Over the past five decades, many experienced and holistically experienced professionals have embraced “functional medicine” treatment concepts in dealing with the management of many commonly encountered chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis.
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What are the functional medicine concepts for treatment?
This guide is an attempt to introduce, simplify, and summarize many of these seemingly complicated concepts for professionals who have just begun to use these notions, and for those professionals who have been hearing about this radical strategy and have been considering integrating these therapeutic approaches into their practices.
Integrating Functional Medicine Treatment Concepts
The medicine approach to the treatment of chronic disease is one that is based not on a single agent or modality as the solution that is palliative or curative. It’s holistically centered upon the principle that restoration of proper cell metabolism, through decreasing accumulative toxic load and oxidative stress to your system, enables normalization of mitochodrial respiration, cellular energy production, and ultimately causing a decrease in the signs and symptoms of chronic illness. More severe cases often require a broader functional approach, while many nutritionally-oriented physicians realize that supplements alone are beneficial for cases of chronic disease.
This functional medication philosophy and approach was initially developed for clinical use in chronic fatigue patients with excellent outcomes, and because of the commonality observed in many chronic conditions, it’s been used through the past few years in other disorders with great success, such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, along with auto-immune disorders. The seminal work of many in treating chronic fatigue syndrome has served as a template that is successful, and this method is currently utilized in the treatment of a broad range of chronic diseases.
Functional Medicine Treatment Explained
The functional medicine philosophy relies on the premise that a breakdown of the intestinal mucosa by the chronic intake of meals and lactic acid, and the usage of common over-the-counter and prescription drugs (such as antibiotics and NSAIDS), can result in dysbiosis and also a hyperpermeable intestinal mucosa, or leaky gut syndrome.
This hyperpermeablility can lead to the mucosa neglecting to act as a barrier, resulting in the crossing of radicals and partly digested food proteins through the intestinal mucosa and in the systemic blood source. The result is a rise in increased toxic loading and food allergies. This increased toxic load can lead to greater strain on the liver and its ability to adequately detoxify these substances. This may result in systemic tissue degeneration.
Greater tissue toxicity is thought to be a major cause for thyroid dysfunction, which results in a breakdown of the body’s cells, including the muscle cells, to dependant pathways. This accounts for the vast majority of ATP production. Reduced cellular ATP production may account for many (if not all) of the symptoms and signs associated with many chronic disease conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FMS).
Increased intestinal permeability can result in partially digested substances entering the blood supply and behaving as antigens. The consequent antigen-antibody complexes seem to have an affinity for the synovium of articulations, This results in an inflammatory reaction in the joint linings commonly found in arthritidies like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The main therapeutic agents used initially by standard medical physicians in the treatment of RA are (ironically) NSAIDs. NSAIDs, according to the PDR, result in increased intestinal permeability. Might it be possible that the traditional treatment for arthritidies has led to palliating the patient’s symptoms, while exacerbating the illness?
Focus of Functional Medicine Treatment Concepts
The functional medicine therapeutic approach is centered around correcting any intestinal dysbiosis fixing the mucosa, providing chemicals to the body reducing stress, and boosting a return of normal metabolism. Assessment begins by discovering intestinal health and also the functional reserve of the liver and its detoxification abilities.
This is commonly done with the help of individual symptom studies, like the a metabolic screening questionnaire and practical laboratory studies, such as the lactulose/mannitol challenge for assessing intestinal permeability, along with the entire digestive stool analysis (CDSA) for detecting markers of digestion, absorption, and colonic flora. Detoxification ability of the liver can be assessed through caffeine clearance and conjugation metabolite challenge test.. Conventional laboratories don’t perform these evaluations, but are available through specialized labs who offer functional testing.
Once the information is collected, a treatment system is chosen, which may consist of specific nutrients to fix any intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut syndrome). Individual nutrients like inulin, refined hypoallergenic rice proteins, pantothenic acid, and antioxidants can be utilized as a formulary medicinal food, which is usually much simpler and more practical to utilize scientifically. Digestion and absorption difficulties suggested on the CDSA can be treated together with all the temporary use of pancreatic enzymes and HCL (if indicated) in patients without gastritis or ulcers. Dysbiosis, a phrase used to describe an imbalance of colonic flora, can be addressed by the management of lactobacillus acidophilus and probiotics such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
In conclusion, any pathogenic bacteria, yeast, or parasites discovered on the CDSA should be treated with the prescription (or organic) agents suggested by the sensitivity tests on the CDSA. These could include nonprescription substances like garlic, citrus seed extract, berberine, artemisia, uva ursi, and others. Functional medicine approaches strive to holistically improve an individual’s overall health and wellness, which is why these treatment modalities have been applied to modern medical practices. Consult a professional regarding the best form of treatment for you.
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By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Wellness
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