What Is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine

“I’m the why guy”

– Tony Robbins

Functional medicine asks why things have gone wrong. Why do you have a bloated belly? Why are you constipated? Why are you depressed? Functional medicine is not about the what. It’s irrelevant if you have been labelled with IBS, PCOS or an unspecified eating disorder. Instead we want to know what has gone wrong and how to fix it.

For instance, imagine you’re sitting on 10 tacks and have been diagnosed with butt pain. Under traditional medicine you might be prescribed ibuprofen to numb the pain. Using functional medicine, we’d remove the tacks.

Below is my client Laura who was covered head to toe (with the exception of her face) with psoriasis when we met. By using the functional medicine model, we were able to reverse her psoriasis. It took Laura 9 months to go from the before to the after picture.

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Functional medicine brings an understanding of symptoms and how it is all connected. For example, if someone is constipated, anxious and can’t sleep, they might, under a traditional medical approach, be prescribed a laxative, Xanax and a sleeping pill. Functional medicine recognizes that all of these symptoms share a biochemical need for magnesium. The answer may be as simple as adding more magnesium into the diet. Or it may not be…

Under the functional medicine paradigm, we determine the imbalances through pattern recognition, listening to your stories and laboratory testing. We investigate multiple factors, including:

Environmental inputs – The air you breathe and the water you drink, the particular diet you eat, the quality of the food available to you, your level of physical exercise, and toxic exposures or traumas you have experienced all affect your health.

Mind-body elements – Psychological, spiritual, and social factors all can have a profound influence on your health. Considering these areas helps us see your health in the context of you as a whole person, not just in terms of your physical symptoms.

Genetic makeup – Although individual genes may make you more susceptible to some diseases, your DNA is not an unchanging blueprint for your life. Emerging research shows that your genes may be influenced by everything in your environment, as well as your experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. That means it is possible to change the way genes are activated and expressed.

Through this assessment, we are able to understand how key biochemical processes are affected and why you have your symptoms.

Functional medicine lab tests may examine blood, stool, urine, or saliva. I may use the below as part of your assessment:

GI Effects Function Profile (includes both the Microbial Ecology & Chemistries profiles): This test is a thorough look at the gut. It assesses bacteria, fungus, and parasites. In addition, it tests for markers of inflammation and malabsorption. This is an essential test for those with abdominal distention, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis), and obesity.

Food Sensitivity Profile: This test measures the inflammatory response to 100-200 foods causing patient reactions. This is an insightful test for people with IBS, mood disorders, psoriasis, weight gain and autoimmune conditions. (Requires a blood draw)

Adrenal Stress Index: This test is a measure of an individual’s response to stress. It is also an important tool for pointing to adrenal imbalances, mood and sleep issues.

Cycling Female Hormone Panel: The Female Hormone Panel is a non-invasive test consisting of 11 saliva specimens collected during specified time periods throughout the menstrual cycle. It provides a dynamic mapping of the free fraction levels of Estradiol and Progesterone throughout one cycle. In addition, the cycle average of Testosterone and DHEA are measured. This test includes also includes an additional five FSH and five LH measurements. This test is important for menstrual irregularities and fertility.

Menopause Hormone Profile: The Menopause Hormone Panel provides measurements of six key hormones: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3), Progesterone (P), Testosterone (T) and DHEA, DHEA-S. This test is essential for determining an appropriate protocol for optimal hormone balancing during menopause.

Neurotransmitter Profile: This test analyzes the six main neurotransmitters involved in proper mood and cognitive function. This test is essential for mood, sleep and memory disorders.

Organix Comprehensive Profile: This test measures organic acid levels to reveal the nutritional and metabolic basis of patient symptoms, including weight gain, anxiety, mood changes, and immune responses.

Functional medicine helps to demystify what has been happening to you whether is it biochemical, emotional or energetic.

Several years ago, I wrote up three case studies on depression, migraines and hay-fever. Please feel free to read them.