We are giving healthy living a bespoke and personalized twist for best results, with Functional Medicine and Precision Health expert Mirthe joining our Transformation offerings.
What is ‘Functional Medicine’? - the new era of Precision Healthcare
Taking your health into your own hands is all the rage, with direct-to-consumer blood testing, healthy food deliveries, and health advice on Instagram being widely available now. You know you should be eating your greens, get some sleep, and exercise, you may even incorporate some intermittent fasting, are dipping in and out of keto, and maybe supplementing with vitamin D during winter. But what is actually important for you?
Meet Functional Medicine and Precision Health
Functional Medicine is an integrative health care approach based on the newest cutting-edge research findings in medicine, biochemistry, genetics, and technology.
It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease and accelerated decline. Instead of asking ‘What drug matches up with this disease?’, Functional Medicine asks the questions ‘What triggered the development of this condition, how can we remove these triggers and restore function?’ and ‘What can we do to optimise health and wellbeing in the long run?’.
It does this by considering the unique interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to chronic illness and/or faster aging, along with the unique genetic makeup and ‘epigenetic’ factors like hormones, neurotransmitters (‘brain chemicals’ like serotonin), low-grade inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, heavy metal toxicities, the social and emotional state.
Within Functional Medicine, there are two main areas of focus
1. Health optimisation, predictive biomarker testing & anti-aging
Illness does not usually hit overnight. In addition to genetic weaknesses, science has discovered that several pathways, including free radical damage, low-grade inflammation, and others that contribute to the different manifestations of disease and decline, accumulating sludge and ‘rust’ over many years prior to eventually turning into a full-blown condition.
One powerful tool is predictive biomarker testing. Predictive biomarkers are specific markers that aim to provide prognostic insights. They have been shown to have a high correlation to optimal health vs disease and morbidity. Predictive biomarkers may be used to help in the prevention of illness, as they aim to pick up imbalances in the body a lot earlier on.
But you are getting your annual check-up, and your doctor says you are fine? That is great news, however, Functional Medicine takes it one step further.
Did you know that most of the lab reference ranges used are based on an average of the population? Not of an average of optimally healthy, thriving people and what would be best for ideal functioning, but of your average Joe, who may already be pre-diabetic, and have high blood pressure. Meaning that often times lab results are suboptimal for many years without being flagged by conventional doctors (or the widely available home blood test kits), as they are still in the ‘normal ranges’.
Functional Medicine will look at your conventional blood tests and place them into much narrower ‘Functional Medicine’ reference ranges, distinguishing between optimal (green light!) and suboptimal (no danger yet, but let’s address it!), and allow for you to apply targeted dietary, lifestyle and supplement strategies to bring the markers back to ‘optimal ranges’. This approach may or may not include tools such as intermittent fasting and/or carb- and keto cycling (if this is something you are interested in exploring) and it will always be developed to suit YOU, your hormones, your preferences, and your goals. The aim is for you to learn to make educated choices, and be in the driver’s seat of your health, rather than another fad diet and wagon to fall off.
Test, tweak, track and thrive.
2. Support of conventional treatment if symptoms are already present
On the other hand, Functional Medicine can also help to support your current care if a condition is already present. You may have been told that ‘this is it, that you just have to live with a certain condition. However, our bodies are uniquely designed to thrive, if only we let them do ‘their thing’. Functional Medicine seeks to uncover the underlying triggers and imbalances that may be contributing to the condition and aims to restore balance so the body gets the best possible chance to heal itself.
Common conditions that can often be improved with the Functional Medicine approach:
- Auto-immune conditions including MS, Crohn’s, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, eczema, alopecia
- Hormone conditions including PMS, PCOS, Endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, lack of libido
- Fertility problems
- High cholesterol, cardiovascular decline
- Musculoskeletal conditions including gout, frozen shoulder, osteoporosis, joint aches
- Irritable bowel syndrome, SIBO, candida
- Mood and mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism
- Neurodegenerative conditions such as post-concussion syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s
In this case, more specialized testing is usually required to get to the root, which can be items such as heavy metals, hormones, IgG food intolerances, gut microbiome, and more, and depending on your concern (and budget) to come up with a strategy to tackle your condition, improve your condition or at the least slow down the further decline.
Her own diagnosis of the autoimmune condition Crohn’s throughout childhood started her on a journey of ‘trial and error’ in many different areas of treatments from an early age, including yoga, meditation, nutrition, eastern and western medicine. Eventually, after learning how to find and read research in her Bachelor of Health degree (2007- 2011), she found medical research to relieve her of the disabling symptoms, and only thereafter discovered the back-then young-and-emerging field of Functional Medicine and went on to do post-graduate training in Functional Medicine (2015-2017). After a stint traveling the world looking after the NZ Olympic Team, elite surfers on the World Surfing League, and running exclusive, bespoke health retreats, she now practices out of both Verbier, Switzerland, and London, UK, in addition to bespoke and online offerings worldwide. It is her passionate belief that individuals can empower themselves to take control of their health and optimise their future with a bespoke health plan based on specific testing and expertise.
In order for you to have access to the pulse of the newest research, Mirthe makes sure to schedule a large amount of her own time researching and adapting new scientific findings into her strategies and approaches.
Is Functional Medicine for you?
This is for you if you believe knowledge is power and would like to be the pioneer of your own health by taking a non-conventional yet proven preventative rather than a palliative approach to health and wellbeing.
If so, you are probably already trying to incorporate fitness and a healthy diet, but have been lacking the ability to target things accurately and fitted to you uniquely, rather than broadly with a one size fits all approach.
For help in selecting the right transformation package with Mirthe, please get in touch here.