The Functional Medicine approach in our office is based on the Kalish Method which focuses on restoring the 3 main body systems, neuroendocrine, digestion and detoxification. There are five common conditions that trigger people into coming in for treatment. These are fatigue, depression, weight gain, female hormones and digestive problems. Underlying all the imbalances causing these issues is either emotional stress, dietary stress, or physiological stress due to pain and hidden inflammation.
If a person is willing and able to change their diet, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and practice some form of stress reduction, many of these issues can resolve. However, sometimes we all need a little help or are not yet ready to make these changes on our own.
The first system we address is the adrenal system which produce and regulate your stress hormones. It is important to assess how well a person adapts to stress. When someone is in adrenal exhaustion they may appear and/or state that they are fatigued and somewhat depressed, but otherwise appear emotionally healthy. This depletion of adrenal hormones impacts estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. People often suffer with sweet cravings, waking up during the night, irritability, mood swings and headaches—just because the adrenals are unable to adapt to the stress in their lives. Other symptoms might be infertility, night sweats and hot flashes, menstrual cramping.
The second system we address is the digestive system. We often have experienced GI discomfort for many years and just consider it normal or something we have to put up with. Constipation, diarrhea, gas, acid reflux, indigestion, and bloating are typically experienced. We pop a variety of over the counter medications to help keep the discomfort at bay. Proper digestive function is the foundation of your overall health. It is very important to be able to digest and absorb the nutrients we take in with our meals and supplements. Unfortunately, poor diets and high stress levels contribute to inadequate stomach acid and digestive enzymes. We have a lot of healthy bacteria in our gut that we need, but too often the imbalance of the microbiome can be attributed to parasitic infections, invasive yeast or bacterial overgrowth. Most importantly to know is that the majority of your immune system lies within your intestinal lining. This lining is your first line of defense from pathogens which can overrun your system causing much distress. GI lining issues affect all the mucosal systems in your entire body, even in sinus cavities. Long term faulty digestion can make you more susceptible to opportunistic parasites, pathogens and infections.
The third system we address is the Liver or Detoxification System. The Liver works very hard eliminating heavy metal exposure or the toxins that come from drinking too much alcohol and taking too many antibiotics and other medications. It is also trying to protect us from the harmful effects of so many things in our environment as well. It is the job of the Liver to filter toxins out of your blood and must be able to do this even when the toxins are coming from many different sources. The digestive tract is one of these sources because of the alcohol, caffeine, sugar, high fat diets, and artificial sweetener consumption. It places a huge burden on the Liver. Poor detoxification by the liver shows up as asthma, food sensitivities, painful joints, allergies, skin problems, various kinds of headaches, brain fog, and difficulty concentrating. All of this can accelerate aging and promote degenerative diseases. The good news is that the Liver has an amazing capacity to regenerate itself.
These three body systems are all connected to each other and interact with each other. For example, if you eat something that your body doesn’t like, it creates inflammation inside the body which is a stressor and causes the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol to rise. This lowers your immune function and your sex hormone levels drop. Just a bagel and glass of orange juice can do this.
First it is important to understand the role of diet and exercise and learn what foods you can eat and what you need to avoid. Food allergy testing may be helpful.
Supplement programs are created to give you nutrients you really need based on lab testing which gives us information about your unique biochemistry. The labs tell us specifically where you are deficient and what nutrients will support you. You no longer need to try the latest and greatest supplement that you may have heard about.
Another important aspect are the recommendations for exercise, lifestyle, and stress management.
Advanced clinical lab testing guides the recommendations of supplement programs based on results of nutrient levels. These results are used for a wide range of health issues from hormone balancing to weight loss. These new lab testing capabilities can now accurately assess these hormone levels, assess specific inadequate nutrient levels, and help ascertain the best therapeutic protocol for correcting nagging chronic health conditions.
Prevention is always preferable and this technology can easily be used to maintain healthy functioning in individuals who are already doing well on this journey.