Tips to Becoming Fully Functional®
At The Center for Fully Functional® Health, and as integrative and Functional Medicine practitioners, our single overarching goal for all of our patients (and ourselves) is to be Fully Functional® for Life.
Check out these helpful tips to help you along the road to optimal health:
Underlying root issues, triggers, stressors, contributing factors, etc.
Below is a list of some of the specific areas we evaluate as we consider possibilities:
- Food and water – what are you eating and drinking? What you put into your body impacts your health – either positively or negatively. Did you know that food allergies can stimulate your immune system and lead to asthma, eczema, and autoimmune disease? Proper testing is key. We use the most sensitive testing available. We also have extensive experience using state of the art sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for food and environmental allergies. This painless, convenient alternative to allergy shots can, over time, lead to less allergic response and may allow reintroduction of some foods without adverse effects.
- Sleep – are you getting enough sleep? Here are some of our tips for better sleep hygiene. Read the research paper on sleep published in Sleep Health here.
- Lifestyle – are you living a life that supports health?
- Toxins – do you know what you are putting in and on your body and its health impact? What about your work or home environment? Are you exposed to mold or other toxins produced in a water damaged building? What are you cleaning with?
- Infections – do you wear protective gear when outdoors or are you potentially exposing yourself to tick borne infections such as Lyme disease. Many other infections can become reactivated in the system, such as Epstein Barr virus (commonly known as mononucleosis).
- Spiritual – do you have a healthy spiritual life? There is substantial literature that demonstrates a link between spiritual life and health.
- Relationships – do you have toxic relationships, unhealthy boundaries, or loneliness in your life?
- Exercise – do you have an exercise routine? Movement is known to be essential for optimal health. Read about the benefits of exercise in this article.
- Electromagnetic fields – do you constantly have your cell phone at your ear or your laptop in your lap? Are you flying regularly and for long distances? Learn more about the deleterious effects of electromagnetic radiation from EM Watch.
In Functional Medicine, we are always looking for underlying root causes. These are additional things to consider:
- Immune system
- GI system
- Neurologic system
- Mediators – cytokines, etc
- Mitochondrial function and energy production
The things that were identified to be stressors, triggers, root issues, etc.
- Remove processed foods from your diet: This tip is first because it may be the most important. Preservatives, artificial colors, and other chemicals provide no nutritional value and can incite inflammation in your body.
- Cut the sugar: Sugars (especially white or refined sugar) are very inflammatory as well. The amount of sugar in the American diet has increased astronomically over the last 100 years and along with it, the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Try this for a period of time (a month) and see the surprising change in your energy and vitality. We can encourage and help you with this process and provide you with recipes and guidance to embrace and enjoy your new lifestyle.
- Decrease your stress: We all have some amount of stress in our life these days. Stress is a factor in most diseases. While it is not often possible to eliminate all sources of stress, you can learn to manage it. Prayer, meditation, yoga, and relaxation breathing techniques (such as those we teach our patients) can all lower stress.
- Stress – no matter the cause….the result is the same – the feeling of being chased by a tiger:
- Decrease inflammation – lifestyle and supplement/dietary choices to do so
- Eliminate gluten: Gluten is a protein found in flour and wheat-containing foods. In our office we test patients for celiac disease, which is an autoimmune condition that causes significant damage to the body when even minute amounts of gluten are ingested. We also test for true allergies to wheat. Even if neither of these conditions are found, you will feel better by eliminating this inflammatory food from your diet. This phenomenon (so called “non-celiac gluten sensitivity”) has been confirmed in scientific studies.
- Reduce exposure to EMFs. – use a set of headphones/microphone when using your cell phone. Take all electronics out of your bedroom at night. Avoid wifi as much as possible.
Detoxification, biochemical processes, and the way the body manages the things it comes in contact with on a daily basis
- Optimize Detoxification
- Sweat – Get moving! Exercise aids in detoxification (toxins are excreted in sweat). Moderate exercise is also anti-inflammatory and helps in chronic painful conditions like fibromyalgia. In general, “anything is better than nothing”. Try to exercise at your level of fitness for at least 20 minutes (if cleared to do so by your doctor). For busy people, we suggest simple things like parking further away from work or the grocery store to facilitate walking or taking extra trips up and down the steps at home daily. If you are unable to exercise or to augment your exercise regimen we suggest regular infrared sauna treatments.
- Hydrate and urinate – drink ½ your body weight in fluid ounces of filtered water per day
- Encourage adequate bowel movements. Many people don’t know what is considered healthy and normal.
- Liver biotransformation – there are certain nutrients necessary for Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification enzymes
- Lymphatic drainage – dry brushing/hot-cold shower/lymphatic drainage massage
- Get to bed sleepy head! – Sleeping and dreaming lead to what we refer to as a ‘mental detox.’ It is important that you attempt to sleep for at least 7-8 hours per night. The bedroom should be cool, quiet, and dark. Viewing electronics such as cell phones impair melatonin release which can worsen insomnia. We are very successful in helping patients with sleep disorders get to sleep using natural non-addictive supplements and by teaching them good sleep hygiene. Prescription sleep aids can impair stage 4 REM sleep and can be addictive. We are also quite successful in helping our patients safely get off these medications while finding and fixing the cause of their sleep disturbance.
- Optimize your vitamin D level – Called the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is essential for many biochemical reactions in the body, is an immune booster, and helps in autoimmune disease and cancer. Not all vitamin D supplements are the same, however. Vitamin D3 is the most absorbed form. It is now recognized that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D set by the US government (400IU) is likely about 10% of what most people need. It is important to monitor levels by drawing blood levels and keeping these levels at optimal levels. This is important because some have different genetic vitamin D receptors and need far more than standard doses to maintain levels in optimal range.
The immune system, the body, emotionally, etc.
- Support your immune system – talk about nutrients/lifestyle choices to do this
- Spend time with friends and family: Breast cancer studies have shown human interaction and support increases survival in patients undergoing treatment. Time with others can be a de-stressor itself.
- Care for your microbiome: Did you know that your entire body is composed of about 10 trillion cells but you have 100 trillion bacteria in your intestines? You are basically 10% human and 90% bacteria! This inner intestinal realm (the “microbiome”) is responsible for helping your body make certain chemicals and hormones that cannot be made in their absence. The frequent or long-term use of antibiotics or acid-blocking drugs can alter this bacteria or kill off “friendly” bacteria, making you susceptible to serious infections from pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria such as Clostridium difficile (“C. Diff”). Alterations in your microbiome have been implicated in cases of depression and ADHD in recent studies. Good food choices, avoidance of disrupting medications, and healthy probiotics (such as our CFFH Probiotics 100) can help fix your microbiome. Before we start you on probiotics we will do a comprehensive stool analysis to look for abnormal intestinal bacteria, yeast overgrowth, and inflammation.
- Find your purpose: You are valuable and were put here on earth for a reason. Finding that reason (your passion) can be immensely helpful in the healing process. We are happy to talk with you about this and any other issues that affect your health. Rather than the usual medical model of “name the symptom, find a diagnosis, and prescribe medication”, we look at our role as one to help you thrive in all aspects of your life. Next, get a hobby. In addition to finding your purpose on earth, finding a hobby can help you de-stress and enjoy your new-found health even more.
Our goal is to create a long-term health plan and empower you to understand your body and what is best for you.
- Spiritual health – The science is clear that spiritual health is an important part of health. If you have questions we recommend you seek answers from local congregations or reach out to us for support and prayer.
- Have an attitude of gratitude/thankfulness – Journaling/verbalizing things you are thankful for or that bring you joy is a quick and easy way to not become distracted from the things in life that aren’t always ideal
- Find a certified Functional Medicine physician. There are many places to find people these days with opinions on Functional and Integrative Medicine. You need to make sure you find someone who has the experience and training to provide you with care which is both evidence-based and individualized. Both of our physicians have 2 certifications in Functional Medicine. We are the only practice in our area with that level of training and expertise. We partner with you to provide the knowledge and focus to help you become Fully Functional®. Find a certified Functional Medicine physician here.
Through our process, we are successfully providing hope and healing to many who haven’t experienced either before while we also serve to be their ‘medical detective’ to uncover underlying root issues and know how to deal with them. Our ultimate goal is to help our patients manage risk, mitigate the effects of time and toxicity, and be Fully Functional® for life.
You can book an appointment by clicking here. We are also happy to speak with you at (317) 989-8463, Monday-Thursday, from 8AM – 5PM Eastern time.