Enter, Functional Medicine (FM) -- a vision inspired by
Jeffrey Bland PhD and is wife, Susan, over 25 years ago in
the USA. FM asks how and why illness occurs and restores
health by addressing the root causes of disease for each
individual. The accent really is on the word individual,
because a one-size-fits-all approach can never work. We
are, each one of us, a complex and unique composite
ecosystem, determined by our ancestry, background,
environment, life experience, diet and lifestyle choices.
Even our gut microbiome is a unique fingerprint, one
that is not even shared by identical twins.
When loved ones
pass, we are so used to
hearing causes of death
such as heart attack, stroke,
cancer, emphysema etc. But
the true causes are actually
the lifetime of poor dietary
choices, too much sugar, too
much food, smoking, lack of
physical activity, emotional
trauma, unhappiness... and
the list goes on.
Take type 2
diabetes, one of the biggest
killers of our time, yet wholly
preventable and dare I say
it, treatable if caught early enough. It should be akin to
medical malpractice to be prescribed drugs for type 2
diabetes while being given no dietary or lifestyle advice.
Inappropriate food choices and eating habits, along
with a sedentary lifestyle are the drivers of the disease.
A visit to a FM practitioner would involve a detailed
consultation where a map of your life to date, including
your pre-conception ancestry, is created. Your timeline
of triggering events through your life is then juxtaposed
with your symptoms. Like any good detective, your
practitioner will sleuth their way to the foundational
causes of your current health condition. One condition
usually has many different causes, triggers or mediators
and, likewise, a single trigger may result in many different
conditions depending on the background, genetics and
environment of the individual. As a result, FM targets the
specific manifestations of disease in each individual.
Moving beyond disease management
Mainstream healthcare systems, like the NHS,
and government authorities are straight-jacketed by
their relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.
However well-meaning the relationship may have
originally been, it's become ever more parasitic over
time as pharma's profits take precedence over people.
It's a concerted stitch-up. Pharma sets the syllabus in
medical schools, funds huge swathes of research, puts
governments in power, fuels the media, hypes the
skeptics and nurtures the holy grail of evidence-based
medicine. In the symbiotic triad is Big Food, flooding the
market with unhealthy, addictive foods and sponsorship
of conventional dietetic associations, the home of the
only nutrition professionals accepted by mainstream
medicine, to which responsibility for nutrition has been
almost entirely delegated.
Governments may like to tell you that the
pharmaceutical industry is an essential contributor to
the economy, but that's only if you don't measure the
cost to society of long-term
chronic disease, drug side
effects and the decreasing
age of disability as people
succumb to an ever
broader range of chronic
diseases and mental health
problems. Drugs are not
the answer for our health
crisis. The `pill for an ill'
era is over. That's because
our main health burden
is now largely the result
of a mismatch between
our current behaviours,
food choices and lifestyles, compared with those
associated with our evolutionary norms. Compounding
the problem further is the degraded and increasingly
chemically-polluted state of our environment, which
has destabilised the balance between our internal and
When it comes to your health and your future,
don't expect someone else, or the authorities, to do
the work for you. Healthcare change is down to us as
individuals. If you're interested in accessing a preventive,
patient-empowered healthcare system focused on
optimum wellness, not just the freedom from symptoms,
then clicking on the `Find a Practitioner' tab at www.ifm.
org will be a good start.
Then, please share, so you can bring others on the
journey with you.
For further information, please visit:
(Information & Education)
Listen to Meleni Aldridge here.