What is Functional Medicine?
This is my favorite subject! Even with all of my access to doctors and alternative medicine, I still didn’t know anything about functional medicine until the summer of 2017. And I’m guessing that you probably don’t know too much about it either. So, let’s get to it!
Functional medicine gets to the root of your issues. Doctors trained in functional or naturopathic medicine believe in treating the problem rather than masking the symptoms. So they are very big on testing, including blood panels, adrenal and cortisol tests, stool tests, full thyroid panels, breath tests and a handful of others. By doing these types of tests, they can see the various levels of imbalance and disease within the body. Thyroid panels don’t always tell the whole story, but by looking at the dysfunction within the gut, they can better understand what’s triggering thyroid issues.
For me, I spent 13 years with Western doctors (Rheumatologists, Neurologists, Internists, Endocrinologists and General Practitioners) who wanted to give me medication to mask my problems. No one ever addressed the food I was eating or the cause of my pain or fatigue. No one ever tested me for Epstein Barr Virus, SIBO, gut bacteria, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, mitochondrial function, thyroid levels or MTHFR. I had been told I had Fibromyalgia from age 19, and it was never based on testing. They did one routine panel and because they couldn’t come up with a traditional diagnosis, they said Fibromyalgia; it covered fatigue and pain and that was enough to put me on pain killers, nerve blockers, anti-depressants, muscle relaxers and sleeping pills.
It wasn’t until I got incredibly ill and a doctor caved and gave me a stool test. It ended up being c-diff, which is life threatening. I had gotten it from antibiotics that I took because of chronic yeast and bacterial infections caused by my copper IUD. Had he not done this test, I could have died. My suffering had gone on for 8 months with this infection and would have gone undiagnosed because no one was willing to do the proper testing.
When I found my Functional doctor, Dr. Lekkos, my whole world changed. He spent over two hours with me on our first visit and was adamant that he would help me get to the root and heal. And that he did. Over the past 18 months, we’ve worked on improving my gut, treating the SIBO with a specific protocol, killing EBV in my blood with medication, supplements, Ozone therapy and food, leveling out my hormones, improving my mitochondrial function and supporting my MTHFR.
I don’t have Fibromyalgia. And I spent 13 years of my life treating a condition that wasn’t mine, but was the diagnosis of uninformed, lazy, drug hungry doctors.
I am a different person thanks to his never-ending research, modern approach to holistic healthcare and a desire to treat the cause. His focus on eliminating stress has also been incredibly powerful as we’ve worked on supporting my entire system including my emotional and spiritual well-being. He believes, as do I, that physical healing cannot come without emotional healing. The trauma and events in my life that have shaped my disease must be dealt with just as vitamin deficiencies must be balanced. They go hand in hand.
I highly recommend you find a Functional Medicine practitioner in your area, or one that will work with you remotely. Be sure to listen to both Dr. Lekkos and Dr. Cabral’s episodes to get more of a thorough look at Functional Medicine from two of the leading doctors in the world. Our conversations are incredible, educational and life-changing.