First of all, I want to thank you all for all of your replies on the quiz I posted last week on my Instagram account. I am so excited and proud to have such an open-minded, curious, and healthy community with whom I get to share all of my health and beauty tips and from whom I get to learn so many interesting things as well. Once again, THANK YOU!
So without any further ado let’s dive into this fascinating topic – FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. It is the future of conventional medicine. It views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.
Simply put, Functional Medicine is the Medicine of WHY. It asks ” Why is this happening?” instead of asking ” What drug can we use to fix this?”.
For example, you don’t have high blood pressure because you are deficient in a medication to lower blood pressure. Rather, you have reasons for high blood pressure – likely diet, stress, inflammation, inactivity, genetics, inflammation, hormone imbalances, and more. Functional medicine asks: Why do you have high blood pressure? Then prescribes a personalized plan to address the root cause so you can reverse or improve that blood pressure.
Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
Do Functional medicine practitioners use any diagnostic testing?
Yes and because the functional approach seeks to understand how your body is functioning as a system a functional doctor would test everything from genetics to hormones to nutrients to inflammation and more as part of a workup for any ailment you might have.
Some of the tests Functional Medicine Practitioner use include Four Point Cortisol Test, The GI Effects or CDSA 2.0 3 day stool test, Genomind Genetics profile or 23&Me, a full thyroid panel, sex hormones, inflammatory markers like CRP, CMP, Fasting Insulin, etc.
A real story about a patient of mine and her daughter that was losing a lot of hair and was struggling with losing weight despite her efforts.
Back in the days when I was working as a Health and Wellness Coach in an Endocrinology medical office with two doctors, I remember I had a patient who’s daughter was losing a lot of hair and was unable to lose weight no matter what she did. They went to all types of doctors including the ones I was working with but none of them gave them answers. No one knew what was going on so they all blamed the weight telling her that all her health problems will disappear once she loses the weight. But something was clearly happening and it was not the weight. The weight in her case was a symptom, not the cause. Even my patient, her mother, was losing weight at a very slow rate despite her efforts. And because I am still in the process of obtaining my certification as a Functional Medicine Coach I was not able to help her with more than simply suggest she finds a Functional Medicine Practitioner. So she did! After going through a thorough investigation (health history) that lasted for about an hour and a half the Functional Medicine Practitioner decided to do some lab work. What they found literally shocked me! As I was just learning about this in my school. The tests revealed she has an MTHFR gene mutation. Simply put, this particular gene variation can impact how well your body can metabolize folate and folic acid. Both of these are forms of Vitamin B9 which are required for numerous critical bodily functions. And it also plays an important role in fat storage. When you have MTHFR gene mutations one of the first problems you have that causes weight gain is methylation imbalances. Which cause metabolism problems, and once you develop metabolism problems, you’ll gain weight no matter what you put in your mouth.
How it can help you?
Functional Medicine can help you when you are clearly feeling like something’s off but no one is giving you an answer. My patient put this into words better than me – ” We’ve been looking for answers for the past three years and no one ever told us what was going on. I feel so relieved to finally know what is going on with my daughter!”.
So if you have ever visited your doctor, been treated and still felt sick or have been told that everything looks fine despite the fact that you feel something is wrong, then that’s when you should consider giving functional medicine a try.
” A disease can have more than one imbalance that needs to be treated. For example, obesity can be the result of imbalances in inflammation, hormones, gut flora, genetics, diet and exercise or exposure to environmental toxins. Similarly, one imbalance — such as inflammation — can cause many conditions. Functional medicine studies these complexities and believes restoring balance is key to restoring health.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
Who can benefit from Functional Medicine?
Patients with a wide variety of conditions can benefit from a functional medicine approach, including:
1.Cardiometabolic conditions – diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
2.Neurological and psychiatric conditions – depression, attention deficit disorder, and migraine headaches
3.Digestive disorders – irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, chronic pancreatitis, acid reflux and diverticulosis
4.Autoimmune diseases – rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and celiac disease
5.Skin disorders – psoriasis, acne, and eczema
6.Hormonal problems – thyroid conditions, chronic fatigue and menopause
A Functional Medicine Practitioner can help you by developing an individualized plan that will include specific nutrition protocols, lifestyle changes, positive stress reduction practices (like meditation), exercise recommendations, professional-grade supplements, prescription medications where necessary and referrals to specialists where indicated.
I hope this post has given you a better understanding of what Functional Medicine is and how it can help you. If you have any questions please leave them below or contact me on my Instagram account – @ranimsalame.
To Your Health and Happiness,