8 Things To Do Before Seeing a Functional MD

How you can save yourself money and get a head start.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


We MDs, clump the symptoms of un-wellness into boxes largely to help us feel that we are making a difference — depression, eczema, social anxiety, insulin resistance, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune disease, chronic pain syndrome. With chronic conditions being multifactorial and often complex, one dimensional labels become of little value. Most often the general medical treatment on offer for chronic conditions is (from a functional perspective) woeful.

Photo Courtesy of Author Cindy de Villiers


A quick word on hormones as an introduction to numbers 4 and 5.

What you can do

When I see clients, who are burdened by disease, the recommendations and interventions range from simple to very complex. Regardless those who have made a start, do better, more quickly. It also frees up time if I do not have to explain what a seed oil is.

1. Diet

You have heard it ad-nauseam, but it is true. What you put in your mouth is thought to be the most powerful epigenetic influence, turning genes on and off, leaving you either with healthy levels of inflammation, oxidative stress and immune activation, or not.

2. Movement / Exercise

Please don’t sign up for Tough Mudder or a marathon just before seeing a Functional MD.

This is tricky, as optimum types and durations of exercise vary. However, the following is a general rule of thumb.

3. Sleep hygiene

Another broken truism. Poor sleep is a very common reason people come to see me. We live in a 24 hour world with every excuse to keep us awake. At least do the following before booking that appointment:

  • Cut the booze. It affects your deep sleep and your recovery. Recovery can be measured by Heart Rate Variability. I have an Oura ring which measures resting Heart Rate Variability and have proven for myself this aspect of even a single alcoholic drink multiple times.
  • Keep your room cool.
  • Wear a sleep mask that blocks out all light. Yes, our ancestors slept under the stars and the moon, but they did not sleep under the glow of the white lights of street and domestic lighting. The wavelengths of modern lightening is seriously affecting our health.

4. Loose the fragrance

I realize that I am going to somehow have to break it gently that those feel-good products are adding to illness. This does not always go down well.

5. Ditch the plastics and the non-stick coatings

Plastics are bad for us and bad for the environment. This includes plastics wrap (even food grade), take-out containers and plastic water bottles. Even if we reuse these, decreasing the toxic load on the environment, they remain bad for our health.

  • Obesogens, disrupting hormones involved in metabolism and insulin regulation, as well as encouraging fat cell growth.
  • Involved in increasing cortisol and negatively affecting thyroid, liver and heart function.

6. Get sun without the damage

For those with health conditions associated with sun damage, your Functional MD can advise on the appropriate exposure.

  • Releasing endorphins, those feel-good chemicals in the brain which help to guard against depression.
  • Increasing nitric oxide which is important for blood vessel health and thus blood pressure.
  • Improving immunity.
  • Improving brain function.

7. Dental health

The mouth has been described as “the intersection of medicine and dentistry and the window into … general health”

8. Consider how you want to be

“How you want to be” does not include: not fat, not tired or not depressed. That is how you do not want to be.


Life and health are complex, but the human body is amazing. There is always hope. You do not need to do everything on this list. Making small changes, gives your body small signals. These signals may then result in your body ramping back on the inflammation, oxidative stress and immune dysregulation to allow healing.

Photo Courtesy of Author Cindy de Villiers

Practicing Functional MD developing a diagnostic and treatment online platform, incorporating wearables and AI. Always questioning.

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