Listen to FxMed Podcasts
Read the Blog

Biography

Dr. Kara Fitzgerald received her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Fitzgerald is lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine, a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine’s updated Textbook for Functional Medicine. She has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Fitzgerald received her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first CNME-accredited post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix (now Genova) Clinical Laboratory under the direction of Richard Lord, Ph.D. Her residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center, a large, integrative medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Fitzgerald is lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine, a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine’s updated Textbook for Functional Medicine. She has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Fitzgerald is on faculty at the Institute for Functional Medicine, and is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. She regularly lectures internationally for several organizations and is in private practice in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

  • Doctorate of naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon
  • Post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix
  • Residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center
  • Lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine
  • Contributing author for IFM’s Textbook of Functional Medicine
  • Contributing author for Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine
  • Contributing author for Oxford University Press Integrative Gastroenterology, 2nd edition
  • Author of Fitzgerald KN, Hodges R. (2016). Methylation Diet and Lifestyle. (n.p).
  • Co-researcher, in collaboration with the Helfgott Institute at NUNM, Methylation Diet & Lifestyle Study
  • Faculty member at Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP)
  • Approved supervisor for Certified Nutrition Specialist candidates seeking experience hours
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald on Instagram

As most of us know all too well, acne isn’t just a teenage dilemma! The bacteria Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) — one of the most abundant strains of bacteria in most people’s facial microbiome — has long been associated with acne lesions. But, how does acne occur, and how does our microbiome impact it?

Mother Dirt's article on the acne and the skin microbiome uncovers the role of Salicylic Acid and probiotics in treatment. Link in bio: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/06/01/acne-the-skin-microbiome-and-salicylic-acid-treatment/
...

I am always eager to learn from other clinicians about how they approach complex patients and layer various healing modalities into the therapeutic encounter. My guest today, Dr. Bruce Hoffman MD, has combined his passion in integrative medicine with psychiatry to explore cellular health to best guide his patient’s health journey.

Dr. Hoffman is based in Calgary, Canada at the Hoffman Centre for Integrative Medicine and the Brain Center of Alberta. He’s an IFM-certified functional medicine practitioner. He knows his stuff!

Link in bio: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/06/01/the-cell-danger-response-restoring-cellular-health-with-phospholipids-and-bioactive-lipids/
...

Most people think that their genes decide their fate…But this notion is not only false, it’s dangerous. As a doctor, I don’t care about your DNA. You can’t change it and, with few exceptions, your DNA isn’t that important.

When you, or your aunt, blame your tendency to gain weight on the diabetes that runs in your family, it makes you feel helpless, like there’s nothing you can do, so why bother? When in fact it’s just the opposite: no matter what age you are, you have the power to change how your genes express, and that means you can influence how your body processes sugar, and even whether you develop diabetes at all.

What you eat, how you live, what you do, whether you exercise, what you think, what your stress level is, how well and how much you’re sleeping, all have a more important influence on your health than your genetics.
...

Inflammation is a tricky concept. It’s a necessary part of our immune system that we need in order for our body to heal itself.

But it can also easily get out of control, or go unnoticed for too long which can cause or exacerbate many symptoms doctors see today. Things like joint and muscle discomfort, frequent illness, fatigue, bloating, cramping, skin issues, brain fog, and the list goes on…

But anti-inflammatories like NSAIDS can have dangerous side effects, and are not something you should take daily.

Which is why naturally encouraging healthy inflammation levels with turmeric is the ideal solution. It has been found to have potential or actual therapeutic value in over 600 health conditions!

In a 2015 study, researchers found turmeric blocked the release of inflammatory cytokines. *

In a 2017 study, researchers found it relieved joint and muscle soreness after exercise.**

And Paleovalley Turmeric Complex is the best way to get your daily dose of turmeric.

It contains whole food, organic turmeric, PLUS 2 absorption enhancers (one of which has shown to increase the body’s ability to absorb turmeric by 2000%)**, and organic ginger, rosemary, and cloves for added benefits.

Click the LINK IN BIO now for 15% off Paleovalley’s Turmeric Complex. https://bit.ly/3ghjn4O
...

Certain times during our life can be associated with faster bone loss. For women, pregnancy and menopause/postmenopause are stages where bone deterioration can occur at a faster rate.

In functional medicine, we know that bone health is about much more than just calcium and vitamin D (although those are very important too). And one additional influencer is your gut microbiota.

New animal research from Cornell and Tufts Universities demonstrates that alterations to the gut microbiome can have effects on bone strength. Interestingly, too, (since we measure bone turnover in the clinic) the researchers found that the effect on bone strength occurred without noticeable changes in bone turnover.

Future research will likely continue to tease out just what gut microbiota patterns are most beneficial for bone health. In the meantime, we will continue to pay close attention to gut health in all our patients, including those whose bones are at greater risk.

Link in bio: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33999456/

Thanks for sharing to my colleague, @romillyhodges!
...

For all of us here at the clinic, functional medicine is a calling. It’s a desire to do better for our patients, to pursue optimal health (whatever that means for each individual), and to meaningfully address many of our society’s significant health burdens. Four of our doctors spoke about why they chose to live functional medicine. https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/06/03/why-we-choose-functional-medicine/ ...

Histamine has been getting such a bad rap lately (we tend to associate it with symptomatic reactions to food and more) but a new study shows histamine is also beneficial. In fact, it's needed to experience the benefits of exercise.

The research published in Science Advances found that regular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) activates histamine receptors, which play a role in some well-known benefits of exercise including increased insulin sensitivity and improved cardiometabolic functioning. The randomized controlled trial involved 20 healthy men who didn’t exercise. These men participated in HIIT three times a week for six weeks. Half of the men were given antihistamines that blocked H1 and H2 receptors one hour before each exercise session and the other half were given a placebo. Researchers found that the men who took antihistamines experienced significantly less improvement in insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial functioning, and vascular function compared to the placebo group.

There are a couple of takeaways here - firstly, very few things are as black and white as good or bad (everything in balance is a better approach). Secondly, it's another reason to address allergies naturally (I have an excellent Seasonal Allergy Program for anyone interested) and avoid excess antihistamine use.

We also hope to see future studies with larger groups of participants, including women, to determine how histamine affects the beneficial effects of exercise. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/16/eabf2856
...

H. pylori symptoms can include abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, and loss of appetite. Not all cases of H. pylori are problematic, but when they are they can sometimes lead to stomach ulcers and even cancers.

A recent randomized, controlled trial of 80 patients receiving H. pylori quadruple eradication therapy with bismuth demonstrated that adding L. reuteri for 1 month improved gastrointestinal symptom reduction to 42 percent of patients, compared with just 19 percent without the probiotic.

The probiotic didn't significantly change the eradication rate which stayed steady at 85 percent of patients.

Link in bio: https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/generalinfectiousdisease/92572
...

Life is too short to spend it all in the office. Particularly since spending too much time in the office may shorten your lifespan!

The Director of WHO's Department of Environment, Climate Change, and Health just called on governments, employers, and employees to recognize the risk of premature death from long working hours.

She's right. Working longer kills. Working 55 or more hours is linked to a 35% higher risk of stroke and 17% higher risk of death from a heart attack compared with those working 35-40 hours.

By the way, working from home has led to an average 2.5-hour increase in the average working day in the countries studied - Austria, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Have your work hours changed during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments. https://www.who.int/news/item/17-05-2021-long-working-hours-increasing-deaths-from-heart-disease-and-stroke-who-ilo
...

In the Functional Medicine space, we all desire to be described under the banner of “Evidence-Based.” What does that mean, and how do we get there? Our new article with @DutchTest addresses the laboratory component of this question.

Link in bio: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/05/25/the-journey-to-evidence-based-for-functional-labs/
...

There are many curcumin products on the market.

And while curcumin is an active ingredient in turmeric with tons of benefits, whole food turmeric has 300 additional beneficial compounds that you wouldn’t get with isolated curcumin alone.

Like AR-turmerone which has been shown to induce neural stem cell proliferation, And elemene which is theorized to have anti-cancer properties!

That’s why if you want to leverage turmeric’s full potential, you’ll want to use whole-food turmeric instead of just curcumin. You get all the benefits of curcumin, PLUS the added compounds found in turmeric. Full Spectrum Turmeric has shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, support healthy brain function, boost blood flow, support cellular and DNA health, soothe achy joints and muscles, and more!

BUT, you’d have to eat turmeric every single day to reap all of these benefits, which would get old fast.

If you want to harness the beautiful synergy of the many beneficial compounds in turmeric on a daily basis, without working it into every meal, try @Paleovalley Turmeric Complex today!

It contains organic whole food turmeric, PLUS 2 absorption enhancers, one of which has shown to increase the body’s ability to absorb turmeric by 2000%5!
Click the LINK IN BIO for 15% off today!

Link: https://bit.ly/3wXUMsC
...

We all know that achieving a healthy weight can lead to many health improvements. However, it can also result in the loss of bone density.

Want to keep your bones strong while losing weight? Exercise! According to a new systematic review of nine high-quality clinical trials, exercise reduces the negative effects of weight loss on bone density. Both resistance and aerobic exercise were beneficial.

The study authors caution that there is more to be teased out here - the benefits seen weren't always consistent across different sites of the body. Further study will be important to help solidify the evidence base for how to best support whole-body bone health during weight loss.

Right now, we will continue to recommend both aerobic and resistance training, to include specific exercises known to benefit bone density, when working on weight loss strategies.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34004388/ Link in bio.

Thanks for the advice, @romillyhodges!
...

Aging is the TOP driver of chronic disease. Thus, slowing down and reversing the aging process is one of the best ways to ease the global burden of chronic illness.

In the latest New Frontiers in Functional Medicine, my guest, Dr. Joseph Cleaver MD, and I spoke about immunosenescence and evidence-based integrative protocols to slow down and reverse the aging process.

Dr. Cleaver is a Fellow of the American Board of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine, is board-certified in internal medicine, a rheumatologist, on faculty at A4M and MMI and has authored and published a wealth of research and scholarly articles. He founded Paradigm Wellness Medical Group in Dallas and Sonoma Valley, California, AND he is Medical Director at Boutique Wellness in Winston, North Carolina.

Link in bio: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/05/25/integrative-protocols-focus-on-senolytics-cell-senescence-and-the-role-of-telomerase-activation/
...

As Functional Medicine moves forward, we should encourage provable claims to be put to the test. As an industry, we should not just follow the evidence where it goes, we must pursue it!

Link in bio: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/05/25/the-journey-to-evidence-based-for-functional-labs/
...

One of the questions I get asked from time to time is: "Does our recommendation for supplemental choline and betaine (as 'back-door' methylation support nutrients) cause any potential issue with increased trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) production?

As a reminder, high levels of circulating TMAO have been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. A recent paper demonstrated this (link and a good cautionary commentary on it below). TMAO is produced from trimethylamine (TMA) in your liver. TMA is formed by bacteria in your gut acting on foods such as meat, eggs, and fish.

However, what also came out of this paper was an understanding that those with some TMAO (but not a lot), actually have a lower risk profile than those with very low TMAO. And that TMAO-associated risk appears to be linked to gut microbiome profiles.

Certain common medications also increase TMAO production - like statins, antibiotics, and proton pump inhibitors.

The bottom line is: it's likely that the best way to reduce any TMAO-associated risk is by shoring up your gut microbiome, rather than eliminating important nutrients, like choline and betaine. Keeping meat intake (especially red meat) low helps reduce the number of TMA-producing bacteria in your gut that can contribute to this potential problem. For high-TMAO producers, a short period of dietary correction (potentially with microbiome-correcting supplemental support) may be a good idea before beginning any supplementation with choline or betaine.

Links to paper and commentary:
> https://bit.ly/3eYtqfx

> https://bit.ly/33XxB58
...

When it comes to healing skin ailments, Manuka Honey is as essential as it gets. Its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-proliferative properties mean that it has great potential for both wound healing and dermatologic conditions. And even that is barely scratching the surface of the various benefits it can provide.

To find out about the rest, check out this fascinating guest blog on the history and uses of Manuka Honey by the wonderful Dr. Joanna Jaros, MD, (@missfitmd) here: https://bit.ly/3bk61TA (Link in bio)
...

If you’ve been following me for any time, you’ve heard me speak frequently about aging as the top driver of chronic disease. In this interview, I dive into evidence-based integrative protocols to slow down and reverse the aging process.

My guest, Dr. Joseph Cleaver MD, is a Fellow of the American Board of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine, is board-certified in internal medicine, a rheumatologist, on faculty at A4M and MMI and has authored and published a wealth of research and scholarly articles. He founded Paradigm Wellness Medical Group in Dallas and Sonoma Valley, California, AND he is Medical Director at Boutique Wellness in Winston, North Carolina.

You’ll want to be ready to take notes during this interview, as Dr. Cleaver shares his personalized senolytic protocols specific to patient phenotypes. Listen, share, and leave a starred rating, if you wouldn’t mind!

Link in bio: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2021/05/25/integrative-protocols-focus-on-senolytics-cell-senescence-and-the-role-of-telomerase-activation/
...