This episode surprised me since the show usually discusses unusual foods and treatments to alleviate specific aliments. Instead of providing a clear picture of how to obtain and maintain good health (in general), it makes good health appear complicated and confusing. In addition, it doesn’t help that the show’s sponsors sell sugar-laden cereals and other very unhealthy processed foods! OK- enough of my griping about Dr. Oz.
Functional medicine has many similarities to holism philosophy and it is very different from conventional medicine. Rather than treating the symptoms of disease, it seeks to find and treat the root causes. The experts of functional medicine featured on the show cite malnutrition and toxicity as the two main culprits causing disease. In addition, the doctors iterated that “food is medicine”. This is similar to Hippocrates famous quote: “Let thy food be thy medicine”. They work with patients to optimize their diets to eliminate processed foods, sugar and carbohydrates and to integrate healthy fats and proteins. The doctors work with patients to solve digestive problems that can inhibit the absorption of nutrients and expelling of toxins (also known as leaky gut).
Another significant distinction between these two types of medicine is that conventional medicine identifies patients as either sick or healthy. Functional medicine treat health as a wider spectrum extending from optimal health to various levels of degraded health and then to sickness.
Finally, functional medicine views the body as one integrated system. Conventional medicine treats organs seperately and are divided by medical specialties.
The following links from the Dr. Oz website provide additional information about this field: