Taking Control of your Child’s Special Health Care Needs with guest Aaron Hartman, MD

Does your child have complex medical conditions or special health needs but you’re still struggling to find effective care? Are you worried about giving your child multiple prescription drugs? Maybe you need help determining the root cause of your child’s condition, or even your own. On this episode of Brainy Moms, Dr. Amy Moore and Teri Miller, MS Psy interview functional medicine physician, Dr. Aaron Hartman. Dr Hartman shares how lifestyle interventions…things we can do at home…might be the answer you’re looking for. Tune in to hear how his own child overcame serious illness and how your child might benefit from this approach as well.

Transcript and show notes for this episode:

Taking Control of your Child’s Special Health Care Needs
with guest Aaron Hartman, MD

Dr. Amy Moore:

Hi, and welcome to this episode of Brainy Moms. I’m Dr. Amy Moore here with my co-host Teri Miller, coming to you today from Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are excited to welcome our guest today, Dr. Aaron Hartman. Dr. Hartman is a functional medicine physician, who is a go-to doctor for difficult and complex medical cases, including kids with special needs. He’s also a clinical researcher involved in over 60 studies. He’s the founder of the Virginia Research Center and Richmond Integrative and Functional Medicine, and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine. He’s with us today to talk about the work it takes to help children with special medical needs, the issues with our traditional healthcare system and how to navigate it, but most importantly, he became an expert in this area because of his own child’s experience with chronic illness and health struggles. Listeners, he’s got skin in the game.

Teri Miller:

Yup. So glad to have you here with us, Dr. Hartman.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Teri, it’s great to be with you and Amy. I’m real excited to share some of my story.

Teri Miller:

All right. Well, that’s where we want to begin. If you would just tell our listeners a little bit about your story and your daughter’s story, your experiences that brought you to where you are today with functional medicine as your passion and how you see it as a solution.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah. Well, my wife is a pediatric occupational therapist whose specialty is kids with special needs. And so we’d been married for about two years, and one of the little girls that she was working with, her home was disappearing. And she was like, “Hey, would you want to consider fostering her, bringing her home?” And we did that, ended up adopting Anna, who is my first daughter.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And in the process of the transition between fostering and adoption, there was a thing where the pediatric GI specialist wanted to put a feeding tube into her, because kids with special needs tend to have feeding issues, tend to be small. And so the thinking was, you put a tube in, you can pour formula in. Kid gains weight. Problem solved, move on, right? And so just talking with my wife, learning about how feeding affects speech development, motor development, how a lot of the issues kids have with textures are based on interactions they have with food from the beginning. Speech, talking. A tube would actually affect how she learns to walk and crawl. You have a tube in, it’s really hard for a kid to even try to crawl.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So we opted out of that, and about six months later, my wife actually found a growth chart for kids with special needs, and particularly cerebral palsy. And my daughter was right in the middle. And that was the first time I had this aha moment that the specialist in this field at the University of Florida, who this is their jam, this is what they do, did not know my daughter was normal for her, for her medical condition. Had no idea this chart existed, and it took my wife, as a dedicated mom of a kid with a special need, to research this. And that was also one of the first times face-to-face I met the power of a mom of a kid with special needs. They are a force to be reckoned with, and I’ve seen that over and over and over again, with her and with other parents of kids with special needs. They’re a force. And that was the first time I kind of went off the path.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

The second time was about a year or two later, when another specialist, an eye doctor said, “We should do eye surgery on your daughter.” Her eyes, she has strabismus, and her eyes were irregular in their movement. And they’re like, “Let’s cut this here, cut that there, and it’ll make her cosmetically look better.” And again, that point in time, my first thing was to question. Got a second consultation with another ophthalmologist, and they said, “It’s cosmetic. You can just patch and work on the optic nerve development.”

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And so after that, it was like, I just have learned to question everything, you know? And so that just over time led down to changing diet, looking at epigenetics, looking at her SNPs or genes, looking at metabolomics, eventually getting into functional neurology, doing peptide therapy, lipid therapy. It’s led just into many, many pathways, and as a clinical researcher, medical doctor, I wanted to take deep dives, so I eventually got board certification in integrative, holistic medicine, certification in functional medicine, and I’m getting ready to sit for my third board, which is an anti-aging, regenerative medicine. In a couple weeks, I’m sitting for that. So it just kind of led me down this pathway to keep on learning, initially because of my daughter and my family, and other health issues. But ultimately it’s bled into my care of patients.

Teri Miller:

I think it’s super interesting, I found on your website, your kind of about me, your medical history, that at one time, you worked for Pfizer. I think a lot of listeners hear, “Oh, functional medicine. Oh, that’s that hoodoo guru kind of feely medical stuff. That’s not real medical.” And I love that you have a history of very, very medical, what our listeners would be like, “What? He worked for Pfizer? And now he’s functional medicine.” So that’s a really cool juxtaposition that I think is important.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Well, I think one thing people forget is that by the time something becomes standard of care, it’s been in the literature probably for decades, you know? And so things start with basic bench research, looking at how things actually work. Then it gets to the point of experimenting on animals. And then eventually we say, “Hey, can this be turned to a drug for humans?” That can be decades sometimes. I mean, people don’t realize how long it takes for bench research to make it into the real world. And if you’re familiar with Terry Wahls’ story, with multiple sclerosis and everything, Dr. Walls, everything she went through, she kind of did something similar to herself, where she researched the multiple sclerosis world, what nutrients are associated with it, and started with supplementation. Her journey was she eventually figured out, “Actually, let me eat the foods that are nutrient dense in these things.” And that was kind of part of her story, but it gets same kind of thing.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

That’s what functional medicine doctors do. We go back to literature, to the research, and just because there’s not a pharmaceutical medication or a drug trial for clinical research and medicine doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It just means no one’s invested the money to patent a medication. And there’s so many things: Curcumin, turmeric, probiotics. There’s a lot of research that just was published with COVID, looking at bifidobacter, and how the differentiation of bifidobacter, which is a bacteria in your GI tract, can affect the severity of COVID. Probably one of the reasons why kids have less severe COVID than the older people. And so this information’s out there, it’s just it takes decades to actually make it to the medical consciousness. And in functional medicine, we’re the tip of the spear. We’re taking care of people. We’re in the trenches. We don’t have time to wait for committees to say, “You can do this now.” And when you have a drive of your child or a personal health story, which a lot of people have, it lights a fire under you and accelerates your learning process.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So I want to back up just a little bit for our listeners who might not be familiar with what functional medicine is. Can you talk a little bit about that and what makes it different from traditional medicine?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Sure.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Okay.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

There’s many ways … You can use different words to describe functional medicine. Sometimes people will use the word personalized medicine, biological medicine. Integrative medicine is not quite the same, but the general concept is going to the root cause. Not just looking at symptoms, but looking at the actual root cause. The way I like to think about it is a tree. The leaves on the tree might be your aches and pains and your cholesterol and your sugar issues, but the root cause is the roots, what actually gets to those leaves. And so functional medicine looks at your entire story, where you’re born, your health history, family history, your triggers in your life, nutritional stats, environmental. I become almost like a building, biology, environmental specialist, because you have to look at how the environment affects your health. Then looking at the person all the way up to the moment you see them, what is affecting you now?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And so the difference between functional medicine and conventional medicine is that very, looking to the root cause. And the reality is, it’s going to be different for every person. And that’s one of the reasons why this is also called, Dr. Blaine calls this personalized medicine, because you’re literally figuring out that individual, not a population of thousands of people.

Teri Miller:

Right. So it’s a much more holistic approach. It’s a much more whole life approach than just, like that leaf, someone coming and saying, “I’m having headaches all the time.” “Okay. Well, here’s your ibuprofen. That headache’s going to go away.” So it’s a more whole life [crosstalk 00:08:04].

Dr. Amy Moore:

Why are you having headaches all the time?

Teri Miller:

Yeah. What’s the root?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Correct. Yeah. Exactly. And you can be having headaches because you have sleep apnea. You can have headaches because you have a B6 and B vitamin deficiencies, or magnesium deficiency. You can have headaches because there’s mold in your house. You can have headaches for a massive amount of different reasons. Why do you as an individual have your headaches? And for me, actually, with my migraines, gluten was a big trigger for me. It kind of took me a couple years to figure it out, but I figured out if I removed gluten from my diet, I don’t have migraines anymore.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

A little example of this that just happened. I was on the phone with the doctor’s office yesterday for my youngest daughter. She’s got digestive issues, and she vacillates back and forth. She’s just nine. Vacillates back and forth between severe constipation and then days of diarrhea. And so had her kind of well check doctor’s office in dealing with those concerns, and then their referral, the next appointment, they were sending us to, I got the call, and they were like, “Yeah, we’ve got your referral, and ready for her to go see the gastroenterologist.”

Teri Miller:

And I was like, “No, no, no, no, no.” We’ve been down on that road. All they wanted to do was give her a prescription for something that just makes her poop. No. I want to find the root cause. And so how about let’s get an allergist, let’s find out what food allergies, what environmental allergies she has. And I had to kind of fight the system and say, “No. We’re not going to just go that route of,” yeah, like that leaf, “Take an ibuprofen.” She’s not just going to take something to deal with the problems. We’re going to find out what’s the cause.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

The thing about when you deal with a kid with, and it sounds like IBS mixed, which goes back between constipation and diarrhea, we now know from the literature, and this is published literature, that that can be, in some people, a prerequisite for different autoimmune diseases in adulthood. And so getting at that when a kid is four, five, six, can literally alter their health trajectory in the positive momentum instead of waiting for a official diagnosis for which now we have these medications. And it’s really interesting. There’s a whole field of medicine called, it’s now called predictive autoimmunity. And autoantibodies will pop up 10 and 20 years before the diagnosis. So if you have a positive thyroid antibody, that’ll be positive eight or 10 years before a diagnosis, or a positive ANA can be positive 20 years before the diagnosis of lupus. So it’s like-

Teri Miller:

Really?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah. And if you find that, maybe I can change the trajectory, right? And so we just don’t really think that way, because that type of personalized medicine is really hard to fit in these quote-unquote “evidence-based protocol,” because they’re basic protocols, right? Things you can have millions of people across millions of practitioners across the country actually institute. This kind of personalized medicine requires that one-to-one interaction, knowing you, knowing your daughter’s history, et cetera. And that’s, you can’t institutionalize that. It has to be individual.

Teri Miller:

Right. And it’s going to take more than that quick 15-minute in and out appointments.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Absolutely.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. All right. So your daughter had a complex medical case that responded to a functional medicine approach. Talk to us a little bit about, what are some other examples of complex medical conditions that we’re seeing in society right now, what parents are dealing with, and what would be a good fit for functional medicine?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Well, I mean, I think right now we’re seeing, and kids are seeing lots of neurological issues. So whether it’s something as quote-unquote “mild” as sensory issues, texture issues, feeding issues in kids, to learning issues, whether it’s dyslexia, to the more severe versions of autism, or even PANDAS or PANS, which is this infection-induced OCD kind of thing, we’re seeing more and more and more of those.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Why is that? Well, ultimately it’s interesting how the gut, the gut bacteria, and triggering events are actually at the basis of a lot of these issues. And we’re learning how food, the bacteria in your gut, has a big impact on the gut microbiome. We’re learning about how the gut bacteria can actually program neural development, neural integration, and myelination in your brain. Which is interesting, because like with autism, for example, usually the kid’s developing normally until an incident happens, and they kind of go off the path. We’re realizing that actually the bacteria in the gut actually kind of set up that resilience or that tendency towards this abnormality.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So it’s interesting how research in other places in the world are using stool transplants, HTC, which is a kind of parasite, probiotics, antimicrobials for this very thing. So in the neurology world, kids with these learning issues or behavior issues, their gut is a big part of that. And that’s where a diet becomes … That’s where we started. We started with food with my daughter. It’s where we started, and that’s one of those things, people come to see me and they want all the cool new gadgets, and the cool new things, and blue lipped muzzle extract from the South Pacific, picked in the first full moon or whatever, and they want this crazy stuff. It’s like diet, diet, diet becomes your foundation. And that’s where I think with kids, there’s a plethora of literature on fatty acid deficiencies in these kids. Essential omega-3s and omega-6s.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

There’s actually an FDA-approved drug called [inaudible 00:13:15]. It’s a fish oil extract that’s approved to treat ADHD. All my patients are coming with ADHD or anxiety issues, they get a fatty acid analysis and they’re always off. And I’m seeing so many kids with low essential fatty acids, cholesterol, phospholipids. And so all of a sudden now your diet, the fats are important parts of your neurological development. So that’s just one small snippet of things I’m seeing in how diet and the kinds of diets with the particular kids can be super important for actually changing their health trajectory.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. I want to talk a little bit more about that. So my middle son was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome when he was in kindergarten, and at age 12, was diagnosed with celiac. I also have celiac disease. Well, something magical seemed to happen when we removed gluten from his diet. His tics went away. And so the neurological manifestations of celiac were actually what we were seeing, not actually Tourette’s syndrome.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I’ve had patients with seizure disorders that have the exact same thing. There’s a thing called gluten-induced cerebellar ataxia. Big fancy words. It means the gluten makes your body make an antibody that attacks your cerebellum, which is your balance part of your brain. So these kids eat gluten and get off balance. They get kind of clumsy and bounce on the walls and have behavior issues. Your cerebellum also plans behavior. So they have erratic behavior, and there’s literature that can be solely induced by just … It’s not celiac, which is an extreme. It’s just simply eating gluten.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And it’s funny how many people forget that autoimmune diseases are all systemic. We define the autoimmune disease based on the primary system involved, celiac with the gut, inflammatory bowel with the gut, the joints with rheumatoid, but actually all autoimmune diseases by definition are systemic. And so you can have a wide range of presentations, and I’m seeing more and more kids with seizure issues, behavior issues, that actually up being undiagnosed celiac disease. That is, Amy, actually very … It’s commonly overlooked.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Wow.

Dr. Amy Moore:

The literature on schizophrenia and celiac, and what happens when you put schizophrenia patients on a gluten-free diet, some of them are medication-free after that, because they’re symptom-free after that. It’s incredible.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah. This is the kind of things we can’t do anymore in America these days. But in the 1960s, there was a study in a psychiatric hospital where they had forced gluten-free diets on their psychiatric patients, and they saw massive improvements in those patients. And it’s like, “Why isn’t that not one of the first things the psychiatrist talks about?” Looking at mold, looking at a whole host of things with patients who have brain-based … And when I see schizophrenia or any of these things, I think brain-based inflammation. And I think, “Where are 90% of your neurotransmitters, your serotonin made? Where’s half of your dopamine made?” Your gut.

Dr. Amy Moore:

In the gut. Yeah.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So all of a sudden now I have leverage points to start investigating. Let’s do a gut analysis. Let’s do a stool analysis. Let’s do auto-antibodies looking for gluten, gliadin, a whole host of different antibodies. And then once we get those markers, let’s do therapies and then watch these normalize or improve. And that’s how this kind of medicine is super, super personalized, because this is the way we practice.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely. So as a psychologist, I see a lot of teenagers with anxiety, and that’s one of the first questions I ask them. “Talk to me about your diet.”

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right? And of course it’s 90% sugar.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Never good.

Dr. Amy Moore:

90% gluten. Talk to us a little bit about sugar.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Oh my gosh. Where do I start? Oh, wow. “Talk to us about sugar.” Well, since we talk about the gut, I can just start there. Sugar feeds yeast in your GI tract. So for example, if you’re a female with estrogen excess, with fibroids, PCOS, that can be driven solely by feeding yeast, candida, which causes estrogen dominance. Sugar also causes vascular inflammation, is a direct correlation with sugar consumption, and later on, neurological issues like Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

The other thing about it is eating caloric-dense foods, the most of which is just pure sugar, without the nutritional elements your body needs to process those, you can actually induce nutrient deficiencies. So if we’re just eating plain wheat, plain processed grains, high fructose corn syrup, those put a large nutrient demand on your body. And by definition, if you’re eating those things, you’re not eating nutrient-dense foods, you can actually induce B-vitamin, magnesium, potassium, other mineral deficiencies just by eating sugar.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And then there’s all this stuff about how sugar changes your microbiome. It feeds different bacteria in your gut. And now we’re learning about how important your gut health is for absolutely everything. You know, neurological health, cardiovascular health. We now know there’s a gut-brain access, a gut-heart access. There’s a heart-brain, and a heart-brain-gut access. We’re learning about how important gut health is, and eating sugar just doesn’t really work in that. And then the whole thing with fatty liver, 30% of Americans supposedly now have fatty liver. 10% of the world’s population has fatty liver, which is supposed to be the most common cause for liver transplant in the next five years or so.

Teri Miller:

Oh my goodness.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Eating sugar basically calls the release of endotoxins, which are the coats of bacteria in your GI tract. It goes to your liver, and then your liver has to figure out how to process that. And when you’re eating every four to six hours, you’re always giving your liver a huge load. So elevated liver enzymes, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver. Carb, sugar, these kind of things can drive that whole process.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So let’s break this down a little bit for parents. What happens when their child eats sugar?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Okay. So sugar. Oh my gosh. Yeah. So initially what happens is, they eat sugar and their blood glucose levels go up. And so what happens is, the kid gets this kind of euphoric kind of state. There’s a concomitant increase in insulin, because your body has to kind of balance this. So as the insulin overshoots it, because the sugar load’s usually pretty significant, you’ll then have a drop in the blood sugar level. So that’s when you start having this withdrawal, kind of feel kind of cruddy kind of feeling, and then your body responds by bumping up cortisol to get the sugar back up. And then also you release more norepinephrine, so you almost get this sympathetic activation, and you see erratic behavior.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Three hours or so, initially you see a euphoria. You feel great. It’s like this euphoric, almost morphine kind of reaction. And then a couple hours later, you’ll see the crash. It’s like the whole hangry thing, where the kids get irritable. And it’s really interesting if you look at the symptomatology three or four hours after eating that. You look at irritability, mood swings, easily agitated, easily startled. These are very similar symptoms of a drug withdrawal, and it’s really interesting kind of going into this whole gut microbiome thing. When you eat particularly gluten and milk or casein, the bacter will make these things called pseudo-neurotransmitters, the things that actually drive behavior to make you feed the bacteria more. And so two of these chemicals are gluteomorphin and casomorphin, and when you pull those things away or stop eating these sugars and carbs, the kids will actually have a withdrawal phenomenon. And the only way to really break that is not to eat the foods for two to three weeks, for your body to adjust to it.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So it’s really, a lot of the kids’ behaviors you were kind of mentioning before can simply be these fluctuations in these hormones, neurotransmitters that are driven primarily by diet, without the appropriate protein, nutrition, fats to actually help regulate your blood sugar levels.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And then what is sugar’s long term contribution to health issues in children?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I mean, I think by definition, long term kids, or kids, because we think of adults more like the cardiovascular stuff, it’s going to be more like behavior, but also learning issues. The issue with kids is while their brain’s developing, if you have these, these mood irregulators, mood swings, inability for self-control, you won’t fully develop the part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is where your attention, your ability to self-control sits. You can actually make these kids that have a predisposition towards focusing, you can make that a lot worse. And so what happens is later on in teenage life, they require medication to help them focus. And it’s interesting, the medications like Adderall and the stimulants are actually activating the very part of your brain that’s not fully developed, which is that prefrontal cortex. It’s like the part of your brain that’s right above your eye sockets in your head. And so those are just a couple behavior things that can linger into teenage life, depending on what’s done for the child.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right.

Teri Miller:

So let’s get practical. I’m going to be real specific. I’m going to use my kid as an example. We so often do this. We tell our own stories, and our poor kids. I hope they don’t ever go back and listen to these.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Listen. I know.

Teri Miller:

So my youngest is nine. She’s adopted. She joined our family just after she turned four. She has a diagnosis of FASD, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. She was profoundly malnourished when she joined our family. Elevated A1C. Am I saying that right?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Hemoglobin A1C. Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Okay. Yeah. That the doctor talked about. She looked like she was turning into type two diabetes as a four-year-old. I guess her blood work, her function, type two diabetes as a four year old. I mean, it was heartbreaking. So obviously we’ve done tons of interventions. She’s had lots of therapies and diet changes and all these things. However, here she is, nine years old. She’s clearly psychologically delayed, developmentally delayed. Some cognitive issues, struggles in school. She’s a great reader, but has significant math problems, and logic and reasoning, and slow processing. Temper tantrums, behavioral issues, all these things.

Teri Miller:

Well, because of her situation in our family, she is insurance-covered by a regular medical doctor, which is wonderful. I am not going to bash a regular medical doctor. Doctors and services have had wonderful impact in her life. However, so here we are. We’re looking at all these issues. She has major food problems, food addictions. She struggled with hoarding and stealing food when she was first with us, obviously because she had been so deprived for so long.

Teri Miller:

So as a parent, I’m not saying there’s going to be a lot of kids out there with issues this severe, but maybe bits and pieces of it. What do we do? How do we step out of or add a functional medicine perspective to help our kids, when generally we are getting in to see the doctor and they’ve got quick 15 minutes, they just want to give them ibuprofen or some drug to make them poop or whatever. What do we do?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I mean, Teri, our other daughter, you’re actually describing her to a T, except we got her when she was two years old, not four years old. And it was really interesting to see a lot of facial features change as we changed her diet. And so you have to realize there’s still hope. The kid’s brain still can develop, but yes, there are the reading … The kids can read well, but they have math issues. They have problems like doing more than a one or two step process. You give them something with five steps and they can’t quite do that, so you kind of have to guide them. And that’s where I think where the integrative aspect and functional medicine, using other modalities.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I found out with our one daughter, actually rebounding, you know what that is? It’s basically a little trampoline that she bounces on, gives her a lot of neural input. And so some of these kids, because of the trauma, whether it’s birth trauma, separation trauma, I mean, any kid that’s adopted has a certain … I mean, we all have trauma. I mean, the reality is we all have some kind of issues, and it’s interesting how the food part plays into that, where food hoarding actually is in many ways a trauma response. Anybody who’s had issues, it’s a security thing. Having food with you gives you this subconscious level of security.

Teri Miller:

Oh.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So the idea is to calm the neurological system down. That’s where physical stimulation, rebounding can be helpful. There’s other things like Apollo Neuro, which is a peripheral stimulation device. Neuro biofeedback. There’s a whole lot of things. The idea is just to help the brain calm it. You do the traditional functional medicine stuff, diet, nutritional evaluation, doing fatty acid analysis, and all those cool things.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

There’s also, from the functional neurology world, which I have a foot in that as well, where you look at, “How can I calm your neurological system down?” There’s a whole lot of really interesting devices to help with that, and rebounding is one that anybody can afford that little trampoline, and it’s amazing. My one daughter, she’ll be out, she’ll bounce on that thing for 20, 30 minutes, come in, she’s happy as a lark. And it’s almost like she knows she needs this kind of calming thing. And now currently she’s a teenager, now she knows, “I think I’m going to go out and bounce for 20, 30 minutes.”

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

But it’s really interesting how physical activity also helps regulate your brain function. So a lot of these kids getting into some kind of physical, whether it’s a sport, whether it’s some kind of hobby, something that they can get into, they can learn to focus on something. And a lot of times, for some kids, it’s actually reading. Some kids, I saw a kid the other day, it was actually, he has a lot of focusing issues, but he loves chess. Imagine a kid with ADHD and focusing issues who can’t stay in a seat, that can sit for three hours and play a chess game.

Teri Miller:

Wow.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Sometimes it’s like the parent becoming the detective and finding out for that kid, “What’s the thing they can do?” And then helping them develop that skill for brain regulation, and what other physical activation things. Sometimes body work massage can be really helpful. My oldest daughter for a while, I was doing massages on her to loosen her up, to help her sleep. And actually, she had sleeping issues. And it’s interesting how just a little massage at night before she went to bed calmed her brain enough that she’d sleep really well.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So sometimes it requires you as a parent realizing, not to minimize diet, exercise, and all these things, but also, are other things you can do with your child? And the reality is, the parents, they have to be their own sleuth to a certain degree. As a functional medicine doctor, what I tell people all the time is like, “I don’t figure anything out. You tell me what’s going on.” Whether it’s by your story, your history, whether it’s by your lab results, think testing, either your body or you are telling me what … I just interpret what you tell me. And that’s where parents are huge, because they become the primary gather of information and the purveyor of the story.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. So you mentioned sleep. Let’s talk about that a little bit, because that’s one of the pillars of functional medicine as well, right?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yes.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So talk about sleep.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Sleep is super critical for all these kids with any kind of neurological issue. It’s when your brain recharges. It’s when your neurons do lot of detoxification, especially in your deep sleep. And a lot of kids with gut issues, autism, PDD, ADHD, learning issues, texture issues, sensory issues, will have sleeping problems. And so that becomes one of the things … Obviously working on diet, but you can also focus on sleep, because getting sleep working better will help everything else with your gut. Cortisol levels. If you don’t sleep well at night, your cortisol is going to be up, which is going to affect everything we just talked about.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So there’s a whole lot of things to do. The basic things like melatonin, magnesium. Some of my kids with significant neurological issues, I’ve had pretty good luck with CBD. Not THC, but CBD. Epsom salt baths. It’s been real interesting how the magnesium and the warm water kind of has a soothing effect on kids. There’s a whole host of things you can do, but sleep is critically important for these kids. It needs to be one of the things that people focus on just like they focus on diet.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And so what is the optimal amount of sleep for children?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Depends on their age. So if you’re like a year old, you’re probably sleeping, I don’t know, 16, 18 hours at night. If you’re a high schooler, you probably should be sleeping nine, nine and a half-ish to 10-ish. If you’re in middle school, you’re probably looking at 10 to 12 hours. But that’s actual sleep, not just time in a room. And so with our son, for example, I’ve noticed that I can tell when he hasn’t slept well the night before, because the behavior the next day is horrible. A lot of parents will like, “What’s going on with my young child?” And it’ll be like, well, they were up that night. They didn’t sleep for some reason. And it plays into their eating behaviors and their other behaviors the following day. So sleep is super critical for all those kind of things.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So you talked a little bit about lab work and how you act as a detective, and that’s part of the evidence that you gather. So what types of lab tests should parents be requesting, or what are the most valuable?

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

It really depends on the kid. So there’s my basic, just basic blood work in my world, which is a full thyroid panel, a full nutritional panel, looking at your water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. A mineral panel, which looks at zinc, magnesium, looking at intercellular levels of them. My fatty acid analysis, which is a blood test to look at the fatty acids. Obviously your blood count.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And the other thing about tha, I don’t hear people talk about a lot as a functional medicine doctor, we interpret labs differently. If your vitamin D level’s 32, and that’s normal, that’s not really normal. You know, optimal is between 60 and 80. If your blood sugar, fasting sugar comes back at 96, that’s less than 100. That’s normal. Well actually, for every one-point elevation in your fasting sugar above 83, you have a 6% increased risk for developing diabetes. So I want fasting sugar, mine personally in the 70s, right?

Dr. Amy Moore:

So all of a sudden we also have a different lens that we look at labs at. So some functional neurologists will actually do just the basic panels, but look at alk phos, for example. If that’s low, you probably have a zinc deficiency. If your GGT is elevated, that means your liver’s detoxifying is kind of ramped up and you need to work on liver detoxification. So anyway, so basic panel, basic nutrients, fatty acids. And then if there’s any kind of neurological issues, which there is at least in my clinic with most of the kids, I’ll do some kind of gut analysis, an advanced stool analysis, whether it’s a GI Effects or a CDSA, or GI Map, or whatever the practitioner’s favorite test is. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Dr. Amy Moore:

One thing in the functional world, there’s no perfect test that does everything, okay? But that allows you to look at the kid’s gut function. And in the followups, I’ll usually throw in some kind of organic acid analysis. That kind of looks at how, once I get the big picture, like you’re deficient in these nutrients, let me fix those. Then the next question I ask, “Did we fix you good enough? Are you deficient at the cellular level?” And I’ll do a organic acid analysis. I know some people do that the other way, but the way I look at it, if your blood B-12 level is low, of course it’s low in your cells. There’s no point in doing a fancy organic acid test if the blood level’s low, because I know it’s going to be low. So those are kind of my entry level tests that I’ll do in the first one to three months.

Teri Miller:

Okay. Yeah. Good information. I mean, it’s so much. I know if someone’s listening to this and they’re like, “Wait, so which one? Where do I go?” So a good place to start would simply, I’m assuming, would simply be to consult with, even if you’re not in the area, with a functional medicine clinic, a functional medicine doctor. Is that the best place to start?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

That would be a great place to start. I’m assuming you’ve already seen your regular doctor to do regular labs, to do your basic comprehensive CDC, basic TSH, all that kind of stuff. Then you haven’t got the answers you’re looking for. Then you can take those labs and go to your functional practitioner, that will then take a deeper dive.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

But one thing, one caveat, one thing I didn’t mention, I think, and Amy had asked me the question before is, I do cholesterol levels on all these kids. It’s amazing how many of your kids with learning disabilities and autism have low cholesterol numbers. And it’s really funny, because the cardiologist wants your cholesterol to be as low as possible, and the neurologist wants it to be higher-

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

… because you need to elevate cholesterol, right?

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yes.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

For myelin formation. If I see a kid with a cholesterol less than 140, I know they have essential phospholipid deficiencies. I don’t need to do any fancy testing. I know they need, omega-3s and omega-6s and PC from the get go. And it’s really interesting how also having a different view of normal, of typical labs can also change how you practice. And that just requires a deeper knowledge of the science behind what a cholesterol number actually is. Your body takes cholesterol and turns it into hormones. Your body takes cholesterol and turns it into cortisol.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

It takes cholesterol and makes myelin. That’s one of the reasons why one of the side effects of statins can be memory loss. That’s also one of the reasons why one of the side effects of statins can be peripheral neuropathy, and increased risk for diabetes, because of the effect it has on your fatty acids and certain nutrients. So just knowing this whole breadth of knowledge and applying it to the person in front of you.

Teri Miller:

This is, ooh, I’m super convicted about that one little aspect, because my youngest, my little girl, is allergic to eggs. So she has nothing with eggs in it. She seems to have a dairy sensitivity, so no dairy. We don’t do any red meat or pork. And I’m sitting here thinking, “I bet her cholesterol is so low, and I bet that is affecting her brain.”

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Where is she getting essential fatty acids from?

Teri Miller:

Exactly. We do a lot of fish. So she does get a good bit of fish. And we do an omega supplement. But it’s not consistent, because she does not like taking it.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah. One thing I’ve noticed, Teri, with a lot of families, fish is really popular, right? But people, a lot of people will do these bigger fish, and I’ve had a lot of families with elevated mercury levels. I had one family, I was trying to figure out stuff with them, and everybody had elevated mercury. And, “Oh, by the way, as a family thing, we do sushi three nights a week.” And I was like, “I didn’t realize that was a thing.” I guess that’s a thing. I live out in the country. We raise our own cows and we’re kind of weird about that. But apparently that’s a thing, and it’s amazing how many people will eat sushi and tuna, and these fish that have high levels of mercury. So I tend to tell people to stick with the SMASH fish, which are salmon, anchovies, mackerel, herring. Those are the ones that actually are smaller fish that eat smaller fish or algae, that don’t eat the bigger ones. Things like shark and tuna and your sea bass tend to have higher levels of mercury in them.

Teri Miller:

Okay. So even sardines, like she loves? Mustard sardines.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Sardines are one of the ones as well that are, they’re the other S in SMASH.

Teri Miller:

Okay. Awesome.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So salmon and sardines, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.

Teri Miller:

My husband walks around eating sardines out of a can all the time.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Because he’s such a fan of fatty acids.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Well, the other thing I think about fatty acids, a lot of people are like, “Well, I’ll eat lots of flax, or nuts, or seeds,” and an interesting tidbit is, there’s a significant number of the population that have a difficulty taking ALA and converting it into EPA, which is, ALA is the primary omega-3 that’s supposed to convert into all others. Well, some people convert it about … A lot, actually, at only about 10% efficiency. So if you consume like 1,000 milligrams of ALA, you only get 100 milligrams of EPA out of it. And so that’s where some people will do more, like, “I’m going to stick to 100% plant based,” which I love plants. Plants, eat food, real food in moderation. Mostly plants, right? But when you make them, especially for these fats, your primary source, you tend to get more of these EPA and DHA deficiencies because of, and you can also suppress your rag DOC acid because of the high initial ALA levels. And so it can have some detrimental effects, which again, is the reason I like to test. Don’t guess. Test. Right?

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

So good.

Dr. Amy Moore:

All right. So I want to go back to something that you’ve said about … You say that half of all chronic disease is directly related to eating processed foods. Talk to us about processed foods, and if you could, throw in a little bit of wisdom on organics, non-GMOs, things like that.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And this is from research from the University of Florida. Half of all chronic disease in our country can be directly attributed to eating processed foods. From the Harvard School of Public Health, 80% of heart disease and 70% of cancer can be prevented by diet and lifestyle alone.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And so what does this mean, to eat real food? What is processed food? And I keep it super simple. It’s anything, you have to do something for to put it on a shelf in a store, right? So anything in a box, anything if you read a list of ingredients, that’s like, “What is this malic, whatever thing in there? What is these chemicals in there?” Real food goes bad if you don’t eat it, you know? So the green leafies, fresh vegetables, fresh foods. If you go to a grocery store, basically eating real food eliminates probably 90% of what’s in the store. And that’s the scary part, you know? And you look at the data, 80% of what Americans eat is processed.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So it’s a big, big thing. Any restaurants you eat out at, my wife made me stop asking. I go to restaurants and be like, “What’s that fried in?” And I heard canola and soy so many times. And those people who don’t know, canola oil is usually deodorized with a solvent, because it smells really bad. And most soy is hexane-extracted. So we’re using petroleum products to extract stuff out of these fatty acids before we consume them. It’s a bad idea in general. But I stopped asking. I just assume that it’s fried and I’m eating out, it’s going to be a deodorized, non-flavored oil.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

It’s really interesting, and if you cook at home a lot, you realize every natural sugar has a flavor to it. Honey has a flavor. Maple syrup, molasses have flavors. You can’t cook everything with honey, right? The same thing with your oils. You can’t use olive oil in everything. You use it for certain things, and that’s where just real food is what’s not been processed. It’s things that actually break down if you don’t eat them.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And as far as the whole GMO thing, organic and non-GMO, that’s my starting point. That’s the lowest common denominator. You can still have organic apples that are sprayed with petroleum, for example. Because in the organic world for an apple, that’s considered a real coating. It was really funny. I was at a organic … This was pre-pandemic in an organic grocery store, and they had a bunch of organic apples, and they said, “All of our apples have natural coatings on them, natural polish on them.” Right? They had the list of the things. It had wax, and petroleum was one of the things they listed on there. You can’t make this stuff up. And so that’s where organic, it’s helpful, but it’s the lowest hanging fruit. It’s not my gold standard.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I think the best thing is to actually figure out where … Know your farmer. Where is stuff coming from? Figuring out, like with salmon, for example, Alaskan salmon by definition has to be wild caught. Sticking with that. Typically, Pacific and Atlantic salmons are farmed to a certain degree, which means they’re fed pelted food. Find out your beef, if you eat meat. In Virginia, where we’re at, we have so many local farms. We have so many options to choose from. And then I’ve come to love Costco in our area, because they do a good job with certain things, like your Alaskan salmon, like cheeses. They do French Comte and Swiss Gruyere cheeses, which are raw and natural cheeses from Europe.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And so you have to kind of learn. It’s almost like we’ve become so disassociated with our food that people don’t really know where stuff comes from, and when I talk about this, they don’t really understand where I’m talking about. And so just you have to become educated. What you eat, where did it come from? I also tell people, it took me and my wife about a year and a half to really find out where to get, source food from. So it’s going to take a little bit of time and effort, but it can be done. And all the patients I see in Richmond, one of the things I give them is actually a local … It’s a handout. Like, where do you source your food from locally? And it’s basically where my wife and I get our food from, I give to patients to kind of help them. Because it’s kind of hard to say, “Eat real food,” and then not give anybody actually specifics.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right. So what do you say to parents who push back about cost?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

You know, I look at cost differently. When you say where organic food costs more, what you’re saying is government subsidized food is cheap.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And so once you realize the reason pork is cheap, and beef, and eggs are $2 a dozen is because they’re subsidized by the government bill. It’s about a $500 billion bill that subsidizes wheat, soy, and corn, and everything associated with that. So it’s not that organic food’s expensive. It’s that government food is cheap. And so do you want to eat government food?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And my grandmother, I remember when I was a kid growing up, she would get the big things of peanut butter from her food stamps, the big things of cheese. And she went blind when she was 70, and she had a cholesterol in the 600s. When I was a kid, I didn’t know what that meant. It just sounded kind of a little crazy, but those were her food stuff she ate on a daily basis. So you’re getting government food.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I get the cost issues, so how can we make it cheaper? You can start a little garden in your back, and during season you can grow stuff. Where I’m at in Virginia, you find someone who’s a hunter. There are ways to get around it to make it more affordable. But the thing is always going to be also, where do you place your value? I know people who routinely spend lots of money on these sporting events for the kids, camps for the kids, clothes for the kids, doctor’s bills for the kids. People will spend lots of money for orthodontics, right? The primary cause for your mouth being small is actually dietary. It’s nutritional. And so once you realize one of the reasons why we have lots of orthodontic issues in our country and dental issues is nutritional, you’re basically paying it forward. You’re paying up on front, on the front end, so you don’t have things in the back end.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And Amy, one caveat to that, we adopted all of our kids, right? We got one when they were two, one was one, and one was six months. Between all three of my kids, we’ve had zero cavities in their life, and they’ve been on one antibiotic between all three of them. And they’re 15, 14, and 11 now. That is not where they came from. That is not their birth history. We had drug exposure in there as well. That was primarily after we got them, diet. And so the question is, what would you be willing to pay for your kids to have no cavities, and between your kids they have one antibiotic in their combined, I don’t know, 30-something years of life, you know? And I think that’s worth something.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely. Yeah. I’ve actually never heard the government subsidy analogy with organic food costs before. And I really like that.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

It’s almost like, well, organic food is the cost of food.

Teri Miller:

Exactly!

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Amy, you are so … I have all these light bulb moments, right? So let’s go back a couple years. It was during … I forget when it was. During President Obama’s presidency. If you remember, they had that whole taxageddon. They use the political stuff, right? “Oh my gosh. End of the world,” kind of stuff, which happens, it seems like, all the time these days. But they’re saying, “Oh my gosh, if this farm bill doesn’t go through, a gallon of milk will be $6. It’s going to be $5 for a dozen eggs.” And the light bulb went off. “That’s what I pay now.”

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right. Right.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So basically the cost of government-subsidized food will come up to what I’m already paying.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yes.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And that’s when it really struck home like, “Wow. People prefer government subsidized food over un-government subsidized food.”

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Well, and sadly, our base pay economic structure, minimum wage, I mean, that is what our American lives have been structured around, is that people are supposed to exist on government subsidized food, to get minimum wage, to be able to survive. I mean, that’s just the sad state of things. There has to be a willingness to sacrifice.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

We each have to be able … If we want a healthier lifestyle, if we want our kids to be healthier, if we want our kids to be behave better, be happier, have a more fulfilling future, there will be a sacrifice.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yes.

Teri Miller:

And I think that’s just the truth. None of us want to hear it or admit it. It’s going to be hard. Like you said, two to three weeks of detoxing from sugar. It is not going to be easy. You’re not going to do the dietary changes with your kid and your family for three days and feel better. You’re going to feel worse.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

You’re not going to feel better for three weeks. Give it a month and then see how things are. And then you got to stick with the sacrifice, and are we willing to do that? And that’s a hard question. Every individual, everyone listening, you’ve got to ask yourself, how much do I want this? And what am I willing to sacrifice?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah. And I just remember, as a kid growing up, I always hated having a garden in the back. I hated picking green beans and canning them. I hated having … We had like a little … We grew up in Harrisonburg, which is a city in Virginia. And we had like a couple apple trees in our yard, and had a little grape vine. I just really hated dealing with that stuff. But in hindsight, I remember, we actually couldn’t afford to only buy food from the grocery store when I was a kid growing up. When I grew up, my dad would go hunting, and we’d have venison stuff for three or four months. We’d go get half a cow and fill our freezer with half a cow for half the year.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I really hated all the work as a kid growing up that went into that stuff, but now realize we couldn’t afford to only get our food from the grocery store. And my dad was from West Virginia. He grew up on a farm, so he kind of knew how to provide for his family, with us having a garden in the backyard. And it’s kind of interesting how it’s affected me. I now live on a little farm outside of Richmond, and we raise our own cows, and have our own little garden that gets overgrown every year with weeds, because I don’t have time to take care of it.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

But it’s like making part of your family’s culture, part of your story, a part of your traditions. For millennia, community has revolved around food, and we’ve actually … No one sits down and eats meals together anymore. Everybody’s eating on the run. Fast food. These things are anti-historical. How do we get back to some more historical eating of real food? And that’s why I think it comes down to, and it’s going to cost a sacrifice. You’re not going to be able to have your kids in a different event every night, seven days of the week, for 365 days a year. It’s just, where are people’s values? And that’s where you have to determine, and it’s hard when you’re competing with everybody else to have the most amazing family life. It’s just, got to do what’s right for your family, and you take care of your people.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, and we feel that way about functional medicine as well. So it’s worth the extra, because you can’t put a price on health as well.

Teri Miller:

Yes. Yeah.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Well, the thing about functional medicine is, well, I had another aha moment. I went to see my podiatrist, because I had a foot issue, and he saw me for 15 minutes, and I got a bill for $250 for that 15-minute thing. And I was like, “That’s like $1,000 an hour that he’s getting.” I’m like, “If I got half of that, I wouldn’t have to charge extra for functional medicine.”

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And it’s interesting. Our system, our medical system pays for procedures, not for cognitive work. And that’s one of the issues in our system right now, is that I get 12 minutes with you in a visit for regular primary care. You see a specialist, you have your procedure, that’s where the money in our system is. And our system just is not geared towards … It’s geared towards acute care, not chronic care. And in a world where infectious diseases, and acute appendicitises, and pneumonias kill most of people, yes, acute care is super important. But now in a world where cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer are the biggest killers, we have to re-engineer our delivery, our healthcare delivery system.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right.

Teri Miller:

Things have changed. Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So we need to take a quick break and let Teri read a word from our sponsor, LearningRx. And when we come back, Dr. Hartman, we want you to talk to us a little bit about what your response has been. Like talk to us a little bit about your podcast, your online courses, what you’re doing.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Okay.

Teri Miller:

And Amy, when we come back, I also want to take a few minutes and talk about the aspect of, it’s never too late. The things that we can change even as adults, and how we can see those transformation in our lives as adults.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Absolutely.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Okay.

Teri Miller: (reading sponsor ad from LearningRx)

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Dr. Amy Moore:

And we’re back, talking to Dr. Aaron Hartman about functional medicine and a functional medicine approach to chronic health issues, complex medical issues, and overall health.  So, Dr. Hartman, tell us what you’re doing.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

What am I doing right now? So I’m kind of expanding some of the educational things I’m doing. My website, which is richmondfunctionalmedicine.com, is my landing page for the blogs I’m doing, the informational things I’m doing. I have a reading list there. I truly believe, if the original statistic I said, half of all chronic disease can be attributed to eating processed foods, 80% of heart disease, 70% of cancer can be prevented, right? If I really believe these, then education becomes super critical for anybody’s health. And so I’m trying to make my website a site where you can get reading lists, blogs, podcasts, a whole host of education materials. My social media as well. I’m putting just different layers, right? Of educating people.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

We even have a community, an online community that has health coaches. We have myself doing courses in there. Question and answer sessions. We’re just trying to help people, because the reality is, most people don’t have access, Amy, like you have, to a functional medicine person. So how can I get that information to people? And wherever they’re at, whatever level they’re at, meet them wherever they’re at so they can start this journey, right? And so that’s kind of what I’ve created, and I’m continuing to refine it. We’re actually redoing our website and we’ll be relaunching that here probably in the next week or two. And if people want more information about that, richmondfunctionalmedicine.com is the website.

Teri Miller:

Okay. You have a free resource that is wonderful. I already went to your website and signed up for it. Tell us a little bit about your free resource and how people can access that.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

So that resource, which again, might be linked below. If not, you can go to my website and download it. It’s The Roadmap to Resilience. It’s an ebook, which is based on our first course in our community, which is, it’s basic foundations of functional medicine, but I named it Roadmap to Resilience, and it kind of walks through diet, lifestyle, exercise, sleep. And how do you start introducing changes in your life? How do you start walking through those basic supplementation recommendations on how to boost nutrition?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

And then for people who want someone to start helping them, they can get access through the community to health coaches to help them more individualize that at as well. But I think the starting point is that The Roadmap to Resilience, is just that ebook to start getting people, “How can I start working on my diet, stress, sleep, relationships?” All these basic foundational things. And so that’s what that ebook is.

Teri Miller:

Okay. Yeah. It feels like this-

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yes. And I actually did download that. And so for listeners who aren’t familiar with functional medicine yet, I highly encourage you to sign up for that. It is free. I will put the link in the show notes.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Great. Thanks.

Teri Miller:

Yes. Yeah. I think it’s a great resource, because I feel like this podcast has been a little bit like drinking from a fire hose.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

We’re all drowning. It’s so good. It’s so much. But it’s like, “Oh my goodness. Wait a minute. Where do I go back and start from the beginning?” And that, I love that resource. A really, really great resource to help us just turn off the fountain there, the fire hose, and just be able to take some sips.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. So Dr. Hartman, is there anything you’d like to leave our listeners with?

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

I mean, I think the biggest thing is that change can happen, and at the most fundamental level, it’s basic. Gut, stress, and sleep. I call these my triangle of health. These are the foundational things you got to do right consistently for your health. And then all the cool, fancy stuff layers on top of that. And that’s where a diet is huge. Gut health is a part of that. Stress, sleep. Again, these are the most foundational things that can radically change the trajectory of anybody’s health, no matter their age.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Excellent message. So we are out of time and need to wrap up, but this has been a phenomenal conversation, and we would like to thank our guest today, Dr. Aaron Hartman, for sharing your story, all of this great information, lighting a fire under our feets.

Teri Miller:

Yes. Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Under our feet, about getting healthy. If you would like more information about Dr. Hartman’s work, you can visit richmondfunctionalmedicine.com. You can find him on Instagram and Facebook at RVAIntegrative. And we will put all of his social media handles, a links to your free gift, the ebook he was talking about. We’ll put all of that in the show notes.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So thank you so much for listening today. If you liked our show, we would love it if you would leave us a five-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts. If you’d rather watch us, we are on YouTube. Please follow us on social media @TheBrainyMoms. So look, until next time, we know you’re busy moms and we’re busy moms. So we are out.

Teri Miller:

See ya.

Dr. Aaron Hartman:

Take care.

CONNECT WITH DR. HARTMAN

Website: http://www.richmondfunctionalmedicine.com/

Link to free download of his ebook, The Roadmap to Resilience

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