How to Heal From Chronic Disease With Functional Medicine

How to Heal From Chronic Disease With Functional Medicine

We currently face a global disease epidemic unlike the world has ever seen.

More and more of us are getting sicker and sicker every year, and our doctors are at a loss to help us.

How did a medical system evolve that is unable to meet the needs of the modern population?

It wasn’t always so…

The Problem with Healthcare Today

The medical system that most of us grew up with was designed to treat infectious diseases and heal acute trauma.

The model has been so successful that we no longer live in fear of our children dying from a common infection or our entire community being devastated by a plague. Even when we suffer horrific injuries, we trust that we’ll be put back together by talented professionals using state of the art technology.

The truth is, the conventional model of medicine excels in these scenarios.

But what about when we don’t have a contagious infection, and we’re not suffering from acute trauma, but we’re also just not… well?

What about when we don’t have the energy to take care of our responsibilities, pursue our passions and enjoy our families?

What about when our doctors insist that the tests say we’re fine, but we know something is wrong?

Even devoted and well meaning doctors often lack the resources to give their patients the help that they desperately need.

The problem is that acute trauma and infectious diseases are no longer the top threats to our wellbeing.

Health

Today, it is chronic and preventable diseases that cause 70% of all deaths worldwide.

Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last at least a year, require ongoing medical attention and limit daily activities.

According to the CDC, 6 out of 10 Americans suffer from a chronic illness and 4 out of 10 have two or more.

The causes of these preventable conditions are: poor nutrition, unhealthy lifestyles and exposure to toxins.

These conditions cannot be remedied by drugs and surgery. In order to restore health, we must learn to nurture ourselves with an appropriate diet, adopt healthier lifestyles and reduce our exposure to harmful toxins.

Conventional doctors are simply not trained to guide us through these critical changes.

Over the next twenty years, chronic illnesses will kill twice as many people as all infectious diseases combined.

It is time for a new age in medicine, time for a medical paradigm that can help with the diseases that impact us most today…

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a highly individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach to wellness. Patients are empowered and supported by their practitioners as together they collaborate to identify and address the underlying causes of disease.

According to the principles of functional medicine, diseases are the result of imbalance in one or more of the seven core physiological processes.

The seven core processes are assimilation and elimination, detoxification, defense, cellular communication, cellular transport, energy and structure.

Imbalances are caused by…

  • Environmental factors, like toxins and pesticides
  • Nutritional imbalances caused by poor diet and food allergies
  • Hormone imbalances that weaken the thyroid, adrenals and reproductive organs
  • Systemic inflammation which contributes to autoimmune conditions
  • Hidden infections like parasites, yeast and mold
  • Oxidative stress that damages cells
  • Impaired liver detoxification and gut function adds to total burden of toxins
  • Gastrointestinal dysfunction due to loss of probiotic bacteria and poor absorption compromises the immune system

Instead of using drugs to mask symptoms, functional doctors tireless seek to find the underlying cause so that balance can be restored.

When we seek conventional care for chronic diseases, we are given prescriptions to mitigate each of our symptoms, but the cause of the imbalance is not addressed.

This means that the disease progresses, symptoms get worse and more meds are needed to keep symptoms under control. Many patients end up with lifelong prescriptions of drugs that were only approved for short term use. As a result, the risk for adverse drug reactions and undesirable side effects increases.

Imbalances develop as a result of our unique individual genes interacting with our environment, diet and lifestyle.

Risk of chronic illness does not increase as we get older.

Although many people think it is natural to get sicker as we age, this could not be further from the truth.

Happy

Genes alone do not make us more susceptible to chronic disease.

It is the interaction of our genes, behavior and environment that determines the health that we enjoy in our senior years.

This is really exciting news!

It means that not only can we influence our gene expression to prevent or reverse illness, but we can also systematically maximize our individual genetic potential!

Our health outcomes are very much under our control.

By modifying our environment, diet and lifestyle, we can change the expression of our genes.

Our environment includes the personal care products we use, the fabrics we wear, our homes, where we get our food and how we prepare it. Diet is the kind, amounts and diversity of foods that we eat. Lifestyle factors are our habits, behavior and way of life.

How to Heal From Chronic Diseases With Functional Medicine

In the conventional model, specialists are trained to focus on one organ or group of organs. Their chief goal is to define the condition with a diagnosis and remedy the symptoms with drugs or surgery. This does not help people whose organs are compromised but not yet at the level of disease diagnosis.

Perhaps it will help with their symptoms, but meanwhile their real problems will only get worse.

Meanwhile, healthcare expenses are astronomical, yet little improvement is gained in quality of life.

Busy doctors, pressured by HMOs and Big Pharma to see and treat as many people as they can, typically spend just 6 minutes with each patient.

Functional doctors appreciate the uniqueness of each patient and diligently explore the individual interaction of their genes with their environment and behavior.

The first visit with a functional doctor may last several hours as they probe the patient’s personal, family, social and medical history to discover what caused the undesirable gene expression. It also gives the patient insights into their previous life events and motivates them to take responsibility for their future health.

Although many people are diagnosed with the same disease, each person’s path to healing will be unique, depending on the individual factors that led to the sickness.

The functional doctor takes into account the entire complex web of history, physiology and lifestyle to identify the factors that lead to disease and works with the patient to craft a plan to prevent or reverse illness.

The doctor will not stop looking if they find that none of the organs or systems is in an acute state and in need of immediate care. They will persist with the investigation to find out where the genetic expression has been altered by environmental factors.

How, exactly, do functional doctors solve these personal health mysteries?

In addition to the important clues revealed in the patient’s history, extensive testing is used to get an accurate picture of what is currently happening in the patient’s body.

Some helpful tests that functional doctors often recommend are:

  • 24-hour adrenal stress index: Did you know that dysfunction in your adrenals can cause fatigue, anxiety, depression, blood sugar imbalances, brain fog, weight gain, irritability, decreased sex drive and poor sleep? The adrenals produce cortisol in response to stress. This lab will reveal if your cortisol is low when it should be high, high when it should be low, always too low or always too high.

  • A complete thyroid panel: The thyroid influences even more systems than the adrenals and produces hormones that every single cell in the body requires. Conventional doctors typically only measure 2 out of the 8 thyroid hormones and antibodies that functional doctors use to discover if thyroid dysfunction is contributing to symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, hair loss and depression.

  • Gut permeability labs: All health truly begins in the gut. Our guts are damaged by triggers like stress, poor diet and medications. If the gut lining is compromised, undigested food particles and bacterial endotoxins can leak into the bloodstream. This leads to chronic inflammation and a wide range of symptoms, including autoimmune conditions.

  • Sex hormone labs: Both men and women must maintain balanced levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to support health. If any one of them gets too high or too low, or even too high or too low relative to each other, we become susceptible to weigh gain, anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction, mood problems, low sex drive, infertility and acne.

  • Inflammation labs: Chronic, bodywide inflammation is a cause or symptom of many of today’s health problems: autoimmune conditions, cancer, heart disease, brain fog, fatigue and weight gain. Inflammation helps us to heal from injuries and fight off infections. It becomes a problem when it persists after the injury or infection has passed.

  • Genetic testing: As we know, genetics are not the only factor in our health, but they’re still an important one! Tests can reveal genetic mutations that make us more susceptible to particular nutrient imbalances, drug interactions and health problems. By knowing what’s in our DNA, we can modify our environment, diet and lifestyles to balance our inherited risk factors.
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Although each patient’s route back to health is highly individual, the basic road map will follow these essential 7 steps:

  1. Identify Leaky Gut and compromised gastrointestinal function
  2. Identify food sensitivities and intolerances
  3. Identify immune system response to environmental toxin exposure 
  4. Identify and eradicate bacterial, parasite, Lyme, Candida and chronic viral infections 
  5. Optimize and balance hormones
  6. Calm the inflammatory response
  7. Identify individual nutrient deficiencies.

Can Functional Medicine Help Me?

Functional medicine is a systematic, holistic paradigm for treating the person with the disease, not the disease of the person. It’s methods can be used to alleviate and reverse a broad range of chronic conditions, like…

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Restless Leg syndrome
  • Autoimmune Conditions
  • Thyroid problems (Hashimoto’s disease and Graves)
  • Gastrointestinal problems (IBS, SIBO, Leaky Gut, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Cognitive problems (Parkinsons and Alzheimer’s Diseases)
  • Psychiatric problems (anxiety, depression, bipolar)
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Hormonal imbalances (PCOS, endometriosis, menopause, infertility fibroids)
  • Childhood developmental disorders

If you suffer from any of these conditions…or you don’t feel as well as you know you could, even though your doctor says everything is ok, you may find that a doctor of functional medicine can give you the help you need.

You can begin your search by visiting the Institute for Functional Medicine’s directory. You can also do a simple online search to find a practitioner in your area, though you’ll be glad to know that many functional doctors offer long distance care via Skype and phone.

By finding the root cause of what’s making you sick, you can prevent chronic health problems, restore balance to your system and realize your optimum genetic potential.

After all, health, as defined by the World Health Organization, “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease.”

Are you as healthy as you deserve to be?

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Drop a comment and let me know about your experiences with chronic illness. Are you satisfied with the care you’re receiving? Is your doctor helping you get better, or just managing your symptoms?

Don’t let your loved ones become a statistic. Share this article with the people in your life who deserve better healthcare.

Believe in Yourself.

Believe in Yourself.

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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"Our greatest excuse for not taking action today is that we believe we don’t have what it takes to make it tomorrow."

Roger Hamilton

I wonder what the world would be like if Bill Gates decided that he wanted to be a pro… sportsman?

Or if Henry Ford pursued a career in acting?

Would basketball be the same if Michael Jordan quit his career in basketball after getting cut from the high school team?

What if Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t say “some day I am going to climb Everest”? Ok, let’s make this super personal…

How has the world permanently changed because YOU stopped believing.

YOU let go of the dream.

YOU listened to others.

YOU forgot what you were put on this planet to do.

You see it’s quite easy to look back in history and see it’s incredible impact in other peoples choices.

It’s less empirical to look into the ‘what if’ of our own lives.

This provides, I think, a very shallow ‘safe zone’ for ourselves.

We can live there without…

Expectation.

Fears.

Disappointments.

We can tune out to the world.

Surround our minds in entertainment.

Anesthetize our very dreams.

I challenge you to a higher level of existence.

Where you are ‘all in’ in your dreams.

That you believe in yourself despite what the world looks like around you.

Whatever dream you threw out.

It’s time to pick it up again.

Your life is not your own my friend.

Every single one of us is connected.

What you do with your dreams and your life impacts us all.

So dream again.

Cast a new vision.

Believe in yourself.

Even if it is the smallest thing…

Take action on that dream today.

Call a friend and tell them.

Pick up what you put down.

Write it down.

That small bit of action is enough to get the whole thing moving…

It just all starts with you..

Believing.

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The Journey of Becoming… You.

The Journey of Becoming… You.

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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Success and failure, like peas and carrots really.

(Thanks Forrest Gump).

Both have the capacity to make or break you.

Both you will experience. 

And both will eventually define you.

The good news is that everyone is in the same position.

The best and the worst of us.

The successful and the failures.

So the question is really this…

How will you respond to both experiences?

Some of you – success is the worst thing you could be facing.

To others – failure could be the thing that will take you to the next level.

So what do you need?

Well both really.

As long as you apply the simple rule above.

So how many of you out there have failed and it’s crushed you?

Or which one of you is letting your success get to your head?

Right now would be a good time to take action.

To remove arrogance and despondency. 

Embrace the reality and impact of both experiences.

Hold both in tension and hold on.

Hold on to… what exactly?

Well your unique human experience.

The journey of becoming… You.

I’m thinking that you need to tag someone you love in the comments below.

This request is for one simple reason.

Because by focusing on how relevant it is for our friends and family…

We’ll hopefully see how relevant it is for us.

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Let it Go.

Let it Go.

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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"Worry is the prayer that you never need."

John Assaraf

While on a working holiday to sunny San Diego I was privileged to hang out with some incredible people.

One of those amazing individuals that I was privileged to network with…

John Assaraf.

You may remember him from the secret.

Best selling author.

International speaker.

What did I learn from spending time with him?

Well a heap of things really.

One line that he said to me really stuck out in my mind…

“Worry is the prayer that you never need”.

I mean that quote may look good on paper.

But it is an entirely different thing when you hear it being lived out.

Quote like that then comes alive.

Literally.

Well my soul lit up when I understood the significance for my own life.

There is a state of existence that we are all called to operate in that few of us actually ever achieve.

It’s the state of security and hope.

That all will work out for the best.

That worry is pointless.

That is robs us of destiny.,

So, what are you worrying about today?

Perhaps it is time that you laid it aside.

Realise that it is the most pointless prayer you will ever pray.

Let it go…. NOW!

In doing so you will actually empower yourself to become who you were always called to be.

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Life is Valuable.

Life is Valuable.

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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"The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them... Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will."

Michel de Montaigne

I find it strange how we all value life differnently.

Even on an individual basis, we seem to value it more at times and less at others.

I have found sitting across from a loved one who is unwell or dying an incredibly clarifying moment.

Life becomes more valuable than ever.

Does money really matter?

How much our estate is worth? 

The state of the stock market?

What car are we drive?

These questions fade away and what really matters is brought into focus.

Life itself.

Relationships.

Those who we love.

I would hope that we don’t need these moments to take us back to our true life path.

Is it too difficult to value life each day?

To realize that to continue in that job we hate is pointless?

That we should have started that business idea yesterday?

Or that I wish I spent more time with my family?

These questions can be challenging at times…

But I really think we make it more difficult for ourselves than we should.

As the above quote indicates, life’s value is a simple choice of how we use it.

Don’t wait to be reminded that life is valuable.

It is.

Remind yourself daily.

Treat it like royalty.

Cast vision, dream dreams, speak life and live a life worthy of your calling.

Those of you that need to make a change -simply make the change.

No regrets and no looking back.

Don’t be the person who lives long but never really lives at all. 

Be the person who lives more in a single day than many live in an entire lifetime.

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Take Action on Your Ideas.

Take Action on Your Ideas.

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.”

Harry Truman

I want you to imagine something for me.

It seems like a normal day, you’re getting out of bed and something just dawns on you.

That problem that you’ve been thinking of for so long?

You’ve solved it.

And it’s not just your problem, it’s the problem of many others as well.

This solution could theoretically make you a heap of money.

Exhilarated you note down your thoughts, barely able to keep up with how fast your brain is working.

Excited about what you’ve thought of, you call your friend.

After explaining what you’ve thought of something strange happens. 

The phone goes dead.

Then from the silence comes the words that confirm that it wasn’t just a cool idea.

It was an incredible idea.

Weeks past, you tell some more people and they are all equally amazed.

For now though that’s as far as you take it.

Life is busy you know.

Who has the resources or the time to start something like that?

It’s too hard.

The gap seemed too big.

A few years later you are walking past the TV and something catches your attention.

It’s an interview with somebody realeasing a product.

It was the solution to the same problem you thought of.

What a strange moment, because standing there you realise that that could of been you. ***

Do you know that story is more common than you think?

I based this story off the person who originally invented the common household powerboard. Did he patent or even commercialise his invention?

Nope.

So how do you not let it be you? 

Start with imperfect action. 

Start with what you think of.

Start with something.

Anything.

Follow through with your ideas.

At least then you’ll know you did your best if it never works out.

That’s much easier to deal with than doing nothing.

Never become that person.

Ever.

Become the one where you can outwork who you care called to be.

The foundation of this lies in your capacity to take action on your ideas and dreams.

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What Are You Destined to Imagineer?

What Are You Destined to Imagineer?

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever."

Walt Disney

Currently I am staying only a few miles away from Disneyland in LA.

Through the haze of my jet lag, I’ve been reflecting on the life of Walt Disney.

The challenges and the setbacks combined with his tremendous success.

What what his secret?

Great question.

I believe that the above quote points us in the right direction.

You may be thinking that that doesn’t really help.

It does actually.

Why?

Because it shows that his success was simply internal.

It wasn’t money.

Nor was it chance.

His success was the result of an incredible imagination.

An imagination that was set free.

Have you heard of the term imagineering?

This was the term that the Disney group used when designing the first Disney theme parks.

It is still used to this day and continues to drive innovation within the company.

The question I would like to leave you with today is simply this…

What are you destined to imagineer?

It may not be theme parks and motion pictures.

Nor could it be cartoon characters and stories.

The answer lays actually dormant within you.

Inside your own imagination.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the legacy of the man Walt Disney.

You have a mind as well.

You are connected to the same creative source.

This same creative source will give you a powerful imagination and a capacity to dream.

When you are led to imagineer your own dreams you enter a powerful state of creativity. 

The universe is at your footsteps and the only thing that is holding you back is the courage to implement those dreams into reality.

So dream away.

Let that imagination fly.

Bring into reality what you see in your minds eye.

And finally?

Imagineer your dreams.

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Never Look Back.

Never Look Back.

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore"

Christopher Columbus

Right now I am flying through the air as part of a long journey to LA.

What will take me around 14 hours in the air, was once a perilous and long sea voyage.

I wonder what it was once like to never know what was on the other side of the ocean.

Who began to dream first of distant lands and new worlds?

Who could wrap their minds around the sheer size of the ocean?

Who set sail, but lost courage and had to turn back?

The answers to these questions are speculative at best.

So although we may look at past generations and wish they shared what we have today…

I often wonder what future generations will wish we knew.

What we could have experienced and came to understand.

This begs the obvious question then…

What are our oceans today?

What do we need to have courage to conquer? 

What ‘shore’ is holding you back from your destiny?

The answers to these specific questions are personal.

It’s not my business to know them.

I do however feel inspired to challenge you to address them.

This will take courage.

Which you have.

More than you think actually.

Don’t doubt yourself.

Embrace the fear.

Set sail on that specific journey that you have been wanting to go on.

More importantly…

Never look back at the shore.

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Take Action.

Take Action.

'The Daily Dose' By Matt Potts
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"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."

Walt Disney

I find it interesting how much ‘wantrepreneurs’ love the talk.

They know all the latest trends.

They’ve read all the latest books.

They probably are able to predict powerful economic trends.

They probably have a blog.

(Downstairs in Mom’s basement in their star wars PJ’s??).

What makes them ‘wantrepreneurs’?

Their inability to take action.

Like the fat guy watching his favourite 20 year old play some game professionally…

Wantrepreneurs give loud opinions but have zero capacity for follow through.

They’re loud… that’s about it.

Unfortunate really.

Because what would the world be like if the general population understood how to take massive action?

Different I would guess.

(This is an attempted understatement).

VERY DIFFERENT.

I thank men like Walt Disney who were great examples of people who had both great vision and action

In the light of which powerful examples, I guess you need to make a decision… 

What will you be?

Will you be that fat guy screaming at the TV about someone else actually playing the gam?

Or will you be  actually in the game?

The decisions simple yet painful.

Action take risks and risks (apparently) threaten the ego.

I say roll your dice.

Get in the game.

Spectating not your calling.

Engaging in your life vision is.

Destiny is far more a journey than a destination.

That joinery will only become a reality when you have the courage to take action. 

What are you waiting for?

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