Nutritional Medicine is based on the principle that nutrients, including essential micronutrients, are required for the proper functioning of all the biochemical processes on which our bodies depend. Therefore, when treating symptoms or diseases, the practitioner looks for the underlying causes which, although often partly genetic, are usually very much tied up with nutritional and environmental factors.
It can also be simply defined as the relationship of food to the well-being of the human body. It encompasses the study of environmental effects on the quality of foods, and the impact of nutritional factors on health and disease. Nutritional medicine uses food, and individual nutrients in doses only achievable in supplement form, for medicinal and therapeutic effects.
Nutrients are involved in the creation of every molecule and the maintenance of every system in the body. The body requires more than 45 nutrients to maintain health. Many vitamins and minerals act as coenzymes in promoting essential chemical reactions. They help regulate metabolism, assist in the formation and maintenance of bones and tissues, hormones, nervous system chemicals, and genetic material. Subtle nutrient deficiencies can occur before the onset of frank, classical deficiency. Such marginal deficiencies may ultimately contribute to the development of degenerative diseases. Nutritional medicine aims to optimise nutrition according to individual biochemical, environmental and health states.
Nutritional medicine is not ‘alternative’ medicine. It works well with and alongside conventional medicine. It can be a very gentle process. It can also be very impactful.
Which conditions can nutritional medicine help?
Many conditions may benefit from nutrition, including some of today’s more common
presentations such as:
• Digestive – flatulence, burping, bloating, IBS, constipation, diarrhoea
• Skin – eczema, rosacea acne and psoriasis
• Immunity – frequent colds, coughs and allergies
• Stress management – nervous system disorders such as insomnia, low mood, anxiety, nervous tension
• Energy – erratic energy or fatigue
• Hormone imbalance – insulin resistance, adrenal stress, thyroid imbalance
• Reproductive – PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, fertility, menopause, lowered libido
• Neurological – Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
• Allergies – H ayfever, sinusitis, rhinitis
• Chronic conditions – Arthritis, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disease…
• Weight Management
How I Practice
I use a holistic approach in all consultations with my patients. This means I consider the person as a whole, as a sum of all the interconnected components that make that person individual and unique. When we look at the whole body, each component can be seen on a biochemical, cellular, systematic level, and all components are interconnected. It also means I consider all other possible influencing factors to the patient including their
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being when assessing health problems. So for example, if a patient comes to me with IBS, I will not treat just the disease, or treat just the digestive system. I will take into account all other historical and current health issues, diet, medication, physical activity, emotional state, lifestyle, needs and desired outcome.
I use my vast knowledge of food and nutrients to devise the most appropriate course of action. I do not advocate one type of diet, for example low GI, gluten free, paleo, pegan, WAPF, GAPS, vegan, raw, macrobiotic, and I do not promote any food or supplement related fads or fashion. I have an ipmpressive knowledge of many foods, diets, food
protocols, and nutritional supplements, and use this knowledge in devising a diet and nutrient plan suitable for my patient. Everyone is treated as an individual and as unique. It is never the case that one type of diet works for everyone.
We all have different body shapes, different lifestyles, likes and dislikes. We are all motivated or demotivated by different things. We react to foods very differently, physically and emotionally. Some of us eat a lot, some of us eat very little. Some need a lot, some sustain on small amounts. The energy expenditure differs greatly from one person to the next. The health state of one individual is not the same as the next person. The life events
that make up a person, and related emotions, are very unique to that person. No two people are the same and must not be treated as such.