Functional Medicine is a nebulous and ill-defined term these days. There are so many different practitioners touting themselves as “Functional Medicine practitioners.” They are providing such a variety of care that it can be difficult for one to discern what the practice is comprised of. Here at Linden & Arc Vitality Institute, Dr. Murfin is a trained MD who has received dedicated Functional Medicine training beyond innumerable years of medical training.
From our perspective, we see Functional Medicine as a patient-centered, holistic approach to health care. It aims to treat a patient’s entire being by balancing their mind, body, and spirit. Our bodies are comprised of numerous incredibly complicated interconnected systems that impact one another. Functional Medicine addresses each system in concert to achieve and maintain optimal health. Given current evidence and understanding, we aim to strike as close to the heart of an issue as possible, rather than just continually masking symptoms.
Functional Medicine clinics provide integrated care based on assessments of your body’s key biological functions, social circumstances, and evidence-based treatments. With precision testing and individualized programming, extraordinary things begin to happen to your mind, body, and spirit. This is your first step toward a happier, healthier, more vigorous you.
Linden & Arc Vitality Institute’s Approach to Functional Medicine:
At Linden & Arc Vitality Institute, our emphasis is on you as a whole being! By peeling back the layers of your health, we can expose the root cause of your health issues so that we can help you break the cycle of suffering.
During your first appointment, we will generate a timeline of your life. This will incorporate your family and health history and any significant events in your life. We focus on antecedents (e.g., genetics), triggers (e.g., stressful events) and mediators (e.g., ongoing perpetuating factors, such as environmental toxins) to determine the patterns and causes of your health challenges.
We approach Functional Medicine using the 7 Core Nodes of Healing:
- Gut Health
- Brain Power & Mood
- Heart Health
- Immune Function
- Energy Production
Health problems generally comprise all seven nodes; thus, we address each node as appropriate to manage various health issues. At the center of the physiological nodes rests the patients and their integrated sense of well-being – mind, body, spirit, & soul. The patient’s inner life directs the narratives contained in their timeline and the downstream physiological processes we dive deeply into using the seven core nodes above. The lifestyle factors of our patients are the bedrock of their health and are always explored in great depth – food first, then sleep, movement, resiliency and relationships and networks.
The 7 Core Nodes of Healing
Our Functional Medicine practice uses the 7 Core Nodes of Healing Model to organize and prioritize any health challenges that you may have. Using the core nodes of healing, we can develop your individualized treatment strategies, target the root causes of your illnesses, and improve your overall health. Each of the seven nodes represents a set of interconnected biological functions, much like a web, influencing each other.
1. Gut Health
To improve gut health, we dive deeply into your overall gastrointestinal function. We evaluate digestion, assimilation, your microbiome, food sensitivities/allergies, and any potential parasitic involvement contributing to unwanted local and systemic immune activation. The gut is the gateway to the body. This is where some of our most essential functions occur: taking in the nutrients needed to fuel our entire being.
Our gut is our greatest contact with the outside world! It has a surface area that is powers of ten beyond that of our skin. This results in a tremendous amount of environmental exposure and immune activity along the lining of our gastrointestinal system, which can have profound systemic implications. A primary area of detoxification is our gut. Our liver is our body’s primary (not only) detoxifier. It’s an enzymatic supercenter! It does an incredible job at regularly breaking down the many environmental toxins we’re exposed to and flushing them out through our intestines. If this system is inefficient, however, or if we have increased gut permeability, our body’s ability to truly rid itself of toxins becomes markedly impaired.
We then use the 6 R approach to restore your gastrointestinal function:
- Remove – offending agents (foods, toxins, unwanted bacteria like H.pylori, parasites etc.)
- Replace – replenish nutrient depletion, digestive enzymes, bile acids & hydrochloric acid
- Re-inoculate – re-introduce healthy microflora
- Repair – fix the mucosal lining & correct increased permeability
- Rebalance – re-establish the balance in the microflora
The 6R approach will significantly change how you see and eat food and heal and restore your gut health.
2. Brain Power and Mood
Our Functional Medicine physicians boost brainpower and mood by looking at the link between your brain, gut, and immune system. This can detect patterns that may be contributing to your health issues. Metabolic and genetically influenced pathways may impact neurotransmitters available in the brain and peripheral nervous system. We work to ensure systemic inflammation is minimized and that the right neurotransmitters are available. Treatments can include neurotransmitter and hormone balancing through nutrient repletion, gut healing, detoxification, psychotherapy, craniosacral therapy, and neuromodulation. We stress a bio-psycho-social approach to managing mental health and strongly encourage psychotherapy and managing challenging social situations in addition to our biological approach through the clinic.
At Linden & Arc Vitality Institute, we are experts at addressing and treating hormone imbalances. Our goal is to support your body by restoring and improving your overall health and wellbeing. Hormones are key signaling molecules in our bodies. A hormone imbalance can quickly result in numerous issues throughout our complex systems! Even a slight imbalance can impact your immune system and alter your brain’s capacity to function effectively. Symptoms of hormone imbalance can include poor sleep, anxiety, low libido, fatigue, hair loss, changes in bowel movements, weight changes, mood lability…the list goes on!
We address the hormonal imbalance by testing vital aspects of the endocrine system. We look at all of your hormones, from the thyroid, adrenals, and insulin, to your estrogens, androgens, and human growth hormone (HGH). This shows us the best approach to returning your body to optimal balance.
We live in a world inundated with toxins. These toxins can negatively impact our cellular function, endocrine system, and fertility. Functional Medicine physicians assess for the presence of numerous forms of toxins. Many toxins have endocrine disrupting, pro-inflammatory, neuroinflammatory, and cancer-causing effects. By minimizing exposure to and eliminating environmental toxins, we assist your body’s natural systems to rid itself of unwanted toxic compounds. We use micronutrient repletion and various forms of nutraceuticals to support methylation and sulfation. We focus on improving gastrointestinal elimination to allow these toxins to exit the body efficiently.
5. Heart Health
The heart is one of our most vital organs – our lives depend on them. When it comes to energy, the heart is quite demanding. Lack of energy is often connected to cardiac problems.
To evaluate your risk of cardio-metabolic syndrome, we evaluate multiple cardiac data points such as:
- Lipid Profile
- High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)
- Lipoprotein A (LpA)
- Apolipoprotein B100
- Apolipoprotein A1
- Insulin sensitivity
- Genetic predisposition to heart disease
These tests help us predict your risk of heart disease and stroke and inform us of inflammation in your body. To restore your heart’s vitality, we go beyond the standard cardiovascular assessment tools and advise medical and lifestyle management to optimize your cardiovascular risk profile.
6. Immune Function
Optimizing immune balance is a tremendous area of focus for us. The immune system is complex and impacts so many of our bodies systems. With all the stressors in the world today, many have pushed their immune systems into a state of dysregulation. Because of this, we are unable to calm down. This can lead to various issues, including autoimmune diseases, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), histamine intolerance, and a host of mental health issues.
Further, we delve into the complexities of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and Post COVID Syndrome (PCS), which have immunogenic origins and require an individualized approach to manage. For an excellent in-depth but accessible explanation of CIRS, click HERE to read our blog: Understanding Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Our assessments of immune function include unique genetic and transcriptomic assays and key indicators of present immune function and communication. Further, we use various antibody assays to determine whether one may be experiencing chronic underlying infections that have gone unchecked for years.
Once we identify immunogenic triggers, we do our best to eliminate the source and calm the immune system. We do this by using both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical formulations.
7. Energy Production
Our Functional Medicine Physician evaluates your energy production by assessing mitochondrial health. There are numerous potential barriers to efficient energy production. These include extracellular insulin resistance, intracellular insulin resistance, insufficient coenzymes to fuel the mitochondria, and impaired elimination of mitochondrial waste products. When one’s mitochondria’s ability to produce energy is impaired, their overall health and wellbeing will plummet.
Our Physician assess mitochondrial functioning through biochemical testing that looks at coenzyme q10 (C0Q10), carnitine, pyruvate, lactate, and alpha lipoic acid, to name a few.
We aim to optimize glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and mitochondrial function to increase energy. We will clean up damaged and sick mitochondria and supercharge your energy generation.
Many cultures over numerous generations have acknowledged the existence of a spirit. Though “spirit” is another nebulous term and seems inherently unscientific to acknowledge, the idea that there is another form of energy that comprises who we are and which we have been unable to measure is not implausible. It’s important to maintain the perspective that everything we know now through scientific processes was once not understood and possibly even deemed “witchcraft” or something of the like.
Though we don’t fully understand what spirit is, for those of our patients, whom it is important to acknowledge as a part of their overall well-being, we encourage them to do so. Further, we recognize the importance of a healthy mind. Though there are biological contributors to a healthy mind, learning to reframe one’s thinking as a practice is crucial to their perception of the world and their perceptions of themselves. We are big believers in the power of psychotherapy, meditation, and mindfulness as a way to remedy the mind and calm our nervous systems.
We are firm believers that proper health is only achieved when mind, body, and spirit are balanced. Your mind, body, and spirit are at the center of the 7 Core Hodes, tying everything together.
How Functional Medicine Can Help You
Every patient experiences illness differently and, therefore, deserves treatment that works for them. Functional Medicine is about growing, learning, transforming, and addressing that unique patient illness experience. Our Functional Medicine practice at Linden & Arc Vitality Institute is focused on reshaping your story, renewing your health, and transforming the arc of your life. Our physicians offer individualized treatment plans through a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach so that you can return to optimal health.
If you are struggling with persistent health challenges, contact Linden & Arc Vitality Institute HERE to start your transformative health journey.