Functional Medicine: What is it and What Can it Do For You?

WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?


Functional Medicine determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, Functional Medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each individual.


Functional medicine employs a systems-oriented approach that works to understand the underlying causes of a disease and this discipline considers the personalization of healthcare, as each patient care plan is unique.  The relationship between patient and practitioner effectively becomes a partnership; every aspect of a patient’s medical history is reviewed in detail.


Much like integrative medicine, functional medicine treats the individual rather than the disease. Often, individual genetic and environmental research is conducted to obtain a deeper knowledge of the patient’s health status. Understanding the biochemical individuality of a patient can lead to the underlying causes of disease and furthermore, the prevention of additional health risks in the future. Functional Medicine has gained much popularity, even spurring the creation of the Institute for Functional Medicine.


The medical management model that traditional practices use is often too quick to resort to drugs, surgery, and other acute care treatments. Chronic health conditions often require a two-step solution:


  • Add what’s lacking in the body to nudge its physiology back to a state of optimal functioning
  • Remove anything that impedes the body from moving toward this optimate state of physiology

Functional medicine practitioners try to first determine why the body is not functioning properly. They do this by using the patient’s unique history as a guide, using advanced lab testing, and a deep dive into a patient’s overall lifestyle. Treatment often involves nutritional and lifestyle alterations, counseling (emotional and/or nutritional, if necessary), a combination of natural agents such as herbs, homeopathics, and supplements, and medication, if needed.


Functional Blood Chemistry

Blood tests are used every day to determine health status and pathology in medicine. Blood analysis are very useful in determining health status, but they can also be very helpful in prevention. Functional blood chemistry is a newer approach that looks at underlying nutritional imbalances and biochemical imbalances. A comprehensive metabolic and complete blood count can show a healthcare professional information about the condition and health status of the patient. In addition to functional blood testing, we utilize hormone saliva testing, hair mineral testing, genetic testing, and stool testing. A functional blood chemistry analysis is a great first step that is low cost and gives great results.

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BENEFITS OF FUNCTIONAL BLOOD CHEMISTRY ANALYSIS:

Evaluates metabolic status.

Identifies early health risks in blood sugar, cardiovascular health, thyroid function, autoimmune disorders, hormonal imbalances, immune challenges, adrenal dysfunction.

Identifies unique nutritional deficiencies or excesses.

Provides personalized nutritional protocols to address nutritional imbalances.

Provides early detection signs of life-threatening health conditions.

Helps to identify root cause of many chronic health challenges.

Calls attention to lab values that are out of Functional Range as opposed to Lab Ranges, which could be addressed with lifestyle changes, supplements, diet modifications.

Monitor records and effectiveness of nutritional program with precise modifications when necessary.

Maintaining desired blood markers within functional (optimal) ranges will allow your immune, endocrine, and neurological systems to function at their best and helping your live healthier life.


ASI Testing

Are you experiencing chronic stress, insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue? Having trouble losing weight? The ASI (Adrenal Stress Index) Panel can help you discover the causes, by measuring cortisol and five other hormones through saliva over 24 hours.

The test is non-invasive and can be performed wherever you are. Saliva is collected under real-life conditions. There are no stressful blood draws and no gallon-sized urine containers to carry around for 24 hours.

With blood and urine testing, a number of borderline adrenal conditions are missed due to lack of sensitivity. This is not the case with the ASI, because samples are taken within one circadian cycle and the more definitive free fraction is measured. The ASI is an in-depth test, such that options for treatment are increased significantly over serum and urine test results.


HAIR ANALYSIS Testing

A single hair can give a lot of information about you. The hair on your head grows 2-6 years before falling out. Many tiny blood vessels feed the base of each strand. During that time, your hair shaft absorbs chemicals from any drugs you take. It also contains sweat, your body’s natural oils, and any toxins around you.

A hair analysis uses special techniques to look closely at your hair under a microscope. The results can show details about your health and habits.

Drug use: As your hair grows, some drugs will “stick” to the strands. You can’t wash them out. Because of that, your hair can reveal if you’ve been using drugs like opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, and cannabis. While a urine test will reveal if you’ve used drugs in the last several days, hair testing can show if you’ve done drugs over the past 3 months.

Heavy metals: If your hair has toxins like mercury and arsenic, you could be more likely to get certain health problems.

Some genetic disorders: For example, a hair sample can help diagnose Fragile X syndrome. This is a common disorder that’s passed down in families.




Sources

1. The Functional Medicine Approach, 

https://www.ifm.org/functional-medicine/what-is-functional-medicine/


2. The Difference Between Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine,

https://www.patronusmedical.com/blog/functional-medicine-vs-integrative-medicine


3. HOW DOES FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE WORK? THE IMPORTANCE OF HOLISTIC MEDICINE,  https://bostondirecthealth.com/how-does-functional-medicine-work-the-importance-of-holistic-medicine/#:~:text=By%20identifying%20and%20treating%20the,in%20a%20patient's%20physiological%20processes
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Dr. Curry is a Chiropractor that practices in Petersburg, IL. He practices chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional therapy, and utilizes many different techniques to achieve optimal health.