Do you want to know how to help seal leaky gut using healthy, plant-based nutrients?
Intestinal hyperpermeability, or ‘leaky gut’, is one of the main underlying issues in many conditions including autoimmune disease. Leaky gut leads to ongoing systemic inflammation and it is essential to address it, in order to optimise the outcome in any chronic illness.
‘Better Than Bone Broth’ is a plant-based recipe to help seal leaky gut junctions and reduce the damaging effects of systemic inflammation.
Just click on the image above to see the recipe.
Functional Medicine practitioners ask a lot of questions. In fact, you should be prepared to sit down for an hour or longer to answer the (very) long questionnaire you will likely be sent before you even see your Functional Medicine practitioner for the first time. You’ll be asked about all sorts of things – your diet, your sleep patterns, your stress levels, your environmental exposures, even down to the type of cosmetic products you use. That’s a whole lot more detailed than the histories I used to take in my conventional practice. But it’s all important information, and all relevant.
The investigations you’ll have will be much more detailed, too. Functional medicine practitioners use cutting-edge diagnostic tests, performed in first-class laboratories by skilled technicians, to give them the answers they need in order to pinpoint the underlying imbalances and causes of your condition, and guide you on the path back to health.
The patient-practitioner relationship is a much closer working relationship. It’s no longer about me telling you what’s wrong with you and giving you a tablet for it. Now we work together, and your input and commitment to following through with the treatment plan, is very important.
In fact, how much effort you are prepared to put in yourself on your path to optimal health, is just as important in terms of a successful outcome as seeking out a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner to guide you on that path.
Because your own contribution is so important to the doctor-patient relationship in Functional Medicine, there are a number of things I think you need to consider before deciding to see a Functional Medicine practitioner:
Are you prepared to spend time answering a lot of questions about yourself?
In order to get to the bottom of the issues in your individual case, your Functional Medicine doctor will need a lot of information about you, especially before your first appointment.
Are you prepared to make changes to your lifestyle?
This one is very important. It’s so important that I would say that if you’re not prepared to change your lifestyle, then don’t waste your time and money, because that’s probably the first thing your Functional Medicine practitioner will focus on, and for good reason. Lifestyle makes a big difference to health outcomes, even in genetic conditions.
If you choose to see a Functional Medicine practitioner, you will be given advice about healthy eating, as well as other lifestyle advice such as how to improve your stress handling skills, advice about sleep, exercise, leisure etc. But your doctor or practitioner can only recommend what will be helpful for you – you are the one that has to strive to make the change. This may not be easy to begin with, but in the majority of people, it is well worth it in terms of reaching health goals. Before you see a Functional Medicine practitioner, it would be wise to consider carefully how prepared you are to make changes to your current lifestyle, because, whether it is to a smaller or larger degree, it will undoubtedly be a necessity.
Are you prepared to take supplements?
Gone are the days when food gave our bodies all the nutrition, unfortunately. Our soils are so depleted that even organic fruits and vegetables, whilst still far preferable than pesticide-laden produce, no longer provide the nutrients they once did. The sad fact is that even with the healthiest diet, almost all of us are likely to require some form of supplementation in order to maintain health, and definitely so if a disease has already developed. Detailed Functional Medicine testing will identify which nutritional deficiencies are present and therefore which supplements are recommended. They are a vital part of regaining your health.
Do you have a supportive family/partner?
It’s much easier to make lifestyle changes if you are supported in doing so. If possible, I recommend coming to the first appointment with your partner or other family member, so they can better understand what you need to do in order to regain your health, and how they can support you to achieve it.
As you can see, there are several points to consider before heading to a Functional Medicine practitioner, but if you are tired of just having your symptoms controlled and want to really get to the bottom of what is causing your illness, and if you are prepared to follow the lifestyle changes and other recommendations advised by your Functional Medicine practitioner, then you are likely to do well with a Functional Medicine approach and it’s very likely that you will start to see positive changes.
In my experience, Functional Medicine works very well as a therapeutic approach, but there are two vital ingredients to a successful outcome:
2. Your own resolve to make the necessary changes on the way.
You are the key player and decision maker. Are you prepared to propel yourself towards optimal health?
Many medical studies show that inflammation lies at the core of different medical conditions – not only conditions with an obvious or visible inflammatory basis, but even conditions as diverse as Alzheimer’s, depression, insulin resistance and obesity.
It’s important to stress that it is chronic inflammation that causes long term problems in the body. Acute inflammation, such as one sees with a cut or injury, is beneficial and necessary in the healing process. But ongoing, low grade inflammation can result in constantly elevated stress hormones which leads to all kinds of problems including insulin resistance, lowered immunity, higher propensity to repeat or chronic infections, and early ageing.
Low grade, chronic inflammation can occur on a cellular level well before inflammatory markers in the blood (eg C-Reactive Protein or CRP) start to rise. Detecting chronic inflammation and removing its cause is critical if one wants to address the root cause of a chronic disease.
Different people can tolerate different levels of chronic inflammation. How much chronic inflammation your body can tolerate without developing a chronic condition or disease, depends on the duration and severity of the inflammation and how well your body is equipped to deal with it, for example whether your cells have access to a good supply of anti-oxidants. Your tolerance to chronic inflammation depends on both genetic factors and lifestyle, especially your diet.
Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body – sometimes, the source is obvious and can be treated easily, for example a urinary tract infection or a tooth abscess. But often the source of chronic, low grade inflammation is not clear. In that case, there may be ‘hidden’ factors involved, such as heavy metal toxicity, or a chronic viral infection, or imbalanced gut flora. These can be identified with Functional Medicine testing and addressed appropriately using a Functional and Integrative Medicine approach.
Lifestyle is very important in helping to limit chronic inflammation, and there is one lifestyle factor that is critical in maintaining good health, but it is all too often ignored in Conventional Medicine – nutrition.
“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”
The foods we eat can contribute to inflammation in the body, or they can fight inflammation.
There are two broad ways in which foods can be pro-inflammatory (cause inflammation) in the body:
Some foods such as refined cooking oils and processed foods directly fuel inflammation in the body. Other foods produce a substance called arachidonic acid which triggers the body’s inflammatory pathways. If inflammation is already present, arachidonic acid will make it worse.
If the individual has a high blood sugar level and insulin resistance, the inflammation is amplified further. Other foods contributing to inflammation include any foods containing trans fats, and alcohol.
Fruits and vegetables are anti-inflammatory powerhouses, packed with fibre, healthy protein, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which fight inflammation. Fibre is only found in plant foods.
“The absorption and organization of sunlight, the essence of life, is derived almost exclusively through plants. Since light is the driving force of every cell in our bodies, that is why we need green plants.”
The importance of the bacterial diversity in our gut is not to be underestimated in the prevention of inflammatory conditions – an imbalanced gut flora can predispose us to certain diseases. Click here for more information on the importance of a healthy gut flora.
We really do need to understand the critical importance of the food we eat and how it impacts on our physical and emotional health. Even our psychological well being is affected by the number of fruits and vegetables we eat in one day!
At Quantum Clinic, reducing chronic inflammation in your system is one of our primary aims, and we do it through a number of interventions including food sensitivity testing, comprehensive nutritional profile, Nutritional Therapy, Low Level Laser Therapy and Physical Vascular Therapy.
Our treatments work by aiding your body in its own reparative processes to achieve inflammation-free, optimum cellular health and function.
Inflammation in Alzheimer Disease—A Brief Review of the Basic Science and Clinical Literature. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012 Jan;2(1):a006346.
Review: the role of inflammation in depression. Psychiatr Danub. 2013 Sep;25 Suppl 2:S216-23.
The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target. Nature Reviews Immunology16,22–34(2016)doi:10.1038/nri.2015.5
Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance. Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1761-72. Epub2007 Apr 24
“Seeking an inflammatory factor causative of the onset of insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes, we have identified bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as a triggering factor.”
“Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?” Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 785-801, December.
When I used to work as a conventional hospital physician, my approach to diagnosing and treating patients followed standard protocols.
I would dutifully take a detailed history from my patients (or rather, what I thought was detailed at the time), then I would examine my patients, reach a provisional diagnosis and order the relevant investigations for confirmation. Once I confirmed a diagnosis, I would commence standard treatment for that condition according to national guidelines or my specialist body recommendations. Usually the patients’ symptoms would improve, but occasionally they didn’t. Sometimes there would be side effects from the drugs I prescribed; some minor, some not so minor.
“Doctors pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into patients of whom they know nothing.”
Most of the time, though, we managed to control the symptoms enough to allow the patients to lead a good, or at least reasonable, quality of life – and that’s essentially what I used to do; control the symptoms.
My approach to patients with chronic disease now, has progressed significantly, with my understanding of the principles of Functional Medicine. My aim now is to identify the underlying cause for the patient’s condition. For example, what is it in this particular person’s internal or external environment that is causing inflammation in their body? What is it, in this particular individual, that is provoking their immune system to overreact and destroy their body’s own tissues? Why does the inflammation or pain ‘flare up’, seemingly of its own accord? Is there something the patient is exposed to that is causing the flare up, something that has been overlooked? And many other questions.
The change in how I practise medicine now, and how I practised medicine before, illustrates the main difference between Conventional Medicine and Functional Medicine. Functional Medicine is root cause medicine. It is patient-specific, not disease-specific, which means that two people with the same condition, let’s say rheumatoid arthritis, can have very different factors causing the same disease, and thus the treatment approach will be different for each.
Functional Medicine is about finding the underlying factors that are contributing to a particular condition in a particular individual, a unique individual. It’s about identifying the underlying cause in your case, whether that is a nutritional imbalance, or an imbalance in your gut microbiome, or a hidden chronic viral infection, or maybe a toxic exposure such as chronic heavy metal exposure, that your body is having a hard time trying to eliminate. Once the specific causes have been identified, treatment can be aimed to address those causes.
“If we doctors threw all our medicines into the sea, it would be that much better for our patients and that much worse for the fishes.”
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes, MD
This page explains further the differences between Conventional Medicine and Functional Medicine.
Optimal health is being the best you can be and feeling the best you can feel.
On an individual level, a lot depends on who you are, what your goal is, and the capacity your body has to repair and regenerate itself.
Optimal health can carry a very different meaning for different people, depending on their aims and goals.
For example, for a 35 year old athlete with a recent diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, who is plagued with recurrent bouts of abdominal pain and diarrhoea which dramatically affect his performance, the goal may be to significantly reduce (if not eradicate) the pain and diarrhoea, allowing him to return to top athletic performance.
A 75 year old person with a long history of rheumatoid arthritis who endures continuous pain, treated unsuccessfully by conventional pharmaceutical and surgical interventions, is unlikely to be planning any sporting activities. Their goal is more likely to be minimising or eradicating pain, and improving their functional ability and joint movements, allowing them a greater freedom and quality of life.
Achieving optimal health requires a multi-faceted approach. Both physician and patient need to work together to address the issues that have led to the development of a particular condition. More progress will be achieved if we remember that it is necessary for all aspects of our being – mind, body and spirit – to function in harmony.
At Quantum Clinic, we use multiple modes of therapy to help you regain your wellbeing. Together, we look at the different therapies to address the root causes of your condition, and utilise the benefits of an integrative approach in treating dis-ease.
Whether you want to run a marathon, or whether you want to be able to enjoy your life without having to suffer pain – whatever your goals and aspirations, we work with you to achieve your optimal health.
If you live with a teenager, then you’ll know that life can be challenging at times.
But sometimes it may be a mistake to blame all the issues of teenage years, such as mood changes, on ‘teenage hormones’. Sometimes there can be different reasons for the teenage mood rollercoaster, which if identified and addressed, could lead to an amazing improvement in quality of life, both for the teenager and for their parents.
A friend of mine was going through a difficult time with her 15 year old son.
In the space of less than a year, the usual teenage grumpiness had developed into much more problematic behaviour. From being occasionally bad-tempered and moody, which one would expect in teenage years, he was now almost constantly angry and irritable. Normal conversations were a thing of the past. If he wasn’t allowed to do something he wanted, this usually resulted in an explosion of anger and disappearance for several hours, sometimes late at night. His attitude at home and his relationship with his mother had sunk to a very low point.
His defiance of authority had also amplified and he was getting into trouble at school for his attitude towards his teachers, as well as a lack of focus and engagement in class. Numerous meetings took place with his teachers, and it had reached the point where things had become serious at school. He was at risk of expulsion if he didn’t improve his attitude.
On the rare occasions when his mother was able to hold a short conversation with him, he would express that he felt ‘awful’. He was convinced he had some sort of mood disorder.
She’d taken him to see their family doctor, who had organised a few blood tests. He had a slightly low vitamin D level, but nothing major showed up on the tests. There was talk at school about referring him to a psychologist.
Friends suggested that he’d grow out of it. ‘It’s just his hormones, he’ll get better with time.’
But his mother felt there was something else going on. Something as yet unidentified. She approached me for advice. I strongly suspected nutritional deficiencies to be the cause of her son’s behavioural problems, and advised a functional nutritional blood and urine test that would identify any deficiencies or imbalances in nutrient levels.
Sure enough, the test revealed that he was deficient in several important vitamins and minerals, and the key symptoms of some of the deficiencies were…irritability, mood swings, poor attention span – all the problems he was experiencing.
His mother was elated to finally have the underlying reason for her son’s behaviour problems identified, but disappointed at the same time, having believed she was providing him with a healthy and well balanced diet. Further functional testing, however, revealed that he had a genetic variation causing a problem with a process called methylation. Methylation is a chemical process that occurs in every cell of the human body and is essential for critical cellular processes such as detoxification. Efficient methylation relies on several factors, including an adequate supply of B vitamins. My friend’s son was what is known as a ‘slow methylator’, which meant, amongst other things, that his body required a higher amount of some vitamins in order to enable efficient methylation to take place. So, no matter how healthy his diet was, and whilst it remained important to continue, he required a higher intake of certain vitamins and minerals than other people in order to support cellular function, because of his genetic makeup.
The solution was to support his methylation and cellular processes by supplementing with the vitamins and minerals that were deficient according to his nutritional test. This is known as ‘targeted supplementation’ and is prescribed according to the individual’s specific nutritional profile and requirements.
There was an added bonus to knowing the result of this genetic test. Inefficient methylation can have several implications for future health. For example, problems with toxicity could become an issue, as his body was not equipped to adequately remove toxins without extra methylation support, hence the added benefit of targeted nutritional supplements.
In addition, slow methylation can mean that an individual could be at a higher risk of experiencing side effects with medications, since the cells are less efficient in excreting any toxic metabolites of the medications.
Furthermore, micronutrient deficiencies can be a risk factor for developing disease later in life, therefore addressing this risk factor at this early stage, meant that the risk of developing chronic diseases later in life as a result of nutritional deficiency, was also likely to be lower.
Once we identified the root cause of his behaviour and mood problem, and the reason for it, I advised some nutritional supplements to boost the levels of the nutrients his body was lacking.
Within three weeks of starting the nutritional supplements, both he and his mother started to notice an improvement in his mood. The constantly high level of anger had receded significantly, and his disposition was far more relaxed. The dramatic mood swings disappeared. By four weeks, he was smiling and having conversations with his mother. His sense of humour had returned. His focus had improved and even his teachers noticed he was doing better in school.
If they had chosen to go down the conventional route, things would have been very different. Firstly, it’s very unlikely that the root cause of his problem – nutritional deficiencies – would have been identified. The kind of comprehensive testing offered by Functional Medicine laboratories is simply not available in hospital laboratories. He would probably have been referred for a mental health assessment. Perhaps a diagnosis of an early mental disorder would have ensued, followed by a trial of medication with a long list of potential side effects. All of that would likely have taken many months, and the underlying cause would probably never have been identified.
As my friend Maya Hammarsal put it: “How many other poor kids (and adults) are there out there who are blamed for such and such a behaviour or attitude – are said to have some intellectual disability, psychological problem or psychiatric condition – are thought to be stupid, mad or bad – are being treated with a whole range of pills – when actually it is a lack of nutrients that is causing the imbalance.”
I couldn’t agree more.
With a Functional Medicine approach, a teenager on the verge of being diagnosed with a mental disorder, was once again able to regain his natural personality, to participate fully in life and to really enjoy it, and his mother who had reached her wit’s end, regained the beautiful son she loved – all in the space of four weeks.
…to experience better health than you ever imagined possible?
We are a progressive medical clinic offering a Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine approach in the treatment of chronic disease.
Our approach to treating chronic disease, and guiding you towards optimal health, is logical, practical and functional.
We focus on your whole being, rather than viewing each organ and tissue as separate entities. We focus on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Addressing all factors that may be contributing to your medical condition is our priority, including nutrition, environmental exposures, issues causing chronic inflammation in your body, and cellular detoxification.
Our treatments are based on science and wisdom. We believe in a multi-functional approach to treating illness, an approach that addresses root causes of disease, and that includes treatments that are first and foremost effective – whether traditional or non-traditional.
Welcome to Quantum Clinic.