How Functional Medicine Leads to Systemic and Lasting Health - Key Learnings from the Podcast Session with Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino

Functional Medicine @ Parsley Health with Dr. Tolentino

In this episode of ‘Take Care’, a podcast that gives you insights into the lives and habits of changemakers, host Rish Sharma speaks with Los Angeles’ premier family physician, Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino.

Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, the lead physician at Parsley Health, is a Board-Certified Family Physician with a collaborative, holistic approach to practicing medicine. Her whole-body approach to healthcare integrates everything from medicine, nutrition, exercise to self-care, and emotional wellness. She holds a subspecialty certification in Hormone Optimization and has received extensive training in Functional Medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine. When she is not treating patients, she loves spending time with her family and her pet Chihuahua. She also loves traveling.

The Journey of Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino

Dr. Tolentino had always dreamed of becoming a doctor. While the path was filled with a lot of ups and downs, she took it as a learning curve. After receiving her Bachelor of Health Science degree at the University of Florida, Dr. Tolentino ended up working at an osteopathic doctor’s office. Every aspect of that job as a secretary - from billing to meeting patients daily - shaped her resolve, and encouraged her to apply to an osteopathic school. The philosophy that the entire body is interconnected with every system was what inspired her the most on her journey.

When it comes to family medicine, Dr. Tolentino was intrigued by how deep the healthcare process went. It was like seeing somebody throughout the course of their life and understanding them through their motivations and desires. She enjoyed interacting with patients of all ages and understanding their life journeys.

Dr. Tolentino developed her interest in functional medicine after being diagnosed with breast cancer in her early thirties. It changed the way she thought about herself and how her body worked. Digging deeper into integrated and functional medicine enriched her understanding that medication is more than just diagnosis and treatment. It is actually one of the tools to help care for, treat, and nourish people from their roots.

Parsley Health - The Mission and the Vision

Being a part of Parsley Health, Dr. Tolentino believes her mission is to blend the best of primary healthcare and the best of functional medicine into a new integrative approach which would be relevant to everyone and everywhere. Now spread over 38 states across the USA, Parsley Health aims to provide a preventative whole-person, patient-centered approach to care that's collaborative and not prescriptive.

At Parsley, the interaction between a doctor and a patient is not one-way; it’s a mutual interaction, where they work as a team.

Parsley Health has board-certified family and internal medicine practitioners, and their approach to functional medicine is a holistic approach to wellness. They look at the root cause of any health-related problem and consider everything from hormones to GI and digestion, etc. while treating the patient.

A major difference from traditional medical practices is the time Parsley’s doctors invest in each patient. The first meeting of a patient usually lasts for about seventy-five minutes, and over the course of a year, the doctors spend almost four and a half hours of face to face time with them. Every patient has online and offline access to their health care teams. They also keep meeting their doctors and their health coaches alternatively.

Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino’s Tips to Assess Personal Wellness

To assess the overall personal health, Dr. Tolentino feels that one must start checking in with themselves right from the start of the day. How do you feel after waking up? Are you exhausted? Are you energized? How is the appetite? How do you feel after having a meal? How do you feel at the end of the day?

All these and many other questions need to be asked to keep track of the actual health and wellness of one’s own body.

During the course of the day, people often tend to overlook their sleep, exercise, stress, hunger, bowel movements, etc. This, in turn, causes many health issues. So, these little check-ins every day are vital.

There are also a lot of misconceptions surrounding doctors and standard treatment procedures. Doctors can use their knowledge and personal experiences to guide a patient, but ultimately, it is the patient who knows the best what’s working for them and what’s not. This again stresses the importance of self-assessment and communication between the patient and the doctor. This is what, Dr. Tolentino feels, is the pillar of healthcare.

Understanding Microbes and their Impact on Human Health

The human microbiome is the aggregate of all microbes that reside on or within the human body. They are present everywhere, including in our mouth, gut, skin, etc. and each type of microbe serves a unique purpose. Microbes play a role in the immune response, digestion, weight, and even mood, and protect us when there are some imbalances in our body.

When it comes to digestion, gut microbiome plays significant roles. So, it is important to understand the role of probiotics, fiber, or prebiotics, and how that improves digestion and addresses gut inflammation and irritable bowel.

Prebiotics are the nutrients one can feed to the healthy microbes, and taking them helps build up the immune system and protect the gut. Proper intake of these can really help someone keep their guts and body healthy.

Understanding Hormones and their Impact on Human Health

Hormones are basically chemical messengers secreted from different glands that talk to different parts of our bodies. It is through hormones that the body communicates. They work slowly and affect different processes like growth, metabolism, etc.

Hormonal imbalances can cause severe illnesses in the body. For example, problems with thyroid hormones can result in weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, and a number of other problems. Hormonal imbalances can have many symptoms like fatigue, trouble sleeping, etc. However, many of these symptoms can be due to other underlying conditions as well, and so it is best to consult a doctor for the proper diagnosis, says Dr. Talentino.

Breaking Down Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino’s Personal Care Routine

Like everything else in life, Dr. Tolentino’s morning routine is always evolving. Typically, she likes to wake up between six and seven every morning. For the first five to ten minutes, she focuses on her breathing and the mechanism of her body. Next, she spends time with her pet Chihuahua. She believes the exposure to morning light boosts her cortisol levels and helps her body get going.

Another morning essential for Dr. Tolentino is a cup of mocha latte, or sometimes, it’s a Parsley Rebuild Shake or a smoothie. She uses this time of the day to gather her thoughts and figure out the rest of her day.

When it comes to personal care, Dr. Tolentino feels that listening to the body is a skill that one must develop over time. It’s actually going back to the basics and checking in on oneself from time to time. It requires being intuitive and self-aware and being conscious of what the body needs and understanding the effects of the products that they are consuming. In the end, it all comes down to maintaining a healthy balance between self-introspection, hygiene, healthcare, and positive vibes.

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