Functional Medicine vs Naturopathic Doctor

  • Thread starter EmeraldHike
  • Start date


Aug 8, 2020
  • #1
I have Hashimoto's disease, or otherwise known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. I've head this for approximately two decades now and I'm quite eager to unearth my underlying condition that led to this autoimmune disorder. From what I've read online, many things could be affecting my body which in turn is producing antibodies. Some of these antibodies include anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO), antithyroglobulin (anti-Tg), and to a lesser extent, TSH receptor-blocking antibodies. I've read all the books, all the websites, and have watched all the infomercial type YouTube videos. I know what I'm talking about.

About a year ago, I visited a regular medical doctor who also specialized in Functional Medicine. From that I've learned online, you won't find treatment from a regular doctor. All they'll do is test your thyroid TSH levels and prescribe thyroid medication. Anyway, everyone online said to find a good Functional Medicine doctor to get treated the right way. I did that and we ran a bunch of blood tests. We found that many of my levels were off and I treated them with vitamins and supplements. I'll talk about all these in later posts, if you're interested. We never got into testing for any viruses like I would have liked to because things were getting so expensive. My insurance had a very high deductible and didn't really cover anything I was doing, so I was forced to pay out of pocket for it all.

Fast forward a year. I found a good nurse practitioner nearby who was willing to test me for the Epstein–Barr virus, which I've heard can play a huge role in causing these antibodies. That's the point I'm at now. Getting rid of these antibodies. We found that, yes, I've been exposed to this virus somewhere in my life. So with this new knowledge, I found what I thought was a good Functional Medicine nurse practitioner close by who also took my insurance. She was affiliated with a very well known hospital, so I thought I was in capable hands. I went to see her and was very excited to do so. Finally, someone would take these Epstein–Barr virus results and give me a protocol to treat them and reduce both the viral load levels as well as the antibodies in my body.

Unfortunately, this lady turned out to be a quack. At the end of my first hour and a half long appointment, she ended up telling me to get more sleep, stop drinking milk, and to do yoga for relaxation. I mean, really? My goal was to get this virus taken care of with some good ol' western medicine and she basically told me to get some rest. I've been getting rest for over 20 years! She didn't even look at any of my blood tests that I brought to the appointment and every time I mentioned Hashimoto's or antibodies, she changed the subject and became uncomfortable. Which is weird because before I made the appointment, I specifically asked if she treated this condition. She said yes, so I went ahead and made the appointment. Needless to say, I won't be seeing her again. I should actually ask for my money back.

This entire episode got me thinking. What's the difference between a Functional Medicine doctor and a Naturopathic doctor? I received pretty good treatment from the first Functional Medicine doctor I saw, but he was a real MD or MO with a specialization in Functional Medicine. The second one I saw was only a nurse practitioner who specialized in Functional Medicine. From what I've gathered, doctors are like investigators who like to get to the bottom of things and nurses are more focused on treatments. I need a doctor, not a nurse, unless of course it's a very good nurse who acts like a doctor.

As I looked more into this, I found that pretty much any doctor or nurse can get certified in Functional Medicine. I'm not sure if it's an online course they need to take or if it's in person, but a certificate is offered at the end. I don't have the foggiest idea of what they teach during this course or if any specifics are given, such as how to take blood or interpret blood tests, but I came away with the feeling that if someone isn't well versed in general medicine before this course, they really won't be that well versed afterward. The student needs to have an existing foundation to work with and then enhance it with a Functional Medicine specialization. Lesson learned. Don't just go to any Functional Medicine "practitioner" out there willy nilly. Half of them are nuts. Trust me, I looked up quite a few bios. I mean, some of them talked about the vibrations of the universe. It was bad.

After all this, I found a really great looking Naturopathic Health center that's about an hour away from my home. I read through their entire website and called them to ask many questions. There are four doctors who work there and they said they focus on getting to the bottom of chronic diseases and developing treatments based on change in lifestyle or natural solutions over pharmaceutical drugs. I asked how they diagnose the chronic illness and they said they order a battery of blood tests. This put my mind at ease because their approach was so different than the Functional Medicine nurse.

From further investigation, I found that Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are actually real doctors. They aren't just certified in Naturopathy. They investigate like an MD or an MO would. Then they come up with solutions and administer treatments. The only problem is, they don't take lots of insurances, so I'll end up having to pay all cash for my visit. It'll set me back $275 for the first visit and who knows how much for the lab tests. Then after that, it's $150 each subsequent visit, plus the treatments. At this point, I don't really care about the money as I just want to get better.

I found a pretty good page that describes the difference between Naturopathic Doctors and Functional Medicine Specialists. Here's the link:

Also, here's a link for the Institute for Functional Medicine, if you're interested:

The two practices are somewhat closely related. It's almost as if they're two different brand names. It's weird. I'll actually be doing more research to get to the bottom of the differences between the two.

Here are a few more links for you regarding the differences:

If you have any information on this or if you've been treated by a Naturopathic Doctor or a Functional Medicine Specialist, I sure would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts below.
Functional Medicine vs Naturopathic Doctor was posted on 09-22-2020 by EmeraldHike in the Health Forum forum.


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