WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE
Our approach & testing we offer
The functional medicine model is an individualised, person-focused, science-based approach that allows patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. While conventional medicine focuses on diagnosing a disease and how to manage symptoms as the disease progresses, functional medicine looks at underlying factors of what caused the disease or symptom in the first place and aims to restore balance and health.
Functional medicine looks at the interactions among genetic, dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease such as autoimmune disease.
Unfortunately, our medical system is poorly equipped to deal with chronic illness and many people don't get the help or support they need.
A functional medicine practitioner aims to treat the person who has the symptom or disease, not the disease itself. For example, two people may share a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, but their genetic make up, past history, diet and environment are different, so would be their treatment plan. The diagnosis itself isn't the determining factor.
'Functional Medicine is medicine by cause, not by symptom. Practitioners don't treat disease. We treat your body’s ecosystem. We get rid of the bad stuff, put back in the good stuff, and because your body is an intelligent system - it does the rest'
- Dr Mark Hyman
A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE APPROACH
Whilst conventional treatments for autoimmune diseases often focus on managing symptoms or suppressing the immune system, functional medicine offers a holistic approach that aims to address the underlying causes and restore balance to the body.
Although there is no one set protocol for autoimmunity, our key strategies for supporting our clients with an autoimmune disease and their overall well-being include or more of the following:
IDENTIFYING TRIGGER(S) AND ROOT CAUSE(S): We aim to uncover the root causes and triggers of autoimmune diseases, which can vary from person to person. This may involve a comprehensive evaluation of factors such as genetic predisposition, environmental toxins, chronic infections, dietary factors, stress, and gut health. Identifying and addressing these underlying triggers is essential for long-term management.
IMPROVING GUT HEALTH: The health of the gut plays a critical role in autoimmune diseases. Our approach emphasises on restoring gut health by addressing dysbiosis (imbalanced gut microbiome), intestinal permeability (leaky gut), and optimising digestion and nutrient absorption. This may involve dietary modifications, targeted supplementation, and lifestyle changes to support a healthy gut environment.
BALANCING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM: The immune system is at the core of autoimmune diseases, so restoring balance is crucial. We aim to modulate and regulate the immune response rather than suppress it completely. This may involve targeted interventions, such as dietary modifications, specific supplements, stress management techniques, and lifestyle modifications tailored to individual needs.
ADDRESSING NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES AND IMBALANCES: Autoimmune diseases can be associated with nutrient deficiencies and imbalances. We may assess individual nutrient status and optimise nutritional intake through personalised dietary recommendations and targeted supplementation. This includes key nutrients such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and micronutrients necessary for immune regulation and overall health.
REDUCING INFLAMMATION: Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases. We aim to to reduce inflammation by identifying and addressing its sources. This may involve dietary modifications to reduce pro-inflammatory foods, lifestyle changes to manage stress and improve sleep, and the use of targeted anti-inflammatory nutrients or botanicals.
SUPPORTING DETOXIFICATION: Toxic burden and impaired detoxification pathways can contribute to autoimmune diseases. We may focus on supporting the body's detoxification processes through dietary interventions, targeted supplementation, and lifestyle modifications. This helps reduce the toxic load on the body and supports overall immune function.
Whilst our approach focuses on dietary and lifestyle interventions, we may also recommend specific blood tests through your GP or suggest private tests conducted by private laboratories, depending on your individual needs.
Please note that we only use evidence based cutting-edge laboratories.
Testing can enable us to gain a deeper understanding of your health profile and to target specific areas that require support more effectively.
Testing plays a valuable role in providing us with essential insights to enhance the efficiency of our support and expedite your recovery process.
These tests are run by private labs, but there is absolutely no pressure for you to embark on private testing. Many tests can be done in the comfort of your home (stool, breath, urine, finger prick blood test).
Shall we need to organise a test that requires a blood draw, we will recommend you a phlebotomy clinic or a mobile phlebotomist close to where you live. If you live within the M25, we will recommend our trusted mobile phlebotomist to come to your home as a convenient and affordable option.
See below for a list of the most common tests we use in our clinic.
BLOOD CHEMISTRY PANELS
Blood tells a story, from mild inflammation to chronic illnesses and serious diseases.
We may ask your GP to run specific bloods or use a private lab if necessary.
We may look at your red blood cells, inflammation, immune system, kidney and liver health, lipids, specific tissue antibodies, nutrient status such as vitamin D, B12, folate, iron status, etc...
COMPREHENSIVE STOOL TEST
Biomarkers include Digestion/Absorption,
Inflammation/Immunology, and the Gut Microbiome - including bacteria, parasites, yeasts and moulds.
The health of the entire body is dependent on a healthy gut and gut microbiome. Gut microbes are codependent with one another and with their human host, and the health of one affects the other.
SIBO BREATH TEST
(Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth)
This 3 hour breath test measures hydrogen and methane gasses in response to lactulose, a disaccharide (consisting of fructose and galactose) which is poorly absorbed by the intestine. If SIBO is present, the bacteria will begin to metabolise lactulose before it reaches the large intestine, causing an early increase in gas production.
FOOD INTOLERANCES/ SENSITIVITIES
(Body Tissue Antibodies)
Cyrex Labs tests for a wide range of autoimmune antibodies to investigate autoimmunity (expressed and silent).
The full range tested comprises antibodies against all the major body tissues including digestive system, thyroid, adrenals, heart, ovaries, testis, joints, bones, liver, pancreas, brain and cell components.
FOOD, MOULD & ENVIRONMENTAL ALLERGIES
Blood testing to look for IgE allergies to foods, your environment (trees, grasses, pollens, weeds, dust mites, etc...) and mould. Allergies have the potential to disrupt the immune system, trigger inflammation, and encourage the development of autoimmune responses.
Mycotoxins may contribute to immune dysregulation and inflammation. Mycotoxin exposure has been associated with various health concerns, including respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, and neurological symptoms, which could trigger or exacerbate autoimmune conditions in susceptible individuals.
ADRENAL STRESS PROFILE
The Adrenal Stress Profile (ASP) provides an assessment of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis using carefully timed salivary samples of the hormones cortisol and DHEA. Stress can have a significant impact on the immune system and is known to play a role in the development and exacerbation of autoimmune diseases.
COMPREHENSIVE THYROID PANEL
This test is helpful for individuals suffering from thyroid dysfunction, including low-grade hyper- or hypothyroidism, which might otherwise go undetected through standard blood tests, and auto-immune thyroid conditions either Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease.