Enter the World of Functional Medicine

After spending lots time reading blogs dedicated to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and leaky gut, several things were becoming clear to me:

  1. Diet alone was not going to solve my problem;
  2. In the world of things treatable by the SCD, leaky gut is considered a “hard case” and given my responses to food and supplements, I am among the hardest of the hard cases;
  3. Most people need some level of supplementation and medical assistance beyond the SCD to truly get better;
  4. The most often referenced medical assistance takes the form of a doctor of “functional medicine.”

So, what exactly is functional medicine and how is it different from any other medicine? Hard to say with certainty. The Wikipedia article on functional medicine is very unflattering and mentions “nonsensical gobbledygook” and pseudoscience. At its best, functional medicine takes a more systemic approach and focuses on the interaction between bodily systems and the environment.  

Keep a couple of things in mind here.

  • First, I am a scientist. My radar for pseudoscience is always on alert. For example, the moment a doctor mentions homeopathy, it’s time to leave the room. Homeopathy is outright bunk. Water memory – you’ve got to be kidding!
  • Second, I have a very real illness that makes me very sick, yet is dismissed by most doctors as something they don’t fully understand or know how to treat. In essence, I have an illness on the fringe of medical science.

The end result of these seemingly conflicting concepts is that I have to navigate a careful path of treatments that may be somewhat outside current mainstream medical thinking while not falling into the trap of pseudoscience, bunkum and snake oil.

So, I set out to find a functional medicine specialist. It turns out, after much research on the internet, there’s a very highly qualified doctor only a couple of miles from my house! That’s the good news. Bad news is that she doesn’t take insurance and is very expensive. At this point, I don’t care too much about the money, within limits.

About a year after beginning the SCD and working with a gastroenterologist experienced in treating leaky gut patients, who left me with the usual “if it makes you sick, don’t eat it,” I made an appointment with a functional medicine doctor.

Hmm, very interesting experience. Clearly, with regard to my symptoms and reactions, she “gets it.” The follow up testing was extremely comprehensive and told me things I had never known before as well as a some details that were no surprise.

Stay tuned, I’ll give you more details in the next blog.