Our Three Non-Negotiables in Functional Medicine
Updated: May 21, 2022
by Dr. Mitchell Rasmussen, DC, CFMP, FRC-ms
Often our role as functional medicine practitioners is just helping to get you kind of pulled out of the mud, cleaned up, and allowed to flourish as you deserve.
Your symptoms are outward manifestations completely connected to your biochemistry.
In my opinion, we have three non-negotiables that must be managed in order to live a life free of disease, pain, and chronic conditions: SLEEPING, POOPING, and BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL.
Sleeping, Pooping, Blood Sugar Control. Our non-negotiables, in my opinion, for everybody.
What does that mean?
Lying there, not conscious.. That is a really vulnerable place to be. If it weren't paramount to our health, then we never would have evolved in such a way as to spend 1/3 of our time on this planet essentially sitting prey for anything that might want to eat us or harm us. We know (thanks to lots of really smart researchers) that sleeping is required for optimal brain function, repairing tissue, and maintaining our metabolic homeostasis. If you’re not sleeping, this is a primary target to work on to improve your LIFE.
Sweating, breathing, urinating, POOPING. These are our 4 primary means of getting rid of the byproducts of living. The GI tract is the primary interface by which what we consume becomes us. There is a lot of regulation going on here... a lot of immune system involvement. Additionally - there is a lot of potential within our GI tract to recirculate harmful byproducts of metabolism. So much of this falls on the GI tract to regulate. If we aren't pooping consistently, we are no doubt causing recirculation of 'stuff' we need to get rid of. Recirculation of potentially toxic 'life' byproducts is something we can actually measure through markers like beta-glucuronidase; as well as something we can more 'subjectively' monitor through symptom tracking and other proxy biochemical markers.
We manage GI symptoms using diet and lifestyle. Our nervous system has a huge impact on our bowel function (ever had anxiety diarrhea?)- and controlling the parasympathetic state falls into this category. Often, too much pooping or too little pooping (embarrassing topics to discuss) can be managed with changes in fiber intake, changes in food choice, and specific probiotic strains.
Blood Sugar Control.
Sugar is tightly regulated within the blood vessel. We need it, but with too much of it, our blood vessels become damaged. This is why we have evolved a tight regulation system. Insulin is the hormone primarily responsible for lowering blood sugar. Insulin resistance is when your cells quit 'answering' the 'call' that is insulin. Insulin helps shuttle sugar (essentially) into our body cells to be either used as energy OR stored as adipose tissue. #supernecessary
When this signal happens with such a robust response, for an extended period of time (due to eating the shitty standard American diet), the cells can't respond in the same way. You become slightly insulin resistant. Slight insulin resistance is typically coupled with a normal or slightly high-normal fasting blood sugar. It goes on under the radar of your standard blood tests at the doctor.
Insulin resistance continues; and of course doesn't get better if you're not actively working to course correct. Eventually you will become so insulin resistant that your pancreas gets damaged and exhausted and THEN the blood sugars creep up. Then, you get diagnosed with a disease that you could have seen coming ten years ago if you knew to look for it.
Insulin resistance is associated with numerous chronic conditions. It is the most common health disorder in the entire world! It messes with our brain function (as well as structure), messes with our hormones (PCOS, aldosterone issues, etc), messes with our muscle (fattier muscle) and it messes with our every cell.
FOOD CHOICE and MEAL TIMING matter when it comes to blood sugar control. The education about how and when to eat is inseparable from your healing; and we’re here to provide you the resources to understand your biochemistry.
Insulin resistance is associated with numerous chronic conditions. It is the most common health disorder in the entire world!
How do we manage these issues in the context of Functional Medicine?
Test > Treat > Step back and re-assess > Tweak as needed > Continue Progress
You will drive the ship, so to speak. We need feedback during this. Functional Medicine is personalized lifestyle medicine tailored solely around the needs of each patient.
There are no boxes we need to fit in. We want to know any concerns, new symptoms, changes, etc. you may have going forward. Dietary choices and lifestyle habits are primary drivers of our health. It sounds so cliché, BUT it’s true. All of the high-end metabolic testing and nutrient protocols would be for naught if we didn’t support a true lifestyle change. It comes from education about what exactly to eat and what habits to put in place.
This is NOT going to be an easy, straight-shot, no bumps in the road kind of affair. This is your life we are helping you take back control of.
We are all in this with you.
The support I have from my team, as well as the experiences we’ve gained together having treated complex cases, gives me great excitement at the possibilities for anyone’s long-term health projection. I believe strongly that if you follow through with the guidance earned through your sessions with my team and me, you will achieve a level of health that you likely assumed was never again possible for you.
Health is a VERB, not a NOUN.
Want to work with a functional medicine doctor to run labs and assess nutrient status? Struggling with hormone imbalance, IBS, weight gain, mood changes? Let's look at BIOCHEMISTRY. Read more about Functional Medicine at The Facility here.
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