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Editor’s Note: The Institute for Functional Medicine hosted the “Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice” conference in Minneapolis the week of September 16, 2013. Three of Experience Life’s senior editors were able to attend throughout the week. 

This conference was overflowing with amazing information. It is geared primarily for healthcare providers, so attending it as a journalist gives one the feeling of getting an inside peek at what is new and groundbreaking in the Functional Medicine world. I attended the Friday sessions on women and hormones led by Margaret Christensen, MD, and Bethany Hayes, MD.

Here are some of the interesting tidbits I learned while I was there:

  • 95% of soy is modified to be Round-up Ready. Choose organic soy products whenever possible. Organic ensures no GMOs!
  • Pesticides, like Round-up, are a big-time endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that, at certain doses, can interfere with our hormone systems. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to birth defects, cancer, learning disorders, and reproductive issues.
  • The radiation in cell phones can act like an endocrine disruptor. Avoid keeping your cell phone on your body (e.g. in a pocket) and don’t sleep with it near your body at night!
  • Many big companies sell both pharmaceuticals AND pesticides. A super sad, true fact: Many of the large companies that make endocrine-disrupting products also manufacture the medicine that is designed to fix those problems.
  • There are three easy, effective lifestyle modifications you can make to promote hormone balance: Minimize caffeine, simple sugars and alcohol.
  • The best way to get the healthful, hormone-balancing, disease-inhibiting compounds in whole foods is to eat whole foods. Supplements are not as effective. Stick with the real stuff, just as nature made it, as often as possible.

To learn more about Functional Medicine, see our six-part “Functional Wellness” series by Mark Hyman, MD, or visit

“Taking Notes” is a series of posts here at Unedited that include healthy-living tidbits and takeaways that Experience Life team members gather as they attend conferences and events around the country. We hope you find these bite-size nuggets of info as eye-opening as we do.

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