Functional Medicine basically takes the approach of using functional tests like the OATs test (Organic Acids Test), CDSA test (Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis), Fatty acid profile and numerous others to determine as many things wrong as possible and then seek to address those issues. You seek to fix things regardless of whether or not the issues seem related to your particular symptoms.
Dr. Baker relates the story about a colleague of his, a female doctor who came to him for his help. She and her husband had been to numerous fertility experts but had not been able to get pregnant. He asked her why she would come to him for a problem like this since he was a generalist, not a specialist. She said that she had watched him solve very complex medical problems by using functional medicine and she hoped he could work his magic for her as well. He took the same approach with her that he did with all of his patients. He ran a series of tests and found several things wrong. She had an imbalance of fatty acids, an overgrowth of candida yeasts and a few other minor things that he could address. None of these things appeared to be related to her long term inability to conceive.
He prescribed Nystatin and probiotics for her candida problem. He had her take fish oil and a few other things that would address all the issues that the tests had uncovered. To his and her amazement within 90 days she was pregnant. A few years later she was pregnant again. In the book he asks, "Can I prove that the things we addressed made her able to get pregnant?" Nope! That is what frustrates doctors. They want to be able to prove a single issue caused a certain condition. Often, it cannot be done! Medicine is just as much art as science.
Chronic conditions usually involve a number of things going at the same time. The human body is SO COMPLEX!! Every year scientists are uncovering huge amounts of information about what is really going on inside of us. Each discovery seems to uncover 30 more things that need to be researched and understood!
In my own case I approached my health problems the same way. I would read and learn about different tests and conditions. I would get a doctor to run the tests and then we would seek to address any of the issues that we uncovered. For instance, many years ago I learned that I had very high amounts of mercury. I have actually been addressing that issue for many years. With my use of TD-DMPS this past year, I have been making great progress in lowering my levels of mercury. I also have dealt with yeast overgrowth (candida), but that has been resolved in the past years. I also learned that I was severely deficient in magnesium, but that has finally been dealt with as well.
I am now learning through Dr. Shoemaker that I am extremely susceptible to mold toxins. My body does not detoxify these toxins very well. He is teaching me how to help my body to get rid of these toxins. I have also discovered where mold was growing in my house and have eliminated it.
Just the other day, I was almost giddy with how well I have been feeling. I am discovering what it feels like to feel well! When you have chronic conditions you may not even know or remember what "well" feels like! I am excited because there are other things that are not yet corrected which can likely be corrected. I am on a path to a whole new level of wellness.
You may ask, "Well is it the mercury, the mold, the Mg deficiency or the yeast overgrowth that caused your problems?" I answer "YES." I answer, "I don't know." I answer, "Does it matter?" Functional Medicine is an important term for you to know. Find and fix anything you can regardless of whether it seems related to your issues. You never know how the cascade of effects in the body might just be the cause of a seemingly unrelated problem.
The message is that there is hope for you even though you may have suffered from a chronic condition for years! And even though it may take many months or years to get better, there are answers!!!