The Functional Medicine Matrix
In the Functional Medicine model, the body’s function is viewed in light of seven fundamental systems. The Functional Medicine Matrix is a useful tool that assists Functional Medicine practioners to organize and prioritizing a patient’s health issues through a variety of factors such as family history.
What Is The Functional Medicine Matrix?
The Functional Medicine Matrix can be thought of as a web decoder, the matrix takes into account how the environment interacts with your genes and can result in health or disease. Helping to group and organize seemingly unlinked factors to paint a comprehensive picture of the patient and their life which can then be used to discuss chronic disease with said patient.
The factors that make up the matrix are as follows:
Biotransformation & Elimination
Defense & Repair
The structural integrity category is a little more complicated and diffuse but can best be thought of as cellular integrity. Things need to stick together in order to function. If the bricks in your house fall out of place one by one, eventually the whole house collapses. Cellular integrity includes that of your arteries and veins as well as that of your tissues. However, tissue breakdown starts at the cellular and arteriolar level. So, we typically view cardiovascular disease as its own specialty and in Functional Medicine it is given a whole study module yet the same processes that cause heart attacks and strokes also decrease kidney function, brain perfusion and blood flow to the entire body. So the break down in vascular integrity that starts in the teen age years doesn’t result in heart disease for decades yet the same process is ongoing in the entire body, not just the heart. It’s best to view vascular disease as a whole body process and not merely limited to the heart and brain.
The transport system involves the transport of nutrition, hormones, enzymatic factors within the context of the Functional Medicine Matrix. It is difficult to discuss this matrix node without the context of all others. Hormones are transported either paracrine (cells in close proximity to other cells like in GI tract) or endocrine (across multiple domains like thyroid hormones). Energy itself can be transported intracellularly via ATP or within the body via glucose and fatty acid molecules. The immune systems can function via transcellular migration (across cells walls) or through the blood to different parts of the body. Transport attempts to uncover disconnections in the body’s natural transport systems and then to either address these issues or enhance them based on the interactions within the web of all other interconnections in the body.