Functional Medicine Philosophy

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By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

The Triangle of Health and the Functional Medicine paradigm are the foundation which we help move and progress our patients toward optimal health. We have three major stressors that actually contribute to a lack of health. We have physical, chemical and emotional stressors. All of these stresses actually interact with our DNA. They actually caused certain genes to express itself. What we have known for the last 10 to 20 years with the human genome project is a thing called Epigenetics. Epigenetics control how our DNA expresses itself. Genes can be flipped on or off depending on how we manage the stressors that we get.

We know that that gene is a predisposition but we have the ability to control the stresses into how it will affect our DNA. We may have BRCA gene, and if we don't manage our physical, chemical, and emotional stressors properly, that gene has a better chance of expressing itself. Our physical stress can be chronic pain, old injuries, car accident, trauma, or too much too little exercise. Our chemical stress can be infections, chronic infections, food allergens, digestive problems, exposure to chemicals, heavy metals, and blood sugar disturbances. Emotional stress can be relationship problems, work issues, financial issues, and problems with your spouse or children. All of these stressors interact in our DNA. Managing our stress properly can turn genes that can give us the best chance for optimal health. If we don't manage the stress properly, these certain genes will be flipped on. It will allow those genetic predispositions, if it’s the BRCA gene, it will express itself and we’ll have a smiley face forward and a frowny face to the disease. Our goal is to manage it properly so we’re not having the frowny face, we’re having a smiley face and we’re having optimal health.

All of these stresses actually interact with one another. A physical stress, maybe back pain or an old injury creates inflammation. That inflammation is a chemical stressor and the original pain may affect you from spending time with your kids, golfing, or doing fun activity which will then create emotional stress. One stressor can affect the other stressor. We wanted to manage all sides of the pyramid properly because one side can fit into the other side. Our goal is to manage these two sides, and this gives the other side the best chance of optimal discretion. In summary, we have our chemical stressors, our physical stressors, our emotional stressors in each side just to make it plain and simple.

Our stress bucket is an important concept we created to show our body's ability to tolerate stress. We have our stressors in our stress bucket; it could be an old injury, it could be maybe a mono infection or parasitic infection, it could be stress from work. Our buckets are designed to handle stress. Some people come into this world with really small buckets, so a little bit of stress caused them to get sick and overwhelmed. Some people come into this world with huge buckets and they can handle so much stress and it just drives us crazy about how they can do it and not get sick. Everyone has a stressors that we put into our bucket and eventually over time, medication and toxic food, chemicals, etc., all of these stress summates or accumulates and we have a little bit of stress throughout our three areas that add up to a lot of stress.

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It’s easy to have stressors like blood sugar and chronic infections that we may not even be aware of, and it will add up and accumulate in our stress bucket. When the bucket starts to overflow, the symptoms occur. From there, we typically see a doctor who will prescribe some type of medication and again medications have inherent side effects. They have side effects like any drug commercial, and medications typically block physiology and they don’t really regulate and address the underlying cause. This creates a vicious cycle that continues to perpetuate over and over again because the goal of conventional medicine is to add stress to our stress bucket and not actually addressing the issues. The goal really should be to go back and to remove stressor one at a time, prioritizing what's the most important. As we remove the stressor, you can see the stress bucket empties out. The goal of the Functional Medicine is to fix the root cause.

Our body is automatically set to adapt to stress. We are healthy at some point, we feel good, we look good, we perform well. At some point of time, a stress comes on; it could be a physical, chemical, or emotional stress. It is different for each person and that causes phase one. Without symptoms, we go into phase two where we start to have some symptoms. When our body loses the ability to adapt even more, we start having more and more symptoms. This is typically where we see a medical doctor to get a prescription to control the symptoms. If we do not address this underlying stress over time, we eventually develop a disease or some type of diagnoses. We don’t want this to happen, our goal is to avoid the inevitable, basically remove the stressor and giving our body the ability to adopt because ultimate health means the ability to essentially to adapt to stress. Our goal is to remove the stressor and then we can start moving backwards.

We can handle the stressors in our life if we’re doing all the functional and foundational things correctly. We can express optimal health. The Functional Medicine paradigm is looking at a three body system which entails our hormonal system, blood sugar and adrenals.

Looking at our detoxification system and looking at our digestive system is a foundational filter in which we look at our patients and say you are healthy and what systems are out of balance, we then create programs to help push them back into balance. Our goal is to actually fix the underlying issue and not just treat the symptoms.

Hope you found this video helpful. For any questions, feel free and visit and/or call/email the office.

Thanks. Have a great day.

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