What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine:  What Dr. Rosman Does

Functional Diagnostic Nutrition is the equivalent of having a whole community of medical detectives uncovering evidence helping to explain what it is about your diet, lifestyle, genetics, exposure to toxins, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, drug depletion of essential nutrients, emotional stressors, infections, dysfunction of your body’s physiology, excess or deficiency of brain chemicals, structural imbalances of your body, and more have contributed to your current health complaints and medical diagnoses of illnesses your physicians may have given you.

This is very different from mainstream, pharmaceutical medicine that is driven by the “one pill for each ill” paradigm.  Give a drug or recommend a procedure to address your symptoms.  That model, which is the insurance based model that has a strangle hold on your health choices and reimbursements attempts to “cure” one thing that fixes the symptom.

There is an inherent flaw in this way of thinking because it assumes that any health problem has one cause.

Symptoms are Signals

Just like the red warning light in your car that flashes when there is a problem with your engine,  a physical symptom is a signal telling you that an underlying health problem needs to be corrected.  Treating a symptom without uncovering the real cause is like placing a piece of black tape over the blinking red warning light. The consequences of this action are obvious and more costly than necessary.  Unfortunately our bodies can’t be overhauled and chronic neglect of these symptoms could eventually lead to a serious illness.

Unlike the disease-specific approach which is geared to suppress the expression of symptoms, physicians practicing functional diagnostic medicine are delighted to discover that many diseases have a real underlying cause which when identified  and corrected can have a dramatic impact on the health of their patients.

Clinicians practicing functional diagnostic medicine are able to identify underlying causes of many health conditions by uniquely designed questionnaires, years of specialized training, utilization of assays and tests that seek to identify reasons for root causes and not simply surface symptoms.  These are not your standard medical tests.  These tests have been designed by researchers and scientists from the finest universities and innovative, licensed laboratories.  They expand the boundaries of inquiry to include investigation of the biochemical and metabolic glitches likely to cause a specific disease process.  Based on the results of these tests, physicians are then able to develop personalized, patient-specific treatment protocols designed to reverse, stop or prevent the disease and its related symptoms.

The Missed Diagnosis

Some health professionals typically interpret symptoms as indicators of a specific illness and use diagnostic assessments to identify or confirm that condition.  While perhaps validating a suspected disease process, this approach often fails to identify the real roots of the condition – – especially in cases of chronic illness.  Most treatments based upon this approach tend to be heavily dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs.  Again, this approach does not address the underlying cause of the condition. Further, many drugs have toxic side effects and cover up symptoms, making additional attempts at diagnosis even less reliable.

Functional Medicine is Personalized Medicine That Brings Hope and Help

Functional Medicine practitioners are particularly good at addressing the needs of those suffering from incorrectly or partially diagnosed chronic health problems which, in many cases, have yet to manifest as a specific disease.  In so many cases, patients have gone from doctor to doctor for months or years without getting the relief they seek.  Functional Medicine brings hope to those who may have begun to feel hopeless or helpless.  Treatments emphasize natural approaches, diet and exercise, specialized use of nutritional supplements, herbs (botanical medicine), homeopathy, and lifestyle coaching.

In addition to analyzing traditional lab tests for clues to underlying factors contributing to your health complaints, practitioners who have been trained in Functional Medicine have also been trained in the use of lab tests not often recommended by traditional, pharmaceutically oriented doctors.  These lab test options are offered by laboratories that are credentialed at the highest level – – the very same authorities that credential hospital and private labs your doctors send you to for their tests.  Options like these will be offered to you if I think that they will help me find clues to why a certain condition has developed or has not been relieved.

Functional Medicine Practitioners Customize Healthcare

Once you’re labeled with a disease in mainstream medicine, you’re given the same medications everyone else with that disease is given. This cookie cutter approach works sometimes, but more often than not, it fails miserably. Functional medicine takes into account that we’re all designed a little differently, so what works for one person isn’t necessarily best for you. A tailored, comprehensive health program addresses you as the unique individual that you are.

Functional Medicine Practitioners Spend More One-on-One Time with Patients

Mainstream medicine is really bogged down with symptom care. That is why every six months you typically wait an hour at your doctor’s office for a five-minute visit. This system is failing millions of Americans suffering from chronic health conditions.  In terms of crisis care, emergencies and surgeries, we have one of the best health care systems in the world, but when it comes to chronic health care the United States is one of the worst industrialized health care systems in the world.


Functional Medicine is Twenty-First Century Health Care

By identifying the underlying causes of chronic health conditions, reducing the risk of degenerative disease, and addressing an individual’s unique bio-chemical composition, Functional Medicine has been considered the future of medicine. Below are some illustrations:

CASE 1: Sinus Infections and Allergies

Traditional Medical Approach:

Functionalmedicine-notesThe patient was an adult male with a chief complaint of sinus infections and allergies for a period of six years. He had previously consulted with three medical physicians. Medical testing included a CT scan of the sinuses, which was negative for any pathologies. Treatment consisted of the following prescriptions: Sudafed, Claritin-D and Allegra.

Results were poor.

Functional Medical Approach:

Based on an extensive history and review of his medical records, Dr. X ordered an Airborne Allergy test and food sensitivity test. The results revealed that the patient was highly allergic to Aspergillus fumigatus and Alternaria alternata molds. Dr. X  instructed the patient in how to identify molds in his residence and at work and what steps to take to eliminate them. The patient was prescribed a natural pharmaceutical that increases his immune system’s defense against molds and fungi.

After three weeks, the patient was completely free of symptoms and has remained that way for the last two years.

CASE 2: Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Fatigue

Traditional Medical Approach:

The patient was a 27-year old female with an 11-year history of irritable bowel syndrome and fatigue. She had previously consulted with four medical physicians before scheduling an
appointment with Dr. Grisanti. Medical testing included an upper and lower GI study and colonoscopy, all of which were found to be negative for any pathologies. Treatment consisted of the prescription Hyoscyamine.

Results were poor.

Functional Medical Approach:

Based functionalmedicine-eatingon an extensive history and review of her medical records, Dr. X ordered a Digestive Stool Test and Allergy Blood Test. Two bacterial pathogens were found to be infecting her intestines: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Citrobacter freundii. The medical literature clearly linked these two pathogens to diarrhea disease. In addition, her allergy test revealed a significant sensitivity to gluten and rice. The patient was prescribed a natural pharmaceutical that helped eradicate the two bacterial pathogens and was placed on an elimination diet addressing the rice and gluten.

After one month, she was symptom-free.

CASE 3: Menopausal Symptoms

Traditional Medical Approach

The patient was a 61-year old female with menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, decreased libido, and weight gain over a period of five years. Patient had previously consulted with one medical physician, who performed no medical testing. Treatment consisted of the prescription Estrace.

Results were fair, but the patient was concerned about the drug’s potential side effects.

Functional Medical Approach:

functionalmedicine-patientBased on an extensive history and review of the patient’s medical records, Dr. X  ordered a Women’s Hormonal Panel. The results were quite revealing. Her estrogen/progesterone balance was significantly compromised, with too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. This imbalance was the main cause of the patient’s roller-coaster emotional challenges.

After this information was presented to her physician, she was prescribed the proper balance of estrogen and progesterone. The patient eventually went to a compounding pharmacy and had a special formula of estrogen/progesterone made. She became symptom-free and experienced an increase in energy.

In addition, she lost 54 pounds in eight months.

Further Information and Illustrations:

I invite you to visit Dr. Rosman’s Bio, the Testimonials section, and the blogs posted on this site.  There you will read about more about what Dr. Rosman does, the range of issues his patients present with, the efficacy of this functional, evidence-based, lab oriented, personalized approach to health and wellness that offers hope and help.

(Some of this material has been adapted, with permission from Functional Medicine University [from which Dr. Rosman holds one of his many certifications, www.functionalmedicine.net ), and Dr. Rosman’s clinical experience of 20 years and more than 20,000 patient encounters.