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How Does Functional Nutrition Differ from Traditional Medicine?

Functional Nutrition (FN), sometimes referred to as Functional Medicine (FM), is a system of healthcare that is based upon the premise that our bodies are designed to be healthy. The cells of our body are bombarded daily by a myriad of environmental factors and to that extent, the disease is in an adaptive state, often taking years to develop before symptoms appear. If you’re looking for a nutritionist or functional doctor near you, we can help. Here at the Gut Authority, we have a functional nutritionist to help you.

Chronic health problems can be treated by either focusing on the symptoms, or by looking deeper to seek out, understand, and address the origins and causes of declining health. Traditional medicine focuses on the symptoms of the disease and analyzes these symptoms to arrive at either a diagnosis of a disease or in some cases classification of the symptoms into a syndrome. Treatment is usually then provided through medication designed to change or control the symptoms.

Is this functional medicine approach a natural solution?

This system of symptom management may reduce or control the symptoms but often results in side effects that lead to new symptoms that must be addressed by additional medications. Sadly, using drugs to mask symptoms typically does not lead to a resolution of the disease. Instead, the underlying disease process often continues unchecked and the prescription treatment often becomes a lifelong treatment protocol with no exit strategy. In addition to the potential side effects, medications can lead to drug-induced nutritional deficiencies. These, in turn, can cause a whole new set of problems or symptoms. According to a recent study in the British Medical Journal, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States behind cancer and heart disease.

Why does this happen?

Because traditional mainstream medicine is prescription drug-focused. Most physicians don’t have training in nutrition or natural healing principles. This lack of fundamental health knowledge is fueled by the huge influence the drug companies have over what is taught in medical schools. Furthermore, drug companies are allowed to advertise to consumers directly, which feeds a patient mindset that the answer to their health problems is found in prescription medication. Besides the obvious unethical conflict this creates for patients and physicians, it drives the broad application of medicines to treat symptoms. This masking of symptoms can lead to complacent patients who take their medications while the underlying disease process continues unabated.

Could Functional Medicine or a Functional Nutritionist be right for you?

If you are satisfied with a five-minute consult and a quick drug prescription fix, then Functional Medicine may not be right for you. If you want medications, surgery, or quick fixes that require little or no effort or dedication on your part, Functional Medicine is not a good fit for you. But, if you want a relationship based upon nutritional and lifestyle guidance including gut health maintenance, Functional Medicine may have the answers you are looking for. So, what makes functional medicine different?

Functional Medicine/Functional Nutrition focuses on factors that can be changed to improve health and wellness. To that extent, Functional Nutrition does not use medications, controlled substances, or surgeries to manage symptoms. Instead, it seeks to identify the origins of health problems so that appropriate protocols can be developed and implemented. It utilizes lifestyle factors such as stress reduction and exercise coupled with nutritional support via diet and supplementation protocols to help a patient return to health.

Addressing health problems via Functional Nutrition requires that each individual be seen as one possessing unique biochemistry. Everyone has been impacted by their genes, environment, and lifestyle. To that extent, two individuals with similar symptoms could have totally different contributing causes to their condition. Accordingly, Functional Nutrition’s support and lifestyle management will be unique and designed specifically for each individual.

In a Functional Nutrition practice, a partnership must be formed between the physician and the patient. While the physician can provide investigation, analysis, guidance, and coaching, the patient must take an active role in the health recovery process. The best results are obtained when the patient understands what factors have contributed to their current health condition and then takes appropriate steps to support his/her body’s healing process. Complacency and non-participation simply will not work.

The action plan for health recovery involves:

    1. A comprehensive health history
    2. Examination of the patient’s lifestyle and environment
    3. Determination of the destructive forces at work through functional testing and laboratory outcomes to identify such things as nutritional deficiencies, food and environmental allergies, accumulated toxins, and much more.
    4. Implementation of dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, and stress reduction based on education and understanding. It is not only important to understand why each action is being done, but how it can impact the recovery process.
    5. Restoration of digestive potency and balance.
    6. Strengthening detoxification mechanisms and improving the elimination of accumulated toxins

Dr.Mashner’s Holistic…. Non-Medical….. Approach to healing*

My approach is to establish a partnership and relationship that is based on trust and personal responsibility. Through communication and coaching, improved health and wellness are achievable through specific action steps – action steps for me, and action steps for you, the patient.

First, we must determine the destructive forces at work through a comprehensive review of health history and lifestyle coupled with appropriate functional testing.

Second, we will establish dietary guidelines and a personal Designed Clinical Nutrition program to provide your body with the tools and raw materials it needs to continue to heal itself from within.

Third, we will provide you, the patient, with education and guidance so that you not only assume greater personal responsibility for your health care but also become less dependent upon our clinic or any other doctor to maintain your health.

No one can guarantee results. The extent of improvement will be directly proportional to the degree of damage that has already occurred, the time it has been present, and the adherence to the diet lifestyle and nutrition lessons from our partnership together. I believe this partnership can help move you away from clinging to diagnostic condition labels or traditional drug-focused treatments into a new world of health recovery, restoration, and wellness.

*It is important to note that Functional Medicine/Functional Nutrition is not the same as the practice of medicine. But what is functional nutrition? The easiest way to remember the difference is that an integrative medicine nutritionist combines the traditional medical approach with the functional medicine approach to help personalize treatment for each patient. 

Dr. Mashner is not an MD, but the functional gut health nutritionist near you that you’ve been searching for. You may be wondering, “Can a nutritionist prescribe medication to me? He will not prescribe medications. He will evaluate your health from a natural perspective using the latest scientific research coupled with established scriptural-based principles of healing. Alterations or changes to your prescription medications should always be done in coordination with your prescribing physician. If you’re in need of a functional medicine nutritionist near you, call us today.

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