Karyn Shanks MD

Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, Body-Mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-five-year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

Exploring Nutritional Ketosis to Improve Energy

Ketogenic Diets

I am fascinated by the science of nutritional ketosis and the potential for what a ketogenic diet can do for our health. We all know that sugar is bad, but recent scientific evidence is suggesting that a diet that restricts all carbohydrates to less than 5% of total calories is really good for us. It makes us more energy efficient, protects our brains, and has been shown to…

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iPosture: a Pain in the Neck as Well as the Heart

ihunch is the stereotypical iposture that we see all around us.

The term was coined by New Zealand physiotherapist, Steve August, to describe what we all look like hunched over our electronic devices.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s how everyone looks these days whether seated or walking along, phone out, head and upper torso leaning into the screen. Hooked!

ihunch is responsible for an…

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Abundance: Can There Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

moderation abundance too much of a good thing karyn shanks health functional medicine

I love all that I love, but I still feel the need to step away, be unplugged, to pause, to be alone. I don’t enjoy getting everything I want and I am easily overwhelmed by too much of anything that I love.

Abundance has a beautiful resonance to it. It is the focus of many peoples’ desires and affirmations—to be abundant and to have an infinite supply of everything they want.

Indeed our world…

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Sugar Addiction

We all know that sugar is addictive. It’s an obsession! We love the way it tastes, feels and what it does to us.

It has a real impact on our body chemistry. We get a little shot of dopamine or serotonin, depending on who we are. Pleasure. It smacks us right in the pleasure centers of our brains and drags us out of whatever funk or low energy state we might be in.

Bad news: it’s temporary. It…

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Sugar is a Toxin

The Straight Facts About Sugar

Sugar is essential for life but in very small, micronutrient doses, not in the massive quantities that average Americans consume. We were designed to manufacture all of the sugar our bodies need for energy production from a “real food” plant and protein-based diet. Take a look at diabetes, for example, an epidemic in our culture and cause of great human…

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Paleo Diets: Can We Thrive Doing What Our Ancestors Did?

modern eating well together in company real food

Paleo Diets Were Diverse Human Diets

As my son said to me, “none of the Paleolithic people made it, mom!” Of course he was trying to be funny, but his point is well taken. Our Paleolithic ancestors were not always so well off and today’s indigenous cultures face tremendous stresses. Attempting to model our behavior after what we think our ancestors did makes no sense when their…

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We Must Feed Our Energy Recovery: We Are Our Food

reverse autoimmunity nutrition

We Literally Are What We Eat

Few modes of healing have the power to transform us as quickly and profoundly as eating the right foods for our bodies. I have literally thousands of stories to tell, including my own, to substantiate this claim. And, hey, who can refute the fact that the molecules we put into our mouths become—quite literally—who we are. That’s just simple, plain, hard…

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Embodied Wholeness Through Movement

Writings by Dr. Karyn Shanks on Self-Healing Functional Medicine and Nutrition

I started running as a teenager, inspired by the notion that I could replace bad habits with something more positive and possibly good for me. It was awful at first and I hated it, but I’m stubborn. So I started with one block, then two, gradually, painstakingly increasing my distance. It was not fun but I was intrigued as I felt just a flash or ripple of empowerment when I accomplished the…

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Energy Recovery Step One: Honor Yourself

self-love is where healing starts liftoff functional medicine

Most of us do honor ourselves in some way through our actions and intentions every day.

Let’s remind ourselves of the ways we currently honor ourselves daily:

Reflect on something that you do for yourself daily, no matter how small you think it is. Perhaps you make a nice cup of coffee or tea for yourself, enjoy a long hot shower, leisurely read the paper, take time to eat lunch, talk to a…

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Five Ways to Harness Your Intuition

“I have been a seeker and still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teachings of my soul.”    


Time and time again my voice within is the strongest and the wisest. Not because I am a sage or have superior intelligence or am all knowing. It’s because I’ve learned that I have a higher self, a wise self, a self who knows what is best for me at all…

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