About Roots of Health Santa Cruz

Comprehensive Functional Medicine

At Roots of Health, we offer Functional Wellness Programs to help you attain optimal health. 

Our mission is to deliver superb care for people of all ages with an emphasis on health, wellness and prevention. Our goal is to do this in a vital and sustainable practice, where we love to work, our patients love to come, and where care is collaborative and supportive.

Lonna Larsh, MD

Lonna Larsh, MD

Lonna Larsh is a Medical Doctor with a passion for helping to identify and treat the root causes of illness. She has been practicing family medicine in Santa Cruz for over 25 years. After a decade of working for Santa Cruz Medical Center (now PAMF), she grew frustrated with the corporate structure and demands to see more patients in less time. With a commitment to be more accessible to her patients and take the time needed to deeply listen, she left that practice in 2007 to start her own solo practice. Her interest in the roots of illness led her to complete a 10 year certification process through the Institute of Functional Medicine. She is now board certified in Functional Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and has maintained her Board Certification in Family Medicine.  Along the way she has discovered that the deepest healing takes place when people are guided by a knowledgeable doctor to play an active role in their own health. 

She founded Roots of Health in 2018 with the goal to educate people using holistic modalities and to offer the team support needed to help them attain optimal levels of health. She wants you to know that, with a proper diagnosis, a clear path forward, and a commitment to do what it takes to get well, you can enjoy better health not just in your time working together, but for the rest of your life. She lives in Santa Cruz with her husband, daughters, parents, two dogs, and a cat. 

Alison Altmann, Front Desk Manager, Health and Fitness Coach

Alison Altmann, Front Desk Manager, Health & Fitness Coach

Alison is the front desk manager at Roots of Health where she supports Dr. Larsh with all various office duties, overlooks all client relations and organizes presentation talks. Alison (aka “Coach Ali”) is also the health and accountability coach for our program members. Her soulful purpose is helping others live a healthier, happier life. She uses accountability in her coaching arena to help program members set attainable goals with small, sweet, steps of intention.

With a background in physical fitness training, Alison leads our members in a boot camp every Sunday morning. Alison is a 4th generation Californian raised in the Central Valley and resides in sunny Santa Cruz.


Renee Bayard, Front Desk Assistant, Media Specialist

Renee is front desk assistant and media specialist for Roots of Health where she supports Dr. Larsh and Alison Altmann with various office duties, manages marketing, tech support and supplements.

Renee started out as a patient of Dr. Larsh and was so inspired by the improvements in her health she experienced that she decided to join the Roots of Health team in order to support the doctor's work.

In addition to design and tech, Renee also has a background in nutraceuticals, lifestyle optimization and psychology. She's a lifetime resident of California, and lives in Santa Cruz.

Tammy Pittenger, Virtual Assistant

Tammy Pittenger, Virtual Assistant

Tammy has been with Roots of Health since 2017, assisting the office remotely to help primarily with pediatric care. She also supports Dr. Larsh behind the scenes with a multitude of virtual tasks.

Tammy studied Psychology in college and is passionate about health and wellness. She lives in Santa Cruz, where she is married, has four young daughters and is currently working on her first book.

Functional Medicine


Functional Medicine focuses on the goal of restoring optimal function and balance to the body. It is a science-based approach that examines each individual's biochemistry and lifestyle to find the best, individualized therapy for each patient. Instead of just suppressing symptoms, it deals with the root causes of disease. It is less concerned with making a diagnosis and more concerned with the underlying imbalances, which are the mechanisms of the disease process. Functional medicine treats the person and not the disease. In addition, it provides a framework for the practice of medicine that uses all the tools of healing, both conventional and alternative, to address the whole person rather than an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine is dedicated to improving the management of complex, chronic disease by intervening at multiple levels to restore each person’s optimal functionality and health.


  • The approach is patient-centered rather than disease centered.
  • Health is a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease.
  • The human body functions as an orchestrated network of interconnected systems, rather than individual systems functioning autonomously and without effect on each other (much like the function of our entire world).
  • Core clinical imbalances are examined to look for the underlying causes of chronic disease.
  • The body has its own natural healing ability, which simply needs to be awakened in order to promote optimal health and well-being.

Bredesen Protocol for Alzheimer’s

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with dementia?

While Western medicine has very little to offer to promote brain health, at Roots of Health we use the research-based Bredesen Protocol to help prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s dementia. Read more about this here.

In our practice, we look for the four most common underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease, we order the best tests for evaluating cognitive decline, and we teach our practice members the lifestyle factors that are key to preserving brain health. This approach is also highly beneficial if you have a family history of dementia and you wish to preserve your cognitive function. If you aren’t feeling as sharp as you used to and want strategies for supporting brain health, this approach could radically shift the next decades of your life.

Bredesen Protocol for Alzheimer’s

Lonna Larsh, MD is a Certified Bredesen Practitioner.

We have created 6 to 12 month programs to help people with cognitive decline to slow or reverse their symptoms.

Office Location:


Mail me at 621 Lighthouse Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060



Contact Lonna

(831) 421-0775