Cell To Soul: A Saratoga Nutrition Blog

Functional Medicine Finally Hits Mainstream TV

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Kudos to Dr. Oz for taking the step to present the practice of Functional Medicine on national TV on January 13th, 2012 !  Four physicians whom are pioneers in Functional Medicine were chosen to be on the show.   This is a very progressive practice that  focuses on looking beyond symptoms to treat the actual cause of your condition. 

One of the physicians on the show, Dr. Hyman, is a local MD from the Berkshires whom I have used as a specialist.  Both he and I had many chronic conditions that appeared to all be created by an over abundance of mercury in the body. I have essentially resolved more than 10 chronic health conditions, all directly related to mercury toxicity.  
 


SInce 1999 I have specialized - as a Dietitian - in Integrative and Functional Medicine.  This specialty has had a profound affect on my personal and professional life.  Below is further explanation from the Institute for Functional Medicines' (IFM) website..  www.functionalmedicine.org.  This is a professional organization I have been a member of since 2001. 


What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

Why Do We Need Functional Medicine?

  • Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.
  • Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today's lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.
  • There's a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous--as long as 50 years--particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.
  • Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.

How is Functional Medicine Different?

Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:

  • Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual's unique needs.
  • An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look "upstream" to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient's history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
  • Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered "alternative" or "integrative" medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.

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Mary Beth McCue Saratoga Nutrition ConsultantMary Beth McCue RD, LDN, CDN - Integrative Nutrition Consultant

Rebalance your mind, body and soul with tools and advice from nutritionist Mary Beth McCue. For more than 20 years, Mary Beth has helped many optimize their health and resolve unique chronic health conditions relating to weight, digestion, food intolerances, energy & metabolism, depression, inflammation, aging and more. She has initiated a variety of first time programming in corporate, community, collegiate, National Spa & Retreat Centers, Rehabilitation Farms and Organic Farms, and more. Mary Beth was appointed by the CEO of a large Health Care Organization to initiate an Integrative Health Model. This programming successfully continues today.

Nominated as "Dietitian of the Year" while working for the largest employer of Dietitians in the world, Mary Beth McCue is a Licensed and Certified Nutritionist who specializes in Integrative and Functional Medicine Concepts. She is amongst a very small percentage of nutritionists in this field whom have dedicated their professional education and training with organizations such as Harvard Medical School, The Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and the American College of Sports Medicine. Mary Beth is an avid hiker, biker, and skier. Strength training, yoga and her black lab help keep a check on the daily balances. Learn more at www.SaratogaNutrition.com.