While you are waiting for your 23 and Me kit and results, you need to get started on the next step which is finding a Functional Medicine Doctor. The institute for functional medicine defines the practice this way:
“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, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
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.”
Go to: https://www.ifm.org/ there is a button labeled ” Find a Practitioner” in the upper right-hand part of the home page.
Do not be discouraged if a practitioner is not in your town. Ours is in Destin Florida a bit over two hours away. We make our Dr visits into a road trip and plan fun things to do in Destin. After an initial visit or two, phone consultations may be all you need.
The first visit involves in-depth questionnaires and a long conversation with the doctor. Functional Medicine involves getting to know you as a whole person, not just an ailment or body part. At the conclusion of the first visit, you will likely be given a prescription for a large number of lab tests. Many of these tests go way beyond those typically prescribed by your primary physician. Many of these tests are not covered by insurance.
You may also be asked to go on an “elimination” diet. This diet involves removal of all of the usual suspects for a period of 21 days and then reintroducing one suspect at a time every two days. The diet is pretty restrictive so you have to be committed. Zero intake of the suspect items for 21 days is critical to reset your system. There is a chance you will feel better on this diet than you have felt in a long time. Suz and I both did. The reason, of course, is that one or more of the banned foods was causing bad things to happen. With these foods out of your diet, you feel like you are supposed to feel….good.
I found that I have a definite reaction to gluten and dairy. To be sure, I took these two out for a few days and then reintroduced them one at a time. The reaction was obvious each time. Does this mean that I never consume grains or milk products? In my case, I consume gluten rarely and I limit the frequency and quantity of some dairy products. I also get grass-fed dairy whenever possible. Grass is what cows are meant to eat. Grass-fed dairy products taste better also. Kerry Gold Butter is a gateway drug to grass-fed dairy that I recommend. I am now recovering from a 21-day vacation during which I ate whatever I wanted which included croissants, bagels, excellent bread etc. I loved every bite of these things but I feel like crap and it will take a week or two of eating the way my body prefers for me to get back to normal.
The second visit to the Functional Medicine doc involves plowing through all the lab results and the outcome of the elimination diet. When all of this is combined with the initial interview and questionnaires a picture begins to form and a tentative game plan can be formulated. Good medicine is both art and science. It is also a trial and error process. A functional medicine doc will often prescribe an assortment of supplements and perhaps some prescription drugs that can only be obtained from a “compounding” pharmacy. Most pharmacies simply take pills from a big bottle and put them in a small bottle. Compounding pharmacies make a medicine from component parts.
You will need to decide along the way if you trust your doctor. Many tests prescribed are not covered by insurance. Supplements are not covered by insurance and they can get expensive. Some of the medicines prescribed are not covered either. You could spend thousands of dollars in your first few visits.
Dr, Mark Hyman is an FM doc that I follow closely. I have read his books, listened to him being interviewed on several podcasts and I have watched his youtube videos. I think he is rock solid. he recently interviewed his mentor Dr. Sidney Baker. One topic they discussed was the decision about which treatments to go forward with and which to not go forward with. They used the acronym BROCS which stands for Benefit, Risk, Odds, Cost, and Stakes.
If the benefit is great, the risk low, the odds are fair, the cost is manageable and if what is at stake is important then going forward is a no-brainer. In my case, The BROCS analysis on functional medicine treatment was favorable and so I proceeded and I am very glad that I did.
For more info Visit the Institute for Functional Medicine website and listen to Dr. Mark Hyman’s podcast called “The Doctor’s Farmacy” which is free and can be found on his website as well as all other podcast outlets such as Itunes.