Healthcare today has mostly become a game of Whack-a-Mole where medications or supplements are used to handle symptoms that the patient is having. While this can be good for the short haul it unfortunately does not lend itself to finding out what the cause of the problem was in the first place and working on that to prevent those symptoms from returning or even getting worse over time as the pills stop working. In today’s video Dr. Rutherford discusses how properly practiced Functional Medicine is different.
Note: The following is the output of a transcription from the video above. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
Could I think I could legitimately argue I was in the pole, one of the original functional medicine, practitioners and – and it was quite a different experience back then than it is now treating functional medicine seekers if you will and so basically, every in our clinic, we interview Everybody we interview everybody before we even decide whether that individual would be a qualified patient to go through a functional medicine practice and get a consistently successful result.
And then these interviews, things have changed quite a bit. In the day, in the day when we first started out and and in in patients, were just desperate to get better, we pretty much treats chronic pain, chronic conditions back then people came in he wouldn & # 39.
To really know much about much of anything when it came to alternative health care. If you said the word gluten to somebody back, then they’d, go gluten. What’s that or they’d say or they’d? Go? Oh, you’re one of those or something along those lines.
Now I think gluten has become more and more widely accepted. You talk to people about diet. At that point in time, people would say diet how’s. Food gonna help anything house food’s. Gon na change. I’m Emmett Payne.
I got paying every joint in my body and I got I got an inflammation and that sounds tough. Today, everybody comes in my office, has already tried five different diets and believes that they’re familiar with those diets and believe that, because they tried those diets and they didn’t work – that the diet – probably isn -‘t Gon na be a part of what’s going be helping them, so they’re there.
There’s, just been a significant change again back then, and the day I well, I think I’m gonna go talk to my medical doctor and see if he thinks that I should work with you and today it’s, like I already went to my medical doctor and and and my medical doctor, really can’t help me and my medical doctor is playing whack-a-mole.
My medical doctor was looking at and and had symptoms that people kind of have that down today. My medical doctor is looking at symptoms and they can just give me a pill. And frankly, I usually going to defend the poor medical doctor because they’re working with their hands tied behind their back having to work by insurance codes and things of that nature.
So so there’s, been an evolution of the patient that walks in here some ways. It’s a lot easier today and some ways it’s, a lot harder, because I used the determine mall. We used it in the intro and and and in the title of this talk and it’s kind of like what I’m.
Seeing I’m, seeing we’ve now morphed from the patients who used to come in largely had not gone to alternative practitioners in the day they usually came straight to us because they desperately heard there’s, some not Over there, the things that he can help me with fibromyalgia or perform out there chronic fatigue.
Today we’re, getting people who are highly educated, maybe not necessarily in the right things, or maybe they’re, not educated in the right things, but necessarily not necessary in the right context, and that has a lot to do with the Internet has a lot to do with the explosion.
Functional medicine has a lot to do with the fact that functional medicine is still not a organized the discipline it’s, not a regulated discipline. So anybody really who gives a supplement or diet can call themselves a functional medicine practitioner, even if they haven’t gone through a certified, functional medicine program and and another big reason is of course, the Internet, the big bad internet and, and that’s, a problem, because today what I’m getting is, and then just you know, put things in perspective.
We’ve, had over four thousand patients come through this through this facility. Over a period of time, we haven’t treated, all those, but we’ve treated an awful lot of them and what we have interviewed and evaluated pretty much almost all of them.
So we have a pretty good feel for for what we can treat and what we can’t treat what questions they ask and obviously we have a good feel for the lay of the land and alternative health care, as well as in functional medicine.
As well as in chronic pain, and so today I’m, getting the patient who comes in and they’ve already been on, like I said they’ve already been on. They’ve, been on the the the Paleo diet. They’ve, been on the automated Paleo diet.
They’ve, been on the whole xxx diet. They’ve, been on the fodmap diet. They’re on the fodmap diet. They’re eating better quote-unquote. I’m eating better than your diet. So how are you going to help me and all of these things have some validity? They have some legitimacy to them and but but but but when you get into chronic pain, you could have a hundred and fifty people come in here with fibromyalgia and they can all have a slightly different to a drastically different completes, physical, biochemistry and and and what Helps one person is not going to help the other, but what I’m.
Getting now is the person who is coming in and they and they have been on the internet and then they or they’ve been another or they have been to other functional medicine. Practitioners and what I’m finding is, is a substantial portion of even even the other functional medicine practitioners, if indeed they are certified functional medicine.
Practitioners are using kind of like bits and pieces of the whole functional medicine paradigm. It was whack-a-mole versus the classic functional medicine paradigm. The functional medicine paradigm is very comprehensive.
It’s very organized it’s gone through a lot of trial and error throughout its history. A functional medicine history taking is very comprehensive. It should cover you from, like literally from the you’re, born until the time you’re sitting in front of that practitioner.
That practitioner should understand the full breadth of being almost like your functional endocrinologist, your functional cardiologist, your functional gastroenterologist, etc, etc, etc, because that’s, how you have to look at a chronic pain case? Well, what I’m getting is, is I’m, getting people who are coming in, who have become very conversant in bits and pieces of what they’ve learned on mostly on the internet, or maybe from somebody who’s, not a functional medicine practitioner and maybe a functional medicine practitioner who specializes in a certain area which is ok if they’re specializing in diabetes or if they’re specializing in thyroid.
As long as they know, everything else that relates to those and what I’m finding is that isn’t the case, so the person comes in, they’ve been given a diet. They’ve, been given a couple of supplements for her for their thyroid and and it didn’t work and they want to come in.
They want to know how I’m, going to be different, which is a legitimate question at that point in time, or the order or the or that functional medicine practitioner who may not be a functional medicine practitioner is treating their diabetes and you know They’re, put them on a diet that maybe they put them on a specific diet that they’re using for that.
Maybe they give them some supplements. Maybe they don’t, maybe they have them walking around, but it doesn’t, take a whole functional medicine, understanding. Frankly, to get somebody’s, diabetes type 2 under control, but yet they’re.
They’re, promoting themselves as a functional medicine practitioner. They’re, giving them a bunch of supplements, and so I kind of have to when it when this person, who has had their diabetes may be taken care of, and then they show up at fibromyalgia or peripheral, neuropathy or PCOS or chronic fatigue, or Something like that they’re got.
Why already already got this figured out or that functional medicine practitioner already healed, my leaky gut, so you don’t have to do that. Just for the record and and I don’t know if you heard it this first time you’re hearing it.
You’re hearing here. First, you don’t, heal it leaky got okay. I have a leaky gut. I have celiac, I have all this stuff for those of you who’ve. Seen me before I’ve fibromyalgia, proof from off the chronic fatigue I have celiac, and so I’ve.
Had all this, I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, so I’ve, been on the other side of this. I & # 39. Ve actually walked through this as a patient and before I got involved in this, and so the the what I’m.
What I’m trying to get to is is that we’ve, always criticized the medical field for playing whack-a-mole, but what I’m. Seeing is the alternative. Healthcare is now starting to play whack-a-mole, because a lot of people are not certified functional medicine practitioners.
What does that mean? When you’re certified functional medicine practitioner you either have gone to you either have gone to functional medicine, University, functional medicine Institute. You’ve, either gone through.
Our Zona state. Now has a bunch of nice programs. There’s, another program at Bridgeport University, that’s like 1500 hours. These universities, these these, the the the the the professionals who are putting on the seminars for you to get a functional medicine, certification, teach you functional medicine, they teach you the endocrinology, they teach you, they teach you the blood labs, they teach you everything that you need To know to go out there problem is a lot of people are not getting that they go to one seminar.
They go to a weekend seminar. It’s, going to teach you everything you need to know, and then the next thing you know you’re specializing diabetes. They go over there. You don’t, get any exam. You don’t get that history.
Maybe you get a computerized readout on your blood labs. Maybe that person doesn’t even know how to read the blood labs. I mean this is for real. I’m, not being a jerk here, okay and and and then and then, and then those blood labs come from a computer program that came from a supplement company.
That is telling them to read this and then give these supplements. For that we see. I’ve, seen hundreds of these cases, okay, and this is why I’m gettin Vince’s. This makes my job harder and then that person plays whack-a-mole.
That person is like. Okay, we’re gonna. Do you got a bet? You got irritable bowel syndrome, so we’re going to give you. We’re gonna give you berberine, and we’re, going to give you glutamine and we’re gonna.
Have your drink aloe vera or you got acid indigestion, so we’re going to give you glutamate for that or or these are. These are things that are widely understood now, widely known on the Internet. Ashwagandha, you have anxiety, okay, take some ashwagandha, but but that’s, not functional medicine.
Functional medicine is what’s, causing the anxiety, functional medicine is, is why are you having to take the hydrochloric acid, the Bragg’s, apple, cider, vinegar, for your stomach and and and when, when you and – and why are, why is your Gall bladder not working, and why do you have small tests on back to your overgrowth when, if your in functional medicine office they’re gonna go, you know might be because you’re stressed or might because you have a bad Thyroid one will decrease hydrochloric acid, which will then screw up your stomach, which will then screw up your gut, which will then screw up your bacteria and the thyroid becomes actually the issue.
Where is what I’m? Seeing is people are coming in here? They’re very proud of themselves, they they have two bags of supplements and they have one further and they have one for the hydrochloric acid and they have one for the gall bladder and they have one.
They have digestive enzymes for the pancreas and they have aloe vera for the inside of their intestines and and so, and so then that person comes in and tells me well. I’ve already got. I’ve already healed all this and i don’t.
Really I don & # 39. T really need you to like really deal with that for me, and that like puts me back because I do really need to do with that, because you really haven’t fixed it. Okay, you really haven’t gotten to the source of them, so the cause, and how many times have you heard your alternative practitioners, like we’re getting to the source of the problem here, take this ashwagandha and that’S, what’s, doing it, and so so the reality is.
Is we’re now playing whack Amole on that side? To here’s, the problem, the problem is most people find a way that functional medicine practitioners have tried everything else. How do I know? Because that’s? What we’re, seeing now and and and this is a very, very complex, comprehensive protocol, the classic functional mess and it requires taking up taking that history.
I just had one I just had one earlier today and the gentleman came in here. He’s, got peripheral neuropathy and he & # 39. S got peripheral optin, he’s, got burning them as tingling his feet. By the time we got done.
Teasing it out. This gentleman’s been anymo, ashle traumatic. He’s been emotionally traumatized, since he was a child and he & # 39. S had really really a lot of stress threat throughout us throughout his entire lifetime, as we got as we really went further and further, he didn’t.
Think he had a problem because he was told: well your blood Sugar & # 39. S are okay, I said, but you look like you got pre-diabetes and insulin resistance. He goes. I do well that’s, a problem but his doctor and told them that it was that it was okay, but nobody took that history.
Nobody and he’s been to a couple of alternative practitioners. Okay, then, did anybody do an exam on him? No, nobody did an exam on him to find out what kind of a small fiber neuropathy that you have.
Where did it come from? This is what needs to occur, and this is classic functional medicine. If you’re, not if you’re, not getting if you’re, not if you have somebody sitting down with you for five minutes or they’re, giving you like three pages and then here’s all the symptoms, and then they’re, giving you a supplement for each thing more.
They’re, giving you one diet, their diets, the elimination diet, which is fine, but you’re, not going to the elimination diets not going to work well without getting into the details and in the weeds on this, which we will get Into other presentations in the future, okay, if you get a bath, I read it’s not going to it’s not going to work.
If you have, if you’re in a chronic stress response, because you & # 39, ve been emotionally traumatized and you’re in some sort of post-traumatic stress syndrome, that’s, screwing up your gut and you’re trying to do an allergy elimination diet.
While this is screwing up your gut. This is functional. Medicine. Functional medicine is real medicine, it is blue collar medicine. It is getting the weeds and figure out what’s wrong with somebody medicine, okay.
So basically, what we got is is we have a whole group out there of practitioners who have now taken the medical model and are now taking that and creating a model of whack Amole alternative medicine. Here’s here’s here’s here’s! My symptoms here’s.
The here’s. The herb here’s. The botanical here’s, the vitamin and, and then the patient comes in here and they’re, telling me how how how that helped them, and yet the best. I, the vast majority of time that hasn’t, helped them and it’s, helped them dampen their symptoms, but it still is helping to ignored the underlying problem.
That’s, perpetuating them having to take this stuff. For the rest of their life, the vast majority of people will walk out of here and walk in here will walk in here, sometimes with 20/20 supplements or more sometimes, which is crazy.
Okay and you might not think it’s crazy. But if you’re, taking them that’s crazy, because your physiology can’t. Take that much the goal of functional medicine is is to figure out how to get your physiology.
Is imbalance and fixing your entire physiology as as thoroughly as you can, so that that person needs as few outside interventions as possible, and that goes for medication, and that goes for supplements, and usually people walk out of here with a few supplements that they don’t like I hear a bags of supplements and, and maybe the person even still needs a medication.
If we, if you can & # 39, t get their physiology all the way back to where you want, but but you so when you so what so? What the whole point of this is is is now we have the Internet where everybody can sit on it all day long and you can, and you can read about you – know, leaky gut and then come in and talk to me about leaky, but but not know That you really don’t know the full breadth of leaky got or maybe not know that you don’t, know the full breadth of hydrochloric, acid and and and and and why you’re.
Taking Bragg’s, apple cider, vinegar for your for your your tummy and why it’s working, and why? If you did something else, you may not even need to take that these are the things that are being done out there in.
In the name of functional medicine, so I guess I’m, trying to carve out an understanding of functional medicine and and and so so it’s. It’s. You know it’s really important for you before you get into a a functional medicine practitioner to really understand what it is understand, the full breadth of what it is understand that it’s.
It’s. If you go into a functional medicine practitioner, they should be sitting down with you and taking a full history. It takes me it’s. Sometimes it takes me an hour to take a complete history. We actually have three doctors working to do an exam on the patient.
The exams will go anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half did I make that up now? No, my mentor for those of you who & # 39. Ve listened to me and his name, dr. karate and dr. cross Ian is the gentleman who was the first one to bring Hashimoto’s to the world.
As far as understanding that it was a. It was a a real issue with hypothyroidism when, when you take his courses, when you take their certified medicine courses and you get their manuals, there are full exams in there that you should do because you there’s, just certain data that you can Only glean from an exam, how did I know that that gentleman had in pre-diabetes when he was just sitting there at the table? He had all the physical signs of it.
As I was looking, how did I know that he was in chronic stress response. I told him, I said: are you in like the emotional trauma you know? Well, how did you know, because I shook his hand and his hand – was soaking, wet and slimy that’s called hyperhidrosis that count for those of you have that that means you’re in a chronic stress response, and those stress hormones Are important to know because if you & # 39, re got those there and you’re trying to do gut problems and you’re trying to fix other things.
That’s, not going to happen, and I can go on and on for an hour on on just the exam and all the things you can do. The way you evaluate a case is you take a good history. You then do a good exam and, where that history, in that exam intersects, that should dictate your testing and your should testing should be very specific, and it should give you data as how to fix that patient and and and then you fix, that, the the the The rapid kind of wrap it up.
To give you an example, I have a patient who walks in and the patient says I’m fatigued, you have chronic fatigue so and I’ve, been to the alternative practice. I went to the doctor and the doctor says I’m depressed, so I gave me antidepressants so that’s.
The answer for that for her fatigue, then the patient says. Well, you know I’ve gone through a couple of other alternative practitioners, maybe functional medicine practitioner or maybe maybe other types of alternative practitioners and and fatigue they gave me.
They gave me some al carnitine and and – and they gave me some coq10 and and and there’s, a number of things that you can give people for fatigue. Maybe they maybe they gave you DHEA. Maybe they gave you’re pregnant alone, not knowing that.
Maybe that wasn’t the right thing to do, but it gave you energy all right. So this is whack-a-mole. This is like we’re gonna we’re gonna give you something that’s, going to give you energy, but here’s.
The deal somebody walks in here with chronic fatigue. I’m gonna be looking at thyroid mismanage misdiagnosed. I’m, going to be looking at blood sugar mismanagement misdiagnosed. I’m gonna be looking at.
I’m gonna be looking at thyroid blood sugar stress hormones. This that misdiagnosed mismatch not even addressed. I’m gonna be looking at gut problems. Maybe I’m gonna be looking at Epstein Barr virus, probably gonna be looking for anemia that’s.
What walks in here that’s, chronic fatigue? Okay, now, a vast majority of the patients who come in here who are chronically fatigued are overweight – probably 70 % of them that walk in here. So let’s say that person walked in here.
Didn’t tell me they were fatigued and they said I’m overweight. I mean there’s literally, nothing that I that I can do. I mean I’m. I can ride my bike. This Nashville case. I can ride my bike 20 miles a day and I can eat 1,500 calories a day and I eat the right things and over a period of year I lost 8 pounds and as soon as I got off the diet, I put my 8 pounds on back In a week so to that person I will say it’s, not calories and calories out for you.
It’s, not exercise for you. It’s. Thyroid blood sugar. Stress hormones gut. Does that sound familiar that’s, that’s very familiar to what I just said for chronic fatigue? So, the point being, I would be having the same exact conversation with both of those people, because because their entire physiology is creating different things and I’ll, throw one more thing in there.
Next person comes in, they got irritable, bowel syndrome, they come in there and go. I’m here for your double bowel syndrome, so I’m talking to them. I look at their stuff. I look at their history and I noticed that they’re overweight and then I asked them: if can they lose weight and they go? No, I can & # 39.
T lose weight. Ok, no matter! What I do I can’t lose right and then I look at their box and they put you know, I get six hours, I get five hours of sleep and I’m. Really, always tired. Would you say if chronic fatigue, oh yeah, my doctor, talking of chronic fatigue, so these had to have chronic fatigue, they can’t lose weight and they got irritable bowel syndrome.
They came in for irritable, bowel syndrome. Am I going to give him something for irritable, bowel syndrome and ignore the fact that they probably have tyroid blood sugar and stress hormones that they may have in the immediate that didn’t know, so the point would be.
You would have the same. Conversation with all of those folks, while ultimately directing their attention to the part that they’re, why their gut is being affected, but why these other issues are also part of it.
This is functional medicine. This is not like up for debate. This is classic functional medicine. This is what is. This was taught in functional medicine University. This is what’s taught in functional and since the suit.
This is what what are, what’s, being taught at the evolving functional medicine, its courses that are being done out there. So I mean this is just something that that’s, come to my mind, it’s actually made my my job a little bit harder than what people used to just come in here years ago.
Go I’m desperate. Just I have all this stuff, somebody told me you help them just whatever you want to do, just do it. Okay, now it’s, a little bit more involved, then I have to kind of like deprogram, sometimes people, some, I’m.
Very good at it. I’m very polite. I’m, not a jerk, but the reality is is if I’m going to enter into a relationship with a person, and they are experts in all of these things, but they’re experts in leaf.
You got out of context to everything else or if they’re embracing this one diet, because they lost 30 pounds, but they’re still in my office, with chronic fatigue for a for apathy, fibromyalgia and all those types of things.
And I need them to change that diet to another diet. It’s really hard for me. If I have to like debate them and you just whatever beginning realize this is the again the functional medicine. Now people actually know the term functional medicine, but you know but but I I go back to the point that I used the I used the term classic functional medicine.
So I mean if I’m, going into a functional medicine practitioners office. I’m going to first say I’m gonna ask them it’s like what type of functional motion you proud. Are you a certified functional medicine practitioner? In other words, did you take a minimum of 125 to 250 hours of a course in which you actually had to take a test and become a certified functional medicine practitioner? How long have you been doing this? Because, depending on how long a person’s been doing it, that’s, that the longer you’ve, been doing it? The more serious? The case is, you can take? I know when I started out.
I was thinking some cases I probably shouldn’t. Take because I just didn’t know not to take them. So these are some of the things that that that I’d, like you to to understand, people are out there and they’re just doing like it’s.
Fine, they might be a classic functional medicine practitioner, just just they might just be. You know specializing in diabetes or thyroid, or something like that. That’s, fine, as long as they know all the other stuff, because that diabetes might be in context with the chronic fatigue patient that I had come in.
It might be in context with the person who came with fibromyalgia. It might be in context with that person who came in with with irritable bowel syndrome, and I can tell you irritable, bowel syndrome.
A lot goes a long way towards screwing up your blood sugar and making it difficult for your diabetes to get better. So this is functional, medicine, okay and I guess it’s been kind of bugging me and I, and, and I haven’t been doing anything online for a while, and I wanted to start up again and we just felt like this – Might be a good place to start so that’s? What I wanted to present today, I and and and I hope that this is something that generates some understanding with you.
I’m, not trying to be mean the people who don’t practice functional medicine in its classic sense. Maybe some of them don’t even know that they’re supposed to be certified. I don’t know I just don’t know.
I just know that my patient population is getting a little bit more difficult in the front. I’m sorry to have to probe the program a lot of people. I start talking to them about the foundational elements of a functional medicine and and and that you can’t get better until you do walk, you can get your oxygen under control.
Your blood sugar under control get your central fatty acids article and they don’t know I’m talking about, but they tell me they’ve, been the three functional medicine practitioners and there’s. A lot more than that, so so that’s more or less my presentation for today.
I hope that you find this well, maybe not entertaining, but I certainly hope that you find us informative, especially if, if you have some problems, if you have chronic issues, I have this maybe helps you to maybe assess where to go a little bit more.
When you’re reading, people’s websites, when you’re when you’re going in and interviewing doctors and and just you know, maybe knowing a little bit more, what questions to ask when you go in There so, and if you want you can let me know what you thought of this – I’m, always open to to suggestions and comments and the criticisms – and I’m good with that.
That’s. How I learn so thank you for tuning in, if you will thank you for watching me. I’m, always humbled to be able to be up here and share my experiences with you, and I hope this was something that you find valuable.