“The first 1000 days of life are instrumental for clinical destiny.”
-Alessio Fasano, MD, and Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Mass General Hospital in Boston

Dr. Fasano, a world-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist, pioneered the thought process behind leaky gut and resulting health conditions that develop later in life. His remarkable work includes the discovery and diagnosis of “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” and its association with a multitude of chronic health conditions, which can start at a very young age in children.

As functional medicine practitioners, Dr. Fasano’s work encourages us to focus on and ask questions regarding the first 1000 days of life. Starting with PRENATAL exposures that can have a lasting impact on the body’s immune system, we must explore mom’s nutritional status, alcohol intake, tobacco exposure, and environment, to name a few. For instance, babies born by c-section can experience a dramatic impact on their gut health, since they lack the appropriate amount of mom’s healthy bacteria. And when a baby isn’t breast fed, their gut may not develop appropriately since there are specific sugars in breast milk that feed and fuel the microbiota.

Antibiotic use early in life also has profound impacts on your child’s immune system and hence, the gut, since 80% of our immune system is housed in the gut. Some scientific studies show that after ONE round of antibiotics, it will take the gut one to two years to heal. Other studies show that after only one round, our gut microbiome is NEVER the same.

Another important topic worth mentioning is the hygiene hypothesis. Antibacterial products are EVERYWHERE. We know that children who grow up with dogs in the home and spend more time playing in dirt have healthier immune systems, as these activities help with inoculation of healthy bacteria in the gut.

And it’s worth mentioning that the ever-dreaded glyphosate that is sprayed on fields, parks, and fruits and vegetables is intended to kill bugs and viruses and stop weeds from growing. As a result, this herbicide penetrates our food and water supply. EEK! The resulting impact on developing children is devastating since this potent toxin acts as an antibiotic and wipes out beneficial bacteria that are pivotal to a healthy immune system. The other impacts of glyphosate is a topic for another day…

Are you overwhelmed yet? Mom guilt starting to creep in because your child wasn’t breastfed for two years, or born by c-section? Read on….

The MOST influential factor that determines clinical outcomes in the first three years of life is NUTRITION. Children eat at least three times a day and YOU as a parent have a lot of control over the foods they consume. YOU have the power to purchase nutritious foods and educate and encourage your children to eat these foods and form healthy habits early on. Wondering what to buy? Eat the way our ancestors did. Consider an organic, non-GMO, and mostly plant-based diet. When purchasing foods with labels, especially note the gluten, sugar, and soy (the majority of it is GMO) ingredients and amounts. Be careful with dairy since even organic can be inflammatory for some children. Focus on grass-fed organic meats, wild fish, and nuts and seeds for sources of protein. Continue to introduce new foods to your children to ensure they are getting a wide variety of foods to support a healthy microbiome.

In the end, we know that an imbalanced microbiota WILL (not can) eventually trigger immune activation. For those of you who want to dig deeper, check out the following video of Dr. Fasano discussing the science behind the first three years of life, leaky gut, gluten and nutrition.

Amber Warren, PA-C
Functional Medicine of Idaho

Stephanie Ritari, PA-C

Stephanie Ritari is a board-certified Physician Assistant who offers primary care for adults at the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center. She specializes in Internal Medicine and has spent the majority of her career in the field of cardiovascular disorders.

Stephanie has more than 15 years experience as a Physician Assistant in a variety of medical areas, including cardiology and electrophysiology. Holistic practices have long been a part of Stephanie’s lifestyle, with a particular focus on clean living and nutrition. She has embedded functional principles into her conventional medicine practice throughout her career. After watching family members struggle to find answers for their chronic illnesses, Stephanie became more interested in finding ways to take a root cause approach in her own practice. Wanting to provide a proactive, comprehensive, and preventative scope of care for her patients, Stephanie began studying functional medicine. In 2021, she joined Functional Medicine of Idaho, where she is able to provide evidence based, root cause medicine.

Stephanie earned her Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Montana and her masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Rocky Mountain College. She is currently working towards her certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine. 

In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and dog doing outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and skiing. She also loves interior design and traveling, and is hoping to start her own garden in the near future.

Dr. David Musnick, MD, IFMCP

David Musnick is a board-certified medical doctor who offers in-person and telemedicine care from the Functional Medicine of Idaho Eagle clinic (coming soon). Dr. Musnick offers Functional Medicine, Sports Medicine, Functional Immunology, and Primary Care for adults and teenagers. He specializes in sports medicine, internal medicine, frequency specific microcurrent (FSM), scars, homeopathy, prolotherapy, and low-level laser treatments. 

Dr. Musnick is interested in getting to the root of underlying causes and factors that affect healing, including diet, sleep, exercise, stress, GI health, brain region health, toxins, hormones, infections, and electromagnetic fields (EMF). In medical school, Dr. Musnick spent a year studying nutrition. He has always been interested in the complex interrelationships of different systems of the body. Taking on challenges in the past, he created new treatment programs to heal the brain after concussion, treat chronic pain, arthritis, and tough SIBO and IBS cases. Dr. Musnick wants to help his patients achieve the highest level of health, vitality and function. 

After his internal medicine residency in Seattle, Dr. Musnick completed a fellowship in sports medicine where he became interested in helping patients get back to optimal musculoskeletal health and eventually back to their favorite activities. He quickly learned that many areas of the body were interrelated and started learning more about nutrition, supplements, and other facets of functional medicine. Dr. Musnick has more than 24 years of experience in Functional Medicine and achieved a very high level of both experience and expertise with many health conditions. He is also the author of the book, Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness, and helped in writing textbook chapters on arthritis and concussions.

Dr. Musnick received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of California, San Francisco. He is certified through the Institute for Functional Medicine as an IFMCP. He also studied in the French school of Homeopathy. He is uniquely rare in that he teaches Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) and how to integrate it with functional medicine. 

In his spare time, Dr. Musnick enjoys hiking, nature photography, cooking healthy food, mountain biking, and skiing.

IFM Certified Practitioner

Aaron Dykstra, DNP, FNP-C

Aaron Dykstra is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. He offers pediatric primary care, including well-child checks and acute visits, in the Pediatric Department of the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center.

Functional and alternative therapies were a part of Aaron’s life from a young age, and he has implemented these principles into his conventional medicine practice throughout his career. Aaron has more than 8 years of experience in a variety of medical disciplines, including pediatrics, obstetrics, mental health, and nutrition. He has practiced in rural health clinics in California and Oregon. For the last 5 years, Aaron has had a passion for working with children and implementing positive change through the family unit. Aaron joined the Functional Medicine of Idaho Pediatric Team in 2021. His enthusiasm for educating children and parents about living a healthy lifestyle allows him to provide preventative and acute care for infants, children, and adolescents. 

Aaron obtained his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Brigham Young University. He earned both his Master’s of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice through the University of Arizona. He has obtained a Family Herbalist and Family Nutritionist certifications through The School of Natural Healing by Dr. Christopher. He is currently working towards his certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Outside of work, you will find Aaron spending time with his wife and 5 kids, mountain biking, running, or camping in the backyard. Aaron is a big fan of Master Chef and enjoys cooking.

Nadia Kravchuk, DNP, FNP-C

Nadia Kravchuk is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She offers functional pediatric primary care, including well-child checks and acute visits, in the Pediatric Department of the Functional Medicine of Idaho Meridian Wellness Center.

Nadia and her family immigrated to the United States in 1989 where they first settled in Oregon and then moved to Idaho in 2001. Complementary medicine practices were embedded into her lifestyle at a young age, and she has implemented these principles into her conventional medicine practice throughout her career. She has more than 15 years experience in a variety of medical environments, including emergency room, intensive care unit, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, family practice, and aesthetics.

Nadia joined Functional Medicine of Idaho so that she can combine functional principles with the foundations of conventional medicine to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. As an avid gardener, beekeeper, and sustainable living enthusiast, she understands the importance and role of optimizing nutrition, sleep, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. She has a passion for pediatric functional medicine and understands that early recognition and interventions can correct imbalances, prevent chronic illness, and improve overall outcomes for children.

Nadia obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Northwest Nazarene University. She earned both her Master’s of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice through Frontier Nursing University. In 2017, she was the recipient of the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award. She is currently working towards her certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Outside of work, you will find Nadia working on her urban homestead, hiking, foraging, camping, snowboarding, and spending time with her husband and her dog, Wolfy. She is also fluent in both English and Russian.