Nutritional therapists don’t diagnose or cure medical conditions, they try to understand the root cause of your symptoms or diagnosed health condition. Through an in-depth consultation of 60-90 minutes every system of the body is discussed in detail along with a full medical history starting from birth. This helps to creates a full picture of your health so a nutritionist can start to see what possibly predisposed, triggered, and is mediating your health problems. Analysis of your diet diary can also give insight into the cause of your symptoms by looking at the type of foods you are eating and not eating. For example, are your food choices driving inflammation, not feeding your microbiome which supports gut health, immunity and mood, or is it low in protein needed for healing and repair and just about every function in the body. Most illnesses start many months or years before your symptoms start to appear. Vitamins and minerals are needed for hundreds of chemical reactions happening every day in the body but when these essential nutrients become depleted for various reasons, it can start to compromise functions which can eventually start to cause symptoms. These signs and symptoms (such as bloating, headaches, insomnia, joint pains, fatigue etc.) can be clues as to what’s missing in the diet and which body systems are under stress, they’re like your body whispers. It’s important to listen to these whispers or your body may eventually end up screaming to get your attention!
Personalized nutrition is important
A nutritional therapist applies nutritional science to promote good health by working with the biochemical processes and enzymatic pathways within the body with the aim of optimising systemic function. Each person is unique, we are all genetically different, the reason(s) for the same symptoms in different people can be coming from different causes, this is why what works for one person may not work for another and why personalized nutrition is important – it’s not a one size fits all approach. It’s usually not just one event or missing nutrient that’s triggered or is causing your health problems, it’s a combination which can include: lifestyle, stress, medications (many cause nutrient depletions), infections, food sensitivities, poor diet, over or under exercising, poor sleep, poor digestion and absorption of nutrients. Functional testing can be a useful tool when needed to gain further insight into what’s going on within the body at a deeper level. Examples are microbiome tests, vitamin/mineral tests, food intolerances, hormone testing, genetic SNPs/nutrigenomics. These tests use a variety of methods such as blood (both at home finger prick and blood draws), urine, stool, saliva, and hair.
You are what you eat
More importantly you are what you digest and absorb. If you’re already eating a healthy diet maybe you’re not absorbing your nutrients. Food is information, your cells absorb what you eat including chemicals and damaged fats. Our cell membranes are made of certain fats, if we eat unhealthy damaged fats (heat-treated trans fats) for example, then they become embedded into our cell membranes changing their function from fluid (allowing messages in and out of the cell), to stiff (where messages can’t get in or out), this is one example that can contribute to insulin resistance and how nutrition can affect our health on a cellular level.
All of our body systems are in constant communication with each other, if one is out of balance, it can affect another. This is why nutritional therapists work with the whole body and don’t just focus on one area. For example, if you have signs of oestrogen dominance then the focus could be on liver detoxification where oestrogen is broken down ready for elimination, if the liver is a little sluggish or you have SNPs on these pathways then there will be a need to support liver function (certain foods and herbs can do this). The digestive system will also need support to ensure that oestrogen is removed from the body because constipation and certain gut bacteria in the microbiome can cause oestrogen to become deconjugated and re-enter circulation creating dominance. So don’t be surprised if you come in with a problem in one area of the body and we start working on what seems like another unrelated area – it’s all connected!