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Dr. Amy Knaperek, PharmD

Dr. Amy Knaperek, PharmD

Lifestyle Medicine Enthusiast

Integrative Pharmacy Specialist

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I am a licensed pharmacist in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. After graduating from Creighton University's School of Pharmacy and Health Professions in 2012, I have been working as a community pharmacist in the Southeast United States.

 

I began my lifestyle medicine journey as a Diabetes Nutrition Educator and Pharmacy Manager for a large grocery store chain, I provided seminars on nutrition for people with Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. I am an Integrative Pharmacy Specialist and have taken Lifestyle Medicine courses from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. I have certificates in Diabetes Management from ASHP and Medication Therapy Management through Power-PAK.

 

I have a passion for gut health, food as medicine, vitamins, minerals, and nutrition and the connection to overall health and wellness! I am committed to lifelong learning and evidence-based medicine, and I will work to bring the most up-to-date information to you. 

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Life is a Journey

Hello! My name is Dr. Amy Knaperek, PharmD, and I am the founder and CEO of PIVOT Integrative Consulting LLC. I received my Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Creighton University in 2012. As a Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner and an Integrative Pharmacy Specialist, I am here to help you uncover root causes for your chronic diseases and guide you to use the power of food to take control of your health and wellness. 

I cannot believe where my journey has taken me. I have struggled with weight gain, chronic pain, and inflammation for most of my life. When I was 19 years old, I was given a tentative diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. The labs were inconclusive, but I had inflammation in all my joints, and the rheumatologist could not tell me what was causing it. My doctors prescribed medications to help with symptoms and reduce my inflammation, and then lectured me that I just need to have a better diet and exercise more. Sound familiar?

 

So, I followed the Nutrition Guidelines religiously. I ate whole-wheat bread, low-fat dairy, skim milk, and egg white omelets. But I was still fat, tired, and in chronic pain. What was I doing wrong? I was eating salads with low-fat dressing, drinking skim milk, cutting out sweets, and eating whole wheat breads and pasta. Isn’t that what I was supposed to do? When my pain wasn't too severe, I walked, did some Yoga, used some weights but the scale kept going higher and higher. My pain worsened, and I was always tired.

I tried many fad diets and exercise programs over the years and my weight went up and down like a rollercoaster. I would feel winded just walking up one flight of stairs. I lived in chronic pain and on the bad days would take medications to help me cope. I gave up on myself so many times, wallowing in a pint of ice cream. It seemed it did not make a difference if I ate "healthy" or not. Does that also sound familiar? I even tried the "Keto Diet." 

 

I began to adopt the Ketogenic lifestyle in 2018 and the most amazing thing happened. I never felt better! I had so much more energy. My exercise-induced asthma was gone! My joints felt great! I was able to exercise without feeling winded and achy. How could the food I was eating have such a huge impact on my overall health? How could my pain and inflammation just disappear almost overnight? I had to know more.

I enrolled in an Integrative Pharmacy Specialist course. That is when I was finally able to make a connection to vitamin and mineral depletions, changes in gut health, and the fatigue and chronic pain I was experiencing. I realized that many of our chronic diseases have an inflammatory process involved that is directly related to the foods that we eat. Foods that we might be sensitive to. Foods that can cause “leaky gut” and lead to inflammation throughout the body. Foods like whole wheat breads and pastas, low-fat salad dressings, eggs, and skim milk. 

 

Conventional medicine is taught to see symptoms of disease and prescribes a remedy to work on the symptoms (like the medications I had been prescribed to treat my pain and inflammation). I wanted to know more about the root causes of disease. Why were these symptoms occurring in the first place? How does that body work on a cellular level? What do vitamins and minerals do for our body?

 

That is when I discovered Functional Medicine. Through Functional Medicine, I discovered a change in one of my genes that explained all of my symptoms! I embarked on health and wellness journey to discover how my body functions. 

However, Functional Medicine and the Keto lifestyle didn't fix everything. Keto felt very restrictive and the more evidence I found from clinical trials about the ketogenic lifestyle, the more concerned I was. I didn't like eliminating certain fruits and vegetables, legumes, or whole grains from my diet. Functional Medicine felt like I was constantly taking handfuls of supplements and running expensive labs, which told me what I already knew. The foods we eat, the lifestyle choices we make, can have a profound effect on our overall health and wellness.

 

Concerned about the stigma surrounding Functional Medicine and wanting more evidence-based medicine, I decided to keep looking for answers. I found myself circling back to Lifestyle Medicine, an elective I took during pharmacy school. Lifestyle medicine focuses on evidence-based recommendations for nutrition, physical activity, stress management, restorative sleep, social connections, and avoiding risky substances and toxins. Lifestyle medicine also believes in FOOD as MEDICINE but doesn't believe that we need to perform expensive lab tests for every patient. Some things are just universally true!

So, let me help you uncover roots for your chronic diseases and empower you to take control of your health with your own personalized plan using whole-food plant-based nutrition as medicine! You are unique. There are no one-size fits all plans and no miracle cures. There are just small lifestyle pivots that can lead to big rewards!

Are you ready to PIVOT to whole-food plant-based health and wellness?

Dr. Amy Knaperek, PharmD

Continuing Education

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