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Podcast: Why Choose Functional Medicine?

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PODCAST: Dr. Alex Jimenez, chiropractor in El Paso, TX, and Dr. Marius Ruja, chiropractor in El Paso, TX, ultimately discuss the reasons why choosing a functional medicine approach can safely and effectively improve overall health and wellness. The world has shifted in health care. There's no time more than now which has started to look to the cause of disease as the present day focused on functional medicine approaches, methods and protocols. We discuss the "why" to choose the option of functional medicine in the present day health care system. Functional medicine focuses on natural treatment approaches to promote the healing of the human body. In this day and age, functional medicine may be essential to help improve our immune system. - Podcast Insight

[00:00:06] Mario. How are you doing, bud? We're actually talking about functional medicine today. And I want to get your point of view today in terms of functional medicine and discuss the ideas of what functional medicine is for our population. We've been discussing the topics over the last couple of months and we've been kind of pointing out fibromyalgia, wellness care, metabolic syndrome, weight loss, basal metabolic rate. You and I have been discussing the issues affecting our communities. These issues are such that they impact people's lives. I know you had a passion for functional medicine as well as myself. What does functional medicine mean to your patients in your particular type of practice?

[00:00:54] Alex, this is a great question. Also, this is a very in-depth answer. So I want to create simplicity as I always do for as many topics that we will deal with for months to come. Functional medicine is the medicine of creating synergy and clarity in terms of not only symptom care but prevention of the diagnosed problem plus management and efficiency in recovery. So what we're dealing with is not only one cause but we're dealing with the circle of influence as you all know, for example, let's take depression or inflammation in functional medicine.

[00:02:00] One of the big foundational conversations that we will talk about and that we will really address with all of our listeners and viewers is inflammation. OK. Another topic that is very much in the media is depression. But if we look at inflammation and we discuss that, inflammation in itself is something that is not treated unless you have a sports injury and then, you know, like a swollen ankle or a swollen knee. And usually, the conversation goes something like this, you know, put some ice and take some anti-inflammatories and we're done. But really, inflammation is a very, very huge problem within our health system and health condition to all of us, because if we really look at the congruency of what inflammation is, inflammation now more than ever is the cause of many problems that we are dealing with right now, such as diabetes, such as fibromyalgia, such as, you know, we talked about metabolic syndrome, such as, another topic that we looked at is obesity. And so if we look at these major topics, they all have a root. Functional medicine is about finding the root cause and addressing it in a very powerful way, Alex, to not only wait until the diagnosed condition appears. And this is why a lot of our viewers are going every year to doctors and they come out of their yearly evaluation or health eval. You know how you go in and you go, oh, I got my yearly exam and I did great. Well, did you do great? And so what I'd like to ask you, Alex, is how is it in our conversation in your practice? Well, you know, how many patients come in and they go, well, I, for the past two, three years, I've been gone to, you know, my physician. And he told me I was fine. Fine. What does that really mean?

[00:04:17] Alex? What we're finding out, Mario, is that the science of inflammation, it actually is inflammology.

[00:04:24] See if you can kind of call it that. Inflammology or inflammologists. Whether you have an inflamed back, an insulin issue, where you have reactive inflammation, where you have rheumatoid or in some degenerative issues that you have, inflammation affects us all. Blood sugar issues are at the root of many inflammatory disorders. We're finding out in the studies through the NCBI that are indicating that the most important component of inflammation is sugar. At the root of inflammation, we're finding more often than not, not just immunoglobulins immuno agents, immunological agents in our body that are responsible, but, you know, eliciting catalyst of sugar as being one of the greatest causes of it. And in our practice, because we are physical medicine doctors and what we do is we look for the cause. Now, sometimes it could be as simple as I fell off a tree. It could be that way. It could also be I could have an individual who's saying, you know what, I have had nothing but pain over the last few years or someone who is actually at the threshold of pain and wonders why they launch an inflammatory episode such as sciatica or some sort of rheumatoid episode, some sort of brain fog, you could even say that's associated with inflammation. All right. A study after study that you can, you know, study every day where we're seeing the connection between sugars, inflammation, insulin, diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle. So when we look at a functional medicine approach, we have to include all the aspects that are included in medicine, that are encompassing of inflammation, endocrinology, neurology, orthopedics. This is what we do, you and I. And what we have to do is we have to bring this new awareness to the people of our communities because the word is functional medicine. And in our world, what we look for is, is a doctor who's going to look at us and treat us individually. If I could be bold, I could say that if a doctor is not going to talk about nutrition and understand how a lifestyle, spiritual, mind, body has anything to do with your body or doesn't have the time to go over your medical findings or explain to you. Line by line. The presentations of a metabolic panel. Those are the panels that actually assess, you know, deep insights into the blood. Get a new doctor. It's really that simple. Get a new doctor. Find a new one that can sit down and teach you what's going on. So functional medicine is a new beginning. It's a new beginning. It's been around for the last decade or so, and it's becoming really popular amongst the communities around the United States. Understanding that there's a connection between many different components of the body, from the metabolic issues to the neurological to the endocrinological to the joint structure, the musculoskeletal system, the mind, and body.

[00:07:31] So in terms of our practice Mario, I'd say that the world is changing really fast and people are becoming aware that we are not looking for a care process that fixes or starts to fix us when we become clinical because there are different stages, there's subclinical. And a lot of these people you'll hear that they have pre-diabetes and they start with metformin. How about just try to avoid to get there and most of us can with a good diet and good exercise and good understanding and good dynamics. So I'd say it's a huge impact and it changes every type of practice. The gastroenterologists see this every day. Sadly, the beginnings of this process begins in the gut. But because the disorders are so rampant by the time they become clinical. Many gastroenterologists become surgeons and they're just removing guts and removing intestines.

[00:08:23] This Alex. I want to really compliment and acknowledge the benefits of all of our colleagues. And I would say this. We as physicians, we all start with the passion to heal the world, to do good, to impact and to do our very best in our own specialty. You know, whether it's orthopedics, whether it's physical medicine, whether it's chiropractic, whether it's cardiology. We start with that. And unfortunately, due to the fact of the population and the overload in disease care and there's different levels of disease care. You can see the number of dialysis centers that are opening up everywhere. That's a direct sign that we're failing. You can see all of the issues of type 2 diabetes, all the secondary issues. So what's happening is the overload in the supply and demand. It's so high that our fellow physicians can just manage disease. They just manage disease. I mean, they do not have half an hour to an hour to sit with one patient and to say strategically, like we do, strategically say, OK, where are you at? What is the lifestyle that you're living? Here's your panel, metabolic panel. A lot of times when we're dealing with metabolic issues and inflammation and especially in physical medicine, that's what we're focusing and really impacting our community. We are looking at subclinical issues. Right. Alex. And this is where we're looking at, for example, deficiencies in vitamin D, deficiencies in omega 3s. Right. Low thyroid. See, those are components that, again, because of the overload of the system, overload of patient care, most of our colleagues don't have the time to do the background and the strategic planning. So, again, they go to let's take your disease. And you know what? You don't have it yet. You're fine. Here's a handout. Eat better and I'll see you next year. Well, guess what happens? There's a huge failure rate. Huge. And this is where there's an economic impact. Right, Alex? Economic. And there's a health impact because what's happening is that most people can't afford sickness care. They cannot afford failure. Because once you are in that traunch, once you are in that world of, I am diabetic, I have cancer, I have bowel dysfunction, I have, you know, all of these things. What's happening? I have fatty liver. Once you get into that label, that diagnosis. Now, it is really, really difficult to not only manage it but come out of it. So this is what I would say. Functional medicine, in my opinion, is the solution not only to preventing major health issues, but also maintaining your optimal health naturally. So what that means is we're minimizing the use of heavy medication and heavy pharmaceutical use, which I think everyone wants.

[00:12:23] I mean, I would not ask anyone of my colleagues that practice cardiology or endocrinology or private practice or family practice and say, well, what is your mission today? Do you want to prescribe more meds?

[00:12:40] No, none of them. To that point, Mario. I'd bet none of them. Yeah. To that point, I'd say that most doctors, when they start practicing, they're a little bit more open to the options of medicine as choices and medications that obviously are appropriate. But as they get older, I've seen that they become much more conservative with their approaches, surgically as well as with medications, because we do understand that the number one component that heals our body is our body itself. Ourselves. Absolutely. So as we look at our structures and we look at our dynamics as we go through the process, we can lean heavily on the body by making it healthy.

[00:13:22] You know, by doing things that basically prevent disease and disorders before they arise. The world. I hear constantly that they sense that they had a problem way in the past. They just kind of pushed it off. Pushed it off. Yeah. Today's functional medicine has the ability to kind of assess situations, immune responses, inflammatory disorders before they become clinical.

[00:13:49] Yeah. And before they hit that threshold. Alex, it's all about hitting that threshold. I create that analogy because people really understand this. It's like your car, right? Yeah. Do you want to wait until the red light comes on that says "engine", and then do something about it? No, no, that doesn't make sense. So again, why do you do maintenance and diagnostics? Why? Because you want to prevent that wear and tear and that damage. Because once they're got that damage, for us as the human functional, biomechanical, bioenergetic, biochemical, and spiritual system that we have, which encompasses all of those platforms and verticals, we cannot go back and say, you know what, I think I'm gonna go get a rebuilt liver. I think I want to get a rebuilt spine. You know what, Alex?

[00:14:47] I have this problem, my low back L5, S1, you know, disc extrusion, we're just gonna get a rebuilt lumbar region. You know, we can't do that.

[00:14:59] You know, to your point there. What's amazing about the body, is it's innate ability to recover. It has an incredible ability if we can get the body before it enters into a clinical state, even after it begins a clinical state. Yes. Even after it's really deep into a clinical state, the body has an unbelievable ability at its own resources.

[00:15:23] When you feed it the right stuff, when you do the right things, when you change your lifestyle, when you change your dynamics, maybe your environment, your lifestyle, your spirituality dynamics that you're going through. Stress. Stress levels. Sleep patterns. It has an ability that it recovers.

[00:15:41] I say Alex, I call it. We are miracles. When I speak to my patients and when I do seminars and motivational talks to different companies and industries. I ask each person to look at the person next to them. And realize that what they're looking at is a miracle of 50 trillion cells, Alex. 50 trillion cells working together as one to create a thought, to create a movement, to create a smile, to cry. Mm-hmm. And also to be resilient and in that remarkable, miraculous God-given.

[00:16:30] OK, because we're just gonna be real today. OK. And on point. OK, that is a miracle. I mean, there are so many moving parts. There are so many variables that even the highest computer right now, even AI could not replicate a human being. It can come close. It could look like and act like. But it's not there. And therefore, it is so important what you said. The most powerful thing that we can do for ourselves is to take care of our bodies before it becomes clinical. Before it becomes clinical. And even when it becomes clinical. Alex, we are so dynamic. We are so powerful that with the right nutrition, with the right panel receiving the data. See we deal with data. Alex, we're not guessing. No, we're not. We're not guessing. We're not. Well, let's see what happens. I don't like those conversations. We don't talk to our patients and say, well, let's see what happens. No, this is the plan. We need to take action. And these are things that you need to do. And. One hundred percent of what we do is we empower the body, we empower the body to let it manifest that power of healing and recovery through specific nutritional supplements that are very specific, very high end, the recommendations that are panels. We test them monthly or every three months or sometimes every six months because we want to be on point. We want to be the tip of the spear. We're not into the conversation. You're fine. I don't want to be that. I cannot afford to talk to someone and say, well, I hope you're doing well. And I think, you know, you will. Or, you know, let's see what happens. I don't like those conversation. I want to be on point just like an athlete. You don't have Bolt going to his trainer and his manager and his trainer manager says, well, you know, let's see what happens. Maybe you'll qualify in four years for the Olympics. That conversation does not exist, Alex.

[00:18:54] Now the conversation... It doesn't. That we have with our patients nowadays is such that we can first do deep clinical questionnaires and figure out what's going on. I mean, these are not questions that are just simply. Hello. Tell me how you're feeling. No, these are deep questions that... How many? There's only about a good four to five hundred basic questions and deep questions. And when I say deep questions, when we look at an individual, we look at them like as if they were a domino. But behind that domino, there's hundreds of dominoes. There's a story, there's a history, there's a dynamic, there's a beginning. There's a life pattern, episodes, events, and lives that have changed their outcomes, emotions that have changed that may not be visible to that individual, that one present individual we have, but in their past, it affected that. Past traumas. Exactly. Once we assess that story and really analyze it. And from there, we do some blood work and we can go all the way down. Mario, you and I go down to the genomics of it. We actually see the genes because these genes are the actual things that actually produce the enzymes that make our pancreas function at a certain rate. And I guess you could call it the oomph of the body's ability to react. The blueprint. The blueprint. The expression. Yes. Yeah. The way it expresses. So today, what we didn't have 30 years ago when we started practicing 20, 25 years ago was the world of genomics. The understanding of that we can understand if a person has a certain gene pattern genome. We can see what kind of phenotype expressions they have as a result of it. Taking it from there, we can see the story and we can assess what type of dietary changes and what kind of foods we have to figure out what to put inside of their lifestyle. So there's a whole lot of stuff that we're going to be discussing, you and I, Mario, and what we're gonna be going through it and we're going to go down from the genes to the kitchen, so to speak. Yeah, we're going to I mean, it seems like it's a good book called From the Genes to the Kitchen, but it really, really starts there. The food, the design, the predispositions, the type of feeding patterns. We realize that the nutritional standards of the 70s are really catastrophic. Literally the diet plan that was designed for our children and what we grew up with was the same diet plan that they give a sow, a pig and it expands. And we wonder why that level of dietary recommendation went south. So now we have new standards and applying those standards, the new standards, and the new changes, depending on an individual and their issues is what we're talking about. So functional medicine assesses each individual dynamics and comes up with a plan so that we can give individuals tools, ideas, and dynamics. And as we work the individual processes for that person, we can actually find out what's wrong with them and we can tweak it and tweak it and tweak it to the point where the person finally gets control. There's no question we're in a very large fitness facility right now, the PUSH Fitness Center. We can see that this exercise is always a part of recovery. It's some capacity, even if it's just, you know, simple sedentary exercises. We got to get the body moving. And that's one component that we discuss. So as we put all these things together, you and I are going to come up with some really dynamic changes for our public and our patients so that we can give them really, I guess, nuggets of information, quality takeaways, as you call it, to really change our lives. And as we do that, we're gonna make an impact. And the world is changed. The world is changed that the doctors of today. We may need to be mindful of the nutritional dynamics as it relates to whether you're a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, an orthopedist. It really matters. And if not. Then today's world, you can see doctors running with P.A.s, health coaches, health nutritionists to be able to take up those deep, complex questions and help individuals get better. I look forward to going over all this with you, Mario. And I know you've been really excited about this process. How do you particularly like it in the sense of working with athletes, with the young athletes and the dynamics of getting our youth then before they get their bad habits? Right. Because when we teach our children how to eat, you know, this goes on forever. They don't really always pay attention to what we say, but they do pay attention to how we teach them to eat, how much water to drink. They may fight you, but eventually, it kicks and they realize the aspects of nutritional dynamics in their lives and that matters. So from the youth to the elderly, it matters. We can change people's lives. So I know you got some thoughts to say before we part here, but yeah, I wanted to let the El Paso people know that we're gonna be here. We're going to be here often. Can't tell you the exact times, but it's usually when we pop up on your feeds. And we hope that it's information that you guys need, want. It's changing the world. And we look forward to being an impact, the positive impact, or as they say, the change we want to see in the future in the world, right?

[00:24:26] Mario? Absolutely. And in closing, what I want to share is, it's Sunday today, Alex. And it's the first day of March. I'm telling you, this year is just exploding. And I feel the energy 2020, March 1st. And the message is, you know, we are here to impact that. The next generation. We are here to leave a legacy. Our children are our legacy, to leave them better than ourselves to allow them to be magnificent, to be healthier, happier and more prosperous than we were, and we are here to empower not only them but to empower the healing community. All of the physicians to compliment them, to assist them in the highest order of ultimate functional medicine. Thank you.

[00:25:30] We'll leave it there, guys, and God bless and have a great Sunday evening and enjoy yourselves.

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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN* email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*