The functional medicine model clearly shows us how everything in the body is interlinked. Symptoms are not locally isolated entities and in order to understand the origin of any symptom, be that a mild skin condition or something more chronic like fatigue, it is necessary to identify the relevant underlying mechanisms. By addressing these, the practitioner increases the likelihood of improving their client’s long-term health.
We can see an example of this with people who are suffering with food intolerance and candida. The two conditions can often occur together and in part this relates to the fact that intestinal permeability (leaky gut) is closely associated with both. The loss of integrity of the tight junctions between the intestinal cells allows both food antigens and candida in its pathogenic form (a filamentous fungal form) to pass through the junctions inside the body, triggering inflammation and symptoms.
Following the functional medicine model, if leaky gut is suspected, it is unlikely that testing for food intolerance and candida are going to get to the root of the issue. What testing does offer however, is a foot in the door both for the client and the practitioner. For the client, this can be in the form of (sometimes) immediate relief or improvement of symptoms which they have often experienced for months or years. This can be a great source of encouragement, making them more likely to embrace and follow subsequent protocols.
For the practitioner, with both conditions having frequently overlapping common symptoms such as bloating, acne, fatigue, asthma and joint pain, testing can help to direct treatment more specifically and avoid foods being unnecessarily removed from the diet. More importantly however, is that it can help to eliminate otherwise distracting peripheral symptoms, allowing more time and attention to be given to the all-important core symptoms, which are usually more entrenched and complex.
In those clients who are showing symptoms that may be attributed to either food intolerance or candida, it is therefore worth considering testing for both.