Functional Medicine: 21st Century Healthcare

By Neenah Payne

Unconventional Medicine: Join the Revolution to Reinvent Healthcare, Reverse Chronic Disease, and Create a Practice You Love by Chris Kresser was published in November 2017. Amazon warns:

The world is facing the greatest healthcare crisis it has ever seen. Chronic disease is shortening our lifespan, destroying our quality of life, bankrupting governments, and threatening the health of future generations. Sadly, conventional medicine, with its focus on managing symptoms, has failed to address this challenge. The result is burned-out physicians, a sicker population, and a broken healthcare system.

In Unconventional Medicine, Chris Kresser presents a plan to reverse this dangerous trend. He shows how the combination of a genetically aligned diet and lifestyle, functional medicine, and a lean, collaborative practice model can create a system that better serves the needs of both patients and practitioners. The epidemic of chronic illness can be stopped, if patients and practitioners can adapt.

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The Evolution of Medicine: Join the Movement to Solve Chronic Disease and Fall Back in Love with Medicine: The current epidemic of chronic illness demands a new care standard. It requires functional medicine. [The] conventional medical system is bad for doctors, patients, and payers, as well as being ineffectual in the treatment of chronic ailments. Welcome to a new world of modern medical care.

The Three Eras of Medicine

The evolution of medicine is defined by the following three eras:

  1. THE FIRST ERA OF MEDICINE focused on treating infectious diseases like malaria and TB. As sanitation improved in the developed world, these diseases became less of a problem there.
  2. THE SECOND ERA OF MEDICINE is recognized for its unquestioned superiority for acute care in trauma situations. If you are in a car accident, get shot, have appendicitis, etc., Allopathic Medicine can save your life. However, Allopathic Medicine is failing in the treatment of chronic illnesses that people of all ages are suffering from in growing and unprecedented numbers now.Allopathic Medicine says that the causes of most chronic diseases are genetic or unknown and there is no way to prevent or cure them. So, it uses drugs and surgeries to suppress symptoms. So, many Americans are on a cocktail of drugs and/or have multiple expensive surgeries. MDs are taught nothing about nutrition although Hippocrates, the founder of Western medicine, said, “Let food be your medicine and your medicine your food.” While Hippocrates said, “First do no harm”, Allopathic Medicine is a leading causes of death and the leading cause of bankruptcy.
  3. THE THIRD ERA OF MEDICINE is devoted to education and prevention. Functional Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine recognize that the word “doctor” comes from the Greek word “docere” which means to teach. So, they understand that the role of doctor is to teach people how to stay well and restore their health through daily lifestyle choices that include good nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and detoxification. They understand that “Knowledge is power” and encourage people to take their power back and not rely exclusively on doctors to rescue them. Holistic remedies are often inexpensive, yet powerful, fast-acting, and with no negative side effects.

Introduction to Functional Medicine

The Introduction to Functional Medicine by The Institute For Functional Medicine discusses how Functional Medicine differs from Allopathic Medicine which focuses on symptoms in a philosophy of a “pill for every ill”. So, many Americans (young and old) are on a cocktail of drugs to suppress symptoms. Those drugs often have negative side effects – for which more drugs are often prescribed!

Instead, Functional Medicine identifies and resolves the causes of the symptoms. Functional Medicine also understands that the same symptom may have different causes in different people. So, Functional Medicine is personalized healthcare rather than “one pill fits all”.

IFMs Find A Practitioner

See Dr. Mark Hyman’s video intro to Functional Medicine. He is the IFM Board President of Clinical Affairs.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Summit: July 23-29, 2018

The free online Alzheimer’s and Dementia Summit includes 31 top specialists in brain health. The lead speaker is Functional Medicine MD, Dr. Dale. Bredesen, author of the 2017 book The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.

Alzheimer’s affected 30 million people in the world in 2012. It is expected to affect 160 million people globally by 2050! About 45 million Americans living today (15% of the population) are expected to get it. Alzheimer’s is probably the third leading cause of death in the United States. Yet, Allopathic Medicine offers no hope of a cure! Dr. Bredesen’s protocol allows people in their 40s and 50s to get tested now. If the tests reveal that they are at risk of the disease, they can take steps now to prevent it!

Dr. Bredesen discovered that Alzheimer’s is caused by different factors in various people and developed tests to determine the causes for each patient. So rather than using a “one drug fits all” approach, Dr. Bredesen uses the test results to devise a protocol designed for each patient  The videos further below discuss the astounding results that the Bredesen Protocol is achieving!

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed for first time | UCLA

The following videos/audios are interviews with or talks by Dr. Bredesen:

  1. Dr. Mark Hyman Interviews Dr. Dale Bredesen
  2. Reversing Alzheimer’s Disease- Dr. Dale Bredesen, MD
  3. Dr. Steven Gundry interviews Dr. Dale Bredesen about “The End of Alzheimer’s”
  4. The End of Alzheimer’s? The heralded arrival of prevention and reversal / Dale Bredesen MD

Dr. Jeffrey Bland: Founder of Functional Medicine

The 2014 book The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, the father of Functional Medicine, explains the transition from 20th century Allopathic Medicine to 21st century Functional Medicine.

Dr. Bland, a biochemist by training, earned dual degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, and completed his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Oregon.  He is a Fellow of both the American College of Nutrition where he is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and the Association for Clinical Biochemistry. Dr. Bland is a former professor of biochemistry at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and served as Director of Nutritional Research at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in the early 1980’s, working directly with two-time Nobel Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling whom he considers his lifelong mentor.

In the video Dr. Jeffrey Bland: The Father of Functional Medicine, Dr. Bland says, “We’re in a time of revolution, this transition into the 21st century with biomedicine and our understanding of the origin of health and disease is truly epicly changing.”

Audio Interview: The Disease Delusion with Dr. Jeffrey Bland

In his article The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer and Happier Life, Dr. Bland says:

Although it may seem comforting to receive a diagnosis from a specialist — you have arthritis, or you have depression — that is only a starting point for understanding the shared mechanisms that underlie that manifestation of illness. In Functional Medicine, such a diagnosis is but the first step toward finding out how to manage the condition effectively. Solving a health problem comes not from naming it but from understanding the physiological disturbances that have resulted in the changed function we refer to as disease.

Functional Medicine takes a systems approach to the body — why, because the body contains a network of organ systems — immune, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, etc. — but here the important word is network; all these systems are linked. An event in one system can affect something else in another system. An anti-inflammatory that diminishes pain in your musculoskeletal system may at the same time be causing serious harm in your gastrointestinal system, so although your arthritis may feel better, you’ve suddenly got a miserably painful ulcer.

Institute of Functional Medicine: The 21st Century Doctor

In 1991, Dr. Bland and with his wife, Susan, founded The Institute for Functional Medicine, a nonprofit organization focused on educating healthcare practitioners on effective approaches to treating and preventing chronic disease. The 142-page white paper by the IFM provides a comprehensive overview. Thomas Edison foresaw this medical revolution about 100 years ago.

Although Americans spend more than any other country on healthcare, the charts below from the PDF show that, compared to other industrialized nations, the US ranks very low in life expectancy and high in infant mortality. This shows that the conventional approach to healthcare is not working.

Evolution of Medicine: Functional Forum

James Maskell is the founder of the Evolution of Medicine which hosts the Functional Forum events to help doctors transition from Allopathic to Functional Medicine. The Functional Forum is the world’s largest integrative medicine conference. On the first Monday of every month, this new concept in practitioner education, “medutainment”, brings together the latest health news, Functional Medicine research, practice development, and health technology in an upbeat, entertaining way.

Video: A Leap Forward in Medicine – Functional Forum March 2016

Dr. Jeffrey Bland explains the origins of Functional Medicine and its exciting goals in the March 2016 Functional Forum. Psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan discusses the shift from the masculine war mentality in medicine to the feminine one of collaboration. Following their presentations, they were joined in a panel discussion by dentist Dr. Gerry Curatola and journalist John Weeks, author of the article The Leadership of the Naturopathic Profession in the Emergence of Integrative and Functional Medicine. The delightful and informative forum was hosted by James Maskell.

Functional Medicine: Wounded Healers

The significance of these personal medical transformations and changes in values cannot be overstated – on a personal, global, and historic level.  For the last 15 years or so, Westerners have been flocking to shamans in the Amazon to be healed physically and emotionally. Now, Western doctors are themselves going through a shamanic transformation experience.

Hero’s Journey: Shamanic Transformation

The experiences of the many doctors shown in the documentary Betrayal: The Autoimmune Disease Solution They’re Not Telling You are the classic “Hero’s Journey” described by the late Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

The Hero’s Journey is at the core of the shamanic experience. Shamans don’t learn to become healers by going to med school. They go through a transformation that provides them with profound insights. This initiation experience has been missing in Western society. It redefines what real “knowledge” is and “knowing” means. It changes who is an “authority”. Experiential knowledge (Right Brain) takes priority over book learning (Left Brain). It is seen as more trusted, tested, verified, proven, and authoritative.

In the Hero’s Journey, the hero faces a trial (call to adventure) in which he receives insights and help as he goes through a “death” to the existing world/culture. He experiences a transformation that allows him to return with a gift of knowledge that is personal and deeply felt. It is not based on belief in what “authorities” have said, but on his own experience. So, he speaks with personal authority and his own life is his proof. The wounded healers of today are the shamans of the Western world – the growing number of Functional Medicine MDs.

Why Dr. Mark Hyman Switched to Functional Medicine

In the 2014 video Dr. Mark Hyman: The Future of Medicine, Dr. Hyman explains how his life and health were transformed when he met Dr. Jeffrey Bland in 1996. Dr. Hyman discusses The 4Cs of Change: Content (Functional Medicine), Connections, Community, and Connectivity (Technology). Dr. Hyman recommends the 2014 film Fed Up which is available on Amazon Prime as a DVD. See the trailer.

Amazing Videos:

Dr. Mark Hyman | Talks at Google
Why Food Is The Most Powerful Drug | Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Mark Hyman: How Functional Medicine Helps Us Take Back Our Energy, Focus & Lives

Dr. Hyman is a family physician and director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, Board President of Clinical Affairs for the Institute for Functional Medicine, and a medical editor for The Huffington Post. He has been a medical contributor to CNN and many TV shows including CBS This Morning, the Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, Katie, and The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Hyman a 10-time #1 New York Times bestselling author and an internationally-recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field.

Dr. Hyman has testified before both the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine. He consulted with the Surgeon General on diabetes prevention and participated in the 2009 White House Forum on Prevention and Wellness. Dr. Hyman has also advised the World Economic Forum on global health. He is the winner of the Linus Pauling Award in Functional Medicine and was inducted into the Books for Better Life Hall of Fame.

In the 2016 video Dr. Mark Hyman and Functional Medicine, Dr. Hyman says he switched to Functional Medicine when he suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which conventional MDs did not resolve because they just prescribed drugs to suppress the symptoms. With Functional Medicine, he discovered that the CAUSE of the problem was mercury poisoning and intestinal infection. He was then able to treat those issues and fully restore his health.

In the 2016 video Dr. Mark Hyman and Functional Medicine Part II, Dr. Hyman shows how easily he was able to restore a very sick kid’s health by “removing the bad stuff (toxins) and putting in the good stuff (nutrients)”. Functional Medicine says there are two primary causes of all chronic illnesses: 1. Excess Toxicity: Too much bad stuff and 2. Insufficient Nutrients: Too little good stuff.

Dr. Terry Wahls Healed Her Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Terry Wahls explains in her 2011 TEDx Talk Minding Your Mitochondria that she was hopeless and wheelchair-bound with “incurable” Multiple Sclerosis in 2007 while following the best that conventional medicine had to offer. However, just by switching to organic food, Dr. Wahls was able to take an 18-mile bike ride in 2008 and to go hiking in the mountains! She is now the author of 2 books on the paleo diet.

IFM Names Terry Wahls, MD, as the 2018 Linus Pauling Award Recipient

Dr. Jeffrey Gladd Cured His Obesity

In the video RETHINKing Healthcare: Dr. Jeffrey Gladd, Dr. Jeffrey Gladd describes his transformation from an obese over-worked doctor. He said he had to go back to school because he had gotten only about 15 minutes of nutrition in seven years of medical training! At the end of 2009, Dr. Gladd completed the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine fellowship program under the direction of Dr. Andrew Weil, MD.

After he followed the adage “Doctor, heal thyself“, he started Gladd Integrative Medicine. Dr. Gladd says he now has a high-tech, high-touch practice. Patient visits are one hour instead of the usual seven minutes. Dr. Gladd describes a diabetic patient who was cured in four months through good nutrition! Since Dr. Gladd does not use insurance, insurance companies cannot dictate care. Many Functional Medicine MDs use various alternatives to insurance that are cheaper and better for patients.

Introducing Dr. Gladd
Integrative Healthcare Symposium New York 2016
Functional Forum Interview with Dr. Jeff Gladd [James Maskell]

Dr. Craig Hauser Healed His Autoimmune Disease

Dr. Craig Hauser, an MD who turned to Functional Medicine to heal himself is in the documentary Betrayal: The Autoimmune Disease Solution They’re Not Telling You.

Dr. Hauser says: “My issues ranged from kidney stones, shingles, Lyme disease, tinnitus, and Bell’s Palsy to stress, anxiety and (what I dreaded the most) panic attacks. I’ve had high cholesterol, reflux (GERD), put on extra pounds, and tried all kinds of exercise and diets. I know all too well what irritable bowel disease is and just how little it is regarded in the typical American medical system. My medicine cabinet was FULL of prescriptions. I also know first hand about SSRIs, anti-anxiety medicine and the deep desire for a more natural, more effective solution without all the awful side effects.”

He adds: “So, I set out on a journey. Maybe like the one you’ve been on, bouncing from doctor to doctor and rushing through 15-minute appointments… Eventually I discovered Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Functional Medicine, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, etc. Anything other than Western Medicine, which treated me like a number even though I was part of the system. I began studying with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona as a Fellow in the Integrative Medicine program…Now, my medicine cabinet is much simpler and my refrigerator, garden, and pantry are much healthier. Most importantly, my life is less stressful and more full.”

Dr. Hauser went through the “Hero’s Journey” like Dr. Jeffrey Gladd and Dr. Mark Hyman. Both Dr. Gladd and Dr. Hyman are interviewed in the film. These MDs and Dr. Terry Wahl (also in the film), turned to Functional Medicine because Allopathic Medicine had failed to cure their illnesses.

Dr. Hauser is recommended by LDN Science to support patients in the use of Low Dose Naltrexone. The article Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN): “Wonder Drug! shows that LDN is an inexpensive drug approved by the FDA that has been used since the 1980s by hundreds of thousands of people around the world to treat 200 chronic illnesses including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and a wide variety of cancers – with no negative side effects. Yet, most conventional doctors have never heard of it and may even refuse to prescribe it when asked.

In the video LDN Prescriber – Dr. Craig Hauser, shares his experience of LDN, Dr. Hauser is interviewed about his use of LDN by Linda Elsegood, founder of the LDN Research Trust who recovered with the use of Low Dose Naltrexone from severe autoimmune disease that had left her almost suicidal.

Dr. Amy Myers Reversed Her Autoimmune Disease

Dr. Amy Myers turned to Functional Medicine to heal her autoimmune disease. The 2016 book The Evolution of Medicine: Join the Movement to Solve Chronic Disease and Fall Back in Love with Medicine discusses the exciting, growing, powerful shift to a new medicine that is known by many names including holistic, Naturopathic, and Functional Medicine.

The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases by Dr. Myers is an Amazon Best-Seller.

Amazon explains: “Over 90 percent of the population suffers from inflammation or an autoimmune disorder. Until now, conventional medicine has said there is no cure….chronic and debilitating diseases like Crohn’s and rheumatoid arthritis are handled with a cocktail of toxic treatments that fail to address their root cause. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In The Autoimmune Solution, Dr. Amy Myers, a renowned leader in functional medicine, offers her medically proven approach to prevent a wide range of inflammatory-related symptoms and diseases, including allergies, obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, IBS, chronic headaches, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.”

Podcast: The Myers Way Episode 1: Dr. Myers’ Journey to Functional Medicine

Dr. Veronique Desaulniers Healed Her Breast Cancer

Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, author of the 2015 book Heal Breast Cancer Naturally: The 7 Essential Steps to Beating Breast Cancer. From 2006-2008, Dr. Desaulniers healed her own breast cancer.

Dr. Desaulniers says:

I was living a healthy lifestyle that consisted of organic foods, regular exercise, massage, Chiropractic care and colonics. How could somebody like me develop Breast Cancer? That very question led to thousands of hours of research, study, soul-searching and prayer. It all came together as The 7 Essentials – 7 basic steps that are necessary for preventing and healing cancer, or any dis-ease for that matter.”

Dr. Véronique Desaulniers on How She Healed Breast Cancer

Video: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers on Healing Breast Cancer Naturally

Dr. V’s Seven Essential Steps For Healing Breast Cancer and other Cancers and Dis-eases:

Essential #1 Let Food Be Your Medicine
Essential #2 Reduce Your Toxic Exposure
Essential #3 Balance Your Energy
Essential #4 Heal Your Emotional Wounds
Essential #5 Embrace Biological Dentistry
Essential #6 Repair Your Body with Therapeutic Plants and Herbs.
Essential #7 Adopt Very Early Detection

Back To The Future

Dr. Desaulniers points out that Functional Medicine is returning now to the principles of Hippocrates. Functional Medicine is also adopting the 6 Principles of Naturopathic Medicine and is embracing much of the approach of Chinese Medicine with a focus on identifying causes, restoring balance, and using herbal and other natural approaches for cures rather than drugs and surgery to suppress symptoms. Functional Medicine has a systemic approach and recognizes that the same cause may produce different results in various people just as the same symptom may be caused by a variety of causes.

Colin Potter Reversed His Parkinson’s Symptoms

Functional Medicine is providing a transformation not only for MDs, but also for a growing number of patients who have undertaken their own journeys to healing – with inspiring results! They often then become leaders and healers of the larger community, sharing the insights they discovered.

In the video interview Colin Potter – How He Reversed His Parkinson’s Symptom’s, Colin Potter, a 67-year-old British Parkinson’s patient, explains how he fully recovered and got off all his medications by taking some simple, inexpensive steps!  Colin says Conventional Medicine left him with the hopeless, disempowering message that Parkinson’s is an incurable, degenerative disease for which the only answer is drugs that don’t address the cause and just let the disease get worse.

Colin read the New York Times bestseller  Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers by Dr. David Perlmutter which warns of the danger of wheat and sugar for the brain. Colin discovered the Ketogenic Diet – a diet low on carbohydrates, sugars, and gluten that can reverse the causes of Parkinson’s. A Colombia University study showed that in one month on the diet, five patients had a 43% reduction in their Parkinson’s symptoms. So Colin switched to that diet. He says that he had a wide-range of poor, life-changing symptoms five years ago, that he doesn’t have now.

Colin discovered through Functional Medicine that the cause of Parkinson’s is excess toxicity and poor diet. When Colin eliminated toxins and switched to more wholesome foods, he suddenly felt more energy. Within six months, the rigidity in his back disappeared. By nine months, he had reduced his medication. By 12 months, Colin stopped all his Parkinson’s drugs and had remained medication free for 18 months by the time of this 2016 video.

Colin’s website is Fight Parkinson’s. Email Colin at [email protected] for his 2017 eBook The Recovery Plan which lists nine steps for recovery. Like Functional Medicine MDs, Colin stresses the importance of detoxification and good nutrition. He shows that Knowledge is Power. Colin points out that Parkinson’s patients (like all patients) have a critical, life-defining choice to make. They can do nothing but take a cocktail of drugs and have multiple surgeries — or they can get informed and take simple, inexpensive, powerful steps to restore their health.

Chris Beat Cancer

The website Chris Beat Cancer is based on the experience of Chris Wark who reversed Stage IV colon cancer holistically. His site now features testimonials by a growing number of people who also beat diseases holistically. The site also includes lot of important information like the interview below.

Amazon says about the 2014 book Stop Feeding Your Cancer: One Doctor’s Journey:

The link between animal protein and cancer became global news with the publication of an international lab study a decade ago. The facts were startling: a diet rich in animal and dairy products was shown to stimulate cancer cell growth. But the conventional medical institutions apparently overlooked the obvious. Counteracting the disease by promoting an animal-protein-free diet could be a revolutionary step in cancer recovery. One visionary Dublin doctor chose to investigate the realities of the alternative approach to cancer treatment in a trial conducted with his own patients. What he learned may change our view of cancer forever.

Documentary on Hidden Autoimmune Solutions

Episode 1 of the film The Autoimmune Diseases Solution They’re Not Telling You is free. This explosive episode is the first in a 7-part series that aired in November 2016. Episode 1 is available for free at: You can buy the whole series at that site. You can also watch this powerful episode on YouTube.

Join Dr. Tom O’Bryan and over 100 of the world’s leading doctors, scientists, and researchers as well as autoimmune patients who have reversed their diseases. Discover the True Solution to autoimmune disease in this shocking 7-part documentary series.

You can buy the series at:

Episode 1: The Autoimmune Epidemic: Root Causes and Solutions
Episode 2: Intestinal Permeability: The Gateway to Autoimmunity
Episode 3: The Microbiome: Where Health and Disease Begin and End
Episode 4: Autoimmune Diseases of the Gut: The Role of Food and Digestion
Episode 5: Environmental Toxins: The Hidden Drivers of Disease
Episode 6: Autoimmune Diseases of the Brain: A New Approach to Neurology
Episode 7: Case Studies: Bringing It All Together

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare professional.

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