healing ways

Health Detectives

Functional Medicine Looks for the Clues That Allow Holistic Care

by Gretchen Perry-Emery, FNP-BC

Health Detectives, Image:

Functional Medicine (FM) seeks to identify where the breach in the immune system occurred (or is more likely to occur if you are looking at well-care), that in time leads to disease.

The practice involves using not just conventional westernized testing, but specialized integrative testing to determine the biochemistry in the body. Testing can be performed on blood, saliva, urine, hair and stool, depending on the individual need.

Common testing an FM provider will perform includes nutritional testing that seeks to identify glitches in the biochemical pathways of the body.

From a clinical standpoint, FM providers should be knowledgeable about in epigenetics–the study of how the environment impacts gene expression, and nutrigenomics–the study of how nutrition impacts genetic expression. Most providers will request their patients perform genetic testing (some covered by insurance and some not) to better understand their body’s ability to methylate and detoxify.

Single nucleic polymorphisms (SNP's) are 'glitches’ in the normal expression of DNA that are tripped by environmental influences. Many Functional Medicine providers chose to be learned in how DNA impacts biochemistry and will identify mutations to try and over-ride them through supplementation. This works to set the stage for healing to occur.

More often than not, providers will identify a breach in the gastrointestinal tract through testing. Much attention is placed on gastrointestinal health in functional medicine since the gut is our second brain, where 85% of the immune system is based. When a breach occurs in this system, it is only a matter of time until a decline in health follows.

Unfortunately, traditional medicine in the United States does not give a great deal of attention to 'root cause,' with efforts more frequently placed on treating symptoms and the collateral damage caused by dysbiosis.

Functional Medicine providers spend a great deal of time with their patients to best understand their needs and the testing to perform to uncover the root cause of disease.

In many ways we are health detectives, looking for clues that help put the pieces of the puzzle together and approach care from a holistic perspective; treating a person’s body, mind and spirit.

Gretchen Perry-Emery, FNP-BC is a board certified family nurse practitioner who practices Functional Medicine with Fundamental Healing, P.C., 29829 Telegraph Rd., Suite 203, Southfield, MI. For more information, call 248-809-9384 or visit Fundamental-Healing.com.

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