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5 Breakthrough Topics From The A4M Chicago Symposium

8 months, 2 weeks ago

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Posted on Oct 11, 2023, 1 p.m.

Last weekend, forward-thinking professionals from across the healthcare spectrum gathered in Chicago, IL, for three days of transformative education, networking, and community-building.

Our learners had access to the healthcare field’s foremost authorities and their unparalleled expertise through a broad range of courses, including our brand new Fertility Certification Course, the bestselling BHRT Symposium, and more. With a focus on advanced anti-aging functional medicine, our practitioner-focused program curriculums allowed attendees to gain clinical insights and strategies to implement immediately into their practices for remarkable results.

Although the event was a resounding success for the many guests present, some may have missed out. So, in case you weren’t able to make it, we’re highlighting a few of the favorite cutting-edge session topics covered at this impactful conference.

5 Breakthrough Topics Presented At The A4M Chicago Symposium:

Augmenting Conventional Fertility Care

During the Fertility Certification Course, the nation’s leading functional fertility expert, Jaclyn Smeaton, ND, explored strategies for boosting the efficacy of conventional fertility treatments to support patients as they go through them with comprehensive protocols.

Clinical Pearls:

  1. Unexplained infertility can often be traced to factors ignored in the conventional care setting, such as environmental pollutants, exposure to endocrine disruptors and heavy metals, and more. Other factors include gut health, stress and adrenal dysfunction, poor nutrition, autoimmunity, and inflammation.
  2. Supporting intrauterine insemination (IUI) requires focusing on the cell health of both the egg and sperm, promoting hormone balance in female patients, and preconception care for both partners.
  3. Preconception support focuses on optimizing the basics: nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress, and environment. It also includes essential supplementation for improved outcomes, including prenatal vitamins for both partners, fish oil, antioxidant support, probiotics, and critical nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and more.
  4. Diagnostic testing is essential to identifying and remedying the underlying root causes of infertility. Practitioners should consider testing vitamin sufficiency, thyroid health, androgens, metabolic health, oxidative stress, mitochondrial health, inflammation, IGF-1, and environmental toxins. In addition, vaginal and endometrial microbiome evaluation may be required in cases of implantation failure.

Hormones and Memory

Pamela W. Smith, MD, MPH, MS, acclaimed women’s health and hormone expert with 45+ years of clinical expertise, led a lecture on hormones and their impact on memory during the BHRT Symposium. Dr. Smith explored the essential role of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in cognitive function, the influence of adrenal hormones on memory, and the significance of pregnenolone in memory maintenance.

Clinical Pearls:

  1. Estrogen alters the brain’s neurochemistry by affecting the supply of multiple neurotransmitters, critical enzymes, neuropeptides, glucose, and more.
  2. Neurotransmitters affected by memory include glutamate, GABA, acetylcholine, NE, dopamine, and 5-HTP.
  3. Estrogen has been found to boost NMDA receptors by 30% to maintain the strength and durability of synaptic connections involved in creating long-term memories. It also decreases distractibility, increases the availability of acetylcholine, and turns on progesterone receptors.
  4. Research has demonstrated that pregnenolone and its metabolic byproducts can positively impact the brain, including improving memory and learning, alleviating depressive disorders, and regulating cognitive functions.
  5. Studies have found decreased levels of pregnenolone in neuroinflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s, highlighting its potential role in neuroprotection and nerve repair. This evidence suggests that pregnenolone may help safeguard brain health and function.

Functional Psychiatry Approaches

As part of Module III: Frontiers in Neurology and Brain Health, internationally-recognized mental health expert and pioneer in functional psychiatry Jeffrey Becker, MD, delivered his lecture on innovative approaches for mood disorders. Dr. Becker presented a new paradigm for mental health disorder treatment based on functional medicine etiology.

Clinical Pearls:

  1. The diagnostic process should include an assessment of psychiatric symptoms in the context of whole health and sub-clinical syndromes. This includes testing hormone levels, neurotransmitters, gut health, metabolic function, and cellular pathways.
  2. Numerous obstacles stand in the way of functional psychiatry, including insurance coverage, physician resistance, FDA regulations, time constraints, and other challenges.
  3. Many nutrient deficiencies have defined disease sequela. For example, magnesium deficiency is linked to alcoholism, asthma, hypertension, fatigue, anxiety disorders, depression, and insomnia.
  4. Nutrient repletion is an important and effective component of a functional psychiatry approach, as deficiencies can be severe. Well-designed synergistic nutrient combinations help patients succeed and increase compliance; combining commonly co-prescribed nutrients reduces cost and filler content.
  5. Most patients with a history of treatment-resistant depression can start moderate nutritional interventions after basic lab testing. This allows for immediate action, reduces costs, and empowers patients for the future with meaningful education.

Natural Hormone Optimization Strategies

Board-certified clinical nutritionist and integrative medicine expert, James LaValle, RPh, CCN, MT, took the stage at the BHRT Symposium to discuss natural approaches to hormone support. He presented numerous supplementation approaches to support patients during andropause, menopause, thyroid dysfunction, and other hormonal disorders.

Clinical Pearls:

  1. For andropause and menopause, choose botanicals and nutrients that support sex hormone axis production and balance in conjunction with HPA axis support. Some relevant supplements include Eurycoma root, Thai ginseng root, Tribulus fruit, zinc, fenugreek seed extract, kudzu root, isoflavones, diindolylmethane, grape seed extract, chasteberry, and black cohosh.
  2. Suboptimal thyroid function can have profound metabolic effects, ranging from glucose tolerance and insulin resistance to free radical damage and lipid peroxidation. Subclinical hypothyroidism itself is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction.
  3. Natural interventions for thyroid health aim to improve thyroid hormone balance, energy production, mitochondrial health, thermogenesis, fat burning, and body composition.
  4. Supplementation options for thyroid support include selenomethionine + iodine, chromium, bladderwrack, coleus, and ashwagandha. Low to moderate exercise is recommended to improve thyroid function; however, high levels of exercise can decrease thyroid hormones.
  5. Kisspeptin, a novel peptide encoded by the kiss-1 gene, may be used to treat primary hypogonadism, infertility, diabetes, and testosterone deficiency. This peptide has been found beneficial for mood disorders, fear, social behaviors, audition, sexual behaviors, and olfaction.

Functional Fertility Assessment of Women

Integrative functional medicine specialist and board-certified OB/GYN Wendy Warner, MD, presented her expert approach to fertility assessment in practice during the Fertility Certification Course. Dr. Warner explained the underlying hormone imbalances in subfertility, explored the impact of oxidative stress, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction on subfertility, and presented avenues for an integrated approach to treating subfertile younger women.

Clinical Pearls:

  1. Dr. Warner’s essential components of an initial workup include a review of the patient’s medical history, a physician examination, an investigation of ovarian reserve, ovulatory function, structural abnormalities, and imaging of tubal patency, pelvic pathology, and ovarian reserve.
  2. Evaluating toxic exposures and poor detoxification includes dental history, mold exposure, symptoms reported, and water consumption patterns.
  3. Altered immune function is another critical element to consider. It can manifest as frequent illness, joint pain, myalgia, skin eruptions, fatigue, brain fog, and lymphadenopathy.
  4. Poor gut health leads to nutritional deficiency and, subsequently, poor egg quality or poorly functioning placenta.
  5. Chronic stress is a frequent underlying factor contributing to infertility. Stress-induced levels of glucocorticoids in the ovary impair egg cell function, making it harder to conceive.

Next Up: The A4M October Symposium in Boston, MA!

Featuring an incredible line-up of educational programs: the Pediatric Immune Health Summit, Module IV: Gastroenterology, IV Therapy Symposium, Pellet Therapy Workshop, IV Peptide Therapy Masterclass, and the Peptide Eco Aesthetics Masterclass.

Learn more about the exciting event at the end of this month by clicking here.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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