Getting To the Root Cause of Your Health Problems With Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is an alternative approach that differs from traditional medicine.

Functional medicine is an alternative approach to traditional medicine. It's holistic, meaning that it takes into account the entire person and the surrounding factors when determining a diagnosis. The practitioner will look at family health history, environmental factors, lifestyle, diet and more when trying to determine what is causing your symptoms or disease.

It's a holistic approach to health.

Functional medicine is a holistic approach to health. It takes into account the mind-body connection and the many interrelationships between different parts of the body—the digestive system, the nervous system, hormones, immune system and more—to give patients a more complete understanding of their health situation.

The human body is an incredibly complex system. This complexity can make it difficult to determine what's causing your illness or symptoms if you're not getting answers from conventional medicine (or even from alternative approaches like homeopathy). In contrast with other approaches that focus on one particular aspect of your health at a time, functional medicine addresses all aspects of your condition at once: what you eat, how you feel emotionally and mentally every day (including stress levels), any injuries or accidents in your past that may still be affecting your current health problems, whether there are any hidden underlying causes for those problems (such as infections), etc.

Functional medicine takes a personalized approach.

Functional medicine takes a personalized approach to health, as opposed to the traditional model of treating one symptom at a time. This holistic approach looks at the whole person and addresses problems at their root cause rather than just treating symptoms. For example, if you're experiencing chronic fatigue, your functional medicine practitioner will consider your family history and any environmental factors that may be contributing to this issue (e.g., heavy metal toxicity from living near an old factory). They'll also look at lifestyle choices you make on a daily basis (e.g., how often you eat processed foods) in order to determine what's causing your fatigue in the first place.

Functional medicine is based on six pillars:

  • The mind-body connection

  • Genetics & epigenetics

  • Environmental influences & toxins

  • Biochemical individuality & nutritional status

Dr David Tuchinsky will look at your health history

When your practitioner asks for a family health history, he or she is looking for information about the following:

  • Genetic disease risk. Did anyone in your family have a genetic disease? If so, what was it? Did they suffer from any of the symptoms that you currently have? If so, how did they address them and how successful were they at managing their condition? These questions can help identify potential genetic factors that may be contributing to your current health issue.

  • Environmental factors. Did anybody in your family live in an area with high pollution levels during their childhood or adolescence (for example, near an oil refinery)? Were there any events like floods, mudslides or other natural disasters around this time that could have exposed you to toxic chemicals like mercury or lead paint? There are many environmental toxins we're exposed to every day—including pesticides on our food—that can affect our health as adults if we weren't exposed as children or teenagers.

Environmental factors are considered

The environmental factors you're exposed to can be major contributors to health problems. Here are some examples:

  • The air you breathe, including gases and particulate matter (dust, pollen, mold spores) that can cause allergies and asthma; this is sometimes exacerbated by air pollution from cars or industrial sources.

  • An unhealthy diet—too much sugar/refined carbohydrates and salt/processed foods; not enough vegetables and fruits; too little fiber (from grains); no omega-3 fats (from wild fish). This can lead to obesity or overweightness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2 and other chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD).

  • Poor quality of water used for drinking or food preparation at home due to low standards of municipal water treatment plants. In addition there are many cases where tap water contains contaminants such as lead which have been shown to have detrimental effects on human health at low doses levels exposure over long periods."

Your lifestyle is taken into account.

When you go to the doctor, you might be asked about your lifestyle and what you're eating, how much exercise you're getting and how much sleep you're getting. Asking these questions is an important way for a doctor to understand if the reason why you feel sick is due to something in your environment or because of something that happened recently in your life.

One example of this would be if someone complained about having stomach pain after eating too much spicy food at a restaurant one night. A functional medicine practitioner would want to know what else was going on with their patient before jumping straight into treatment recommendations — maybe they were stressed out at work, maybe they didn't get enough sleep the night before (or any other number of things). The answer could help guide them toward determining exactly why their client feels sick after eating spicy food; it could also help them determine whether there are other factors contributing to this problem that need addressing as well — like stress management or better sleep habits.

Healthy living can also prevent health problems from occurring altogether! If we eat vegetables instead of junk food every day, we'll probably have fewer cavities than someone who eats nothing but chips all day long; if we eat more fruits and vegetables instead of processed carbs all week long, our risk for heart disease drops significantly compared with someone who treats themselves poorly during lunch each day—and so on!

The root cause of your current problem is identified during the initial evaluation

While you are the expert on your own health, a functional medicine practitioner is also an expert. They will begin by asking you about your history and symptoms. This can be done in person or over the phone.

Once they have enough information about your current problems, they will ask you to complete a questionnaire that assesses other aspects of your life, such as diet and sleep habits. This helps them identify any underlying factors that may be contributing to the problem(s).

Once these questions have been answered, the doctor will perform an examination to see if there are any physical signs confirming the diagnosis or identifying other issues related to it. For example, if someone comes into my office with knee pain after playing Ultimate Frisbee for several hours on concrete ground during a hot day in July (and this has happened), then I would recommend functional medicine because it is likely that there is some inflammation going on in those joints due to overexertion while heavily sweating while playing outdoors under intense heat conditions (which isn't advised). The root cause here would be identified as "overuse syndrome." The next step would be figuring out what aggravates these symptoms so we could work together with our patient toward finding solutions that help them prevent these problems from occurring again - perhaps by changing their training regimen or wearing protective gear when necessary!

Treatment includes diet and lifestyle changes and possibly natural supplements

Functional medicine practitioners believe that food and lifestyle changes are key to treating health problems. This can be a powerful treatment because it addresses the root cause of your problems rather than just dealing with the symptoms.

If you're suffering from chronic fatigue, for example, you might be told by conventional doctors that there's no cure and that you just have to live with it—or worse, they might prescribe antidepressants (which don't actually address the problem). But functional medicine practitioners understand that this common condition is often caused by nutrient deficiencies in specific nutrients like magnesium or B vitamins. They also know which foods contain those nutrients and how much each patient should eat in order to heal their body naturally over time. In addition to dietary changes, functional medicine practitioners recommend lifestyle changes like getting plenty of sleep (most people need eight hours per night) and exercising regularly at moderate intensity levels (for example, walking briskly).

Functional medicine practitioners help you find the root cause of your symptoms and work on eliminating them naturally rather than masking them with drugs

Functional medicine practitioners help you find the root cause of your health problems and work with you to eliminate them naturally rather than masking them with drugs.

The first step in this healing process is a thorough evaluation by your functional medicine doctor. They will ask questions about your lifestyle and history, including both present and past medical issues. If they find something concerning, they may send you for additional testing or refer you to specialists who can give their input on how best to proceed.

When all of this data has been gathered, they'll use it as part of an integrative approach that takes into account all parts of your life; from health conditions (physical and mental), diet, exercise habits and environmental factors such as work stressors or exposure to toxins like lead paint dusts—and then helps patients develop personalized plans based on those factors so that they can be better informed about what's causing their problems so they're able to make changes accordingly."


There’s no question that functional medicine has been around for a while and will continue to grow in popularity. It’s a great alternative to traditional medicine that allows you to get to the root cause of your health problems and make changes that are more effective at addressing them.

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Dr. Tuchinsky

Dr. Tuchinsky has been “health coach” to thousands of local residents. He has been a popular author and lecturer and has been featured in print media and local TV.