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Basic Sciences of Functional Medicine



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Genomics and the Academy

The 12 modules for the basic sciences portion of the Certification Programs™ provided by The Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics are listed below (Textbook chapters below):

The primary textbook which is used in this course is Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine by Richard S. Lord and J. Alexander Bralley. (2nd Edition) This is a “must have” resource. We offer students a 20% off coupon.

Click below to review the textbook on-line

Laboratory Evaluations (partial viewing)

Textbook Table of Contents
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Note: You may select any Module topic below at any time. They have all been recorded.

1) Basic Concepts of Functional Medicine

Many successes in medicine within the last century have also given rise to new challenges. Enormous advancements in reducing mortality from acute illness and extending life expectancy have given way to an increase in chronic, degenerative diseases among the aging population. The power of antibiotics as a ‘magic bullet’ in treating symptoms and saving lives has to a large degree failed to generate the same success with diseases that are multifactorial in origin and chronic in nature. This also holds true with the improvements in food production that have resulted in processed foods creating low nutrient-to-calorie ratios, and the technological advancements that have created thousands of new chemicals to be released into the environment.

This module will explore how to overcome these new challenges by applying a more holistic and integrative approach that factors the web-like interconnectedness of human metabolism and its relation to the environment. Specifically, it will set the stage for the entire course by exploring biochemical individuality and its influence on the individual need for nutrients, along with the expression of nutrient insufficiency.
Textbook Chapter 1-2


2) Vitamins

This module will probe into vitamin status and how it can be assessed by using a variety of direct and indirect measurements. For example, concentrations of vitamins can be measured in serum or blood cells. Vitamin metabolites may be measured in blood or urine. Changes in response to added vitamins may be measured as specific enzyme activities in blood or growth of leukocytes in cell culture. And, finally, functional adequacy of a specific vitamin can be exposed by the urinary levels of specific metabolic intermediates controlled by the action of the vitamin. These illustrations and more will be examined at length.
Textbook Chapter 2

3) Nutrient and Toxic Elements

Across all demographic bands in industrialized nations, element deficiencies are identified as being involved in the pathogenesis of many health conditions, including heart disease, hypertension and cancer.

Laboratory testing can identify element deficiencies and toxicities by direct measurement of element concentrations in body fluids or tissues, or by measuring biochemical markers that give evidence of the elements metabolic activity, be it toxic or essential.

The first part of this module will concentrate on the general concepts of element metabolism. This will segue into general considerations of specimen and test choice, followed by thorough discussions of each nutrient and toxic element, with an overall emphasis on effective approaches to assessment of individual patient status.
Textbook Chapter 3

4) Amino Acids

Amino acids are central to virtually every function of the human body. Of the 20-amino acids required for synthesis of proteins, nine must be derived from dietary protein because they cannot be produced in human tissues.

The main objective of this module is to explain how laboratory testing can identify patients in need of therapeutic supplementation of essential amino acid mixtures, individual amino acids, or other therapies to correct abnormal amino acid status.
Textbook Chapter 4

5) Fatty Acids

Over the past few decades, the relationship between dietary fat and disease has been the subject of much controversy and confusion. Recognition of the importance of specific physiological and toxicological roles for the individual fatty acids that largely constitute dietary fat has been a significant advance. Health issues associated with fatty acids are largely traced to modern dietary habits of low intake for fish, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds plus high intake for processed and manufactured dietary fats.

This module covers the need for laboratory evaluations of fatty acid status and how and why they are helpful in making decisions about dietary modification and/or supplementation with essential fatty acids and/or other nutrients involved in fatty acid metabolism.
Textbook Chapter 5

6) Organic Acids

Unlike amino acids and fatty acids, the category of compounds called organic acids contains no essential nutrients. Instead of directly measuring nutrient concentrations, abnormal concentrations of organic acids provide functional markers for the metabolic effects of micronutrient inadequacies, toxic exposure, neuroendocrine activity, and intestinal bacterial growth. As such, organic acid testing can indicate the functional need for essential or conditionally essential nutrients, diet modification, antioxidant protection, detoxification and other therapies.

Organic acid profiling has also been used in identification of the source of toxicants from the environment and from the gut.

Testing organic acids to assess special nutrient requirements of individuals is discussed in this module in a variety of sources. In addition, each of several compounds reported in the typical profiling of organic acids in urine is discussed to indicate why they are related to several clinical questions.
Textbook Chapter 6

7) Gastrointestinal Function

Proper gastrointestinal function is critical to adequate nutritional status and can impact all aspects of bodily function. Approximately one-third of daily caloric expenditure is required to drive the digestive, assimilative and immune functions while maintaining the gastrointestinal tract. A large amount of the body’s total lymphatic tissue is located in the gut, and the gastrointestinal system is the only organ system of the body with its own independently working lymphatic and nervous systems.

This module covers the non-invasive laboratory evaluations of gastrointestinal function.
Textbook Chapter 7

8) Toxicants and Detoxification

The human body is constantly in the presence of potentially harmful agents. It can be argued that any disease process can be caused or complicated by toxic load. Indeed, the health effects of xenobiotic chemicals is drawing increased governmental attention as indicated by the CDC expanding its monitoring of more than 200 foreign chemicals and elements that humans have in their systems. The field of toxicology primarily deals with environmental toxin exposures and detoxification mechanisms.

This module addresses the assessment of overall risk, individual biotransformation capacity and monitoring efficacy of detoxification strategies.
Textbook Chapter 8-9

9) Cardiovascular Function

In this module, the review of the basis for all chronic disease and disorders, the 12-kinds of dysautonomia or stress is first reviewed. Blood vessels are living tissues and are always subject to degeneration from at least four of these 12-stressors, allergic, infectious, metabolic, and oxidative stress, and regeneration potential can be enhanced with various interventions which reduce the eight commonly known ‘risk factors’ (e.g., cholesterol, hypertension, smoking, etc.) and also at least 25 additional risk factors (CRP, Lp(a), fibrinogen, homocysteine, etc.).

These risk factors are related to stressors and can be reversed or modified. Genetic testing for cardiovascular disorders to eliminate some of the vulnerabilities to these stressor risk factors is also reviewed. Finally, cognitive/emotional stress is addressed by experiencing a few exercises which can be practiced on a daily basis. (Note: no textbook chapter – documents provided)

10) Hormones

Because of their complex interactions, hormones are not easily ordered into a sequential presentation. The adopted approach favors a quasi-life-cycle topical organization of growth, maintenance, and reproduction.

The main endocrine hormones are discussed in this module under the headings of ‘Growth and Homeostasis,’ ‘The Stress Response,’ and ‘The Sex Hormones.’ Each section of this module introduces concepts of master-gland control followed by discussions of hormone function and clinical assessment. Specific hormone coverage is followed by aspects of test selection, hormone delivery, bioidentical hormone therapy and hormonal biotransformation. The final section of this module touches on some other mechanisms of cell control, concluding with the example of cytokine activity in the AKT signaling pathway for apoptosis.
Textbook Chapter 10

11) Genomics

With the sequencing of the human genome, there has been an explosion of interest in identifying the genetic components of disease processes. The subsequent ability to identify individuals with these genetic tendencies affords medical science a potential new tool to predict, prevent, and intervene in many different illnesses, especially those that are chronic in nature.

This module gives an overview of this emerging field and how routine genomic laboratory assessments may influence integrative, functional medicine now, and in the future.
Textbook Chapter 11

12) Pattern Analysis

Clinical situations and cases are presented in this module to illustrate that modern degenerative diseases are of complex origin and the progression of symptoms is dependent on each patient’s history. Complex cases that defy classical diagnosis and therapy may be amenable to molecular medicine approaches that depend on identification of nutrients, toxins, or metabolic controls that are at the root of the problem.

In addition, these complex cases must be approached in a way that restores normal function to cells, tissues, and organs. Simple, safe means such as nutrient supplements, food derivatives, and probiotic organisms, when used in the appropriate levels for a given patient, can restore normality to biochemical processes that control cell function.

And, lastly, laboratory evaluations can identify the interventions that are required for restoration of normal function. The laboratory results allow focused interventions of specific nutrients in doses adjusted according to the severity of the depletion and related metabolic impairment.
Textbook Chapter 12

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