Integrative and Functional Medicine
Integrative and Functional Medicine determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical individuality, and lifestyle factors, and directs personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes. Taking into account toxicologies from the environment and detoxification of the human organism is critical in our approach. It might sound like an over-simplification but most chronic disease states such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, autoimmunity, Alzheimer dementia and other dementia states have an underlying deficiency (such as a mineral, vitamin, hormone, fatty acid or amino acid) or an underlying toxicity state. In integrative medicine we are also focused on achieving vitality as well as organ reserve.
Traditional Western Medicine
Whilst offering life-saving options with medicines and surgery in acute conditions often does not offer enough solutions for chronic aislments in today’s world. Medicines used these days are often alleviating symptoms without actually addressing the cause of disease states. Addressing the cause, and allowing the BODY to do the healing with a more holistic approach including assistance with life-style change, exercise, dietary measures, stress management and improved sleep results in much better outcomes with regard to reversal and management of chronic disease states. By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, Functional Medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each individual.
Correcting micronutrient depletions caused by drug prescriptions is also addressed in Integrative medicine and can often correct or reduce side effects of drugs.
Integrative medicine also recognizes the economic and social imperative we face as senior citizens become the largest sector in our society. We must find a way to remain healthy, vital and productive as we enjoy the longer lifespan that modern day life has made possible.
With precision testing being more required with functional lab testing in the Integrative medicine model a much more personalized approach is available today when approaching a patient. Diagnosis of causes and biochemical reasons, toxicities and genetic individualities involved in the process of the development of a disease state underlines the importance of personalization in treatment and diagnostic options in any specific disease state.
Dale Bredesen’s work at the moment is a good example of where approximately 36 mechanisms/causes of Alzheimer dementia are addressed to suitably treat and reverse many cases of Alzheimers, where before we thought of this disease as being an incurable disease. Factors addressed for Alzheimers for example range from infective causes to chronic inflammatory states, to loss of trophic support in the brain, neurohormone decline and toxicity states such as metal toxicities (particularly aluminium and mercury in Alzheimers) and mold toxicity. New ideas, backed by scientific research and laboratory testing, calls for a change of thinking to consider even an inhalational form of Alzheimer dementia caused by mold and toxin inhalation.
Customized bioidentical/equivalent hormone replenishment therapies also address a person’s hormone requirements as an individualized requirement and can be optimized in dosage and formulation and delivery method.
Nutraceutical and vitamin supplementation can be personalized to an individual’s requirement after nutritional and functional lab testing. Nutrigenomics is a very useful tool as well in Integrative medicine allowing for gene testing of SNPS or polymorphisms allowing then for lifestyle and nutraceutical interventions to change the expression of the genes that we are born with as individuals. In reality then it is more of what we expose our genes to than what we are born with that affects their expression (the field of epigenetics this is referred to).
Better & Better
Formulations of Nutraceuticals
With better and better formulations of nutraceuticals and vitamin supplements there is a trend now to more liposomal delivery methods for individualized therapies. Advantages of liposomal delivery include :
- Higher bioavailability and absorption
- Micronized encapsulation protects against the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract and increases transmucosal (oral) uptake and absorption
- Increases intracellular delivery
- Can hold both hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds
- Ideal for those for whom swallowing a tablet is not possible
- Phospholipids delivered to cell membranes support cellular communication and function
- Noninvasive, avoids pain and discomfort associated with injections, and decreases the contamination risk
- Allows for adjustable and incremental dosing for children and adults.
- Cost effective by being able to take a lower dose for the same effect.
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