What is Nutritional Therapy and Do I Need It?
Nutritional Therapy is about much more than healthy eating and taking a multivitamin supplement. Each session is tailored to your unique needs to help you achieve optimal health.
You may have a specific health problem relating to, for example hormone balance or IBS . You may simply want to manage your mood better or have more energy. Or maybe you want to know how to eat to prevent health problems in the future. With the help of a nutritional therapist you have the power to make a profound change to your life. If you can relate to any of the statements below, nutritional therapy is for you.
- You know you need to change your diet but don’t know where to start
- You are confused and overwhelmed by all the information on the internet
- You already think you eat healthily but you don’t feel as well as you think you could
- You would like to stop wasting time and energy trying different diets
- You have checked in with your GP but not felt any better afterwards
When you work one to one with me, I will cut through the maze of health information with a clear strategy that is suited to you. No more wasted time navigating the net. Cut the stress out and get clarity with a qualified and experienced practitioner who has your best interests at heart. I will listen carefully to your needs and deliver to you a tailor made programme which is super practical to follow. I focus on all the delicious foods that you can eat rather than give you a list of foods to avoid. At each follow up I will support you to keep on track and adjust and update your programme as needed.
How does nutritional therapy work?
Nutritional therapists are uniquely trained to understand how food and lifestyle factors influence the function of the body, protect against disease, determine how the body responds to change in the environment and restore health. The approach is person focused rather than disease focused. Biochemical individuality is key.
Hormone, blood sugar and essential fatty acid imbalances are often too subtle to show up in conventional tests but can have a significant effect on health and can be corrected.
A healthy gut and digestive system is so important and impacts all sorts of health issues. Compromised gut health can result in deficiencies of vitamins and minerals and have a negative effect on brain and immune health. There may be bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhoea . Dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria) is often a major factor. Stool testing can be useful.
Allergies and intolerances
These may be to foods or to environmental allergens. When allergies or sensitivities are present, they make the absorption of nutrients less efficient. It is a case of which comes first, as poor digestion and an unhealthy gut environment in the first place, makes food intolerances more likely.
Lack of vitamins, minerals and amino acids can be due to straightforward insufficient intake through the diet. They can also often be the result of poor digestion and absorption. In addition, it is not uncommon for metabolic imbalances to occur, which are individual for the particular person and which cause functional deficiencies. These type of deficiencies mean that despite adequate intake of a nutrient, a body function that depends on that nutrient is not working properly, because the body cannot metabolise the nutrient. A good example is folic acid. Around 30 percent of women have a functional folic acid deficiency, with major negative consequences for the brain, immune and hormonal systems. See the section below on supplements for more information.
The liver and the bowel are two major organs of detoxification. They ensure that the multitude of toxins that we are exposed to daily, are metabolised and excreted from the body. Nutritional support can be targeted specifically to liver and bowel function.
Often great results can be obtained without testing. However sometimes this is useful if more information is needed. There is a range of innovative functional medicine tests that help to pinpoint nutritional and biochemical imbalances. These tests may involve urine, blood, saliva or stool. Examples of the most commonly used tests are FACT (food intolerance) Adrenal Stress Index, thyroid hormones, Osteoporosis Risk Assessment, Stool Analysis (digestive function, fungal overgrowth, parasitology and bacteriology), and Metabolic Analysis. These tests, if required, are at additional cost to the consultation.
Some people ask me, “If I follow a healthy diet why do I need to take supplements?” Or “Won’t my multivitamin from the local health food shop be enough?”
Not everyone needs to take supplements and I don’t ever advise longterm high dose supplementation. However, most people who do not feel in 100 percent good health will benefit from some degree of temporary supplementation. There are many individual factors that will dramatically increase your needs for certain vitamins. For example stress, intensive exercise, alcohol consumption, infections, heavy menstruation, diarrhoea or prolonged use of certain medications. Each of these factors means that you use up larger than usual amounts of specific nutrients.
Another point to bear in mind is that blood tests are of limited use for assessing levels of many vitamins and minerals. So whilst you may have “normal” blood levels of a vitamin, you may still benefit from temporary supplementation if you have certain issues. A good example is B12 and you can read about this in my article on the home page.
Add to this intensive farming practices and environmental influences which have led to a declining nutrient content in our fruit and vegetables and you get the picture of how our food has changed. If you do not feel completely well, taking a basic multivitamin is unlikely to be sufficient to rebalance your nutrient “bank account”. Neither is making a random selection of supplements based on the latest newspaper or magazine article. A nutritional therapist has the expertise to pinpoint the supplements you need and which will really work, based on your clinical symptoms and/or biochemical tests.