This is how you restore health and your quality of life.

Over the past 19 years of practicing functional medicine I have developed what I call the Functional Medicine Health Pyramid. This model that explains the process of restoring health to our body in a systematic way.

When I talk about systems I am referring to the systems of digestion, detoxification, nervous system, hormonal system, energy production systems; etc.

While it is true that all of the various systems all depend on each other for total body health, they cannot be addressed and repaired in a haphazard order. This is one of the main reasons that traditional medicine and medications are not effective at treating chronic health problems or restoring health and vitality to your body.

This pyramid is by no means a “cookie-cutter” approach to becoming healthy, it is instead a model to identify problems areas with your body and how to you can reach those areas with effective treatment. Let’s look at this triangle I have created and how it can be used to restore your health and quality of life

 Genetics 

Heart

Brain

Hormones

Thyroid

Immune

Inflammation

Blood sugar

Detoxification

Digestion

As you can see, Digestion is at the bottom of the triangle; not because it is the least important but because it must be evaluated and addressed first. You will notice that genetics are at the top of the triangle. We are born with the genetics we have, but we can influence how they express themselves; this is called epigenetics…the ability to change what our genes do. By improving the health and function of the systems below Genetics, we can influence them in a positive way. If the systems below Genetics are not working well; then your Genetics will express disease.

It would take an entire book to explain how each of these system effect one another, and that it not the purpose of this article. The point I want to make is that if you are having problems with let’s say your thyroid, then you need to make sure the systems below the thyroid are working properly. This does not mean you will have problems in every system below the thyroid, but they must be evaluated and corrected if necessary.

This is one of the main problems with traditional medicine; the systems above and below are not addressed or even considered. If you have high blood pressure take a drug for that, if you have a blood sugar problem take a drug for that, if you have an immune system problem, take a drug for that. The body is viewed and a bunch of unrelated systems and one of the biggest problems with medication is that it alters the function of the systems above and below on the pyramid. These are what side-effects are; dysfunction being created in other systems while trying to “correct” dysfunction in a single system.

You may have thyroid problems due to an immune system problem; such as autoimmunity. Or you may have thyroid problems due to chronic inflammation or problems with the digestive tract such as a leaky gut or food allergies and sensitivities.

Many functional medicine experts are placing a great deal of significance on the digestive tract, and for good reason. This is the foundation of our health that will influence every system above it.

If you are having problems with brain function; such as anxiety, depression or dementia; then there has been a loss of regulation and function in the systems below; such as digestion, detoxification, inflammation, thyroid, hormones; etc.

What health issues are you currently struggling with?

Whatever problems you currently have, there is dysfunction in one or more of the systems in this pyramid. In most cases there will be a loss of health and function in more than one system; because no systems work in isolation.

This functional medicine pyramid provides a model for identifying problematic systems and how to reach them with appropriate therapy. It explains the relationships between systems.

It is important to work with a functional medicine doctor who can identify functional problems at different levels of the pyramid. They must also understand how to create a program that makes sense from biological perspective…

or what I call a physio-logical health program.

I will be writing more about this triangle and will soon be offering a free e-book on how the systems are related. You can use this as a tool for your own health and the health of your family and friends.

I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.