Have you heard of “functional medicine?”
Even though this new, system-based approach to health care is reversing chronic diseases every day, it’s still widely unknown to the general population.
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that merges the science of western medicine with the holistic philosophy of eastern medicine. It tries to find the root causes of people’s problems and work to free up the things that are blocking normal function in the body.
It believes that the body is capable of healing if we simply remove the blocking factors and also give it the right support.
Functional medicine asks the important questions “why do you have this problem in the first place?” and “why has function been lost?” and “What can we do to restore function?”
My Personal Functional Medicine Story
When my digestion, skin and fatigue were all terrible, I used functional medicine to seek out the root causes of my problems. I did food sensitivity testing to see what foods my body didn’t agree with. I did gut panels to look for pathogens. I did heavy metal tests to check for mercury and other toxins.
Food sensitivities, pathogens and heavy metals were all found, and I was then put on protocols to take care of these things.
By eliminating my food sensitivities, eradicating the pathogens in my gut and detoxing the mercury from my body, my digestion (irritable bowel disease) improved, my energy came back and my skin cleared up even more.
To get custom protocols for your situation, schedule an appointment with a functional health practitioner.
The 5R Method Of Functional Medicine
During my research I learned about the “5R” method of functional medicine. This method is so effective in clearing up people’s issues that I made it the basis for the Clear Skin Nutrition System found in my book.
Today, I want to introduce you to it and go over what the 5R system of functional medicine is all about, in the context of the Clear Skin Nutrition System.
The 5R Method Of Functional Medicine
*Disclaimer – Always get permission from your primary care physician before taking any supplements or changing your diet and lifestyle. Supplements and food affects people differently so I can’t be responsible for any effects.
This system follows a functional medicine approach to healing the body, which includes the five Rs.
Step 1) Remove:
The first thing that you need to do is remove the negative things such as allergic foods, parasites, yeast and bad bugs. These are holding you back from achieving health. Bad bacteria or yeast can take up space that good bacteria needs in your intestinal lining. Bad bacteria can also give off metabolites such as lipopolysaccharides and endotoxins that can damage the body. These can continue to cause damage even if we introduce the good stuff. The same thing goes for yeast. That’s why it’s important to kill these things off with antimicrobials. I like to use Biocidin because they are the most well respected and advanced antimicrobial products on the market and are used by the leading functional health practitioners in the world.
Right now I’m going to talk about how we’ll remove any possible yeast, candida, parasites, bacteria and hidden infections that may be holding you back from great health. Later we will talk about removing the most common trigger foods.
Candida is a naturally occurring yeast that is in everyone. Sometimes it overgrows and causes a slew of problems that can range from skin disorders to digestive issues and fatigue. Candida overgrowth can happen when we kill off our natural bacteria that keeps the candida in check. It can also begin to overgrow if we eat too much sugar, as it feeds off of sugar.
The process of candida overgrowth usually happens like this:
- Someone is eating the standard american diet filled with sugar and processed foods devoid of nutrients
- They get sick and are given antibiotics
- The antibiotics kill off both the good and the bad bacteria in the gut
- The bacteria that normally keep candida and yeast in check are killed, so there is space for candida, yeast and opportunistic organisms to grow
- The sugar from the standard american diet feeds the candida and opportunistic organisms
- The yeast and opportunistic organisms overgrow and cause dysbiosis (the ratio of good/protective/healthy organisms to opportunistic organisms get skewed unfavorably).
- This dysbiosis causes things like poor digestion, gas, bloating, acne, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, greater stress on the liver, hormonal imbalances, decreased detoxification, weight gain or inability to lose or gain weight, and a host of other issues.
We will aim to take care of candida overgrowth during the initial phases of this program. Understand that we will take care of the overgrowth. A lot of times people look at candida as something they must eradicate from their bodies. This is the wrong mindset. Candida is in everyone and is necessary and helpful to us. Candida helps keep bacteria in check, so if someone takes antifungals for a long period of time, it might eliminate too much yeast and end up causing dysbiosis similar to how antibiotics cause dysbiosis, except instead of yeast overgrowth there can be bacterial overgrowth or imbalances. With saying that, if there is an overabundance of candida, antifungals can be used effectively. It’s just important to work with someone who knows what they’re doing.
Most of the time candida is treated with extremely low carbohydrate diets because carbs are sugars and yeast feeds off of them. This is a great short-term treatment and it’s the first part of the Clear Nutrition System. An extremely low carb diet long term, however, isn’t the best idea because candida and other yeasts can thrive on the ketones that the body makes on extremely low carb or ketogenic diets.
If you find that you have a lot of digestive problems, you may also consider eliminating FODMAPs along with your lower carb diet. FODMAPs are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. You’ll want to treat the overgrowth with natural antifungals and antibacterials like caprylic acid, oil of oregano and olive leaf extract.
The three products I like to use for this are:
- Biocidin capsules from Biobotanical Research
- Biocidin LSF from Biobotanical Research
- Olivirex from Biobotanical Research
While killing off bad bacteria and yeast, you need to clear out the dead organisms from your system. For that I use an activated charcoal and pyrophyllite clay mixture from Biobotanical Research called G.I. Detox.
All of the products contain ingredients to support gastrointestinal health and kill off bacteria and yeast. Ingredients such as oil of oregano, bilberry, berberine, olive leaf extract and black walnut help to restore the balance of the digestive system.
While killing off the bad bacteria you need to provide your body with particular probiotics. At first, the probiotics shouldn’t contain prebiotics that may feed the bad bacteria. Once you finish with the probiotic-only supplements you can switch brands to a probiotic-prebiotic supplement. I have a particular order I do things in for my protocol. This is the order I do things in…
- Ortho Biotic Probiotic from Orthomolecular Products
- Probiotic50 from PureEncapsulations
- Multi-Probiotic 40B from Douglas Labs
- Prescript Assist
It’s important to know that all of these brands (Biobotanical Research, Pure Encapsulations, Prescript Assist, Megaspore, etc) are supposed to be “practitioner only” brands. That means that you should not be able to purchase them through amazon unless the actual company is selling them. Be wearing of buying supplements off of amazon. I’d hate for you to buy something of inferior quality just because it was $20 bucks cheaper per bottle. If you end up buying a bad product from amazon it wouldn’t matter even if it saved you a couple hundred initially because if it didn’t do its job then you basically paid for nothing. So when buying supplements, make sure to buy them from reputable places. I buy all of my products direct from the manufacturer.
You can get the practitioner grade supplements straight from the manufacturer by following the links in this article.
Tests for Candida And Infections
Candida is something everyone seems to think affects them. You will not get far into the alternative health realm without hearing about candida overgrowth. There are unscientific “tests” that people use to “diagnose” candida overgrowth. These involve looking for a white film on the tongue or spitting in a cup and seeing if your saliva floats. When we do these “tests,” we’re making assumptions. We’re basically guessing. After years of research, I now follow this principle: “Test, don’t guess.” The symptoms of yeast overgrowth are so widely varied that without testing for it, we can’t really know that our symptoms are a result of yeast overgrowth or something else. With advances in technology and direct-to-consumer labs, we can now test for infections. A few tests you can try if you want include:
Testing gets to the root cause of your problems and uncovers healing opportunities. It does require a financial investment though. Personally, I run 2 tests (the GI-Map and the 401H) to see if there are any hidden infections. Then I do protocols if anything is found. At the time of this post, the price for both these tests is around $700 – $900. This is one reason why I advocate doing the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes before dropping thousands of dollars on tests. If you’ve tried everything though and still don’t have answers, similar to what happened with me, than doing functional testing can help make things a lot clearer for you as to what is going on.
FODMAPS – Fermentable Carbs Might Be Part Of The Problem!
Along with taking out the obvious offenders (gluten, dairy, sugar, etc) there is another group of foods that you should be aware of called FODMAPs.
FODMAPs are a group of short and medium chained carbohydrates that are easily fermentable. They should be looked at in cases of acne, especially if eating a real, whole foods diet isn’t working. Things like fructose, lactose and sugar alcohols (watch out for these in processed “health foods”) are all FODMAPs. Inulin is a popular FODMAP and prebiotic added to “health” products. Yeast and bacteria feed off of the sugars in FODMAPs.
Since it’s been shown that when treated for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) acne and other skin conditions improve, it makes sense that we treat these conditions properly. The highest amounts of FODMAPs are found in wheat, rye, barley, dairy products, legumes, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar and sugar alcohols. We’re not going to be eating these foods anyway because of the problems they cause. Other foods that contain FODMAPs include apples, mangoes, garlic, and onions. If you have bad digestion, it may be a good idea to limit these foods for a while, as well as look into other FODMAP containing foods. Christina Feindel from acleanplate.com has a 28 day low FODMAP AIP diet cookbook that can be used for some recipe ideas.
Removing Trigger Foods
To reverse candida overgrowth and restore health, we’ll also remove trigger foods that cause allergic reactions, inflammation, leaky gut, or an immune response. Things like grains, dairy, beans and legumes, soy, corn, artificial ingredients, anything processed, sugars and other foods will all be removed so healing can take place. Once again, if you’ve already removed all of these offending foods, there are food sensitivity tests available that can let you know if any healthy foods are causing reactions.
Recap Of The Remove Phase
- You’ll remove any inflammatory foods such as dairy, gluten, sugar, vegetable oils, beans and grains. If you’ve already done that and still experience digestive discomfort and acne, look into FODMAPs as well.
- You’ll remove any hidden infections with biocidin and olivirex and you’ll sweep out any dead bugs with G.I. detox
- If you want to get even more specifically tailored anti-microbials to add to the biocidin protocol you can get gastrointestinal pathogen tests.
The second step in the healing program is to replace the good things (e.g., digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid) that have been lost as a consequence of condition or disease. Most people that are experiencing trouble with their health have low digestive capacity. By taking digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid for a period of time, we will help our bodies digest the food we eat, which will free up valuable energy for detoxifying our organs. It will also break down the food we eat into their constituents and will enable us to absorb the nutrients better than if they were not properly digested.
We will add good bacteria back to GI tract with probiotic supplements, probiotic rich foods and eventually prebiotics once we remove the bad bacteria and yeast. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in the gut and prebiotics are what feeds them. By removing the bad bacteria and yeast, then taking probiotics with prebiotics we’ll aim to correct the dysbiosis in the gut.
We will repair the gut and the body by providing it nourishing foods and specific supplements through the entire process.
A balanced body requires more than just eating the healthiest foods and taking the best supplements. If we truly want a balanced body, we need a balanced life. This includes having healthy physical movement, healthy relationships with other people and with yourself, having balanced and non-erratic sleep, healthy thoughts and, of course, a balanced diet.
Everything works together. Your thoughts and beliefs work synergistically with your body, and each part of your body works synergistically with each other. Your body works in synergy with your environment, which works in synergy with the world at large. Your decisions expand beyond yourself.
Focus on improving not just your diet, but also your mind, body and environment. Be an example of good in this world.
That is the Clear Skin Nutrition System in a nutshell.
The Clear Skin Nutrition System in its entirety is available for you at ClearNutrition.net/book.