Understanding the Body Holistically with Functional Medicine

Understanding the Body Holistically with Functional Medicine

REVIEWED BY — Tanya Mezher, MS, RDN, CDN

“Hello patient number 2,500. Thank you for waiting in the lobby an hour after your appointment. How can I best treat all of your symptoms in the next 15 minutes?”

Sound all-too familiar? You know the drill.

Our current healthcare system has slammed the average doctor with 20 patients per day. Multiply that by five days a week (don’t even bother calculating per month and year) and good luck having your doctor remember your name, let alone your medical history.

The median length of an appointment is a hefty 15 minutes-per patient. Not to mention it’s the only visit of the year. So if you can’t ramp your words-per-minute up to 3x speed, it’s going to be difficult to share your current state of health, medical history, and genetic predispositions. Top it off with a comprehensive diagnosis and those fifteen minutes seem to evaporate. As we learned on TikTok… “the math ain’t mathin”.

We’ve normalized the slapping of a quick-fix over a gaping wound. According to CDC reports, 30% of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Yikes. We’re so used to being ushered out the door with a ‘pill for every ill’ that we’ve forgotten how to ask for more. But it’s not too late to reclaim agency over your health. You can, and should be demanding more.

Meet Functional Medicine

“Hello *insert your name here,* we’d like to get to know you. Really.”

Functional medicine is personal.

Let's start by reviewing your comprehensive intake form and spend this first session discussing why you’re here today, your medical history since birth, your social-emotional wellbeing and last but not least, your current favorite nut milk.

Functional medicine-trained practitioners provide care targeted at the root, not the symptoms. Investigation takes time, because you have to go deeper than surface level care. One important factor that differentiates functional medicine from conventional medicine is lab testing. In order to get below the surface, you need to be willing to go there.

Comprehensive lab tests that can include blood, saliva, hair and urine panels provide insight into otherwise undetectable issues that range from food sensitivities to hormone levels. Maybe you didn’t realize that eggs, your go-to breakfast since forever, were a major allergen. Cut them out and suddenly that inexplicable morning bloating and brain fog are gone.

Lab Testing for Total Health

The chronic fatigue that other doctors labeled as a you-problem? Cortisol levels through the roof got your adrenal glands shot? Without access to this vital information, recommendations are based on supposition. Returning your body to a state of optimal health requires starting at the root.

‘Just eat healthier’ is so early aughts. We’re about the shit that really counts. 💩
The stool sample, that is. If it sounds gross now, trust us, you’ll be thanking us later. So the microbiome…*yawn*...yes we get it, you’ve heard it mentioned at least a million times and you’re over it. But, you shouldn’t be. We won’t go all gluten-free on you here (although that would probably help most of you…) but we will insist that familiarizing yourself with the trillions of friends in your gut is super important. Your stool not only unlocks how your body is breaking down food and absorbing nutrients but provides insight into your overall health since 70% of your immune system lives in your gut.

You’ve probably heard of Candida- sounds like the name of a beautiful protagonist but trust us, it’s not. Many of us have a slight overgrowth of this bacteria, but for some, the party has gone wild, spilled onto the front lawn and now the neighbors are calling the cops. Or, to put it into medical terms, you’re experiencing a range of seemingly inexplicable and unrelated symptoms from fatigue to fungal infections to UTIs and indigestion.

Stool samples are an easy tool for getting to the bottom of these nasty *and totally preventable* afflictions. With the culprit(s) pinpointed, your care team can provide you with the proper health plans and supplement regimens to get you back on track. ➡️

And while you may have crossed paths with the stool sample and blood tests, functional medicine goes into other labs that were probably not previously part of your repertoire. Advanced testing such as the DUTCH hormone panel, fasting insulin and blood glucose, full thyroid panel, and SIBO breath test are amongst some of the many functional medicine go-tos.

So that fatigue you were complaining about? Just because your basic blood work came back “normal” doesn’t mean we’re letting it off the hook so easily. While conventional medicine labels the absence of disease as health, functional medicine operates on optimal ranges of biomarkers to ensure your best health. The results of a diverse panel of lab tests allow functional medicine practitioners to assess the underlying why behind the fatigue in order to return you to your optimal state of wellbeing.

The Malla Way

The story doesn’t end here. In fact, the lab tests are just the beginning. Once the root cause behind the symptoms has been identified, a plan of action can be established. Our functional medicine-trained practitioners use lab tests as the jumping off point for creating holistic, meaningful change.

Meal plans targeted at fortifying your gut lining are complemented by personalized exercise routines. Supplement regimens are not only developed based on areas of deficiency, but also to promote optimal wellness. Once lifestyle changes have been put in place, frequent check-ins (with a coach who remembers your name) ensure that consistent improvements are restoring you to feeling your best.

It’s time for meaningful, in-depth care. You can lean on us, friend. No seriously. That’s why we’re here. Learn more about the Malla Membership and join the movement.
Next article

Feeling Ready to Feel Better?

Feeling Ready to Feel Better?