Our approach uses nutrition as a major form of intervention, because it is clear to us that many chronic illnesses stem in large measure from a diet. We use diagnostic tools like laboratory tests and other measurements of things like digestive function, hormone balance, detoxification ability, muscle strength and nutrient status, and our treatments involve nutritional and lifestyle interventions rather than pharmaceutical drugs.
Our focus for restoration, optimization and protection of your health and wellness is unique. Rather than just addressing the secondary conditions (symptoms), we identify and address the primary issues affecting your quality of life. Most nutrition advice deals with diet logs and counting nutrients on food labels.
Our approach is different, by taking information from you about how you’re feeling and putting it together with other tests, we go deeper to determine the source of organic dysfunction and correct it using biological optimization. With this information we will be able to monitor your health and elevate our care to your specific situation and needs. Through a precise and detailed analysis we will identify and systematically address the underlying reasons that may be contributing to your current state of health.
One of the primary tools for a Functional Medicine practitioner is Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis.
What is Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis?
The Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis (FBCA) is a valuable technique for evaluating patients, detecting dysfunction, and treating it early.
Blood chemistry analysis, when approached from a functional standpoint, can be a fantastic tool for preventing the progression of dysfunction into disease. When used correctly, FBCA can act as a guide on a patient's path to better health.
What Is Unique About the Functional Approach to Blood Chemistry Analysis?
When you look at blood chemistry from a functional standpoint, you get a tool for detecting and treating dysfunction before it becomes a disease. Rather than waiting for iron deficiency to develop into anemia or insulin sensitivity to develop into diabetes, Functional Medicine practitioners intervene early to prevent unfavorable health outcomes.
Patient-centered, not Disease-centered
The functional approach to blood chemistry is patient-centered, in contrast to pharmacological medicine's disease-focused approach.
In traditional Western medicine, a practitioner often attempts to identify a patient’s symptoms and then deploy a treatment plan for disease that is commonly associated with the identified symptoms. This method starts with the sickness and works its way back to the patient. Functional medicine takes the opposite approach, focusing on the patient and their concerns before addressing them.
Functional medicine practitioners create treatment programs for their patients based on a holistic, comprehensive picture of their health. This aids in preventing the disease from arising in the first place. Further, it aids in the prevention of states of dysfunction, or states of poor health that slip between the cracks of disease diagnosis.
“Normal” Isn’t Optimal
Traditional blood chemistry analysis is based on whether the readings of a specific biomarker are within or outside of a laboratory's reference range. The average values discovered within a sample population are used to determine these ranges. The values indicated in around 95 percent of a blood sample are regarded "normal" whereas the upper 2.5 percent and lower 2.5 percent are considered abnormal.
The difficulty is that many doctors simply identify disease or malfunction based on whether their patient's blood tests fall outside of the 95 percent reference ranges, which covers a wide range of values. However, these are statistical averages rather than accurate indicators of actual health.
Rather than claiming that a patient’s blood biomarkers are within "normal" ranges that have little bearing on the individual's true health, Functional Medicine practitioners use blood chemistry analysis to examine much narrower ranges. These functional blood chemistry ranges have been scientifically linked to real-world health outcomes, and practitioners can assist their patients achieve optimal health — not just "normal" health — by measuring their movement toward or away from those ranges.
Using Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis to Treat Dysfunction
Practitioners can use FBCA and functional blood chemistry ranges to propose supplements and/or lifestyle changes provided they have the necessary tools and information. For example, if a patient's fasting blood glucose is excessively high, the practitioner may suggest diet and exercise. A follow-up test may reveal that the patient's fasting blood glucose remains high; because their advised treatment did not work, they may invest in additional testing or adjust their treatment plan. The practitioner would also test the patient's blood on a regular basis to see how their glucose levels change over time. The FBCA is all about keeping track of trends. Practitioners can see if and how treatment is working by obtaining different blood biomarker profiles.
The FBCA can also be used to target future testing. Instead of recommending a battery of tests that range from mild to substantially invasive, inexpensive to expensive, and vague to exact, functional medicine practitioners can employ a comprehensive blood test, which is only mildly invasive, inexpensive, and instructive. If additional testing is required, the practitioner will have ruled out any tests that do not appear to be likely to produce useful results.