Background: There is a subgroup of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) in whom traditional treatment does not work well. Traditional management of T2D does not address the autoimmune component seen in a subgroup of patients with T2D.
Primary study objective: We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of using a personalized functional medicine (PFM) approach to managing T2D.
Methods/design: Patient files from 2010 to 2015 were culled for patients previously diagnosed with T2D and their deidentified data regarding medications and T2D biomarker test results were compiled. A total of 35 patients were contacted for permission to use their deidentified data for the purposes of this article. Of 35 patients, 11 provided written consent.
Setting: All participants had entered a single, private, integrative medicine clinic based in Maryland, USA.
Participants: The patient group consisted of 5 women and 6 men; age 50 to 77 years. Each patient was taking an antidiabetic medication and had reached a plateau in recovery, or wanted to reduce their medication intake. Allopathic physicians were retained by patients undergoing PFM treatment.
Intervention: After a thorough intake history was completed, necessary specimens were collected for analysis. Once test results were reviewed to identify nutrient deficiencies, intestinal dysbiosis, hormone imbalances, chemical burden and food immune reactivities, a personalized plan was developed for each individual patient. Each patient was retested appropriately during treatment. Treatment lasted from 2 to 10 months based on the patients' goals.
Primary outcome measures: The effectiveness of the PFM approach was measured by the reduction in medication needed to manage T2D and improvement in T2D biomarkers.
Results: At the end of PFM treatment, 6 patients were completely off T2D-related medications, and 5 had their doses reduced by 50%. Diabetes biomarkers improved: glucose decreased by an average of 78.36 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was lowered by an average of 2.71%.
Conclusion: In individuals not well-managed using traditional protocols, the PFM approach should be considered as an adjunct therapy.