I really love the way Dr. Mark Hyman looks at health. Not only is Dr. Hyman an MD but also a believer in a functional medicine approach to Disease. As an MD spanning disciplines conventionally, well qualified to comment. What caught my eye was the rhetorical question of how you become young at any age!
He uses the following analogy and I quote:
Imagine you’re standing on a tack. How would you treat this condition?
Would you just put a band-aid over it or take a bunch of pills to stop the pain?
In order to get better, you’d have to remove the tack?
Now, imagine you’re standing on two tacks.
Would removing just one of the tacks make you feel 50% better?
No! You would need to remove all the tacks.
His conclusion: The only real way to solve disease in a preventative sense is to find and address all of the root causes:
HIS BOLD LETTER CONCLUSION:
- This is how Functional Medicine approaches disease.
- Instead of throwing a bunch of medications and band-aids over symptoms,
- it seeks to identify and address the root cause.
- Instead of asking “what” the disease is, it asks “why” the disease is.
The body is NOT organized the way conventional medicine treats it – into organs. With specialists for every single body part. Rather, it is one unique integrated system.
Dr. Hyman looks to following seven systems:
- Digestive system and gut flora: Removing things that damage our gut. Ultra-processed, sugary and starchy foods, damaged fats, environmental toxins, unnecessary medications, stress. Adding things that heal, like prebiotic and fiber-rich foods, non-starchy veggies and whole fruits, fermented foods, probiotics, and L-glutamine.
- Immune and inflammatory system: Limiting things that cause chronic inflammation. Dairy, sugar, and gluten, chronic stress, toxins. Adding support for immune health, like colorful organic vegetables, quality protein, plenty of healthy fats, wild-caught/low-mercury fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc.), high-quality fish oil, vitamin C, and vitamin D.
- Detoxification system: Reduce amount of toxic exposure through limiting plastics, BPA-lined cans, artificial chemicals, unnatural ingredients, additives, artificial fragrances. Drink plenty of water, sweat often through exercise and sauna, eating cruciferous vegetables, and maintain consistent bowel movements.
- Energy system: Support the mitochondria (the energy-creating organelles in your cells) by eating whole, real foods, loading your plate with colorful vegetables, and eating anti-inflammatory foods, healthy fats, and MCT oil.
- Communications systems (includes hormones, neurotransmitters, and more): Eat plenty of healthy fats, limit stress, increase enjoyable activities such as hobbies, creative outlets, connection with friends, building relationships. Limit processed and refined foods, and add extra support like MCT oil, magnesium, and vitamin D.
- Transport system (includes lymph and vascular systems): Keep transport system moving by exercising often, sweating frequently, getting a massage, dry brushing, and adding support like CoQ10, high-quality fish oil, and L-carnitine.
- Structural system (includes cells, muscles, bones, organs, and tissues): Keep body healthy by eating whole, real foods, moving daily, limiting stress, increasing enjoyment, and incorporating play and relaxation.
All good advice: Younger Healthier Health With Functional Medicine?