Functional Medicine: What is it?
Functional Medicine is the practice of balancing blood chemistry according to researched healthy "normals." Functional medicine does not treat the symptom, but rather the cause.
Functional Medicine pro-actively prevents major illness and disease by identifying problematic blood chemistry levels and functional health indicators and then proactively fixes the problem areas of the body.
If you have unwanted symptoms and you'd like a natural approach to fixing your problem, call us for a free consultation to discuss what functional medicine can do for you.
What is the difference between functional medicine and "typical" medicine?
The two main differences are the types of products used to obtain desired results, and the way in which the practitioner views the functional levels of the body.
Our functional medicine doctors use products with natural ingredients, as opposed to synthetic. Often, people mistake natural ingredients for being less potent, but that is not the case. Natural supplements are very potent and need to be administered and monitored by a doctor.
While they don't produce nearly the negatively side-effects of synthetic drugs, the body undergoes many changes due to supplementation, and these need to be monitored by your doctor.
Your functional medicine doctor may use products that support a specific organ (for instance, a Thymus supplement made from bovine Thymus, to support your Thymus gland), attack an infection, or detox the body.
The major concepts behind functional medicine is that the human body expresses symptoms, when it is either toxic or deficient. In other words, if the human body is out of balance or "homeostasis," then, it begins to produce symptoms to overcome this imbalance.
These differing philosophies go by the names of "stimulation" vs "suppression." Ever noticed how drug commercials often speak of "cough suppressants," or have you ever been prescribed "anit-naseau" medication? In other words, these drugs are meant to shut off your body's natural attempt to overcome its environmental stressors. That is why they are called "suppressants."
Functional medicine practitioners work to stimulate the body's natural ability to overcome its environment, rather than suppress a symptom. Functional medicine also aims to deal with the cause, rather than the symptom.
A simple example is the common cold. We sneeze, cough and blow our noses because our body is attempt to expel invaders. In fact, your body is overwhelmed, and it is therefore symptomatic. Consider that the invaders were likely present before and after your symptoms, but your body is handling it successfully, without symptoms. Rather than suppress your body's ability to process an invader, the functional medicine practitioner would support your body's efforts by stimulating your body.
You'll notice on the functional medicine blood test (to the right) that there are two columns for the result ranges: 1) functional ranges, and 2) lab ranges. Functional medicine practitioners have tighter ranges than typical blood test analysis. This is because they are not looking for points where people are in crisis or not in crisis, but rather, points where people are healthy and without symptoms.
Examples of functional medicine at work in patients
It’s common these days to hear that someone you know and/or love has had to visit a multitude of doctors before they identify their problem, and are offered drugs or surgery as the only solution.
A great example of this is a man who recently spoke to one of our doctors about a mysterious pain he had in his abdomen. He went to his primary care doctor who referred him to a specialist who identified that he had heightened enzyme levels, for which he was prescribed a drug, and then recommended surgery. The doctors who prescribed
and recommended these solutions, still, admittedly, do not know what is wrong with him. The drug they gave him brought down his enzyme level, but produced every side-effect listed on the medication. Now, he has new symptoms to chase.
Eighty-percent of Americans are said to die from chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The term chronic means "long-term" disease, as opposed to "acute." Acute is a term used for, say, a car accident victim in the intensive care unit, stroke victim or a burn victim. Despite the horror of war, car accidents, and fires, most of us die slowly by lifestyle-related diseases.
We practice Functional Medicine in all our clinics, because we know that a pro-active approach to blood chemistry and lifestyle saves lives. This approach also gets to the cause of an illness rather than "chasing symptoms" - we quote that because that is what our patients say.
Type 2 Diabetes and Functional Medicine
According to the Mayo Clinic, a fasting blood sugar between 100 and 125 is considered pre-diabetic. However, a fasting blood sugar level of 126 indicates full-blown diabetes.
In the current medical model, it is common for a patient with a blood glucose level of 120 to be told to come back in 6 months, because they are not yet diabetic. In 6 months, the patient returns only to find that they now have full-blown diabetes. The doctor will often then prescribe Insulin or Metformin, and the patient will often be on it for the rest of their life.
In truth 85% of type II diabetes is reversible and due to lifestyle.
Functional Medicine is the art of looking at illness from a systems approach instead of a specialist approach. So instead of cardiology, urology, endocrinology, rheumatology, etc., Functional Medicine looks at how various systems relate and how to restore health to the body so that it heals itself, and prevent disease without the use of drugs or surgery.
No amount of Insulin or Metformin will ever cure diabetes. Functional Medicine looks at health with the intent to heal, restore and rebalance the body, which then eliminates the symptoms.
Diabetes is not a metformin deficiency and no amount of injected insulin will heal the pancreas. Heart burn is not a Prevacid deficiency. Cardiovascular disease is not a Lipitor or a statin deficiency and fibromyalgia is not a Lyrica deficiency.
If you are looking for solutions to your health problems, and would like to take your life back, call to schedule a free consultation with one of our functional medicine practitioners in one of our locations.