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Functional Medicine and the Kalish Method as practised by Dr Adrian Clegg DC is a lab based system of healthcare that focusses on addressing five common health conditions;

  1. Fatigue
  2. Weight gain
  3. Depression
  4. Digestive complaints
  5. Female hormone imbalances

We achieve this through restoring the three main body systems;

  1. Neuroendocrine (hormones)
  2. Digestion
  3. Detoxification


The following table summarizes the main differences between functional and conventional medicine.



Investigative. Finds and addresses the underlying causes of symptoms, producing longer lasting, healthier outcomes

Superficial. Masks or suppresses symptoms without necessarily addressing underlying causes, creating “patients for life”

Holistic. Treats the body as an interconnected whole, and recognizes the importance of these connections in health and disease

Divisive. Views the body as a group of separate parts, each of which has its own doctor, unaware of how the body’s parts are truly related (i.e. neurologist, gastroenterologist, psychiatrist, etc.)

Restorative. Tests and treatments are designed to promote optimal function, prevent and reverse disease, and improve quality of life

Inadequate. Tests and treatments are designed to prevent death and manage chronic symptoms, not achieve optimal wellbeing and quality of life

Safe. Treatments have mild or no negative side effects, and often have profound positive side effects

Dangerous. Treatments can often have serious side effects and complications that create new health issues

Personalized. Treats the person, not the disease. Treatments are highly tailored to you and your needs

Disease-centred. Treats the disease, not the patient. Patients with the same disease diagnosis commonly get the same treatment regardless of other factors

A team effort. Patient is respected, empowered, educated and encouraged to play an active role in the healing process

Dictatorial. Patient opinions are often discounted, little time is spent on education due to Medicare restraints, and patient may be discouraged from playing active role

Integrative. Emphasizes the importance of diet and lifestyle changes while using the best of modern and traditional medicines

Limited. Relies almost exclusively on pharmaceuticals and surgery, despite their risks and often dismisses integrative therapies

Preventative.Aims to correct imbalances before they turn into major health problems.

Reactive. Waits for disease process to develop before starting treatment

Evidence-based. Utilizes latest research from peer-reviewed medical journals and uncorrupted by corporate and political interests

Profit-driven. Heavily influenced by pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Shareholders’ profits conflicts with patients’ health



The Functional Medicine tree is a simple depiction to help illustrate the difference between conventional and functional medicine. Conventional medicine is concerned with looking in the leaves of the tree and diagnosing a specific disease due to a collection of symptoms, whether it be cancer, heart disease, depression or diabetes.

Functional Medicine is concerned with identifying the root cause of disease. It doesn’t matter what type of symptoms may be present it is about identifying the underlying imbalances and root causes that are known to contribute to a disease process down the tract.

Take for example nutrient deficiencies. Nutrition may be the single most influential component of ideal health, since diet is a determining factor in many diseases, including obesity, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, childhood developmental and behavioural disorders and celiac disease. Yet optimal nutrition is highly variable from person to person.

Initial nutrient deficiencies are seen in the lab testing we run for patients often without any overt symptoms. As the deficiency continues, additional changes appear in cell function which are seen as subclinical manifestations resulting in behavioural and mental/emotional instabilities. As the nutritional imbalance progresses functional changes and symptoms appear, this is early stage disease. Finally after a prolonged time of imbalance, diagnosed pathology exists leading to end organ failure and ultimately death.

Many factors influence nutrient status including diet, digestion, absorption, disease states, age, medications, stress, toxic exposures, activity levels, and genetics. It is the functional lab testing that provides valuable indicators for many of these factors.


Body system one consists of the hormonal system. Under times of chronic unrelenting stress, the stress hormones Cortisol, DHEA, Adrenaline and Noradrenaline rise to dangerous levels. An imbalance in the stress hormones can impact body system number two, the digestive system by down regulating the immune response. The role of Cortisol on regulating secretory IgA means any imbalance can compromise the immune response in the digestive tract setting you up for infections by parasites and bacteria or acquiring food intolerances and leaky gut (intestinal hyper-permeability).

Body system three is the detoxification system, when the digestive tract becomes damaged, toxins can overwhelm the detoxification system. Zonulin maintains the “tight junctions” between the cells of the intestinal wall. When damage occurs to these “tight junctions” the gut lining becomes more porous allowing toxins and undigested food particles to leak through, setting up a dangerous immune response leading to allergies, rashes and autoimmune disease.

This cascade of events is at the root of many chronic diseases and it is where functional medicine excels as a treatment method.


The recent study completed by Dr Dan Kalish at the Mayo Clinic had some amazing results. In this study, 21 women aged 30 to 55 received a functional medicine treatment consisting of lifestyle interventions, protocols to treat HPA-axis dysfunction (commonly referred to as adrenal fatigue) and various gut infections. The analysis showed;

  • A 38 percent average decrease in fatigue, which was measured through a Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire
  • A 27 percent average decrease in stress, calculated through the Visual Analog Scale (VAS)
  • An increase in vitality by an average of 39 percent, calculated through the SF-36 quality of life questionnaire
  • A 22 percent average decrease in confusion, measured through a POMS questionnaire
  • Reduction in H. pylori infections, which can be associated with chronic inflammation and digestive symptoms.


Lab testing is at the core of Functional Medicine, our approach is “test, don’t guess” as the lab testing is an objective and honest assessment of your current state of health. Dr Clegg acknowledges the fact that our physical health is essentially the platform for emotional and spiritual growth. We cannot reach our true life potential when overcome with pain and disease both physical and mental. Functional medicine’s purpose is to heal the body so you can go on to engage in the emotional and spiritual growth experiences that we are all here for.

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