Functional Medicine

What is Functional Medicine?

A healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies.

Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine is an integrative, science-based approach to health. The focus is on detecting and addressing the root cause of symptoms. In this method of practice, we combine both modern and traditional medicine, while emphasizing the importance of diet and lifestyle in overall well-being. This is true restorative medicine that promotes optimal function, repair and ultimately improved quality of life. We aim to address imbalances and metabolic dysfunction upstream (before it meets the criteria for a diagnosis), leading to corrective and more profound results and long-term improvement of health. This approach is patient-centered rather than disease-centered. We envision the body holistically as a collection of complex interconnected functional systems in a dynamic relationship with its environment.  The goal of functional medicine is to promote optimal function, repair cell damage and improve overall quality of life.

Treatment plans are individualized according to the patient’s needs. It is imperative that patients actively participate in working towards wellness goals.

Functional medicine is investigative and evidence-based. We make use of cutting edge diagnostic tools and laboratory testing to identify subtle dysfunctions or imbalances. Many of the investigations that are readily used in conventional medicine are focused on detecting overt disease. To preserve health and vitality, functional medicine looks beyond diagnosing overt disease. Personalized nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, customized nutritional supplements, stress management techniques, assistance with detoxification, lifestyle modification and—only in some cases when necessary—prescription medications, are all used to help restore proper function and balance.

The process of functional medicine is integrating traditional western medical practice with what is sometimes considered “integrative” or “alternative” medicine. A Functional Medicine practitioner evaluates how cells function, repair, and maintain themselves. These processes are related to larger functions in your body, including:

  • hormones production and balanced
  • detoxification
  • how cells interact with nutrients
  • neurotransmitter balance
  • immune system function
  • inflammatory responses
  • how micro and macro environment impacts cellular function
  • the role of genetic makeup, and how it impacts biochemistry

This treatment plan aims to prevent or delay the progression of chronic disease. (results are individual and may vary)

How Are You Feeling?

  • Stressed?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed?
  • Have you lost you lust for life?
  • Are you uncertain about where to start to improve your health, energy levels and appearance?
  • Are you feeling wired and tired?
  • Experiencing a lack of energy and ambition?
  • Struggle with memory loss?
  • Do you sometimes not identify with the person you see in the mirror?
  • A decreased sex drive/ libido?
  • Are you not always in control of your emotions?
  • Nervous or uncertain about menopause?
  • Have trouble controlling your bladder after childbirth or since menopause?
  • Are you worried or curious about your testosterone levels?
  • Is it difficult for you to lose weight even with your best efforts?
  • Feeling anxious or depressed?
  • Do you feel unwell, but all your test results keep coming back normal?
  • Are you tired, but can’t sleep?
  • Feel as if you are not functioning at your full potential?
  • Do you have ongoing stomach or gut issues, like feeling bloated, stomach aches or troubles bowel habits?
  • Have you become increasingly sensitive to foods or other environmental factors?

With a root cause medicine approach, we can work on finding solutions to often ignored health concerns. In the conventional realm we treat disease. With the power of the combined knowledge and passion of our integrative physicians, we aim to prevent disease. We strive to get to the underlying causes of chronic disease and addressing them in order to restore health. We want to guide you on your journey to your most vital self, to live your life to the absolute fullest. (results may vary)

Process & Fees

What to expect from your Functional Medicine visit.

You will be seen by Dr. Stella Jansen van Rensburg. She is a medical doctor that has completed her Fellowship in Anti Aging and Regenerative Medicine and Metabolic Medicine through the Metabolic Medicine Institute.

Your first visit will be a meet and greet opportunity where we establish your goals and expectations. This visit is designed to assist you in deciding whether functional medicine and our team is a good fit for you.

Patients will then receive an electronic link to a comprehensive intake questionnaire that must be completed no less than one week prior to the second visit. All appointments going forward will be a pay-as-you-go type structure. Please contact our office to learn more about the fee process.

At your second appointment, we will review the information collected through the intake forms and identify your primary areas of concern. At this visit a complete physical exam and a Bio-Impedance-Analysis will also be done.

Your third visit is called the Case Review. This longer appointment offers us an opportunity to put all of the information together and to discuss a course of action. Your doctor might occasionally recommend having another team member (physician, nutritionist and/or health coach) present during this discussion.

Most patients will be asked to meet with our nutritionist or health coach after their case review visit. Regular follow-ups with the physician will then be scheduled to fit your needs and treatment course.

What does the standard functional medicine process look like?

  • First visit – Meet and greet, establishing goals and expectations
  • Second visit – Review of intake forms, complete physical and BIA
  • Third visit – Comprehensive case review, treatment plan and implementation
  • Regular follow-up visits as needed with physician
  • Visits with the nutritionist or health coach as needed
  • Third party lab testing as needed– payments are made directly to the specific lab
  • Recommended prescription medication and/or supplements

Your functional medicine doctor does not replace your family doctor

Lab testing

Tests that are available through Calgary Lab Services will be ordered as such. However, the focus with functional medicine is away from end-stage symptoms and towards the root cause of your problems.

To find these answers often requires the use of advanced testing through private labs. Your doctor will advise you whether any of these tests are necessary. They are not mandatory but without additional testing in some cases, certain root causes may not be identified and your physician may be unable to provide you with optimal personalized medical advice. The costs of these tests range from $250 to $1200 with shipping, and are payable directly to the lab.

Nutritional Supplements

The cost of supplements prescribed as part of your treatment plan is typically $150–$300 per month. With some products your physician may recommend a particular brand to be superior over another. Please pay attention to this advice as all over the counter supplements are not equal when it comes to quality, safety or efficacy. We will provide you with information regarding where to purchase the recommended supplements, and our clinic may at times stock a select few. You are however free to purchase from a vendor of your choice.

Weight Loss & Nutrition

The days of healthy eating and losing weight being about calories in and calories out are long gone. We know that the type of calories and the nutrient density of the food we eat are extremely important for long term health. Avoiding things like pesticides can reduce the impact of chemicals on our hormonal systems, which in turn play a major role in optimum health and weight management.

Food is the essence of health. We don’t realize the value, in the words of Hippocrates when he said: ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”.

At Papillon our diet plans are customized and created to your specific health goals. Whether you are trying to lose weight, get healthier, wanting to think clearer, or are dealing with chronic disease, we can help improve your performance and most importantly your quality of life.

We work with Holistic nutritional consultants and Functional Medicine health coaches in our practice that give you the support you need to be successful. We are proud to provide you with quality information and plans that are fused into your lifestyle. (results vary with each individual)

Bioidentical Hormone Restoration

Hormone balance is essential to health and healthy aging. The functional medicine approach to hormone balance starts with a motivated client, that also want to invest in a healthy nutritional status. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is prescribed and tailored to the specific needs of each client. We regularly monitor hormone levels to ensure levels stay within healthy parameters.

From around the age of 35, hormone levels start to gradually decline. The impact of the environment and our diets has contributed greatly and added additional insult to this phenomenon over the past decades. In the past, we considered hormone replacement for control of symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats. In regenerative and functional medicine, the reasoning behind hormone restoration goes much further than that. We consider hormone replacement to maintain brain and bone health, to prevent disease and to maintain sexual health. For that reason, it is also important that treatment is monitored and we don’t treat above what would be considered normal physiological levels. We use specialized testing to assure that we are treating our clients safely.

Common symptoms of menopause or perimenopause in women: Brain fog, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia or poor sleep, low sex drive, weight gain, emotional lability and poor memory.

Common symptoms of andropause in men: Loss of drive and ambition, inability to maintain muscle, emotional lability, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction and fatigue.

It is important to understand that bioidentical hormones are just a small part of what is necessary for healthy living and healthy aging. We incorporate nutritional optimization and other lifestyle factors in all of our treatment plans.

IV Nutritional Therapy

IV nutritional therapy is a combined blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids administered by an intravenous drip. A Registered Nurse will review your health history in detail and determine if IV Therapy may be suitable for you. During the appointment your vitals will be monitored throughout the entire process to ensure the appointment is quick, comfortable, and relaxing.

A drip chamber, which prevents air from entering the blood and controls flow rate, enables nutrients to bypass the digestive tract, where any compromised loss of absorption may possibly occur. Each IV nutritional therapy has its own unique, distinct properties, effects, and attributes. And because many of the substances administered are traceable by performing a simple blood sampling, patients can easily track their health progress as they receive further treatments. These specialized tests are offered in the clinic.

Myers Cocktail Intravenous Therapy – a mix of vitamins and minerals, the Myers’ Cocktail was developed by John Myers.

Vitamin C, is a very effective nutrient and can improve immune system function and fight chronic fatigue. High-dose vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and cellular protector.

Glutathione is an antioxidant that is produced in the cells. Glutathione levels in the body may lower due to age, stress, poor nutrition, and being exposed to environmental toxins. Maintaining appropriate glutathione levels within the body is important because this powerful antioxidant fights free radicals and the oxidative damage they may cause.

Many individuals are chronically dehydrated and IV Therapy can be an effective way to rehydrate the body. Many patients feel they are much more hydrated and feel refreshed after an IV therapy treatment.

Call our clinic today to schedule a complimentary consultation for IV Therapy!

Downtown Calgary Location : (403) 263-0661
Okotoks Location : (403) 982-7771

Auto-Immune Disease

Auto-immune disease can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life. These diseases are often complex and can affect one to multiple organ systems. We offer cutting edge complimentary treatments for several autoimmune conditions.

Immune system disorders cause abnormally low activity or over activity of the immune system. In cases of immune system over activity, the body attacks and damages its own tissues (autoimmune diseases). Immune deficiency diseases decrease the body's ability to fight invaders, causing vulnerability to infections.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)(Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Graves' disease
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Vasculitis

Although you may be genetically predisposed to some of these condition, your genes are by no means your destiny. The majority of these condition can be managed with targeted lifestyle therapies. It is sometimes necessary for pharmaceutical intervention, but that alone will not be sufficient for effective and successful treatment. At Papillon our functional medicine doctors are qualified conventional physicians with additional Integrative/ functional medicine qualifications. We are passionate about treating and helping improve the quality of life for people suffering with autoimmune conditions.

Thyroid & Adrenals

In order to obtain optimal health, we need to look at the entirety of hormone balance. That includes optimal thyroid function and adrenal function. Optimal thyroid and adrenal gland function is imperative for good health. The adrenal glands are best known for their production of adrenaline and managing our fight or flight response, but they are also an important part of the endocrine system. They produce hormones that impact our major metabolic processes, very much like the thyroid gland. The hormones produced by the adrenal glands help to regulate blood pressure, electrolyte balance, blood sugar, immune response and digestion to name but a few.

We need to consider all hormones and neurotransmitters, including those that are produced in the gut and brain, as well as how these hormones communicate and naturally regulate with complex feedback systems. In other words: To achieve true vitality and wellness, the endocrine system in its entirety needs to be contemplated. We need to consider the full picture, in which adrenal and thyroid function are extremely important for health right down to the cellular level.

We also need to remember the effects of stress, neurotransmitters and nutrients, and that all these factors come into play when we are talking about the picture of health.