What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is an approach to medicine that seeks to uncover the root-cause of a symptom or disease process. It takes into consideration the entire person since all the organ systems are intimately intertwined. Functional medicine looks at your symptoms and diagnoses as the starting point on your journey to wellness.
For example, psoriasis is a skin condition that has known genetic factors but is usually triggered by an environmental exposure. Functional medicine takes a deep dive to look at potential triggers including infections, gut dysbiosis and toxic exposures. The goal is to treat the root-cause and not just the skin findings.
Functional medicine requires an investment on the part of the patient and the physician. Appointments are comprehensive, testing is in-depth, and the homework always involves lifestyle interventions in the areas of diet, sleep, movement and the emotional/spiritual.
If you are interested in understanding the why behind your skin condition and are ready to take a deep dive, consider a functional medicine approach. It is a necessary movement in the medical community, inspired by the overwhelming explosion of chronic disease, where conventional doctors are aligning with our naturopathic colleagues in the quest for true health.
Gut Microbiome Testing
The gut microbiome test is a stool test. It provides important information about the health of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to digestion, we know now that the gut also plays a critical role in the function of our immune system, metabolism and hormone regulation. There is an intricate balance and multidirectional communication between our microbiome, immune system and the outside world. The root cause of many conditions, including skin conditions from acne to eczema, can often be traced back to imbalances in the gut.
The most common gut microbiome test performed at Body and Sol is the GI-MAP test by Diagnostic Solutions. This test looks for:
- Beneficial bacteria in the gut
- Opportunistic and infectious bacteria, yeast and viruses
- Markers of intestinal health such as enzymatic function, inflammation and leaky gut
Comprehensive Metabolic Profiling “Metabolomics”
Metabolomics is the study of the functional status of a cell measuring key metabolites. Metabolites in the urine and plasma give important information about nutritional status, toxic impact, and metabolic processes like sugar and fat metabolism. Candida overgrowth in the gut can be a trigger for skin conditions like acne and eczema, and metabolic profiling can help identify difficult to diagnoses candida overgrowth using microbial metabolites.
The OMX test by Diagnostic Solutions is one examples of metabolic testing that looks at organic acids, amino acids and other key compounds.
Food Sensitivity Testing
Food reactions are classified as food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance. Most conventional tests evaluate for food allergy only (IgE testing). IgE reactions are not usually subtle and can cause rapid development of hives, itching, swelling, diarrhea and difficulty breathing. Food sensitivity testing looks for reactions that are slower in onset and can cause more insidious symptoms like rash, joint pains and foggy mental status. Food sensitivity studies are more complicated than they appear and must be interpreted carefully by a knowledgable practitioner.
There are many other studies that can be performed if needed while we investigate the root-cause of your skin condition. This includes looking at the impact of stress on adrenal function, comprehensive hormone profiles, and assessing for toxic exposure to mold, heavy metals and environmental toxins among several others. Skin conditions are often a sign of internal imbalance, and functional testing can provide critical insights into the heart of the problem.
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