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 Christopher LeMay, D.O., Founder of Anywhere Total Health.
Why did you decide to make functional medicine your focus?
CL: After working 12 years as an emergency physician, it became clearly evident that we needed to give people a better approach than one-size-fits-all medicine. Both my mother and my wife’s mother passed away in their 50’s from conditions that conventional medicine had nothing to offer. After this, I knew I needed to be part of the change.
Who have been your greatest mentors in your functional medicine journey?
CL: I am inspired by the stories of Matt Embry and Dr. Terry Wahls. Their courage not only changed their own health stories, but to care for others is an example for all of us.
What excites you most about your day to day work?
CL: The ability to change people’s health trajectories by creating unique, individualized programs to build health.
What’s the most challenging part of your day to day work?
CL: I know I’m not alone when I share that one challenge we encounter in a functional medicine practice is tracking down advanced lab panels results. We make it a point to use numerous lab companies, based on each ones specific strengths and specialties. As such, it makes for a bit of a task to obtain all the results and centralize them.
What do patients most commonly get wrong about functional medicine?
CL: One of the things I’ve seen quite regularly are individuals coming in completely overburdened with supplement after supplement. In my practice, I try to make it a point that our goal shouldn’t be to go from polypharmacy to polysupplement. We partner for a food first approach and then if needed, can consider targeted, high quality supplementation.
What’s holding the field of functional medicine back?
CL: There is always an initial hurdle that needs to be overcome when a better, but previously unfamiliar option presents itself. Once people become aware that they aren’t limited to medical care that only treats symptoms, the field of functional medicine will flourish. I truly believe functional medicine is what medicine will be in 10-15 years.
What has your experience been with genetic testing?
CL: I think my experience probably mirrors that of many of my colleagues. Genomics is an enormously expanding field that can help strategize lifestyle decision making. It gives some insight as to potential health risks and helps us partner to lower those risks. The key part of the discussion is that your genetics don’t dictate your diseases. Being at risk means that we need to piece together a customized plan that aims to lower those risks.
How do you see the practice of functional medicine evolving in the years ahead?
CL: As more and more research data accrues, functional medicine will be equipped to lead the practice of medicine. It will change countless people’s healthcare outcomes, will improve their quality years of life, and will help many people get off of chronic medications.
About Christopher LeMay.
Christopher LeMay, D.O., CAQSM, IFMCP is an experienced Emergency and Sports Medicine Physician and the Founder/Physician at Anywhere Total Health, a practice in Florida that combines telemedicine urgent care with functional medicine.