WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?

Discover the root causes. Experience the real cures. Live the true solution.

 “… Scientists cannot see the way they see with their way of seeing”
R.D. LAING

Functional Medicine or medicine of 21st century is fast growing paradigm in USA. A world well known heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz sends his own family to them and calls them “health detectives”. The main philosophy of this paradigm is to treat underlying causes of disease not the symptoms. More focus is given to the mechanism and underlying causes of the diseases rather than the geography of disease or where it’s happening. Treatment options are not limited to synthetic medicines, but dieting, nutritioning, herbal treatment and different kinds of natural therapies are also used side by side along getting benefit from the newest scientific researches in order to get the maximum benefit with high efficiency.

Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the most famous functional medicine doctors is defining functional medicine as follow:
“We need to understand how the whole body operates as a system, not just how different pieces of the body operate independently from one another. We need to treat people, not body parts; we want to treat the causes of disease, not symptoms.
I was trained according to the dogma of separate medical specialties – for heart problems you see the cardiologist, for stomach problems you see the gastroentologist, for joint paint you see the rheumatologist, for skin problems, the dermatologist. You just don’t ask the skin doctor about your joint pain. If you ask, he or she will cut you off and tell you to see the joint doctor.
The road map I was given in medical school to navigate through the territory of illness was the wrong map. It taught us to diagnose disease and then assign standardized treatments no matter who was suffering. This is the wrong approach. It’s a map that sends us in the wrong direction.
Not only are your joint pains, skin rash, irritable bowel, and depression all connected, but the only way to find your way out of this mess of chronic disease (which affects 162 million people) is by using a new map – one that allows us to see how everything is connected.
This is what the rich new method called Functional Medicine offers. Functional Medicine applies the science of systems biology in practical setting. It is the revolutionary new system I have been talking about. It’s fundamental change in our thinking, a whole different paradigm, like the world-is-round-not-flat shift. It changes our approach to the very way we think about illness and the human body.
With it, we can truly treat and cure disease. Unlike conventional medicine, Functional Medicine personalizes treatment based on a patient’s unique needs. We are all different. We have a different genetic makeup. As a result our bodies react to our environment in different ways. Understanding this allows us to develop unique methods to treat people, not diseases.” (1)

Diagnosis and treatment in Functional Medicine is different from other many medical systems. This paradigm is successful mainly in autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and many other chronic diseases.

While it looks on physiology and psychology of human as one piece, it looks on physiology of human as one piece as well. It’s not important under which specialty the disease is located. The important thing is the root cause or the root causes of the disease. And this root causes can differ from person to another. You can have a symptom of a disease located in your brain, but the main cause can be in totally different place like your digestive system.

Dr. Mark Hyman says: “If you are sleep-deprived you can increase alertness and energy with a stimulant medication, but the “right” treatment is sleep. If you are depressed because your intestine is inflamed and you are not absorbing B12, prozac may help you feel a little better, but the treatment is fixing your gut and replacing B12. This all seems obvious enough, and in fact is common sense, but it is so far  away from how doctors are trained and how we currently practice medicine”… and adds:
“We need to get out of the name-it, blame-it and tame-it game the myth of diagnosis and start thinking about how body works, how to personalize our approach and how not to suppress symptoms but to restore normal function.” (2)

-Comprehensive diagnosing and trying to understand the root causes of disease.

Functional Medicine physicians definitely use modern labs with high efficiency but never prescribe treatment only according to few labs. Experts of this new field of medical system are spending enough time to listen to the history of their patients in a detailed way and analyze the root causes of the diseases such as genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors and interrelation between these factors.

Functional Medicine physicians focus on the patients more than the disease itself because the root causes of the disease is of a more important matter to them.

-Getting benefit from all new scientific researches fast and with high efficiency

Functional Medicine experts are benefiting from latest scientific researches directly. Usually it takes at least 20 years for such researches to be applied on mainstream medical literature or clinic use.

For example: Although there are lots of researches on dangers of mercury amalgam fillings and despite it being banned in many European countries, it’s still being used in USA and many other countries.

Another example is butter and healthy fats, which is proven to be beneficial and necessary for our health in many recent studies. So why to wait another 20 years to get benefit from such researches?! And list goes longer and longer.

-One disease many causes. One cause many diseases.

In functional medicine the treatment protocol of each patient is different from another. While one disease can be caused by many underlying root causes, one underlying root cause can be reason for many diseases.

“Take depression, for example. It may be caused by many different factors, yet the symptoms same across the board. The DSM-IV accurately describes these symptoms (100 percent accuracy), but it says nothing at all about the causes (0 percent validity).
Imagine a room full of people with depression. They all met the DSM-IV criteria for depression, and they would all be prescribed antidepressants for their “disease”.
However, neither this diagnosis nor the treatment provided takes into account their genetic individuality. It doesn’t tease out the reason each of them became depressed in the first place.
These problems arise because the real causes of depression are not addressed with antidepressants.
It may be there are many “depressions” not just one generic “depression”. These “depressions” may be the result of multitude of causes: folate, B6 or B12 deficiency, low thyroid function, “brain allergies” to foods, an autoimmune response to gluten that inflames the brain, mercury poisoning, abnormal proteins called gluteo- or caseomorphins from poorly digested food that alter brain chemistry, brain inflammation from a hidden infection, blood-sugar imbalances, low testosterone or other sex hormones, a deficiency of omega-3 fats, or adrenal gland dysfunction from excessive stress among many other possible causes.
These are some of the real causes of “depression” as well as many other mental illness and neurological conditions. Without addressing core, underlying issues like these, we can never have optimal brain function or mood.
There is really no such thing as the “disease” called depression, just many different systemic imbalances that cause the symptoms we collectively refer to as “depression”. One disease, many causes …
On the other side of the spectrum, there can be one factor in person’s diet, lifestyle, environment, or genetic makeup that can cause dozens of different and seemingly unrelated “diseases”.
Gluten, the protein found in the most common grain eaten in America-wheat- as well as barley, rye, oats, spelt, triticale, and kamut, is an excellent example. Gluten is one common factor that can create so many illnesses and diseases it would be hard to count them all.
Besides making the brain inflamed, gluten can be broken down in the gut into odd little proteins that are almost like psychedelic drugs (opium-like peptides called gluteomorphins). These change brain function and behavior.
Gluten also contains significant amount of glutamate, a molecule that accelerates, activates, excites, and damages brain cells through a special brain receptor or docking station called the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor. Over activation of this receptor by glutamate is implicated in many psychiatric disorders. Glutamate is called excitotoxin (a substance which overexcites and kills or damages brain cells).
Gluten can cause brain dysfunction by three different mechanisms- inflammation, odd morphine or psychedelic proteins, and as an excitotoxin.
So gluten, we see, can the single cause behind many different “diseases”. These diseases are not treatable with better medication, but simply by 100 percent elimination of gluten from the diet. One cause, many diseases…
One disease caused by multiple factors, one factor that causes multiple diseases? How could this happen? It completely upsets our current thinking. And it should!
But the reason this is true is simplier than you might think.
We are all unique, biochemically and genetically, and have different responses to the same insults. In one person gluten may cause arthritis, in another it can cause depression. Depression may be caused by gluten in one person; in another it may be caused by B12 deficiency.” (3)

-Success in not possible unless all causes of a disease are addressed.

Many people, when they do not get any benefit from dominant allopathic medicine which is called as modern medicine (!) for their chronic disease they start to search for solution in alternative medicine branches, and when they do so, they make a big mistake, which is searching for solution in one herb or one treatment model. This is totally misguiding, because chronic diseases usually doesn’t have one underlying root cause and we cannot reach success without addressing the all underlying root causes of the disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman says: “These people are stuck in the one-disease, one-drug model of thinking. It is an example of reductionistic thinking that misses the whole point of how systems work – of how the body works. Many symptoms are caused by a multitude of irritants and a variety of irritants cause a multitude of symptoms. Success is not possible unless all the factors are addressed.” (4)

We can give an example for that. If you have ten tacks in your foot, you can’t take out one, pop an aspirin, and hope to recover from pain. You need to find and take out all the tacks, take them out and get proper treatments. That’s why every patient is special and treatments should be specialized.

-Running over “one drug” model for treatment of chronic diseases is running over mirage.

Modern! Medicine is doing researches based on model of trying to treat one disease with one drug, and this is only a dream. Unfortunately, many alternative medicine practitioners are doing the same mistake as well, and think that they can treat all diseases with one treatment method that they are using.

 “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Old Adage

Everyone thinks that he can solve all diseases with the talent he has. This is very common model for most of the therapists. Allopath’s think that they can solve all diseases with synthetic medicines. Most of herbalists think that they can solve all diseases with herbs. Acupuncturists and other therapists think that they can treat all diseases with single treatment methods that they know. And this is totally misguiding.

There can be some chronic diseases that can really be treated or can be managed with one treatment model. These cases are mild cases which mostly have one underlying root cause. Such cases are rare when it comes to modern day chronic cases. Usually in our modern day, most of chronic cases have multiple, triple or even more combined chronic diseases which is based on many underlying root causes and treatment should be holistic which is targeting all underlying causes.

Dr. Mark Hyman – one of the most famous functional medicine experts – summarizes what a functional medicine physician is doing as following:
“What I do is actually quite simple. The first step is to take out the bad stuff (the things that create imbalance, such as a nutrient-poor, processed diet, toxins, allergens, infections and stress) remove what’s bugging you. If you have ten tacks in your foot, you can’t take out one, pop an aspirin, and hope to feel better. You need to find and take out all the tacks, taking out just one of them won’t make you better.
The second step is to add the good stuff (high-quality whole foods, nutrients, water, oxygen, light, movement, sleep, relaxation, community, connection, love, meaning and purpose), and the body’s natural intelligence and healing system will take care of the rest. That’s all there is to it. Using this simple, yet comprehensive, method allows me to treat virtually all diseases, whether they are “in the brain” or “in the body”. And it works for simple reason: the body and the brain are one system.” (5)

And we can add many therapies to this treatment protocol, such as, acupuncture, wet cupping therapy, hirudotherapy, ozone therapy and other proven natural treatment methods according to special needs of the patient.

– Ultra Functional Solutions.

Treatment methods and treatment protocol of every functional medicine physician is different from one to another. Functional medicine is a medical paradigm, and since there is lots of treatment options, prescription of each physician is different. For example, we can find many functional medicine physicians prescribing EDTA for heavy metal chelating which is really a harmful way that have many side effects. Although there is wide range of non-side effect and natural range of heavy metal chelating agents. Only heavy metal detoxification is a serious issue which needs to be personalized as well.

That’s why I believe that we should carry Functional Medicine to next step by choosing totally natural and non-side effect treatments. Functional Medicine experts should learn all natural therapies and treatment options to prescribe best specialized options to the patient. Being a physician is exactly this. Physician in Arabic means Hakeem which means a person with wisdom and wisdom means to put a thing in its correct place. Doctor in Arabic means tabeeb which means someone who is talented. So Functional Medicine physician is someone with talents, who gives the patient the best treatments that fits him or a master who can combine treatments in best way and prescribe it for special needs of the patient with wisdom and talent.

Functional Medicine physicians should know that oral cavities, amalgam fillings, root canals and badly treated teeth can cause many chronic diseases and should redirect their patients to best biological dentist.

Functional Medicine physicians should be a very good psychologist and address the psychology of their patients in the best way. Also they should preserve their patients who have metaphysical issues such as, evil eye, magic and bad souls from getting wrong treatments and they should prescribe best solutions for that.

Functional Medicine physicians should develop themselves in many ancient diagnostic arts such as face diagnosis, hand diagnosis, nail diagnosis, tongue diagnosis, eye diagnosis, cupping diagnosis etc.

Functional Medicine physicians may not be masters of ozone therapy for example, but they should know the mechanisms, indications and contraindications of such therapies to redirect their patients to its experts when it’s needed.

Functional Medicine physicians should be masters who listen to ancient medicine but run over all new scientific researches.

In such way we can surround the root causes of the disease with ultra-functional solutions and treat the patient with natural, non-side effect and ultra-effective way.

Functional Medicine experts are trying to solve imbalances in the body and soul. While the true healing is done by the healing mechanisms in the body which is created by GOD the True Healer.

With wishes of beneficial healings,

Jameel A. Sulami
Founder of Bio-Friendly Integrative Medicine
Founder & Educator of USR Method & ESR Therapy
Functional Physician |  Consultant |  Researcher |  Writer
Email: zanjameel@gmail.com

REFERENCES:
(1) The UltraMind Solution, Mark Hyman, MD, p. 34.

(2) The UltraMind Solution, Mark Hyman, MD, p. 45.
(3) The UltraMind Solution, Mark Hyman, MD, p. 43-44.
(4) The UltraMind Solution, Mark Hyman, MD, p. 32.
(5) The UltraMind Solution, Mark Hyman, MD, p. 38.

Topics Related With Functional Medicine:
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