Functional Medicine or (Advanced Clinical Nutrition ACN) ) is a systematic approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Functional Medicine practitioners can create a personalized treatment plan for an individual patient by assessing their genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing factors impacting an individual’s illness. One of the most critical questions Functional Medicine practitioners will ask themselves and their patients is, “Why are you experiencing these current symptoms or medical conditions?” The purpose of a Functional Medicine practitioner is to understand the patient’s story to recognize clinically relevant patterns within the symptoms and characteristics of chronic disorders to address the antecedent of disease and concentrate on preventative care. The Functional Medicine practitioner can then support the client’s well-being by acknowledging their beliefs, attitudes, and motivations through physical, mental, and emotional aspects, to help the client achieve optimal health. ASTR provides the proper training that clinicians will need to perform a proper evaluation in order to recognize internal and external factors that may cause a physiological imbalance or dysfunction and restore optimal function while managing symptoms and enhancing overall health. By accurately evaluating the patient with up to date medical research studies, patients will experience the best possible outcomes.
Functional Medicine also indicates that nutrition plays an essential role in cellular metabolism in a vast array of metabolic networks within the body, which are influenced by an individual’s unique genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors throughout their lifetime. Functional Medicine practitioners will be able to determine the influence that long-term nutritional insufficiencies have on the development of chronic diseases. For example, depression can be caused by many different factors, including inflammation, hormonal imbalance, high toxicity level, poor diet, or deficiency in one or a combination of the following: vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, etc. Advanced clinical nutritionists (functional medicine practitioner) receive the proper training to evaluate the root cause of the patient’s depression or other conditions.
According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, headache disorders are the second leading cause of disability, with migraines being the most prevalent. Some migraines can be associated with inflammation triggered by certain foods. However, a 2007 study has shown that nutritional supplements, such as CoQ10 with magnesium citrate or L-carnitine, and food eliminating diets, such as those that cause systemic inflammation (e.g., IgG antibodies elimination diet), can suppress migraine symptoms without pharmaceutical intervention. Another study performed in 2017 provided evidence that foods high in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids also reduce migraine symptoms effectively and efficiently to improve a patient’s quality of life. With the abundance of ongoing research regarding the relationship between nutrition and diseases, Functional Medicine practitioners are equipped to treat and prevent various chronic disorders.
The precise evaluation and implementation of an appropriate treatment plan and the patient’s compliance with the program will have lasting benefits beyond symptom suppression and improve their quality of life.