Tips to help you sleep well

We can’t emphasize it enough. Sleep is crucial for you health! To perform optimally, you need to focus on sleep as the number 1 priority for the day.

A fantastic night’s sleep is restorative for the mind, body and soul. But to sleep well, you need to consider what you are doing during the day, and in particular in the hours before you go to bed.

Sleep hygiene allows your system to wind down as nature intended, preparing you for sleep. In a natural environment, Melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’ is released as the sun sets and it gets dark, make us feel sleepy and able to fall asleep. Blue light, from screens for example, fools our bodies into thinking it’s still day time and reducing the amount of melatonin that is release.

Melatonin is also a powerful anti-oxidant and so it has been suggested that it may reduce the odds of contracting COVID-19, in a similar manner to Vitamin C.

For my full guide on how to support your immune system as protection from COVID-19, you may want to read my article on the topic.

The release of melatonin is blocked by blue light, from screens for example. Our bodies are ‘fooled’ into thinking it is still day time. Therefore, avoiding blue light as well as stimulation before bed is key.

My tips for improving sleep are:

#1 Avoid screen time before bed

This is critical to make sure that melatonin is released as nature intended. Avoid computers, phones or TV for at least 1 hour before bed. At the time of writing, many of us are facing increased stress due to the COVID-19 situation, and you may need to start this winding down up to 3 hours before bed!

If you end up using your phone / computer in the evening, use an app such as f.lux to reduce the amount of blue light from the screen.

Do something that doesn’t involves screens in this time before bed. Have a bath, make something, read a book, meditate, draw, write in your journal, whatever works for you..

#2 Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Wearing blue light blocking glasses before bed also helps your body’s circadian rhythm. You can also replace the light bulbs in your house with ones which don’t emit blue light, but have a warm red glow instead.

#3 Cool and darken your bedroom

Around 60-67 Fahrenheit or 15.5 – 19.5 Celsius is perfect.

You can use blackout shades/blinds on the windows or a sleep mask if necessary. This includes blocking all blue light including the lights from alarm clocks.

#4 Exercise, Meditation and Body Scans

If you wake in the night, try not to use a device – you can try a body scan instead:

This collection of free resources from Headspace also include meditation, sleep and movement exercises.

Getting a good sleep doesn’t just involve the hour before sleep but what you do during the day matters too. Michael Krugan in his book ‘The Insomnia Solution’ provides a number of exercises (mini-moves) which you can do during the day and at night that calm your nervous system to help you with sleep when you get to be

#5 Get some sun in the morning

Get outside, and get some sun or natural light, early in the morning to reset your circadian rhythm. The light that we exposed to during the day can affect how we sleep at night!

#6 Work on other health issues

If you have any sources of increased inflammation within the body, such as gut issues, these may be disturbing your sleep.

#7 Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey

This suggestion was has been popularised by Tim Ferris.

Try this before bed:

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (unfiltered is best e.g. Bragg’s), 1 tablespoon of raw honey stirred into 1 cup of hot water.

It’s key to use raw honey – it will help to maintain your blood sugar throughout the night and has been considered a sleep remedy for thousands of years. The apple cider vinegar provides key amino acids.

Maintaining blood sugar is important as if it drops too low, your body releases cortisol. Although cortisol is considered a stress hormone, it’s also causes the release of glucose stored in the liver into the blood to maintain that blood sugar balance. This can cause you to wake in the middle of the night as cortisol rises at an increased rate. Balancing blood sugar, prevents this.

You can also try almond butter on celery sticks, and optionaly 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil, before you go to bed. See what works for you!

#8 Intend to Sleep

When you go to bed, go with the intention to go to sleep.

Don’t use your bedroom for anything apart from sleep, sexual activity and mindfulness. Don’t watch TV, have conversations, worry or eat in bed!

If you wake up during the night, for longer than feels like more than 10 minutes, try getting up and leaving the bedroom. Do something really boring, like reading the dictionary! Avoid bright lights, TV, stimulating music during this time.

COVID-19 and Functional Medicine Survivial Guide

What can I do?

I find the idea of the “circles of control” useful when thinking about COVID-19, commonly known as the Corona virus.

The centers around the old idea of focussing our efforts on what we can control and letting go of that which we can’t control. This is also a great concept for maintaining a healthy state of mind

The bad news is that unfortunately, we can not control 100% whether we get the virus or not. There is always a chance we may contract the virus, despite our best efforts.

However, we can still work on our circle of control and what we can influence to reduce this probability.

circles of control

We can largely control what we eat, and how we choose to live our lives, and we can influence the chances that we will contract a virus, and we can influence how our body will respond if we contract the virus.

So what do you have the most control over?

It’s not primarily supplements although they can help. Supplements will have little effect if you are still eating a terrible diet. Diet, sleep, hydration, and stress management are non-negotiable fundamentals.

COVID-19 Prevention

To prevent infection from any source (viruses, bacteria, fungal etc.), we want all systems of our body to functioning optimally. This is a key tenant of Functional Medicine – we need to zoom out and take a holistic view of the body as a landscape that needs to be supported in a variety of ways:


Sleep is my number one anti-viral and immune supporting recommendation.

Let’s make sleep hygiene is the new ‘binge watching’! This could be the best time you ever have to catch up on sleep.

Sleep not only supports a healthy immune system that can launch an appropriate response to threats, but also Melatonin, the sleep hormone and a powerful anti-oxidant, that is released before sleep may help in protecting you from contracting COVID-19.

You can find my tips to get a good night’s sleep here.


People with a high stress index have been found to be more susceptible to infection from common cold viruses. Susceptibility to a wide range of viruses has also been associated with stress in animals. High stress also reduces micro nutrient concentrations in the body, often leading to micro-nutrient depletion.

Chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that may ultimately manifest in illness.

But with all the changes we are seeing in our lives at the moment, with changes in our roles in society and even identities, isn’t stress inevitable?

Yes, I would say it is.

At this time in our history, there is an argument that it may be more beneficial to focus on adding enriching and grounding practices to our lives rather than trying to reduce stress.

A counter argument is that it may not be the stress itself that causes issues but it may be our relationship to it. If we can make stress our friend, the effects on the immune system may be reduced.

It’s vitally important to spend time on our social and relationship networks. Call a friend on the phone or skype, send that email, play board games online with family. What can you do to foster your relationships and rekindle old ones?

In times of stress, we often reach for a simple high sugar snack for a quick boost of serotonin and dopamine. This however, is followed by a crash and feelings of anxiety or depression. This may also have an effect on our immune system.

So, what other non-food treats, can we turn too?

Here are a few suggestions:

👉DIY Face Massage
👉Start a home workout routine and get physically strong!
👉Read a good book
👉Listen to a good audiobook / podcast
👉Buy a voucher or something to support a local business or charity
👉DIY Mani/Pedi
👉DIY Face massage
👉Buy online a small tech or kitchen gadget
👉Start a Yoga practice (plenty of teachers on youtube)
👉Movie on Amazon / Netflix
👉Grow flowers or vegetables from seed
👉Bubble bath with epsom salts
👉A fun class online (cooking/art/community)
👉Make a vision board
👉Find purpose – plan for a career change or a new job
👉Start a gratitude journal
👉One a full at home spa day
👉Dry body brushing
👉Zoom/skype/phone a friend
👉Print out some mindful colouring sheets from the internet
👉Restart a hobby (a musical instrument, sewing ?)
👉Plan and cook yourself and those around you a multi course meal
👉Have a ‘Dance off’ with the kids

Lymphatic System

Lymph (from Latin, lympha meaning “water”) is the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system that can transport immune cells around our body. Lymph is where our immune system meets pathogens, and does battle with viruses.

You can think of it like this:

If you are single, and would like to meet a partner, it’s probably unlikely that you will meet them at a random place such as the library or the laundrette (though obviously this does happen!). Instead if you were keen to meet someone, it would be better to go to a singles bar where you are more likely to meet like minded people.

That’s essentially what goes on in our lymph. It’s where our immune system and pathogens, such as viruses, come together. There, the immune system can fight the virus in a contained space.

Some things you can do support your lymph system:

  • Gently daily movement, particularly yoga which involves lots of twisting and high intensity intervals if you are able. This helps the lymph move around the body as unlike our blood, it has no pump. You may also be interested in the lymphatic mojo program (no affiliation).
  • Hydration – lymph is 95% water and so it’s important to stay hydrated
  • Dry brushing supports healthy lymphatic flow in the skin-associated lymphatic tissue. The coarse bristles of a dry brush encourage movement of the lymph and blood in the underlying tissues, which helps move out built-up toxins.
  • Cleavers ( a herb)
  • Red clover tea


A diet nutrient rich in anti-inflammatory whole foods is essential to good health and an appropriate immune system response to viruses and other pathogens. The Mediterranean diet is a good example of a balanced diet, low in processed sugars, and packed with vegetables and good fats. There is no point taking the supplements if your diet is poor. Make sure you are including adequate amounts of protein in your diet as protein is needed to generate all the white blood cells in an optimal immune response.

Include lots of onion, garlic, turmeric and ginger in your diet.

Avoid excess alcohol, refined sugars, and processed foods.

Use fire cider to make salad dressings or as a shot every day

Fuel the body – Supplements

The key here is to give the body the resources it needs to generate an appropriate immune response. This means ensuring your have adequate levels of vitamins and minerals in the body such as iron, Vitamin D and A, particularly if you deficient in any of these. Remember, protein is also important.

Remember, our knowledge about infection from COVID-19 is still developing, and doses higher than those given below are not recommended!

Zinc and Vitamin C would be my key recommended supplemental nutrients, with zinc emerging as the superstar mineral for COVID-19 at this stage.


Dose: Up to 30 mg per day total (check ALL supplements for total)

Zinc supplement may have effect not only on COVID-19-related symptom like diarrhea and lower respiratory tract infection, but also on COVID-19 itself.

Vitamin C

Dose: 2g twice a day, up to 5g Twice per day if you have bowel tolerance (it doesn’t make you go to the toilet).

You can dissolve it in water and drink it throughout the day. Ascorbic acid is OK.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, supports immune function, and three human controlled trials have reported that there was significantly lower incidence of pneumonia in vitamin C‐supplemented groups.


Dose: Up to 200mcg per day

Dietary selenium deficiency that causes oxidative stress in the host can alter a viral genome so that a normally benign or mildly pathogenic virus can become highly virulent in the deficient host under oxidative stress

Vitamin A

Dose: Up to 3000 IUs max, food sources such as liver are also good

Supports all aspects of the immune system, ranging from the production of mucus (which is helpful to protect the gut lining) to the production of antibodies.

Vitamin D

Dose: 1-2,000iu per day max

Only supplement if you know you are deficient. Otherwise 30 minutes of direct sun on the body is recommended daily. Vitamin D in a multi vitamin is fine for everyone.

Vitamin D stimulates the maturation of many cells including immune cells and is widely accepted as having a significant impact on the immune system.


Only ever supplement iron if you have had your levels tested and you know your levels are below the recommended range.

Too much iron can be toxic to the body. Iron deficiency can impair host immunity, while iron overload can cause oxidative stress to propagate harmful viral mutations.


Dose: 100 – 150mg per day unless you already have high blood pressure

RECOMMENDED: Multi-Vitamin

Rather than popping many separate vitamins and minerals, a good multi vitamin such as Seeking Health Optimal Multi will cover a lot of your bases with reasonable dosages that are unlikely to cause any harm.

The quality of your multivitamin is key here, as cheaper/inferior brands contain less than optimal amounts and also forms of vitamins which can’t readily be used by the body.

Some other ideas:

  • Stimulate the immune system: herbs such as Astralagus, Ginseng or medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi or Shitake
  • Borrow immunity – from probiotics, Colostrum, propolois or lactoferrin
  • Kill the virus: garlic, turmeric, or monolaurin from coconut oil

At first signs of possible infection:

These are suggestions only and you should first seek medical advice from a medical doctor.

·        STOP TAKING VITAMIN A, D, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha and
medicinal mushrooms

·        Keep taking Multivitamin if possible

·        Zinc up to 50mg per day

·        Licorice up to 200mg per day unless you already have high blood pressure

·        Alpha Lipoic Acid 100 – 600mg twice per day

·        N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC). Up to 2g, twice per day

If you have any questions, I’m always happy to help so please get in touch. To know more about how you can work with me, you can find out more here.

Stephen Ward Headshot Image


Stephen Ward (MSc) is trained in assessing the root cause of chronic health issues through Functional Medicine.

He uses nutrition, lifestyle changes, and nutraceuticals (targeted supplements) to help you achieve your goals and improve your health.

What Really Causes Reflux?

What are Reflux and GERD?

Acid reflux is one of the most common digestive disorders in Australia, affecting 10-15% of the population and is increasing in prevalence. The symptoms can range from mild and annoying to severe and include heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, and nausea. Long-term reflux has also been linked to increased rates of oesphageal cancer. It’s definitely something you want to avoid!

Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a more serious form of reflux. As a side note, in Australia, you may find reference to GORD, rather than GERD, due to the different spelling of (o)esophagus, but we will use the GERD abbreviation in this article.

The conventional medical approach to reflux is to treat the symptoms by consuming antacids or taking acid lowering drugs such as PPIs. Unfortunately, not only does this approach fail to adequately address the symptoms, they can make matters worse…

How your Antacid is Making you Sick

Antacids treat the symptoms and discomfort of heart burn without addressing the underlying cause. As soon as you stop taking them, the discomfort returns. There is little money for a pharmaceutical company when they actual cure a disease (no repeat customers!) and some would argue that this leads to the ongoing marketing of short-term solutions and lack of information around the real cause of health issues such as this.

Furthermore, there are consequences of regularly taking antacids and acid stopping drugs:

  • Increased bacterial overgrowth
  • Impaired nutrient absorption
  • Decreased resistance to infection
  • Increased risk of death by chronic disease

When acid blockers and antacids were first introduced to the market, it was recommended that they were used for a maximum of six weeks. Indeed, they can be useful to provide short-term relief but the problem is longer term that can lead to these side effects.

So what can you do?

The good news is reflux and GERD can easily be treated with some simple dietary and lifestyle changes…

A Symptom is Not a Cause: Not Enough Stomach Acid?

But first, I think it’s important to learn a bit more about why acid-reflux develops…

The idea that too much stomach acid causes reflux and GERD is common in the media and the general public. But the scientific literature centers around the theory that GERD is caused by a dysfunction in the spinchter, known as the lower esophageal valve (LES), which separates the stomach from the lower end of the oesophagus.

Normally, the LES only opens when we eat to allow food to pass into our stomach. It doesn’t matter how much acid there is in the stomach; Acid can not rise up through the LES into the oesophagus when it is closed. But if the LES is malfunctioning, either because of a physical defect or because of abdominal pressure (we’ll get on to this), the stomach acid rises back into the sensitive oesophagus and gives the painful symptoms of heart burn.

Acid reflux and the lower esophagal sphincter

Treating gastroesophageal reflux disease with profound acid inhibition will never be ideal because acid secretion is not the primary underlying defect.

What Really Causes Reflux?

The most common causes of acid-reflux are

  • Food intolerances / triggers
  • Excessive gas production
  • Immune system activation

Most often, these three causes are present together and are connected…

Dietary triggers can include alcohol, dairy, gluten, caffeine, processed foods, fructose, FODMAPs (more on this later). The easiest way to find out if foods are triggering your reflux or GERD is to do an elimination diet where you cut out these potential triggers from your diet.

The Paleo diet is a good option as it removes many of the common inflammatory foods. With a diet like this, you should be seeing some benefit in three weeks or so. If you aren’t seeing the improvement you would like, then that’s telling you that you are not getting to the underlying cause…

Excessive gas may be produced by a bacterial overgrowth in the gut. This gas this causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) which pushes the contents of the stomach, including stomach acid, into the oesophasgus.

But what could be causing the bacterial overgrowth?

One common cause of bacterial overgrowth is low stomach acid. Aaha! Now we we can see a mechanism by which low stomach acid may be contributing to acid-reflux…

At a PH of 3, bacteria in the stomach can only survive for 15 minutes but at a PH of 5, bacteria begin to thrive. And a trial has been conducted which confirmed just this effect. 30 people with GERD were treated with a high dose of Prilosec (40g/day), a PPI that reduces stomach acid, for at least 3 months. 11 of the 30 Prilosec-treated people developed significant bacterial overgrowth, compared with only one of the ten people in the control group.

Now, we know that bacterial overgrowth is also associated with immune system activation as the immune system is activated, including a histamine response, to deal with the threat of a bacterial overgrowth.

The Low-FODMAP diet and probiotics are known to reduce immune system activation and histamine. So if bacterial overgrowth and immune system activation are at the core of reflux for some people, it makes sense that a Low-FODMAP diet and probiotics will be helpful.

Reducing Reflux and GERD in Three Simple Steps

Once food intolerances and physical defects of the LES are ruled out, heart burn and GERD are likely caused by bacterial overgrowth and too little stomach acid. If someone is overweight, working to reduce weight can also be helpful.

So our goal is now to reduce the bacterial overgrowth and increase the acid. This can be done in three steps (and is a similar approach used to regain gut health for reasons other than reflux):

  1. Reduce the bacterial overgrowth and causes of low stomach acid.
  2. Replace the missing stomach acid
  3. Repair the gut mucosal lining, gut immune system and re balance the gut bacteria.

To Reduce the bacterial overgrowth, a low carbohydrate Low-FODMAP diet, together with probiotics is effective. A combination of probiotics, namely Sacchromyces Boulardi, a Lactobacillus / Bifidobacterium blend, and soil based probiotics are likely to be effective for this purpose. You may find the most benefit when combining these three different types. A low-histamine diet can also be trialed.

Replacing stomach acid usually means taking a supplement containing HCL with pepsin or another acid stable protease. Pepsin in the acidic environment of the stomach breaks down protein so that we can absorb it into our bodies. If the stomach is not producing enough HCL, it is likely not producing enough pepsin and so both should be supplemented together.

For sensitive people that feel warmth in their stomach from 1 capsule of HCL, apple cider vinegar before meals is an option. A program to support the gastric lining for 6-8 weeks may be necessary (speak to me about this).

After a period of supplementing HCL, many people find that they are then able to reduce their dose..

Note, HCL should never be taken by anyone is using any type of anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. Ibuprofen or other NSAID) or corticosteroids (e.g. predisone). These medications can damage the gut lining and the supplementary HCL could aggravate this, causing bleeding or an ulcer.

Once we have reduced any bacterial overgrowth and any possible drivers of low stomach acid, and then replaced the low acid, we still need to repair the gut.

Repairing the gut means reducing the increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) which may be present, supporting the gut immune system and re-balancing the gut bacteria. A re-balanced gut microbiome should support gut barrier function, decrease inflammation and balance the immune system and not produce the excess gas associated with additional pressure and reflux.

We can make use of probiotics and nutra-ceuticals to support the intestinal immune system and provide the building blocks needed for the gut to repair itself. Particular foods such as fermented foods, bone broth and soluble fibres can be helpful. Soluble fibres are prebiotics which act as fuel for the good bacteria in our gut. You can read more about repairing the gut in this article.

If you have any questions, I’m always happy to help so please get in touch. To know more about how you can work with me, you can find out more here.

Stephen Ward Headshot Image


Stephen Ward (MSc) is trained in assessing the root cause of chronic health issues through Functional Medicine.

He uses nutrition, lifestyle changes, and nutraceuticals (targeted supplements) to help you achieve your goals and improve your health.

Low Iron Levels? How our gut affects Iron absorption

Iron deficiency is common, especially among women, vegetarians, and anyone who is hypo-thyroid. It can make you feel, tired, dizzy, moody, and cause head aches as the body doesn’t have enough iron to make haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body.

This lack of healthy red blood cells is known as iron-deficiency anemia. Resolving this anemia is a crucial first step of any healing program as it robs cells of the oxygen they need to function.

Iron deficiency may explain persistent symptoms in between 30 to 50% of hypo-thyroid patients despite thyroid hormone therapy. Dr. Ruscio recommends testing for ferritin and getting ferritin levels above 100 in such cases.

Iron balance is critical with too much iron leading to oxidative damage, which may be part of chronic fatigue, liver disease, and brain function.

Iron as a supplement should only be taken following lab testing of iron levels in the body. When supplementing or when focusing on foods containing high levels of iron, some people find their levels remain stubbornly low. What’s going on?

What can you do?

If you suspect your have iron-deficiency anaemia, the first step is to talk to your doctor about testing to get confirmation. Excess iron can cause serious health conditions and low levels of iron are never something you should assume without testing.

Improving your iron absorption, and gut health, should be thought of as an important step to increasing iron absorption. Here are some things that can be done:

Inflammation and the gut?

Low grade inflammation is associated with all chronic disease. It can have a wide variety of causes, such as infections, injury, poor diet or toxins, even stress! But one of the most common areas where inflammation starts is in the gut.

When inflammatory cytokines are high (during infection or injury), the liver releases a regulatory molecule (hepcidin) which blocks the absorption of iron. In other words, inflammation blocks the absorption of iron from the gut.

Therefore, we need to consider inflammation and gut health when bringing our iron levels back into balance. This focus on the underlying systems of the body is a cornerstone of what is know as Functional Medicine. You can read about how to reduce inflammation in our gut here.


Phytate is found in foods like whole grains, cereals, soy, nuts and legumes. It binds to minerals such as iron and zinc, preventing their absorption.

While eating some phytates is fine, many of us are eating more than the recommended amount, even those eating a Paleo diet containing a moderate amount of nuts.

But the research has shown eating even a small amount of phytate, at the same time as the source of iron, can decrease iron absorption. This inhibitory effect increases as the quantity of phytates increases. This is what is called a dose dependent effect. This effect can be counteracted by eating a source of Vitamin C at the same time.

Pair iron rich foods with Vitamin C

Iron from animal products, known as heme iron is the most easily absorbed by the body. But all is not lost if you are a vegetarian. Eating a source of Vitamin C along with plant base sources of non-heme iron helps absorption.

Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, melons and strawberries. In one study, 100mg of Vitamin C taken with food, increased absorption.

Iron and our Microbiome

Probiotics appear to increase the iron absorbing capability of the gut.

In particularly, a 2019 systematic review of the research found that the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299v significantly increased iron absorption in humans.

Luckily for us, there are several commercially available probiotics containing this strain such as this one (affiliate link).

While we have discovered that some strains of probiotics increase iron absorption, other research is showing that other strains block absorption. And so to have optimal iron absorption from the gut, a balanced ecosystem of bacteria is needed. This means a healthy gut and microbiome!

What I stand for

Understanding the underlying causes of digestive discomfort and IBS

Understand the common root causes of digestive discomfort and IBS and what you can do..

What is Functional Medicine anyway?

In the olden days, it was thought that disease was caused by some entity, such bad air (a miasma), that we needed to get rid of in some way. We now know that this idea of something that we need to get rid of only makes sense in specific cases. Traditional Western medicine works wonders in these areas of infectious disease, surgery, and acute trauma. But what about preventing or treating chronic health conditions such as auto-immunity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or Alzheimers? Or complex cases where the patient has an endless list of symptoms (and is often given an endless list of drugs)? Are we merely putting bandages on an inevitable disease process? Can anything else be done? We have a pill for everything but those pills rarely, address the root cause of the disease.

Do diseases actually exist?

You might answer ‘of course they do!’. And you are right, the symptoms obviously exist. But at the level of our biochemistry, disease is just a result of poor function at the cellular level, which results in poorly functioning organs and systems in the body. For example, Dr. Dale Brdesen argues that Alzheimer’s is not a single disease, but identifies three major metabolic imbalances that contribute to Alzheimer’s:
  1. Inflammation from things like poor diet and lifestyle choices, infection, and other issues
  2. An insufficient amount of supportive elements like hormones, nutrients, and brain-supporting compounds that result in poor functioning and repair of neurons in our brain.
  3. Toxic exposure to heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, or lead, and biotoxins like mold and other microbes
Based on this understanding, a disease becomes only a convenient label for a collection of imbalances and diseases don’t actually exist in and of themselves. Although a ‘disease’ may present in a seemingly consistent way, in this case ‘Azheimer’s’, the actual causes associated with that disease and the imbalances in the body may be different. And that’s why Dr. Rangan Chatterjee has boldly declared that he can make diseases disappear. His approach to making ‘diseases’ disappear is largely based in Nutritional Therapy and Functional Medicine, and addressing the root cause of the disease rather than the symptoms.

So, What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine is the identification of the root causes of the imbalances that give rise to disease.
Once the root causes are identified, they can be addressed through personalised and targeted lifestyle interventions such as nutrition, sleep, rest, and movement. Pharmaceuticals may be required in some cases, but lifestyle interventions will always benefit the patient. In our Alzheimer’s example, inflammation and poor functioning of neurons can be addressed in part by nutrition and lifestyle changes. Similarly, we can reduce our exposure to toxins by changing our environment and take steps to eliminate toxins that are stored in the body (sauna anyone?).

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison

Functional Medicine sees a return to this care for the body and answers questions such as:

Why do you have this problem in the first place?

Why has function been lost?

What can we do to restore function?

Functional Medicine in Action

Functional medicine is based in systems theory.
system is a cohesive grouping of interrelated and interdependent parts
Because of this interconnectedness and interdependence, our digestive health may have an impact on our immune system and hormonal system and vice versa. And inflammation and oxidative stress may affect all systems in our body, and are in-turn affected by our diet and stress levels. Functional Medicine looks at the functioning of the systems within the body, and looks to improve their functioning to regain or maximise health. We use nutrition and lifestyle interventions (e.g. rest, sleep, movement), rather than a single pharmaceutical. This allows us to target multiple systems in the body at the same time and address root causes, rather than symptoms. We may look at environmental toxins, genetics, nutrient status, poorly functioning detoxification, cellular energy pathways. Advanced laboratory testing may be used to help get to the root cause where necessary… This process may take some time and money, but it is generally a very effective investment. Although it may appear expensive, resolving issues at their root, may reduce the amount spent on healthcare in the future. Of course, the most important outcome is that you get back your health and vitality and that you feel the difference. If you have any questions, I’m always happy to help so please get in touch. To know more about how you can work with me, you can find out more here.
Stephen Ward Headshot Image


Stephen Ward (MSc) is trained in assessing the root cause of chronic health issues through Functional Medicine. He uses nutrition, lifestyle changes, and nutraceuticals (targeted supplements) to help you achieve your goals and improve your health.