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Functional Medicine, Explained

You may or may not be familiar with the term functional medicine, clinical nutrition, or natural medicine. Hopefully, I can help by explaining what they mean and how and why we incorporate them into our practice.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that focuses on addressing the root causes of illness and disease, rather than simply treating symptoms. It is a patient-centered, holistic approach that considers the interconnectedness of various bodily systems and the influence of lifestyle and environmental factors on health. Here are the key principles and concepts associated with functional medicine:

  1. Individualized Care: Functional medicine takes into account the unique genetic makeup, history, and lifestyle of each patient. Practitioners aim to create personalized treatment plans that address the specific needs of the individual.

  2. Systems Biology Approach: Instead of looking at individual organs or symptoms in isolation, functional medicine views the body as a complex network of interconnected systems. It seeks to identify and address imbalances or dysfunctions within these systems.

  3. Root Cause Analysis: Functional medicine practitioners strive to identify the underlying causes of health issues rather than just treating the symptoms. This often involves a thorough investigation into factors such as genetics, diet, environment, stress, and lifestyle.

  4. Holistic Perspective: Functional medicine recognizes the importance of considering the mind, body, and spirit as integral components of health. Emotional well-being, mental health, and social factors are all taken into account in the diagnosis and treatment process.

  5. Patient-Centered Care: Patients are encouraged to be active participants in their healthcare journey. Functional medicine practitioners often spend more time with patients, listening to their concerns and providing education on how lifestyle changes can positively impact their health.

  6. Integrative Approaches: Functional medicine integrates both conventional medical practices and alternative or complementary therapies when appropriate. This may include nutrition, supplements, herbal medicine, acupuncture, physical therapy, and more.

  7. Prevention and Wellness: Functional medicine places a strong emphasis on preventive healthcare. By addressing imbalances and risk factors early on, the goal is to prevent the development of chronic diseases and promote overall wellness.

  8. Continuous Monitoring: Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, functional medicine involves ongoing monitoring of a patient's health and adjustments to treatment plans as needed. This allows for a dynamic and adaptive approach to healthcare.

  9. Scientific Basis: Functional medicine is rooted in scientific research and evidence-based practices. It aims to combine the best of both conventional and alternative medicine, emphasizing treatments that have been shown to be effective through scientific studies.

  10. Education and Empowerment: Patients are often educated about their conditions and encouraged to take an active role in managing their health. Lifestyle changes, such as dietary modifications and stress management, are frequently emphasized.

Functional medicine practitioners may include medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. While functional medicine can be effective for addressing chronic health issues and improving overall well-being, it's essential for patients to work with qualified and licensed healthcare providers who are trained in this approach.

Why Functional Medicine?

This type of therapy aims to treat each patient from a holistic and natural perspective. We aren't just trying to diagnose black and white diseases, but the grey areas in between, too. We are trying to find clues as to why you are experiencing your symptoms through various lab tests and clinical tests. Looking at your lab results, we won't just accept that you are within a 'normal medical range', but rather if you fall outside or within a functional/optimal range, as well.

Once we are able to determine what is contributing to your symptoms, we can create a custom treatment plan to help address them. We do this using a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, conservative supplement recommendations, and various clinical interventions.

At Delta Neuro Health, we see many patients who have "fallen through the cracks" of the traditional medical model and require a practitioner who is able to think outside of the box. Most of our patients do not fit into a box. That is why we incorporate functional medicine and clinical nutrition, when necessary, to take a deeper look into the underlying factors contributing to the patients symptoms.


Functional medicine can be applied to a wide range of health conditions and concerns, as it focuses on addressing the underlying causes of illness and promoting overall wellness. Some of the conditions and areas where functional medicine can be particularly beneficial include:

Chronic Diseases: Functional medicine is often used to address chronic conditions such as:

  • Diabetes

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis)

  • Neurological conditions (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis)

  • Gastrointestinal disorders (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease)

Hormonal Imbalances: Functional medicine can help identify and treat hormonal imbalances, including:

  • Thyroid disorders (e.g., hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism)

  • Adrenal dysfunction (e.g., adrenal fatigue)

  • Sex hormone imbalances (e.g., estrogen dominance, low testosterone)

Digestive Disorders: Functional medicine approaches digestive issues by addressing gut health and imbalances in the microbiome. Conditions include:

  • Leaky gut syndrome

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

  • Food sensitivities and allergies

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea

Mood and Mental Health: Functional medicine can be used to support mental health and address conditions such as:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Bipolar disorder

Weight Management: Functional medicine often plays a role in helping individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight by addressing factors such as diet, exercise, hormones, and metabolism.

Allergies and Sensitivities: Functional medicine can help identify and manage allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances, including those related to food, environmental factors, and chemicals.

Chronic Fatigue and Energy Issues: Conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and low energy levels can be explored through a functional medicine approach to identify underlying causes.

Autoimmune Conditions: Functional medicine aims to modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with autoimmune diseases like lupus, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Skin Disorders: Functional medicine may address skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne by looking at underlying imbalances and inflammation.

Cognitive Decline: Functional medicine approaches neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, with a focus on brain health and inflammation reduction.

Women's Health: Functional medicine can address women's health issues like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, menstrual irregularities, and menopause-related symptoms.

Men's Health: For men, functional medicine may target conditions like erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and prostate health.

It's important to note that functional medicine doesn't replace conventional medicine but often complements it. Patients should work with qualified healthcare practitioners, such as functional medicine doctors or integrative medicine specialists, to create personalized treatment plans that consider their specific health needs and goals. These practitioners use a combination of diagnostic testing, lifestyle modifications, nutrition, supplements, and other interventions to address the underlying causes of health issues and promote well-being.

Action Steps

If you think you or someone you know could benefit from a functional medicine approach, please give us a call at (614)-706-2093, or visit our website: Delta Neuro Health. We look forward to working with you to solve your health concerns.

functional medicine, alternative medicine, natural medicine, health eating, clinical nutrition


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