The Women's Journal

Functional Medicine: Connecting The Dots Between The Microbiome And Weight Loss

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Photo by Shannon Adelson © 2016 Adelson Media, Inc.

By Dr. Cynthia Crosser  


Humanity is now facing a global epidemic called OBESITY. In 2014, 13% of the world’s adults were obese, double that of 1980. Presently, 37% of American adults are obese, and 34% are overweight. We expect to be at 50% by 2030.

We now know that exercise is not the most important ingredient to losing weight, despite other health benefits. What, and how much, we eat play the greatest role, and different people lose weight more effectively with different foods. Real world experience shows that with physiology and psychology surrounding food, that the old theory of calories in and calories out, isn’t exactly valid nor practical. Although our caloric needs have not changed, Americans are consuming 500 more calories on average than they did in the 70s leading to this epidemic.

Food composition plays a large role in how the body can digest and absorb calories. Whole grains, oats, and high-fiber cereals are not digested very efficiently. Even how we digest the calories in nuts are determined by the processing.

Then consider the expenditure, which is related to heat production for our bodies. Fat will produce the most energy; protein and carbs much less. Glycemic index or how quickly the body converts food to glucose will also determine how many calories we eat per day. Thus, a higher glycemic index breakfast will tend to increase our daily caloric intake.

Enter Functional Medicine! When patients come in with a desire to lose weight, a blood panel is always ordered to assess the starting point. This provides the first step in their biochemical profile. In some patients, a stool sample may be ordered to check for specific bacteria that have been linked to obesity. The microbiome can induce changes in intestinal endocrine cells that produce substances that regulate hunger (ghrelin). This is impacted by the consumption of soluble fiber supplementation, which decreases fat mass and food consumption; all by way of the gut microbiome. The gut bacteria also cause fermentation, which increases the feeling of being satisfied. In some instances, and after looking at the history, I may order genetic testing to determine if they possess a variation that may create a feeling of being more hungry than most.

Hormones also play a role in metabolism. In some cases, a full thyroid panel and elements that interfere with the thyroid are considered. If they are under stress, a cortisol panel (seen in cases with abdominal fat) may be run as well as an understanding of male and female hormones.

Sleep habits are part of the picture as well, in weight loss/gain by way of the production of growth hormones. In general, people that don’t get adequate sleep will carry excess body fat.

So as you can see, weight loss (and gain) are far more than calories in and calories out. If you are experiencing a weight issue, do something now before it turns into obesity, diabetes and all the health threats that follow! Besides that, it is beach season, get ready! Call 302-239-5014.


“As a double cancer survivor myself, Dr. Crosser and I immediately connected. What an inspiration she is! I’ve never experienced a doctor in my 60+ years that is as compassionate, devoted, and GENUINELY concerned for their patients as Dr. Crosser! I’ve been seeing her since August of 2015 and through her patient specific, tailored program of nutrition, appropriate supplements, and workshops, I’ve managed to lose the extra pounds, get back to the gym, and have a litany of nagging and annoying physical ailments that other doctor’s mostly attributed to “old age”, or “in my head” disappear! I haven’t felt this good in 35 years! She’s absolutely changed my life! Thank you so much Dr. Crosser! “ – Steve H.

“Since working with Dr. Crosser my health and well-being has changed dramatically! As a woman in my mid 50’s I try to stay somewhat healthy or at least I thought so! Experiencing stubborn weight loss, bloating and poor gut health I was in a slow spiral to poor nutrition and health. Through Dr. Crosser’s guidance, high quality nutritional supplements and her unwavering dedication to her patients I have never felt better! Thank you Dr. Crosser!! Everyone should have just one hour with you to see how they can make improvements for a healthy lifestyle!” – June E.

“By a stroke of luck, I met Dr. Crosser and began working with her. Despite a relatively healthy diet and exercise, I was suffering from anxiety, fatigue, and generally not feeling well. Dr. Crosser conducted a very thorough analysis of my symptoms and health history before recommending a customized regiment of high quality, natural supplements. The results have been miraculous. I had forgotten what it felt like to be well. I have my life back! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dr. Crosser.” – Judy T.

Wellness within reach!


5700 Kirkwood Hwy., Suite 101, Wilmington, DE 19808

Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Weight loss, Neurofeedback, Nutritional Counseling

Headshot by Shannon Adelson of Adelson Media, Inc.