Navigating the Functional Medicine Matrix

The ‘’Functional Medicine Matrix’’ is one of the most basic tools of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. It is used to map your past and present health status and its expression. It is a detailed, systemic map of your overall health.

The Matrix consists of 3 parts, your history, your physiology/function and your lifestyle.

Overview of the Functional Medicine Matrix, a tool for mapping health history, physiological function, and lifestyle factors in functional medicine


These are the well-known ATM’s of functional medicine.

Antecedents: the factors that “help” you and predispose you to manifest a symptom or disease. Think about your family history, genetic factors, your father’s and mother’s health and heredity.

Triggers: anything that started or caused the onset of symptoms. Think of times in your life when symptoms started and your health deteriorated (birth, poisoning, menopause, separation, death of a relative, etc…).

Mediators: the factors (biochemical and psychosocial) that have been or are still present in your life and contribute to the worsening of your symptoms and the onset of diseases (stress, various foods, toxic relationships and situations, etc…).

Physiology and Function

The physiology and function is the middle and main part of the Matrix. In this part all your symptoms are recorded from the physiological and functional perspective of your body. The most important thing to understand is that all your symptoms are connected and interrelated. They work like an interconnected network within your body.

ASSIMILATION: It is the digestion and absorption of nutrients from foods and the health of the gut flora.

DEFENCE & REPAIR: Infections, bacteria, viruses, chronic inflammatory diseases and anything that affects your immune system.

ENERGY: Cellular energy and mitochondrial function. Simply put, how is your energy during the day? Do you feel exhausted or extra tired?

BIOTRANSFORMATION & ELIMINATION: Detoxification is the metabolic process in your body, facilitated by enzymes, that converts toxins into less toxic or more easily moved substances by your detoxification organs. You may have been tested for toxins such as mercury, bacterial or viral infections. You can also take the opportunity to think about the major detox organs and whether they are showing symptoms. These include: the skin, lungs, kidneys, liver, small and large intestine. Anything that manifests in these organs indicates an impaired ability to detoxify.

TRANSPORT: The health of your lymphatic and cardiovascular system. Consider conditions such as hypertension, hypotension, high cholesterol and lymphedema.

COMMUNICATION: The health of your endocrine system. The system that regulates your internal environment by secreting chemical regulators (hormones and neurotransmitters). Psychological disorders that seem ”chemical” and hormone health such as cortisol, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone involve this system.

STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY: This refers to your musculoskeletal condition such as muscle and joint pain, arthritis, osteoporosis – but also the structural integrity of your cells.

MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, SPIRITUAL: Your cognitive function, your emotions, anger, sadness, grief, your purpose in life and your connection to something higher. All of these areas play an integral role in your health. Recovering your health and energy depends on recognizing and addressing these aspects of your life as well.

Modifiable Personal lifestyle factors

The modifiable personal lifestyle factors (sleep/relaxation, exercise/movement, nutrition, stress, relationships) on the bottom of the matrix give a quick look at your lifestyle. They are the key factors that can influence and change the expression of diseases and symptoms in your daily life. It is the area you always want to improve.

Remember that the Matrix helps you see the big picture of your life and health and reminds you that no system in your body works in isolation.

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