Functional Medicine Testing
The Shortcomings of Conventional Medicine Checkups
It’s that time of year again! You’re about to do your annual check-up with your insurance company and you’re told you have a clean bill of health from the doctor looking at the report. This is the common outcome for many people doing their annual health checks, but deep-down something’s not quite right. That niggling gut pain, low energy, and painful period is persisting, and yet conventional medicine cannot find the cause. Herein lies one of the shortcomings of conventional medicine testing -it doesn’t do the right test to understand the true cause of the problem. Consequently, people’s health problems continue to persist until they become severe and/or chronic and only then can conventional medicine step in with sometimes drastic measures, like surgery or immune-suppressing medications that can come with many side effects.
Why Functional Medicine Testing?
Back in the early 1990’s a group of doctors and biochemists were astute to notice these issues with conventional testing. They started to review the physiology of the body and the pathology of disease and came up with a new model. This new model determines the real issues behind symptoms and diseases by looking deeper into the biochemistry of the body. They set up an institute called The Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM), which helps train doctors, dietitians and nutritionists in this new way of looking at the body. At the same time, the IFM worked with some innovative laboratories to determine new biomarkers to assist in diagnosing the causes of disease. Fast forward to 2020 and we now have a range of specialized Functional medicine laboratories to help doctors address their patients’ problems.
We look at our world today, the environment we live in, and we can see many changes have occurred in the last 20 years. There is more fast food, more toxins, more stress, more factory farming and all of these factors have contributed to the continued demise of health in people. It’s just that most conventional doctors don’t see how this is connected to their patient’s health. For example, by sitting indoors a lot and by eating fast and processed food all the time, these factors can contribute to depression, skin issues, gut problems and hormonal imbalances regulating the period cycle. By looking at the lifestyle and harnessing functional medicine testing like checking the gut microbiome and hormonal cycle regulation, we can optimize the body and help fix all these issues at the same time.
In Functional Medicine, the philosophy is quite unique. One deficiency (e.g. magnesium) can cause numerous symptoms like leg cramps, poor sleep, poor mood, painful periods, while one disease (e.g. diabetes) can have multiple causes including bad diet, toxicities and gut dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance of the gut). So, first thing’s first, we review the lifestyle, then based upon that evaluation we delve deeper either into nutritional deficiencies, toxicities, latent infections, hormonal imbalances, gut health, or immune health. Using a variety of labs available there are solutions now available for even the most complex diseases and situations.
Functional Testing at LifeClinic:
At LifeClinic, we have associations with some of the best functional medicine laboratories in the world. We investigate some key areas of health:
- Toxicities: Toxins can come from a variety of sources like heavy metals (mercury, lead and cadmium), environmental pollutants (exhaust fumes, plastics), and mycotoxins and biotoxins from fungi and bacteria. We use a variety of urine and blood tests to determine toxicity.
- Nutrient status: Our fast-food world has put many people in danger of many deficiencies so we can evaluate nutritional deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids. Having the building blocks for optimal health means having all the nutrients in our bodies.
- Hormonal status: Hormones regulating our metabolism (thyroid, insulin); our cycle, libido and energy (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone); or our stress (cortisol, DHEA, pregnenolone) can be assessed and tweaked if needed to regain that sense of control and optimal wellbeing.
- Gut health: All diseases begin in the gut a wise man once said, and so in Functional Medicine we delve deep into the gut microbiome with a stool analysis to find imbalances in digestion, inflammation and bacterial overgrowth of the gut (SIBO test) which can cause bloating and gas and bowel movement irregularities.
- Immune system balance: The rise of auto-immune diseases means that we need to determine what is triggering the immune system imbalance. We can test for food sensitivities intolerances, auto-immune triggers (toxins, stress, over-active under-active immune balance) and immune activators (cytokines).
- Genetics: For some people, genetics means they’re predisposed to having certain conditions. We can check for genetic predispositions by looking at the DNA of cells and seeing where the genetic expressions can be strengthened. This will help the patient understand what additional lifestyle and nutritional interventions will help to counter potential risk factors.
What Happens After Functional Medicine Testing?
Once the testing is done, your doctor or practitioner will advise you on a personalized plan which may include:
- Lifestyle change: changing the diet, exercise, sleep or stress management regimen, plus advising on support for optimal relationships.
- Supplementation: a personalized plan to reset, rebalance, and optimize the body back to its good self.
- Detoxification: sometimes specialized detoxification strategies are required depending on what is identified in the body. We focus on physical treatments like infra-red saunas, colonics, binders, and optimizing detox compounds in the body.
- IVs: in certain circumstances, some patients need a real boost to kickstart their recovery. We may prescribe specialized IV’s to help people on their way to recovery.
At LifeClinic, we understand your health differently. We see you in your environment and tweak your biochemistry gently, so that over a period of time a renewed sense of self is achieved. This is after all, the best way to live a healthy life.
For more information regarding Functional Medicine Testing please contact Miles Price, Functional Medicine Specialist (IFM, FMU) at 2881 8131 or email@example.com
Miles did his initial training at Hawthorn University with an M.Sc. Holistic Nutrition. He followed this up with a professional accreditation to practice with BANT (UK) the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine in 2017 and subsequently obtained a Functional Medicine Diploma with Functional Medicine University in 2017. This was shortly followed by enrolling with the Institute of Functional Medicine on their practitioner program.