Are Functional Medicine doctors worth it?

wabi-sabi

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I tried a functional doc and didn't get anything of value. On the other hand, I've had a hard time getting anything of value from a non-functional doc.

I think about the difference like this:

1) Regular docs ae hampered in treating us by an unpleasant mixture of prejudice and ignorance about our disease. For them, our disease is "all in our heads", caused by fear of exercise and deconditioning, or is really anxiety/depression that we can't admit having so we claim it's ME/CFS instead. But, if they would let go these biases, they could bring the full weight of science and modern medicine to bear on our illness. That's no small thing- look at everything that's been done with HIV once AIDS patients made the world get over its prejudice against them.

2) Functional docs are hampered by their perspective on medicine and illness. I strongly suspect some of their fundamental beliefs about how illness works are wrong; e.g. complex diseases don't have simple root causes, precision medicine isn't yet far enough advanced to personalize treatments in the way they suggest, we don't all need to detox, inflammation and nutrition aren't unitary drivers of illness. They may listen better than regular docs, but they don't have the treatments. With detoxing and reducing inflammation with a particular diet and other functional treatments, you would still die of AIDS if you didn't get the antiretrovirals from the regular doc.

Here's a pretty functional medicine website with the treatment approach outlined: https://triadhealthcenter.com/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-a-functional-medicine-experts-guide/

You'll notice that the last "treatment" is Gradual physical fitness- sounds like GET to me! Other treatments are generic advice any doc would give- eat well, get enough sleep, destress. And some treatments are just silly and not really how the body works- like changing how your mitochondria function based on how you eat. If you want real info on diet and mitos, see a mito disease website like mitoaction.org. It's really not about eating more grapes and flavanoids as the functional doc says.

Given this, I don't find much to value in functional medicine. Maybe others have had more positive experiences.
 

Davsey27

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Its hard to say.I have heard individuals improve significantly from functional medicine as well as traditional medicine like Dr Lerner for example.

If there may be objective things that functional medicine can find like mold,heavy metals,gene defects/mutations,sibo,lyme, there may be some value.
 
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I don't find much to value in functional medicine.
I think their main value is in interpreting results from the complex type tests.....assuming you paid for those tests.

My Primary- spends about zip time discussing test results. so if I got an Organic Acids Test: i'd likely not be able to make any sense out of it.

If you want to know what supplements to try taking- well just get a Life Extension Mag and pick your top 5 symptoms.
 

hapl808

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If there may be objective things that functional medicine can find like mold,heavy metals,gene defects/mutations,sibo,lyme, there may be some value.
The problem is that they're not necessarily objective. See 5 different LLMDs and get 5 different diagnoses (depending on their favorite labs) and none of the labs have independent validation studies. Same with mold, SIBO, etc.

Functional medicine doctors are useful if you're not familiar with the subject, though. Before I read all the CFS books, lyme books, CIRS theories, etc - then functional medicine doctors might have been useful. If you haven't heard of d-ribose, Q10, carnitine, methylation, and so on, then it could be useful. If you've tried all those things numerous times and in numerous combinations, then a functional medicine doctor is mostly just useful if you're trying to get a specific RX you think might be helpful.

Just my own personal experience, YMMV.
 

Davsey27

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The problem is that they're not necessarily objective. See 5 different LLMDs and get 5 different diagnoses (depending on their favorite labs) and none of the labs have independent validation studies. Same with mold, SIBO, etc.

Functional medicine doctors are useful if you're not familiar with the subject, though. Before I read all the CFS books, lyme books, CIRS theories, etc - then functional medicine doctors might have been useful. If you haven't heard of d-ribose, Q10, carnitine, methylation, and so on, then it could be useful. If you've tried all those things numerous times and in numerous combinations, then a functional medicine doctor is mostly just useful if you're trying to get a specific RX you think might be helpful.

Just my own personal experience, YMMV.
Yes seems interesting.As sometimes one should be careful pulling out heavy metals as well as other environmental toxins.Some have found avoidance to be better.Certain toxins like mold may have major effects on individuals with Me.

I have heard from others that Great lakes has a good mycotoxin test that is pretty objective.I don't know but I would surprised that sibo wouldn't have an objective test

Perhaps Me may be a mystery but at the same time perhaps looking for clues may be useful

Have you tried looking up your genetic variants/ methylation types,B vitamin deficiencies and supplementing accordingly?
 

hapl808

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I have looked at all the various genetic information (V158M, 677T, etc). It seems like there may be valuable information in there, but I've found most of the protocols aimed at targeting those variations seem to give temporary benefits at best. Others are incredibly complex and require levels of testing that would certainly do me more damage than good.
 

Wishful

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It seems like there may be valuable information in there, but I've found most of the protocols aimed at targeting those variations seem to give temporary benefits at best.
Keep in mind that any successes from treatments based on theories for ME do not necessarily prove that the theory was correct. Some of the treatments may have worked for some unrelated reason.
 
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Some of the treatments may have worked for some unrelated reason.
the main rumor I hear from that side of the street (they are all across the street from my doc and my CTM herbalist)...

its "get chelated"

So when I tried to get an explanation of what happened between chelation number 499, and chelation # 500 (which was described to me by this eye doctor as : now he was cured...)....well

There seemed to be no answer.
 

Davsey27

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I have looked at all the various genetic information (V158M, 677T, etc). It seems like there may be valuable information in there, but I've found most of the protocols aimed at targeting those variations seem to give temporary benefits at best. Others are incredibly complex and require levels of testing that would certainly do me more damage than good.
Interesting.Yes I understand with Me it may be that lab shows xyz deficiency/mutation and perhaps take supplements accordingly that address xyz/mutation though it seemed for some on here that has helped.

When you say damage,do you mean financially?
 
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Second star to the right ...
Maybe others have had more positive experiences.
Terrific run-down on both allopathic and functional medicine, @wabi-sabi ....

Nope. Cant say my experience was any more worthwhile or productive than with any other Dr I'd seen, including Bastyr-trained, state-of-the-etc etc etc .....

On my darker days (WARNING: This is one of 'em) it all starts looking like a legally sanctioned shell-and-pea game, or an artful picking of the pocket .... kinda like getting rolled in a medical alley ....
 
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I think if we adjust our thinking from: "A Drs job revolves around healing his patients ..." to "A Drs job is to make as much money as possible without winding up in jail ...", and then switch our focus to "How do we make him/her/them/whatever actually provide what I need?" ... we might be better off.

Then again, probably not. Because the 'lazy' factor is still ratcheting around in there, and aint much we can do about that ...
 

hapl808

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When you say damage,do you mean financially?
I mean financially - and physically. I've had doctors push treatments that seemed unlikely to help but they were so confident that I was willing to try. And more importantly, I've had useless tests that often did significant physical damage. Doctors don't understand that when you're at the more severe end of the scale, a blood test or PFT or neuro eval (let alone an EMG study) can be enough to crash you - and sometimes it's not a big deal and within a week or two you can recover, but sometimes there is no recovery and that becomes the new normal. Trying to explain this to doctors is slightly worse than useless. There is zero acknowledgement or apology for the permanent damage they may have done to your health - even after being warned by the patient of their concern. I see that here as well, with people who get useless and sometimes invasive testing that leaves them worse than when they were desperately seeking help.

So yeah - damage all around.