Functional Medicine! *Vent*

I never really allow my self to vent over the nonsensical things I hear from doctors in Bangladesh. Rather I used to brush off my shoulders and continue health coaching my clients and sharing knowledge. I believe knowledge is power.

But today is different. I have just about had it with these “incomplete doctors” as I like to call them. Incomplete in the sense of how the body works and the functional medicine required to nurture the body back to health. Instead of looking at everyone as their next paycheck, why not see clients as people who want to feel healthier and happier? A bit to hard for ya bub?

So you can just imagine, when I heard for the fourth time this week the word “crash dieting” being used to describe my health coaching plan…I blew a vein.

*Come on, Marina….breath….calm down….*
Going to my happy place now. Ok I am here



My clients receive a comprehensive nutrition plan that covers their macro-nutrition needs. This could not be tailored unless I knew their regular lifestyles, daily routines, habits, cravings, sleep times, poop times and just about every detail of their life. So I talk to them and make notes. Habits and lifestyles are indicators of a person physical, mental,  and off course spiritual health.

The basic foundation of macro-nutrition starts by providing the body with the needed amount of nutrients it needs to recover, repair and grow. Our point is to flourish and thrive not just survive.

Macro nutrients are protein, carbs, fats, fibre and water. Everything needed to sustain life and prevent illness. Can this be enough to cure the body? YES. Macronutrients also provide us with the micro-nutrients we need : vitamins and minerals.

So what is functional medicine?

Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses 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 symptoms. Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at 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 (1).

Our current healthcare model fails to confront both the causes of and solutions for chronic disease and must be replaced with a model of comprehensive care geared to effectively treating and reversing this escalating crisis. This transformation requires something different than is usually available in our very expensive healthcare system (2). 
A Contributing Factor—Outdated Clinical Model
Despite notable advances in treating and preventing infectious disease and trauma, the acute-care model that dominated 20th century medicine has not been effective in treating and preventing chronic disease.
The primary driver of chronic disease is the interaction among genes, activities of daily 
living (lifestyle), and the environment (3, 4, 5)
Adopting a new operating system for 21st century medicine requires that we:
-Recognize and validate more appropriate and successful clinical models 
Re-shape the education and clinical practices of health professionals to help them achieve proficiency 
in the assessment, treatment, and prevention of chronic disease
-Reimburse equitably for lifestyle medicine and expanded preventive strategies, acknowledging that the 
greatest health threats now arise from how we live, work, eat, play, and move
Because chronic disease is a food- and lifestyle-driven, environment- and genetics- 
influenced phenomenon. 
This problem can’t be solved by druge and surgery, however helpful those tools may be in managing acute signs and symptoms. It can’t be solved be adding new or unconventional tools (e.g., botanical medicine, acupuncture) to a failing model. It can’t be solved by pharmacogenomics (although advances in that discipline should help reduce deaths from inappropriately prescribed medication—estimated to be the 4th leading cause of hospital deaths.) The costly riddle of chronic disease can only be solved by shifting our focus from suppression and management of symptoms to addressing their underlying causes. Specifically, we must integrate what we know about how the human body works with individualized, patient-centered, science-based care that addresses the causes of complex, chronic disease, which are rooted in lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic influences
This perspective is completely congruent with what we might call the “omics” revolution. Formerly, scientists believed that once we deciphered the human genome we would be able to answer almost all the questions about the origins of disease. What we actually learned, however, is that human biology is far more complex than that.In fact, humans are not genetically hardwired for most diseases; instead, gene expression is altered by myriad influences, including environment, lifestyle, diet, activity patterns, psycho-social-spiritual factors, and stress. These lifestyle choices and environmental exposures can push us toward (or away from) disease by turning on—or off— certain genes. That insight has helped to fuel the global interest in Functional Medicine, which has that principle at its very core (6). 
What we need is a strategic response. A system of caring and teaching and preventing medicine.
What we don’t need is more income generating business men sitting in white coats who rely only on pharmacogenics.

Look out for part 2 ! (won’t vent there I promise)

  2. Jones DS, Hofmann L, Quinn S. 21st Century Medicine: A New Model for Medical Education and Practice. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine, 
    2010 (rev 2011).
  3. Jones DS, Hofmann L, Quinn S. 21st Century Medicine: A New Model for Medical Education and Practice. The Institute for Functional Medicine: Gig 
    Harbor, WA, 2009.
  4. Willett WC. Balancing life-style and genomics research for disease prevention. Science. 2002; 296:695-97. 
  5. Thorpe KE, Florence CS, Howard H, Joski.P. The rising prevalence of treated disease: effects on private health insurance spending. Health Affairs, Web 
    exclusive, June 27, 2005.
  6. ©2016 The Institute for Functional Medicine. All rights reserved.

Introduction to 
Functional Medicine
By David S. Jones, MD, and Sheila Quinn


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