3X4’s new State of Functional Medicine series features interviews with a diverse range of active practitioners and established thought leaders to learn more about why they chose the field of functional medicine, what excites them most about their work, the most common misconceptions they hear from patients, and most importantly — how they see the field evolving in the years ahead as healthcare shifts to be more personalized, proactive, and preventative.
Functional medicine practitioners play a key role in helping patients understand who they are so they can improve their quality of life which is what we’re all about here at 3X4. Our goal with this new series is to celebrate the work these practitioners are doing and inspire others to explore the exciting field of functional medicine.
The following is an interview we have recently had with Anshul Gupta, Functional Medicine MD, Founder of AnshulGuptaMD
Why did you decide to make functional medicine your focus?
AG: It started with my own health problems. When I was working as a Family Physician I started having stomach pain, fatigue, weight gain, brain fog issues. After taking medications and seeing the best specialists in the country I was not getting any better. That’s where I learned about Functional medicine, and started applying the concepts of functional medicine in my life. After just 1 month my stomach pain was gone. In the next 6 months, I was able to get off all medications, and had lost more than 40 lbs. I had more energy than I ever had in my life and my mental capacity became very sharp. That’s where I decided I need to share functional medicine with my patients to help them out.
Who have been your greatest mentors in your functional medicine journey?
AG: My greatest mentor has been Dr. Mark Hyman. Dr.Hyman has been the pioneer in starting the revolution of functional Medicine and has taught several physicians the concepts of functional medicine. My very first introduction to Dr.Hyman was when I started a certification course with the Institute of Functional Medicine. But then I was fortunate to work with him at Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine Center, in Cleveland, Ohio. We had mutual interest in doing research on various concepts of functional Medicine. Dr.Hyman helped me to find my passion and research in Hashimoto’s disease.
What excites you most about your day to day work?
AG: What excites me about my day at work is that it’s another day where I will be able to help more people. In Functional Medicine we see patients who have lost hope and have no other resource left to them. They are looking for help but nobody understands their symptoms or have tools to help them. And each and every day I can give hope to these patients and get them on their healing journey.
What’s the most challenging part of your day to day work?
AG: The most challenging part is managing my time that I provide to my patients. Most of the patients I see have several medical conditions and managing them in a 15 minute appointment is not possible. It requires more time as we need to go deeper into the root cause of their problem. So I often spend a lot of time with my patients, but that creates the problem with time management during the day. But for me it’s more important to listen to my patients and get them better, so I spend the time that I feel is required for a particular patient.
What do patients most commonly get wrong about functional medicine?
AG: Most patients think functional medicine is all about prescribing supplements. And that’s the only way we treat patients. But in reality Functional Medicine is not only about prescribing supplements, the main goal is to find the root cause of their problem. And once we identify the root cause then make a comprehensive plan that focuses on diet, stress management, exercise, sleep and supplements to help reverse their disease.
What’s holding the field of functional medicine back?
AG: The field of functional medicine is emerging at a very rapid pace, but the thing which is holding it back is still people are not aware of functional medicine. The awareness about functional medicine is lacking both in patients and physicians. Physician awareness is lacking because there are not many research studies that evaluate functional medicine. So we need more research studies that prove that functional medicine models can help several patients.
What has your experience been with genetic testing?
AG: Genetic testing is a great tool in functional medicine testing, and has helped several of my patients in managing their diseases. There are so many different SNP’s that can help us to identify the underlying problem of my patients. The most common genetic tool I use to evaluate people is methylation problem. But there are several other ones that help me guide the proper treatment of my patients.
How do you see the practice of functional medicine evolving in the years ahead?
AG: The practice of functional medicine in the coming years is going to become mainstream. As the demand is increasing for this kind of medicine, various healthcare systems are going to start adopting it. Our healthcare is already moving towards a value based model and that’s where functional medicine fits perfectly. The next evolution of functional medicine is to work with an insurance based system, so that it can be available to everyone easily.
About Dr. Gupta
Dr. Anshul Gupta MD is the Founder of AnshulGuptaMD and a Board-Certified Family Medicine Physician with advanced certification in Functional Medicine, Peptide therapy and also fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine. He has worked at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Department of Functional Medicine as staff physician alongside Dr. Mark Hyman. He believes in empowering his patients to take control of their health and partners with them in their healing journey. He now specializes as a thyroid functional medicine doctor, and help people reverse their unresolved symptoms of thyroid dysfunction