What is Functional Endocrinology

What is Functional Endocrinology and What it can do for me


Endocrinology is the branch of medicine dealing with the hormone glands and their hormones. It uses pharmaceutical agents to replace, suppress or support the endocrine system. This approach is often appropriate for patterns in the disease state or genetic disorders. Functional endocrinology identifies alterations in the endocrine systems that are not in a disease state at the point of diagnosis. This is done by interpreting patients’ signs, symptoms and the lab work, i.e. the saliva, blood, stool and or urine from the laboratory’s normal or reference ranges to the more realistic and healthy “functional range” which is usually within the margins of the reference range. For example, the normal lab range for White Blood Cells (WBC) is 4-11; however, the functional range is between 5-8 K/MCL. If your WBC is more than 8, and along with other clinical or laboratory correlations, an astute clinician with the knowledge of functional endocrinology can suspect an acute infection with or without obvious symptoms to the patient. A physician then uses natural therapies, herbs, supplements, diet and lifestyle modifications to optimize, harmonize and balance the function of the endocrine system.


Many alterations in the endocrine systems that are not yet in a disease state, if not treated at the early signs of dysfunction may lead to pathology down the road. People that suffer from functional endocrine disorders are usually not diagnosed with the disease and therefore are left untreated in the standard healthcare model until manifestations of disease become present, i.e. WBC count goes beyond the reference range. These patients typically suffer from wide range of symptoms from fatigue to serious cases of depression. Functional endocrine disorders also increase risk for many other disorders if not treated.


In order to practice functional endocrinology, the physician must understand the depth of human physiology and metabolism. In Functional Endocrinology model, the hormonal system is complex and interconnected, each gland has and affect on the other and the system as the whole, unlike the traditional model that looks at the hormonal glands as independent and closed systems.


Functional medicine physician has many different tools at his or her disposal to identify and diagnoses the functional imbalances. Saliva testing is performed for identifying the complex hormonal patterns of the , patients. Saliva testing is less invasive than a blood test and measures the active (free or unbounded) hormones, blood test, which is much more expensive at measuring active hormones, and obviously is more invasive.


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