzle and that the immune system is heavily involved. This has sparked a greater interest in dietary changes, understanding lifestyle factors such as stress, and the microbiome, to create more comprehensive treatment options.

We talk about all this and more, on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy. I hope you’ll tune in.

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Ep. 36 - Integrating Functional Medicine into Cleveland Clinic’s Inflammatory Bowel Program