What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.

By Wang the traditiemal disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered appro., functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptonu. Functional Medicine practitionen spend burs with the, pat…listening to their ‘,stories and looking at the interactions among genetic. environmental. and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.. this way. Functional Medicine supports the tmique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

Why do we need Functional Medicine?

  • Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the numbers of people who suffer from complex chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The system of medicine, followed by most opinions, is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illnesses that are of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg.
  • Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex chronic diseases.
  • There’s a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and its integration into medical practice is enormous—sometimes as long as 50 years—particularly in the realm of complex, chronic diseases.
  • Most doctors are not sufficiently trained to assess the underlying causes of complex chronic diseases and to apply strategies such as nutrition, lifestyle, and exercise to both manage and prevent these illnesses in their patients.

How is Functional Medicine different?

Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:

  • Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, vbeyond just the absence of disease.
  • An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional Medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
  • Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with that are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention throught nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques

Functional Nutrition emphatizes the importance of high quality foods and phytonutrient diversity to address clinical imbalances and move individuals toward the highest expression of health. Advanced nutrition assessment and a thorought Funciontal Medicine based history leads to a personalized therapeutic intervention created to promote optimal health and prevent diet- and lifestyle-related disease.

Nutrition is the core modality of Functional Medicine, an integrative approach to health. As defined by The Institute for Functional Medicine, “Functional Medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better address the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach. Functional Medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of sypmtoms
Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and evaluating 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”.

Why do we need Functional Nutrition?

  • The prevalence of complex, chronic diseases is escalating globally, from heart disease and diabetes to irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, mental illness, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders.
  • Chronic disease are diet- and lifestyle-related diseases and require dietary and lifestyle solutions. A major strengh of Functional Nutrition is its focus on the molecular mechanisms that underlie disease, providing the basis for targeted, innovative solutions that can restore health.
  • The current healthcare system fails to take into the account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or the ability of food, toxins, and other environmental factors to influence gene expression. The interaction between genes and environmental factors is a critical component in the development of chronic disease and plays a central role in the Functional Nutrition approach.
  • Most nutrition professionals are not adequately trained in integrating nutrition assessment at the molecular and cellular levels with emerging research in nutrition and nutritional genomics. These advanced practice skills are essential for preventing and managing today’s chronic disorders.

What distinguishes a functional nutrition practitioner?

The Functional Nutrition Assessment offers an ABCD organizational approach to support the clinical analysis, and it allows for nutrition-related findings and clinical patterns to emerge. From the medical history, physical and laboratory exams, and a diet and lifestyle review, the Functional Nutrition Assessment improves the identification of insufficiencies/imbalances through the PFC-MVP model; representing Protein, Fat/Oils, Carbohydrates, Minerals, Vitamins and Phytonutrients.

  • Anthropometrics help to identify altered body composition patterns and abnormal vital signs.
  • BioMarkers and functional laboratory findings uncover PFC-MVP nutrition insufficiencies and physiologic patterns linked to clinical imbalances.
  • Clinical indicators from the physical exam identify signs related to nutrition abnormalities that can be further exploted through laboratory and functional assessments.
  • Diet, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Journals explore daily or weekly food intake, PFC-MVP assessment, patterns of eating, cravings and habitual foods, and stress eating associations.

Why do we need Functional Medicine

The Institute for Functional Medicine teaches practitioners how to assess the patient’s status relating to modifiability lifestyle factors and fundamental clinical imabalances careful history taking, physical examination, and laboratory testing. The Functional Practitioner will consider 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 yo you, your level of physical activity, and toxic exporures or traumas you have experienced all affect your health. Considering these areas helps the Functional Medicine practitioner see your health in the context of you as a whole person, not just 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.
  • Mind-body connections – Phychological, spiritual, and social factors all can have a profound influence on your health. Considering these areas helps the Functional Medicine practitioner see you health in the context of you as a whole person, not just your physical symptoms.

Throught assessment of these underlying causes and triggers of dysfunction, the functional medicine practitioner is able to understand how key processes are affected. These are the body’s processes that keep you alive. Some occur at the cellular level and involve how cells function, repair, and maintain themselves. These processes are related to larger functions, such as:

  • How your body rids itself of toxins
  • Regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Immune system function
  • Inflammatory responses
  • Digestion and absorption of nutrients and the health of the digestive tract
  • Structural integrity
  • Psychological and spiritual equilibrium
  • How you produce energy

All of these processes are influenced by environmental factors and your genetic make-up, when they are disturbed or imbalanced, they lead to symptoms, which can lead to disease if effective interventions are not applied.

A Comprehensive approach to treatment

Most imbalances in functionality can be addressed; some can be completely restored to optimun function, and others can be substantially improved.

  • Prevention is paramount. Virtually every complex, chronic disease is preceded by long-term disturbances in functionality that can be idenfied and effectively managed.
  • Changing how the system function can have a major impact on the patient’s health. The Functional Medicine practitioner examines a wide array of available interventions and customizes a treatment plan including those with the most impact on underlying functionality.
  • Functional Medicine expands the clinician’s tool kit. Treatments may include combinations of drugs, botanical medicines, nutritional supplements, therapeutic diets, or detoxification programs. They may also include counseling on lifestyle, exercise, or stres-management techniques.
  • The patient becomes a partner. As a patient, you become an active partnert with your functional medicine practitioner. Such a partnership allows you to be in a change of improving your own health and changing the outcome of disease.