top of page

Functional Medicine Approach to Autoimmune Disease

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

While conventional medicine focuses on diagnosing a disease and prescribing a drug to either cure the disease or manage the symptoms, Nutritional Therapy utilises functional medicine to approach illness and health quite differently.

One condition, many causes; One cause, many conditions.” - Dr. Mark Hyman, IFM Board President of Clinical Affairs

Functional Medicine 101

While conventional medicine focuses on diagnosing a disease and prescribing a drug to either cure the disease or manage the symptoms, functional medicine looks at illness and health quite differently. The conventional approach is brilliantly effective for acute conditions, such as broken bones, for chronic health problems a different approach is needed, particularly as chronic illnesses continue to rise.

Functional medicine is a science-based approach to health and healing that looks at the origins, the underlying causes, of the illness or symptoms.

It is a comprehensive approach that emphasises not just restoring health, but also prevention of disease in the first place.

The fundamental premise of functional medicine, is that every individual is biochemically unique, and each approach to treatment should be as individual as the person being treated. And so, the aim is to “support the person who has the disease, not the disease itself”.

Functional medicine constantly seeks to understand why

  • Why does this person have this illness or these symptoms?

  • What is it about this person’s unique genetic make-up and their individual experiences during their life that have resulted in the health problems they are experiencing?

Traditional medicine tends to view the body as a set of compartmentalised body parts. If you have a problem with your gut, you see a gastroenterologist, if you have a problem with your skin you see a dermatologist.

In contrast, functional medicine looks at the person as a whole. Very often, for example, major problems with the skin are actually rooted in the gut. Problems in the gut may be coming from poor nerve activity in the brain. Examining and understanding how the different biological systems work, and how they all impact on each other, allows us to intervene upstream at the cause of the problem, rather than just trying to manage the symptoms.

Next Steps

Hi I'm Molly, I'm a UK-based Nutritional Therapist (DipION, mBANT, CNHC) and Self-Compassion Coach (MSc) serving my community in Harpenden and online. Here in my little online home, you'll discover the benefits of nutritional therapy and complementary therapies for autoimmune disease and chronic illness.

Want to understand more about nutrition for autoimmune diseases? Download my free recipe book and discover 12 Nutritionist-Certified Recipes to Help Alleviate the Symptoms of Autoimmunity & Chronic Illness.


bottom of page