As you can see from above, our body is an interconnected framework. What affects one system affects the next. When we look at health, we need to take into account all aspects of a condition to truly find the root cause. The same is true for the healing process. Often times, working on stresses in one system can overflow to help others. The key to this process is investigating all systems of our body to check for imbalances, dysfunction and compensation by other systems that lead to “dis- ease” in our system as a whole.
To battle chronic health conditions, Functional Medicine uses two scientifically grounded principles:
- 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 optimal state of physiology.
Plainly put, your body naturally wants to be healthy. But things needed by the body to function at its best might be missing, or something might be standing in the way of its best functioning. Functional Medicine first identifies the factors responsible for the malfunctioning. Then it deals with those factors in a way appropriate to the patient’s particular situation.
Very often Functional Medicine practitioners use advanced laboratory testing to identify the root cause or causes of the patient’s health problem. Old-fashioned medical diagnosis helps too, in the form of listening carefully to the patient’s history of symptoms and asking questions about his or her activities and lifestyle.
For treatment, Functional Medicine practitioners use a combination of natural agents (supplements, herbs, nutraceuticals and homeopathics), nutritional and lifestyle changes, spiritual/emotional counseling, and pharmaceuticals, if necessary to prod a patient’s physiology back to an optimal state. In addition, educating the patient about their condition empowers them to take charge of their own health, ultimately leading to greater success in treatment.
The laboratory testing done in Functional Medicine is one critical part of creating your personalized treatment plan. Blood tests are done at our New Castle location, and stool, urine and saliva are done in your home with a special kit. Some of the Functional Medicine laboratory testing we routinely do includes the following:
The Bowel Function Test:
Stool analysis that evaluates your ability to digest and absorb food and the presence and quantity of beneficial bacteria, harmful bacteria and yeast. Problems in these areas can be the underlying cause for many clinical symptoms and conditions such as immune dysfunction, irritable bowel, fibromyalgia, migraines and more. For more information, visit www.genovadiagnostics.com or www.metametrix.com
This special blood test measures vitamin and mineral levels inside your cells, which is more accurate than routine serum levels. This is an important basic screening for both the prevention and treatment of all medical conditions. For more information, visit www.spectracell.com
Urine organic acid testing looks for blockages in your biochemical pathways which tells us if you are functionally deficient in any vitamins. This is the best way to measure vitamins by assessing the function of enzymes. For more information, visit www.metametrix.com
An Amino acid profile is a blood test to assess the levels of these protein building blocks which are needed to build healthy tissues throughout the body, such as hair, muscle, neurotransmitters and immune cells. This is important for people with hair loss, depression or fatigue, and especially useful for vegans and vegetarians to determine if you are getting enough protein. For more information, visit www.metametrix.com
Nutrient and toxic element profile is a blood test that determines the levels of essential minerals in the body as well as toxic elements such as aluminum, arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury. For more information, visit www.metametrix.com
The most complete, bundled profile is the Integrated Optimum Nutrition Evaluation (ION), which combines the above urine organic acid testing, amino acid profile, fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, lipid peroxides, and nutrient and toxic elements. Tests are bundled together for a discounted price. For more information, visit www.metametrix.com
The TRIAD is a great option, a combination of three of the above tests – organic acids, amino acids, and IgG food allergy testing – for the price of two. For more information, visit www.metametrix.com
Adrenal Testing: This is a saliva test to evaluate adrenal fatigue by measuring cortisol and DHEA levels throughout the course of the day. This is especially helpful for those with excessive fatigue, inflammatory conditions, hormone imbalance and weight issues. For more information, visit www.genovadiagnostics.com
Estrogen Metabolism Testing: This is a urine test that measures estrogen metabolites which indicate how well your body is detoxifying and eliminating estrogen. This is important for women with a history of breast cancer, at risk for breast cancer or interested in prevention. For more information, visit www.metametrix.com
All other hormone testing, including basic male and female hormone levels, as well as thyroid evaluation is done through the lab of your choice .
Food Allergy Evaluation
The only tests that simultaneously measure all three types of delayed sensitivity reactions through lymphocyte activation:
Reactive antibody (IgA, IgM, and IgG), Immune complexes, T cell direct activation.
More reliable and comprehensive than other tests of delayed food and chemical sensitivities (Antibody, particle size, mediator release). Antibody tests such as IgG and IgG4 (offered by Cyrex, Immuno Labs, and many other labs) are nonfunctional tests, looking at only one delayed pathway – not a complete picture of the immune system. LRA tests also test the most items, as many as 504. visit http://www.elisaact.com/
Heavy metal testing
We use a special overnight urine collection to assess your total body burden of mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium. This goes beyond a blood test which can only measure current exposure. This is especially useful for those with autoimmune conditions, severe fatigue or neurological symptoms, unexplained symptoms, or environmental exposure. For more information, visit www.doctorsdata.com
Urine test to measure markers of free radical damage, which reflect your body’s level of anti-oxidants. This is important for anyone with neurological illness or symptoms and as a basic screening to know if you need more anti-oxidants. For more information, visit www.genovadiagnostics.com
Liver function: Detoxification pathways
Saliva test to assess your detoxification enzymes. Impaired detoxification is an underlying issue for many health conditions, including migraines, fibromyalgia, allergies and chemical sensitivities. This is especially important for those taking multiple medications as these use up detoxification enzymes and can cause deficiencies in the pathways. For more information, visit www.genovadiagnostics.com
Urine test that measures neurotransmitter metabolites. This is important for those with sleep problems, depression and other mood disorders. Results can direct treatment with amino acid supplementation to balance neurotransmitters instead of using anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. This is also useful to help guide a weaning off medication program. For more information, visit www.neuroscience.com
Lyme disease testing
Specialized blood testing for later stages of Lyme disease.
Post Independent, Depression, The Chemical Component, Dr. Bartell
Cleveland Clinic Brings Functional Medicine Onboard
University of Western States Launches Master’s Degree Program in Nutrition and Functional Medicine – See more at: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/News.aspx?id=0&state=2&news=56#sthash.dfaMWpDn.dpuf
How We’ll Fix Health Care – The Daily Beast Reports on Functional Medicine – See more at: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/news.aspx#sthash.KBE4RMxT.dpuf
Many people are finding better health solutions with functional medicine, a new model for how to practice medicine and treat chronic disease. 1.https://experiencelife.com/article/functional-medicine-a-science-whose-time-has-come/
Fatigue: Functional Medicine Solutions. http://www.doctoroz.com/article/fatigue-functional-medicine-solutions
Why Treating Symptoms Makes You Sicker. http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/01/21/dr-marks-minute-why-treating-symptoms-makes-you-sicker/