Quackery Exposed: Functional Medicine


Functional medicine is a form of alternative medicine (sometimes called integrative medicine) that includes a large number of unproven and disproven methods and treatments of different diseases, illnesses and disabilities. They claim that they focus on the “root causes” of different conditions based on interactions between the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems to create “individual treatment plans.” The treatments that functional medicine doctors recommend are normally not supported by medical evidence.  It is described as quackery, pseudoscience and alternative medicine.

In the United States, functional medicine practices have been ruled ineligible for course credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians because they are concerned that functional medicine is harmful

History of Functional Medicine

Functional medicine was invented by a chemist named Jeffery Bland. He and his wife Susan founded the Institute for Functional Medicine in 1991 as a division for Healthcomm.
Also during that year, the US Federal Trade Commission said that Jeffery Bland’s corporations HealthComm and NuDay enterprises had fraudulent claims that their products could alter metabolism and induce weight loss.
This program cost $30 per week. It included instructions and  a meal replacement formula (fiber capsule claiming to be a natural appetite suppressant). It was featured on a half hour TV show called “The Perfect Diet” that had convincing testimonials.
The FTC found that they violated a consent order in 1995 by making more fraudulent claims. The products were part of a weight loss program called UltraClear. They claimed that it provided relief from gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, food allergies, mercury exposure, kidney disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. The companies were fined $45,000.
Dr. David Gorski, an oncologist, has written about the vagueness as a diliberate tactic by the Blands through functional medicine.

How Functional Medicine Describes Itself.

In 2014, Cleveland Clinic was the first academic medical center in the United States to establish a functional medicine program. They partnered with Mark Hyman, the inventor of functional medicine and the board president of Clinical Affairs at the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) to start this department.

The Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine describes the functional model of care as “patient centered approach to chronic disease management. It seeks answers to the question ‘why are you ill?’ so you can receive personalized, effective care for your needs.”

“Functional medicine providers spend time listening to you and gathering your medical history. We use this information to identify the root causes of the illness, including triggers such as poor nutrition, stress, toxins, allergens, genetics and your microbiome.”

The average person would not pick up on the red flags in that statement. Functional medicine claims that illness is triggered by microbiome (gut), toxins (vaccines), allergens, poor nutrition (nonrestricted eating), etc. They would recommend restrictive diets and being anti-vaccine. The quack community is obsessed over the gut for some reason.

They utilize unnecessary, expensive tests performed in the named of “holistic” healthcare. This is because they claim this is how they will find the underlying causes of what ails their victims.

Functional medicine also heavily stresses lifestyle changes to fix health problems. They claim that diet, exercise, sleep patterns, stress levels and other aspects of life will heal disease.

By saying they are patient focused, they attract people who want to be taken seriously. This leads to a dangerous patient/provider relationship. The patient expects to be prescribed treatments that are proven but instead they get quackery.

Conditions that functional medicine treats

  • adrenal disorders
  • alzheimer’s and dementia
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • autoimmune disorders
  • cancer prevention
  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • digestive disorders
  • fibromyalgia
  • environmental and food allergies
  • women’s health disorders (PMS, menopause and PCOS)
  • Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and insulin resistance
  • thyroid disorders
  • autism

Examples of Functional Medicine Treatments

  • Acupuncture
  • acupressure
  • naturopathy
  • massage
  • chiropractic
  • osteopathy
  • body movement therapies
  • tai chi
  • yoga
None of these treatments are actual proven treatments and they have blood on their hands.

The autistic community now knows that the Cleveland Clinic practices quackery and that they should stay away.

What Functional Medicine Says About Autism

They claim that the concepts of functional medicine are appropriate for autism. “There is a wide range of severities and a wide range of causes for children with autism, so not every child is the same. Functional medicine recognizes this and looks for the triggers that caused imbalances in the patients body.” They believe that autism is caused by imbalances in the body.
Groups such as Simple Spectrum Supplement, TACA, Autism Hope Alliance and Autism One rely on functional medicine.

How Functional Medicine Attempts to Treat Autism

  • Work to decrease inflammation
    • They believe that inflammation can impact brain development. They believe inflammation is a cause of autism
  • Gluten and Casein Free Diet
  • Pay attention to the digestive system
    • They believe imbalances in the gut cause autism as well
  • Cod Liver oil supplement
    • They believe this will reduce the inflammation they are so scared of
  • avoid refined and processed foods
    • They believe additives cause behavior problems and digestive issues that cause autism
  • multivitamins



Integrative Medicine vs. Functional Medicine: Is There a Difference?

Jeffrey Bland, PhD

Some Notes on Jeffrey Bland and Metagenics


5 thoughts on “Quackery Exposed: Functional Medicine

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