The air you breathe and the water you drink, the particular diet you eat, the quality of the food available to you, your level of physical exercise, and toxic exposures or traumas you have experienced all affect your health.
Psychological, spiritual, and social factors all can have a profound influence on your health. Considering these areas helps the functional medicine practitioner see your health in the context of you as a whole person, not just your physical symptoms.
Although individual genes may make you more susceptible to some diseases, your DNA is not an unchanging blueprint for your life. Emerging research shows that your genes may be influenced by everything in your environment, as well as your experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. That means it is possible to change the way genes are activated and expressed.
Through assessment of these underlying causes and triggers of dysfunction, the functional medicine practitioner is able to understand how key processes are affected. These are the body’s processes that keep you alive. Some occur at the cellular level and involve how cells function, repair, and maintain themselves. These processes are related to larger functions, such as:
- how your body rids itself of toxins
- regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters
- immune system function
- inflammatory responses
- digestion and absorption of nutrients and the health of the digestive tract
- structural integrity
- psychological and spiritual equilibrium
- how you produce energy
All of these processes are influenced by both environmental factors and your genetic make-up; when they are disturbed or imbalanced, they lead to symptoms, which can lead to disease if effective interventions are not applied.