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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
  • Co-researcher, in collaboration with the Helfgott Institute at NUNM, Methylation Diet & Lifestyle Study now published in the journal Aging. For more information about the program and to order the book, published by Hachette, click here.
  • 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

We're looking for experienced content writers, editors, and medical reviewers for our FxMedicine Content!

If you fit the bill, send your details and a few writing samples to ProEd@DrKaraFitzgerald.com and tell us why you'd like to be a part of the DrKF team.

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Join us Tuesday, September 21, at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT for a free LIVE Clinic Immersion Teach-In webinar!

I’ll be joined by Dr. Tom Fabian, a consultant for @dxsolutionslab, to discuss the impact of specific microbial patterns on IBS, SIBO, and histamine intolerance. We’ll dive into how advanced stool testing, featuring quantitative PCR-based microbial DNA detection, can provide critical insights for managing patients with these conditions.

Sign up here: https://bit.ly/2XlHY2s
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By now, it should be obvious just how important your gut health is to your overall well-being. And that doesn’t just mean your physical health. There are so many intricate connections between our brain and our gut that they can influence each other in ways that you might not expect.

In this #sponsored blog post from @integrativetherapeutics, you’re going to learn about the gut-brain axis and the microbiota-gut-brain axis and what they can do to alter your stress response. And, after that, make sure to head over to the Integrative Therapeutics website to check out their line of prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes to help keep your gut happy and healthy.

Link in profile: https://bit.ly/3z0SU2N

Image Description: Text that reads "Brain health = Gut health" with icons of a brain and intestines over each. Orange arrows curve over and below each one to form a circle.
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Join us Tuesday, September 21, at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT for a free LIVE Clinic Immersion Teach-In webinar!

I’ll be joined by Dr. Tom Fabian, a consultant for @dxsolutionslab, to discuss the impact of specific microbial patterns on IBS, SIBO, and histamine intolerance. We’ll dive into how advanced stool testing, featuring quantitative PCR-based microbial DNA detection, can provide critical insights for managing patients with these conditions.

Sign up here: https://bit.ly/2XlHY2s

Image Description: Text that reads, "Brought to you by Diagnostic Solutions," with the Diagnostic Solutions logo.

A laptop sits open on a white background. On the screen, text reads, "Clinic Immersion Teach-In Webinar. IBS, SIBO, and histamine intolerance: Insights with GI - MAP. September 21 at 3 PM Eastern Time"

Headshots of Doctor Fitzgerald and Doctor Fabian sit at the bottom with text below that reads, "Guest: Doctor Tom Fabian."
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Blood sugar dysregulation is at the root of 9 out of the top 10 chronic diseases. But you don’t have to give up what you love to protect your health – small changes can make a massive difference.

A key tip is to avoid eating “naked carbs” on their own, pairing them with balancing macronutrients such as fiber and fats. Going for an outdoor walk post-meal has the double benefit of lowering your blood sugar AND your stress levels!

Tune in to our latest Teach-in with @drcaseyskitchen from @levels to hear her top blood sugar balancing tips - she’s got the data to prove they work!

Link in bio: https://bit.ly/3eR79iJ

Image Description: Text that reads, "3 simple steps to keep your blood sugar stable:
Take a walk after meals
Simple food swaps (like swapping rice for cauliflower rice)
Try Stress releasing techniques (like deep breathing, meditation, tapping (EFT)"
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A patient just asked me whether I recommend jackfruit as a healthy food and as an occasional meat substitute. It’s a great question, especially as more and more people are seeking vegan protein sources to include in their diets. Jackfruit, when underripe, has a flavor that falls somewhere between savory and sweet and its texture can mimic pulled pork or chicken.

Jackfruit is a good source of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals (especially potassium), phytonutrients, and fiber. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Glycemic responses vary – some research suggests it can aid blood sugar regulation, but I’ve found that depends on the ripeness and can vary from one individual to the next (best to test this with a glucose monitor if you have any blood sugar issues). Overall, jackfruit can be a reasonable food to choose as part of a varied diet.

Some caveats, however: It is not a great source of protein. So, it doesn’t make a good meat substitute from that perspective. Depending on the makeup of the rest of your diet, you may need to pay attention to finding other sources of proteins (either complete proteins like meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, or complementary proteins (like rice and beans, or rice and nuts/seeds).

In addition, individuals with latex or birch pollen allergies should be cautious with jackfruit as it can sometimes be a cross-reaction food. Those with chronic kidney disease should not overconsume jackfruit because of its higher potassium content.

Do you eat jackfruit?

Link to study: https://bit.ly/2WIYzNt

Image Description: An image of jackfruit with the text,

"Jackfruit:
-A good source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber
- Has Antimicrobial and antifungal properties
- Glycemic responses vary
- Can be a cross-reaction food, especially for latex and birch pollen allergies"
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Here’s a gem: a new research study in 87 individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis compared outcomes between using the diets developed by Dr. Swank (a low-saturated-fat diet) and Dr. Wahls (a modified Paleo diet). Both diets resulted in clinically meaningful (and statistically significant) improvements in fatigue symptoms and physical quality of life scores. The Wahls diet also improved mental quality of life scores.

Improvements for the Wahls diet tracked higher on average than for Swank, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. Even so, we find that the Wahls diet is easier to maintain long-term.

Both diets emphasize whole foods and dramatically reduce processed foods compared to a standard American diet. The Wahls diet goes furthest in increasing beneficial plant foods high in phytonutrients and fiber.

Link to study: https://bit.ly/3kL7h69

Image Description: Orange ribbon for multiple sclerosis and text that reads, "Two diets produced clinically meaningful improvements for multiple sclerosis."
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Excited to see my colleague and staff clinician Dr. Zakaria present at the Chronic Pain Summit. Her talk will focus on using polyphenols as a therapy for pain. She’ll cover what the research suggests and how we use it in our practice: https://pushyourparadigm.krtra.com/t/XBs01uj96oa4 ...

Once again, we are reminded how central our gut is to health and disease. In a new study, published in JAMA Open Network, researchers analyzed the microbial composition of the digestive tracts of 2166 participants. They found that having a higher diversity of species in your gut microbiome, especially those butyrate-producing species, is associated with less type 2 diabetes and less insulin resistance among non-diabetics.

Gut biodiversity is something we can all work on. Here are our top 7 tips for supporting microbial diversity in your belly:

- Eat a diverse diet with lots of whole plant foods
- Include prebiotic foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, and jicama
- Eat fermented foods
- Spend time in natural, unpolluted, environments
- Avoid or minimize processed foods
- Avoid or minimize pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides in foods
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use

Link to study: https://bit.ly/2WEZONH

Image Description: Text that reads, "A more diverse microbiome = a lower risk of type 2 diabetes."
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Blood sugar is affected by more than just food. And while the connection with stress and sleep is a bit more obvious, did you know the microbiome plays a role too? And that a gentle post-meal walk may decrease glucose peaks by up to 18.5%?

The power of simple lifestyle and nutrition interventions never ceases to amaze!

In our latest Teach-in with @drcaseyskitchen from @levels we talk about all things blood sugar regulation and how data can help drive personalized recommendations.

Link in bio: https://bit.ly/3eR79iJ

Image Description: Text that reads, "5 surprising things that impact blood sugar: Stress, poor sleep, the gut microbiome, exercise and movement, bioindividuality" next to an orange drop with a checkmark in it.
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Conventional wisdom says that cellular metabolism slows during middle-age years. However, a new study using data from 6,421 individuals, suggests this might not be the case.

According to their findings, metabolic rate (measured as the number of calories burned per lb of fat-free mass per day) was highest during the first year of life. Then from age 1 to 20, it declined almost 3 percent per year. From 20 to 60 years, metabolism didn’t change. And after age 60 it declined slightly at 0.7 percent per year.

This means that the belly bulge many of us experience during the middle-age years is not necessarily linked to a sluggish cellular metabolism.

However, since the study measured metabolism rates per pound of fat-free mass, the authors suggest that reduced overall muscle mass, which often happens at middle age, may still be behind altered overall calorie utilization. Maintaining muscle mass as we age, through aerobic exercises and strength training, may help keep overall metabolism humming.

Link to study: https://bit.ly/3t2IHl8

Image Description: Headline that reads, "The Four Stages of Metabolism." An icon of a baby girl with text that reads, "Birth to 1, 50% above adult rate." An icon of a young woman with text that reads, "1 to 20, gradually slows by 3% per year." An icon of an older woman with text that reads, "20 to 60, holds steady." An icon of an old woman with text that reads, "60+, gradually declines by point 7% per year."
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A recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition monitored 2,240 people, age 65 and over, over a period of eleven years and found that a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood was associated with an almost five-year increase in life expectancy. A 1% increase is associated with a change in mortality risk similar to that of quitting smoking!

Read the full study here: https://bit.ly/3gH8H0k

Image Description: Several different foods and oils - such as eggs, salmon, and olive oil - are laid out across the top of the image with text below that reads, "Higher levels of omega-3 acids increase life expectancy."
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This interesting N of 1 study (meaning with just one participant) illustrates just how much variation there is in how our body responds to what we eat. It goes way beyond simple calories in and out.

In this study (which I don’t recommend following!), the individual overconsumed calories using 3 different diets, each for 21 days at a time. Total calories consumed for each of the diets stayed the same, at an excessive 5,800 kcal per day. Weight gain over the 21 days was highest at 7.1kg for the low-fat diet, 3.7kg for very-low fat vegan, and just 1.3kg for low-carb.

Now, this is a study in just one individual – we know that not everyone responds the same way. However, it does illustrate just how divergent your body’s responses to food can be. And it suggests that low carb, as we usually find, is a surer path to effective weight management.

How do you find your body responds to different kinds of diets?

Link to study: https://bit.ly/2UZUG6g

Thanks for spotting this, @romillyhodges.

Image Description: An icon of a scale on a blue background with text that reads, "Low-carb diet produces less weight gain than two other diets with the same caloric intake." PMID: 34352821
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Excited to join 24 longevity experts in sharing the science that could help you live longer and better. Join us to hear what lifestyle choices we recommend. https://robert-lufkin.mykajabi.com/a/2147494261/qLHzEDKJ ...

A recent study looked into the relationship between copper intake and the risk of osteoporosis in U.S. adults. Researchers looked at the estimated copper intake and bone mass density (BMD) of 8,224 participants. The results showed that the BMD of participants with the highest copper intake were greater than those lower copper intakes, showing that higher copper intake is positively associated with increased BMD and negatively associated with risk of osteoporosis.

Read the full study here: https://bit.ly/3yv4cfB

Image Description: Headline that reads, "Best Sources of Copper," with images of beef liver, oysters, crab, clams, and cashews.
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Here’s a cool new study showing that HIIT three times a week over 12 weeks can slow prostate cancer (lowered PSA, PSA velocity and lymph node carcinoma associated with PCA (and, no surprise, improved cardiorespiratory fitness).

Tumor suppressor genes, amazing good guys that we want ON, keep us cancer-free and actually get hypermethylated and actively turned OFF by cancer. They also are turned off as we age. However, exercise causes demethylation of formerly methylated tumor suppressor genes and turns them back on! This is especially potent in older people.

I am sure this is a big reason that exercise ROCKS for cancer (and aging)!
https://www.medpagetoday.com/oncology/prostatecancer/94122
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