My Experience with Functional Medicine (Part 2)

This series will probably be among my most controversial…

… it is also among my most personal


New Data = Better Picture or Just More Problems

Read part 1 here.

About a week after my initial appointment, my doctor was able to look over my blood test results and interpret what it all meant. This is what those pointed towards:

  • Estrogen dominance
  • Low thyroid function
  • Poor methylation
  • Low normal iron
  • Liver dysfunction

We also did a GI Comprehensive analysis – i.e. what story is your poop telling us? Which took a lot longer to get the results back from, due to the nature of the analysis process.

  • Given these results, coupled with medical imaging done in several years ago, I probably have liver dysfunction and poor detoxification capacity. (High normal ALT/AST, high normal homocysteine, HIDA scan showing poor gallbladder functioning, family history of primary biliary cirrhosis). We will be trying ox bile, glutamate/GABA, and a methylation/homocysteine support for the next few months until these processes work better on their own.

The liver plays a role in purification of the body. Before it goes out to the rest of the body, blood from the digestive tract is filtered through the liver to prevent contaminants from circulating in the bloodstream. The liver also has the job of filtering agents such as heavy metals, alcohol, drugs/medications, chemicals, and other toxic byproducts from the blood.

The liver produces bile, which is needed to digest and absorb fats as well as fat-soluble vitamins. The liver produces important proteins, hormones, clotting factors, and immune factors, including cholesterol which is important for hormone production.

The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver.

  • Low normal ferritin – likely due to malabsorption from chronic inflammation rather than from blood loss. Should improve on an anti-inflammatory diet/eliminating foods that I have sensitivities to. Will be supplementing with iron/red blood cell support for the time being to improve thyroid function and help with hair growth.
  • Suboptimal thyroid function should be improved by working on the previous two points, but will do a short (10 day) metabolic detox.
  • Elevated beta-glucuronidase levels – implies impaired phase 2 detoxification. Will add in calcium-d-glucurate to help improve overall detoxification process of the gallbladder and liver and to improve digestion.
  • Gut bacteria dysbiosis – my case is fairly complex, so I am being referred to a Columbus-area naturopath who specializes in digestive dysfunction.
  • Estrogen dominance – continue cycling progesterone cream monthly to induce menstruation until my periods begin to occur more naturally.

Depending on how soon I can get an initial appointment with the new referral, I should be following up with my doctor in another 6-8 weeks to repeat my initial labs and update her on my progress.

Until next time, part 3…


2 thoughts on “My Experience with Functional Medicine (Part 2)

  1. John says:

    Ferritin is an acute phase protein that rises with inflammation. It’s completely backwards to think that you would have low ferritin because of inflammation & that an “anti-inflammatory” diet would increase your ferritin level.

    • Ellen Ratliff, MS, RD says:

      Thank you for your comment, John! I am not following an anti-inflammatory diet to increase my ferritin levels and honestly I don’t know why my doctor referred to it as an anti-inflammatory diet (I was quoting her) as I am actually following an elimination diet to identify food intolerances. I am normally borderline anemic and low serum ferritin is also an early indicator of iron deficiency.

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