What is Autophagy and Why is it Important?

Autophagy is a Latin word that means “self-eating”. Since 2015, there have been some major leaps in understanding this extremely important process and how it is involved in chronic disease.

I want to explain it at a very simple level. If everybody in the neighborhood took their trash to the end of the street at the end of the day then went back into their house—they did this every day—all the neighbors in the neighborhood did that but the trash man never came. What would happen?

You’d have so much trash built up that the trash man couldn’t get down the street.

This happens in many disease states in all of the cells in our body. Now, from autism to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune illnesses, seizure disorders that tend to not respond to anticonvulsants. All these illnesses have an autophagy component.

Autophagy essentially helps the body clean up the cellular debris. And this is a little bit different than detoxification– a lot of times we think of peeing, pooping, also at the cellular level in the liver and the kidneys, those organs detoxify our blood in our urine. The liver and the kidneys help process the blood and basically all the blood in the body and that helps our body detoxify. But at the cellular level, if a person has broken off-switches for inflammation and they cannot dial the inflammation down, clean up their cells, and get rid of the cellular debris, we’ve got major problems.

In 2015, there were some special scans done of the brain. They’re called PET scans. We’ve been doing those for years but they were able to image cells in the brain called microglial cells. These cells have numerous receptors on them. Some of them are for turning on inflammation and some of them are for turning off inflammation. If you have broken off-switches for inflammation, the body is continuously kicking out these things called inflammatory cytokines. The body should be able to dial down that inflammation, but if it can’t, you make your body more vulnerable to inflammatory illnesses.

So we first need to get autophagy or self-eating to work. There are numerous ways to do this via medications and also supplementation. Autophagy is enhanced, for example, by curcumin, black pepper, green tea extract, Far infrared sauna, and short term fasting such as 12 to 15 or 18 hours.

That’s autophagy and it helps the body clean out the cellular debris and kick it out.

What is Functional Medicine, its Benefits and How to find a Holistic Doctor?

Living with chronic disease can be a heavy burden not only for the patient but also for its loved ones. The expense and stress it takes to get through can feel unbearable at times, with no way of knowing if you’ll surely be well.

Eventually, patients look for other ways to treat their condition. One of the most popular methods is Functional Medicine.

What does this type of medical practice do, and why do they get it? Read on to find out.

What is functional medicine?

According to IFM, Functional Medicine is a systems biology-based approach towards diagnosing a patient. It is an individualized approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the causes of one disease.

Functional Medicine also looks into a person’s genes, environment, and current lifestyle to further dissect a medical condition and reverse its effects (if possible).

Why should I get Functional Medicine?

As opposed to other forms, Functional Medicine focuses on the patient for treatment management. A functional doctor will ask you questions to get a good grasp of your medical history, from your physical needs down to your mental and emotional needs. They will also consider other factors such as existing toxins, allergens, and your microbiome.

From there, functional medicine doctors will draft a customized living plan to help you live your healthiest life. Functional medicine treatment aims to improve a person’s well-being through good nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes.

Where can I find a holistic doctor?

Searching for a holistic doctor is easy. You can go to sites like IFM’s Find A Practitioner page to get a list of functional doctors around your area. You can also use long-tail keywords on your browser such as “functional medicine dr near me” and let the search engine source relevant medical professionals from various sites.

No treatment is ever useful without the right level of trust. Allow yourself to ask everything that you need to know from your doctor before proceeding.

4 Notable Differences Between the Practice of Conventional Medicine and Functional Medicine

There has been a growing interest in alternative medicine lately in different parts of the world. Health-conscious people and other like-minded groups have been taking better steps to take responsibility for their health.

One of its most popular topics today is functional medicine. What is it, and how does it differ from conventional medicine?

Read our quick below to find out.

What is functional medicine?

Functional medicine is an alternative treatment that focuses on the root cause of disease through a systems-oriented approach. It examines the relationship between your mind, body, and spirit to treat your whole body and not just the symptoms.

1. Functional medicine treats you, not your symptoms.

As opposed to its more traditional counterpart, which focuses on treating symptoms, functional medicine doctors aim to look at the bigger picture. This unique form of medicine will aim to treat your whole self. It leaves no stone unturned by trying to determine the root cause of the illness through naturopathic means.

2. Functional medicine offers personalized care.

Functional doctors also take pride in providing a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Apart from your diet, these practitioners will also look into your current lifestyle and your emotional needs to ensure that the care you receive works with the life you lead.

3. Functional medicine offers healing in the long-term.

Medical professionals use conventional medicine for treating acute and urgent medical symptoms. On the other hand, functional medicine addresses recurring symptoms within the body. By guiding their healing process, we teach patients how to address these problems more naturally.

4. Functional medicine does not heavily focus on medication.

Conventional doctors tend to prescribe medications too often. Instead of making your body go through unnecessary drugs, functional medicine provides a more holistic alternative. This form of healing combines naturopathic practice & other wellness activities that will help your body’s innate healing ability.