What Is Functional Nutrition?

Functional nutrition, is a personalized health approach that focuses on identifying nutritional, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors that can be changed to improve overall health and wellness. No medications, controlled substances, drugs, surgeries, injections, etc are used.  The functional nutrition approach is a commitment of personal responsibility made by the individual to educate themselves to understand what lifestyle factors should be changed or addressed to optimize their overall health.

Functional Nutrition Philosophy –

The philosophy recognizes that each person 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 nutrition 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 components of the functional nutrition approach include:

  • Performing a detailed analysis of one’s health history
  • Evaluation of one’s lifestyle and environmental factors.
  • Getting with a practitioner who can help you perform a functional outcomes based laboratory workup to identify nutritional deficiencies, toxic environmental exposures, food sensitivities, and more.
  • Education-based approach so that ultimately you are less dependent on your doctor to maintain your 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 adequately in nutrition or physical fitness, yet these two factors are arguably the most important components of preventing disease.  This lack of fundamental health knowledge typically leads to the broad application of using medicines to treat symptoms – i.e.

  • Pain medications (opioids, 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

holistic functional medicine practitionerThis approach can be dangerous for several reasons.  Using medicine to mask symptoms does not lead to the 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, the 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 on 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 an obvious conflict of interest and can lead to numerous problems.

Dr. Osborne’s Holistic – Non-Medical – Approach

holistic functional medicine practitioner

My approach is is spelled out in great detail in my online nutritional education programs as well as in my best selling book, No Grain No Pain.  Through education and specific lifestyle adjustments, health and wellness are very achievable.  The diagram above represents part of my functional 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.

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