The Future of Medicine
When I was a young doctor, I subscribed to the idea that physicians knew everything. I also believed that I was untouchable and that working fourteen-hour shifts, eating Ben & Jerry’s for dinner, and barely getting any sleep would have little effect on my body. Boy, was I wrong. Years of poor sleep and poor dietary habits caught up to me, and as many of you know, I developed chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and much more.
In the middle of this health crisis, I was invited to watch a lecture by a man named Dr. Jeffrey Bland, and little did I know, but this man would change the trajectory of my career. In this lecture, Dr. Bland talked about a new model for healing, one that focused on the body as a system instead of treating individual symptoms. He also brought up the idea of food as medicine, the idea that we could use the powerful compounds in foods to treat our ailments. I left the lecture feeling completely inspired as if I had just found the key to heal my own body as well as my patients’. There was a small part of me that thought Dr. Bland could be completely insane too. This small doubt came from years of medical training that failed to mention anything about nutrigenomics—the interaction of nutrition and our genes.
You might have guessed it, but I decided to implement Dr. Bland’s approach in my own healing protocol, and my life as a doctor was never the same. Functional Medicine became my passion. I am so honored to now call Dr. Bland one of my closest friends, and to have him on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.
In this episode, Dr. Bland and I discuss Functional Medicine, which we both believe to be the future of conventional medicine. At its core, Functional Medicine seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. Just as Dr. Bland mentioned the first time I saw him speak, Functional Medicine treats the whole system, not just the symptoms. And this method of healing is absolutely critical when it comes to treating chronic disease, which affects one in two Americans and accounts for 80 percent of our health care costs. Chronic disease includes conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. These ailments cause endless suffering and they drain our financial resources. The way we currently treat these disease, for the most part, is by using a pill for every ill. This clearly is not working. Functional Medicine offers a different paradigm, a different model of diagnosing and treating illness, and we truly believe that it can tackle the epidemic of chronic disease.
Dr. Bland is the father of the Functional Medicine movement. With his wife, Dr. Bland founded The Institute for Functional Medicine in 1991, a nonprofit organization focused on educating healthcare practitioners on effective approaches to treating and preventing chronic disease. In this episode, Dr. Bland shares the origin story of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and we dive deep into this new way of healing.
Having my mentor join me for this conversation was truly a delight and an honor. Be sure to listen to it on iTunes or anywhere else you listen to podcasts, and watch the video right here on YouTube. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD