What is Functional Medicine?

"Functional medicine is evidence-based healthcare that targets the root cause behind your symptoms, rather than merely suppressing them indefinitely"

Functional turns the focus of treating disease symptoms to a more holistic approach that takes into account , environment, nutrition and lifestyle factors that influence our health. 

Functional medicine looks at the 'why' of chronic disease in whichever diagnosis you have maybe given. One disease can have a number of causes, which can manifest itself in a number of ways. Every complex and chronic disease is usually preceded by a continued dysfunction to the functionality of one or more body systems which can be identified through diagnostic testing and effectively managed to facilitate an improvement in health. 

Functional medicine focuses on individuality, lifestyle choices, environmental context and susceptibility in genes. Functional medicine determines why illness occurs and by treating the root causes of that disease, we look to restore health and vitality in the individual. When you treat the root cause of a disease, it’s possible to interrupt the progression of the illness and at times reversal of such.

Functional Medicine vs Conventional Medicine

Functional medicine directly contrasts conventional medicine, which examines the body in separate body systems When specialists only examine the isolated systems that they are trained in, unfortunately and more often than not, bigger picture concepts are missed. The problem with this approach is that our body is inherently interconnected and what appears as a symptom in a different body part is often related but the connection is never made. In addition, there are millions of synergistic relationships occurring round-the-clock making the bigger picture clearer for a trained practitioner. 

Functional medicine is especially helpful for those with complex, chronic diseases. Chronic diseases involve many systems and functions throughout the body. A functional medicine approach is able to make connections between all symptoms, which initially can seem unrelated.Another important aspect of functional medicine is it considers the environment around you. Conventional medicine doesn’t normally take the environment into account. The people, places, and things we surrounded by on the daily basis have a significant impact on our health.

When it comes to treatment, another major difference is that conventional medicine asks ‘what is the best treatment for these symptoms and disease?’. Functional medicine asks ‘why did this disease occur in the first place, and what imbalances need resolving in order for the body to return to a state of health?’

Another difference is in the approach to diseases involving the administering of drugs to manage a acertain, without looking at why a symptom or disease has occurred. The problem here is that a lot of the times, the drug prescribed can lead to bigger problems. For example,  we know statins reduce cholesterol by inhibiting a step in the pathway that produces cholesterol. As CoQ10, shares the same synthetic pathway as cholesterol, the synthesis of COQ10 is reduced. Hence common side effects can be lethary and muscular pain and weakness There is also an added risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Perhaps the most important difference between functional medicine and conventional healthcare is the understanding that chronic diseases can be reversed, rather than simply managed. 

How Does Functional Medicine help optimise your health

  • Gut repai

  • Reducing oxidative stress

  • improving cardio-metabolic healReduc

  • Reducing toxic load with Detox protocol

  • Optimizing energy and mitochondrial health

  • Creating immune balance

  • Bio-identical hormone replacement 

  • Neurotransmitter balancing for cognition and mood

  • Enhancing brain health

  • Improving cardio-metabolic health

  • Reducing toxic load with Detox protocols

  • Optimizing energy and mitochondrial health

  • Nutrigenomics advice

Functional medicine recognises the dynamic interplay between body systems and how they contribute to health or disease

Rather than compartmentalising body systems into specialists, a functional medicine practitioner has a broad understanding of how each system interacts with other systems. This ‘systems biology’ approach to health is one of the most significant breakthroughs in understanding the body and how disease occurs, with mounting evidence that continues to bring more light to understanding health and disease.

One of the most well-known examples of the interconnectivity of body systems is the neuroendocrine-immune system; the nervous, endocrine and immune systems are identified as a super system. Only by looking at the whole system and how it interacts, rather than looking at systems or pathways in isolation, can a complex health condition be understood.

The table below compares the two approaches side-by-side.