What Is Functional Medicine (Nutrition)?

Functional-medicine-symptoms

*Functional Medicine (FM), sometimes referred to as functional nutrition, is a form of personalized health care that focuses on identifying nutritional, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors that can be changed to improve overall health and wellness. In essence, functional medicine is not traditional medicine.  No medications, controlled substances, drugs, surgeries, injections, etc are used.  The functional medicine approach is a partnership between the patient and the practitioner.  The goal of this partnership is to bring the patient back to health by identifying what lifestyle factors should be changed based on the unique circumstances of the individual.

 

Functional Medicine Philosophy –

The philosophy recognizes that each patient is a unique individual with a unique set of genetics and biochemistry, as well as a unique set of environmental and lifestyle factors.  These genetic/environment interactions are complex not simple.  For example, two people could potentially have the same health issues with a completely different set of causes.  Because of this, the approach of functional medicine is to identify how a person’s genetics are at odds with their environment so that they can be educated on how to restore this balance with lifestyle interventions.  Some of the the components of the functional medicine approach include:

  • Comprehensive health history
  • Evaluation of the patient’s lifestyle and environmental factors.
  • Functional outcomes based laboratory workup to identify nutritional deficiencies, toxic environmental exposures, food allergies, and more.
  • Education based approach so that ultimately the patient is less dependent on the doctor to maintain their health.

Treating the Symptoms With Drugs Is Not a Natural Solution

One of the biggest problems in traditional medicine today is that physicians don’t train in nutrition or physical fitness, yet these two factors are arguably the most important components to preventing disease.  This lack of fundamental health knowledge typically leads to the broad application of using medicines to treat symptoms – i.e.

  • Pain medications (opiods, steroids, NSAIDS, etc) to treat arthritis, headaches, and other pain based diseases
  • Immune suppressing drugs in the case of autoimmune diseases like lupus and RA.
  • Headache medications
  • Anti acids to treat GERD (acid reflux)
  • Antibiotics to treat skin inflammation
  • Hormones to treat diabetes, thyroid problems, PMS or PMDD, infertility, PCOS, etc

image: https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Medical-deaths-BMJ.png

No Grain No PainThis approach can be dangerous for several reasons.  Using medicine to mask symptoms does not lead to resolution of disease.  However; masking the symptoms leads to a complacent patient while allowing the underlying disease process to continue unabated.  In essence the disease process goes unchecked leading to future complications.  Using medications can lead to drug induced nutritional deficiencies.  These deficiencies end up causing a whole new set of problems that lead to the use of even more medications.  Using medications comes with the potential of creating “side effects” that either cause additional problems, or lead to adding even more medication to “treat the side effects”.  A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found traditional medical care to be the third leading cause of death in the US.

In essence, mainstream, traditional medicine is drug focused.  Drugs are prescribed to mask symptoms without concern for the root cause of the disease. Drug companies have a huge influence over what is being taught in medical schools.  Additionally, drug companies are allowed to advertise to consumers directly.  Both of these practices are extremely unethical with obvious conflict of interests, and can lead to numerous problems.

Dr. Osborne’s Holistic – Non Medical – Approach

My approach is to establish a joint relationship or partnership with every patient.  Through communication and specific lifestyle guidance, health and wellness are very achievable.  The diagram above represents part of my functional medicine/nutrition paradigm.  The bullets below might help you understand more:

  • DNA is influenced by the three outer triangles (these outer triangles represent the environment)
  • Biochemistry = Nutrition (vitamins, minerals, water, etc)  Additionally, food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities affect biochemistry as do pollution in the air and water.
  • Physical = structure.  For example, being 20 pounds overweight causes excessive pressure on your heart, blood vessels, joints, and more.  Exercise greatly influences the physical aspect of the Triangle of Health.
  • Mental = your psychological and spiritual state of mind.

Is Functional Medicine Right For You?

If you are tired of a 50 minute wait for the doctor followed by a 5 minute consult and a quick drug prescription fix, FM may be right for you.  If you want a relationship focused on nutritional and lifestyle guidance, FM may be right for you.  If you want medications, surgery, or quick fixes that require no effort or dedication on your part, FM is not a good fit for you.

Whether you are local in Houston or Sugar Land or far away (out of state or country), click here  >>>become a patient <<< to get more information.

 

*It is important to note that Functional Medicine is not the same as the practice of medicine.  Dr. Osborne is not an MD.  He will not prescribe medications.  He will evaluate your health from a natural perspective.

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