How Functional Medicine Works?

How Functional Medicine works? and how does it approach disease?

I get asked a lot about what I do and how I work.  So I thought it would be a great idea to provide a more in-depth answer. As many of you know my practice has evolved over time. Why ? because I am curious and always searching for answers.

I have an inner drive to help all my patients to the best they can be.  The combination of these traits plus science and research has led me to look at how the body works and how all the dots are connected.

Instead of throwing a bunch of medications and band-aids over symptoms, I seek to identify and address the root cause. Instead of asking “what” the disease is, I ask “why” the disease is.

The body is NOT organized the way conventional medicine treats it—into organs, with specialists for every single body part. Rather, it is one unique integrated system that works as a whole.

So let’s say you have irritable bowel, joint pain, migraines, depression, and acne. Conventional medicine would treat each of these issues as separate problems, each needing a different specialist and different medication. Ugh! I know many of you have travelled that route and it’s frustrating.

How Does Functional Medicine work

On the other hand Functional Medicine recognizes that ALL these problems are connected and can be treated by getting to the root cause and optimizing your body’s systems.

I have learned that the “why” for most chronic diseases stems from dysfunction in one (or more) of the seven major systems in our body. The key to creating vibrant, optimal health, increasing your quality of life, and feeling great at any age is to support all seven systems.

How to Support the Seven Major Systems of Functional Medicine

Digestive system and gut flora:

Focus on removing the things that damage your gut, like ultra-processed, sugary and starchy foods, trans and highly processed fats, environmental toxins, unnecessary medications, stress, etc. and adding in the things that heal your gut, like prebiotic and fiber-rich foods (non-starchy veggies and whole fruits), fermented foods, probiotics like Prosynbiotic and L-glutamine. Digestive Enzymes like Enycore and Multizyme are also helpful especially if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

Immune and inflammatory system:

Create a healthy inflammation and immune response by limiting the things that cause chronic inflammation, like dairy, sugar,  gluten, chronic stress, toxins, and food sensitivities/allergies and adding in the things that support immune health, like lots of colorful organic vegetables, quality protein, plenty of healthy fats, wild-caught/low-mercury fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc.), high-quality fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D and Glutathione.

Detoxification system:

Make sure your body’s ability to remove waste and toxins is supported by reducing your amount of toxic exposure.  You can do that by limiting plastics, BPA-lined cans, artificial chemicals, unnatural ingredients, additives, artificial fragrances, etc. Support your body’s detoxification system by drinking plenty of water, sweating often through exercise and sauna, eating cruciferous vegetables, and having consistent bowel movements. The Liver is the main organ of Bio-Transformation.  If it is clogged up then it can not break down toxins and turn them into a form that can be excreted, so Milk Thistle is my go to for general Liver support.

The Energy system

Feeling fatigued and tired…you might need to support your mitochondria (the energy-creating organelles in your cells) and your Thyroid ( Basal Metabolism ) by eating whole, real foods, loading your plate with colorful vegetables, and eating anti-inflammatory foods, healthy fats, and MCT oil. The main support here is B Vitamins, CoQ10, Magnesium, and Breath-work for adequate oxygen.

The Communication system

This system includes your hormones, neurotransmitters, and more) These system are connected by feedback loops, so when one is not working well it can affect another.

Focus on lifestyle factors like eating plenty of healthy fats, limiting stress, increasing enjoyable activities (hobbies, creative outlets, connection with friends, building relationships, etc.), limiting processed and refined foods, and adding extra support like MCT oil, magnesium, and vitamin D.

The Transport System

This includes your lymph and vascular systems):

Keep your transport system moving by exercising often, sweating frequently, getting a massage, dry brushing, and adding support like Cardio +, Vasculin, Hawthorn,  high-quality fish oil, and                 L-carnitine.

The Structural System

This system includes your cells, muscles, bones, organs, and tissues

Keep your body healthy by focusing on core strength, posture, eating whole, real foods, moving daily, limiting stress, increasing enjoyment, and incorporating play and relaxation. Support could include, Ca+, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Glucosamine Synergy, Hydration, and full spectrum Amino Acid support like Protofood.

It seems like a lot to do however, you can see that there are a few things in each system that are the same.  If you do those consistently you will improve your quality of life.

Lastly there is one more system that really has a big impact on the whole and that is your Thoughts, Values and Beliefs.  Together we call that “Mindset”.

We have seen clearly in the last week or so how much we are affected by the way we process information even if we “eat clean” and exercise, so for this reason I also include Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) in my sessions.

For more info and access to some of the supplements we mentioned you can go here:

To Book an appointment in person you can go here:

To Book an appointment for a virtual consult you can go here:

Before I sign off for this week I have to say this: It is clear more than ever that Your health and Wellbeing is necessary for a healthy future. Please make good choices and as always I am here to support you on your journey.

Have a healthy week

Dr Pia