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These cases are presented by Dr Ron Grasnati. My Instructor and founder of Functional Medicine University

The following three examples illustrate the medical detective work involved in the diagnosis and treatment of three common conditions using the science of functional medicine.

CASE 1: Sinus Infections and Allergies

Traditional Medical Approach:
The patient was an adult male with a chief complaint of sinus infections and allergies for a period of six years. He had previously consulted with three medical physicians. Medical testing included a CT scan of the sinuses, which was negative for any pathologies. Treatment consisted of the following prescriptions: Sudafed, Claritin-D and Allegra.
Results were poor.

Functional Medical Approach:
Based on an extensive history and review of his medical records, Dr. Grisanti ordered an Airborne Allergy test and food sensitivity test. The results revealed that the patient was highly allergic to Aspergillus fumigatus and Alternaria alternata molds. Dr. Grisanti instructed the patient in how to identify molds in his residence and at work and what steps to take to eliminate them. The patient was prescribed a natural pharmaceutical that increases his immune system's defense against molds and fungi.
After three weeks, the patient was completely free of symptoms and has remained that way for the last two years.

CASE 2: Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Fatigue

Traditional Medical Approach:
The patient was a 27-year old female with an 11-year history of irritable bowel syndrome and fatigue. She had previously consulted with four medical physicians before scheduling an appointment with Dr. Grisanti. Medical testing included an upper and lower GI study and colonoscopy, all of which were found to be negative for any pathologies. Treatment consisted of the prescription Hyoscyamine.
Results were poor.

Functional Medical Approach:
Based on an extensive history and review of her medical records, Dr. Grisanti ordered a Digestive Stool Test and Allergy Blood Test. Two bacterial pathogens were found to be infecting her intestines: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Citrobacter freundii. The medical literature clearly linked these two pathogens to diarrhea disease. In addition, her allergy test revealed a significant sensitivity to gluten and rice. The patient was prescribed a natural pharmaceutical that helped eradicate the two bacterial pathogens and was placed on an elimination diet addressing the rice and gluten.
After one month, she was symptom-free.

CASE 3: Menopausal Symptoms

Traditional Medical Approach
The patient was a 61-year old female with menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, decreased libido, and weight gain over a period of five years. Patient had previously consulted with one medical physician, who performed no medical testing. Treatment consisted of the prescription Estrace.
Results were fair, but the patient was concerned about the drug's potential side effects.

Functional Medical Approach:
Based on an extensive history and review of the patient's medical records, Dr. Grisanti ordered a Women's Hormonal Panel. The results were quite revealing. Her estrogen/progesterone balance was significantly compromised, with too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. This imbalance was the main cause of the patient's roller-coaster emotional challenges.

After this information was presented to her physician, she was prescribed the proper balance of estrogen and progesterone. The patient eventually went to a compounding pharmacy and had a special formula of estrogen/progesterone made. She became symptom-free and experienced an increase in energy.
In addition, she lost 54 pounds in eight months.
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Functional Medicine Vs Standard Medicine
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.

By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.


Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.

Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.

There’s a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.

Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:

Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.

An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.

Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.