The way your metabolism functions impacts how your body works. When your body gets out of balance, it does what it can to rebalance. Over time, however, if your metabolic functions are chronically not working well, this can lead to disease and symptoms. This is true of most diseases and certainly true of many joint diseases.
According to the old spiritual song, Dem Bones, the words describe what bones are connected to another bone. This is a fun, although, simplistic part of the song explaining bones as connected parts. More importantly, we must look at the whole body and the relationship of physiology and various metabolic functions to our bones. Our bodies are not just isolated organs or organ systems, like the bones and skeletal system, that function alone. They are influenced by various metabolic pathways and by the state of our metabolic health.
Metabolism is often thought of as how we get energy from food and either build (anabolism) or break down (catabolism) molecules such as proteins, carbs, and fats for energy or tissue repair. Our metabolism relies on complex metabolic pathways where chemicals such as hormones and enzymes communicate to support our body’s metabolic functions.
Dysfunctions of our metabolism can lead to imbalances in organs and body function. Chronic stress and stressors can lead to imbalances of metabolic functions and ultimately to dysfunction, disease, and/or symptoms such as inflammation, pain, or more specifically within our bones as joint pain or arthritis.
I learned after suffering and frustration over a number that just going the traditional route of managing my joint pain, only led to temporary solutions and that there were alternative ways of approaching my joint pain. Functional lab testing, not done by traditional providers, provided a sneak preview of how my metabolic functions were performing. It certainly was surprising to me when I started to look into my joint pain issues, that it wasn’t just localized to where the joint pain was. Functional lab tests indicated that I had imbalances in different areas of my body that were contributing to inflammation and showing up for me as joint pain.
Chronic physical, chemical, emotional, or environmental stress, are triggers, and often hidden causes of metabolic dysfunction. Examples may be foods, mold, emotional trauma, preservatives, and chemicals in everyday care products, among many others. Each individual response is based on their genetics, and how their diet and lifestyle factors influence their genes, called epigenetics. Disease and symptoms often show up in the weakest metabolic links in the body.
So, what did I learn in my situation? I had symptoms of pain that would flare up and I could not depend on my body to move the way it was supposed to. I had a leaky gut, which meant that undigested food particles were getting into my circulatory system and increasing inflammation, autoimmune flares, and pain. I also had gut dysbiosis and pathogens, even though I had no gut symptoms. My sleep patterns and hormones were imbalanced, increasing stress in my body and inflammation. Despite having a fairly good diet, I suffered from micronutrient deficiencies which were compounding my symptoms. This example is intended to show that these things were interconnected to my inflammation, pain, bones, and arthritis. Once I rebalanced these things, my personal experience was a 90% decrease in pain.
While many functional practitioners refer to functional medicine as “root cause” medicine, a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P) uses the term Metabolic Chaos® to describe imbalances that can occur in one or multiple systems that can ultimately, if not resolved, lead to dysfunction and disease. Metabolic functions that may show signs of imbalance include immune, digestion, detoxification, energy, (autonomic) nervous system, hormones, or oxidative stress. Clients may report one or more issues whether it’s fatigue, aches, pains, low libido, or stress. A picture of the interplay of how these systems integrate using the concept of a functional medicine tree is explained here.
FDN-P’s do not diagnose or prescribe treatments. Rather, they help their clients with lab detective work to find hidden causes of metabolic imbalances within their bodies. These imbalances are often in one or more of the areas mentioned above. FDN-P’s use diagrams to help explain where dysfunction is showing up and contributing to Metabolic Chaos® based on labs and self-reported assessments. Then, they recommend a personalized DRESS® protocol and work with the client to address goals and modify the protocol as needed.
While my specific situation and results were based on my lab detective work and personalized healing protocol, it is important to know that this is a method to help individuals to take control over their own health, use natural self-healing methods, and reconnect with their body to feel rebalanced and realigned again. Symptoms are not normal. While FDN-P’s don’t promise cures, they experience many successes with committed clients who are willing to do the detective work and commit to developing a personalized plan and actions that help them to take control of their health. The goal is to help the body rebalance and to work the way it’s supposed to.
While this article discusses how metabolic dysfunction can result in joint pain and disease such as arthritis, metabolic dysfunction can show up as different symptoms and diseases based on the person, and the weakest links in their health. To an FDN-P, this is all using the same principles with personalization based on appropriate functional lab tests or protocol adjustments. Interestingly, the biblical reference in the Dem Bones song points to a day of resurrection and being reunited, which reminds me of becoming whole again. Work on rebalancing your body and you just may feel more connected within yourself, get those joints jiving, and feel more whole again.
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I am a Master’s prepared RN, National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Board-Certified Functional Wellness Coach, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. I help people fix their chronic inflammation & pain with in-home lab testing, client assessments, personalized natural healing protocols, and online coaching to help them move from pain to peace so that they feel better, move better, and live better.