I practice a new model of wellness, sometimes referred to as “functional” nutrition. Functional nutrition is neither conventional nor an alternative medicine. It’s a combination of the best of both and it represents the future of health care.
Functional nutrition is a tailored approach to supporting optimal health. Instead of addressing a disease, I address a person. Everyone is unique. Each person has a different genetic makeup, background, lifestyle and body chemistry. I take the time to find out what’s best for you.
Conventional Medicine focuses on a singular part of the body. Functional medicine sees the body as a system with each part contributing to the health of the whole body.
Understand Functional Nutrition
Imagine that your check engine light is flashing on the dashboard of your car. It could be that there’s a leak in the fuel line, or something wrong with a spark plug or even something as simple as the gas cap being loose.
Every problem has the same symptom, (the check engine light) but you’ll take a different approach based on the actual unique cause.
One thing you probably wouldn’t do is just put a piece of tape over the light on your dashboard and just keep driving!
Taking medicines that only suppress symptoms is like putting a piece of tape over that check engine light. Symptoms are our body’s way of letting us know that something needs attention.
The Functional Nutrition Method:
Functional nutrition is a scientific approach to examining imbalances in your body. In order to resolve problems, functional nutritionists examine possible causes and evaluate external factors. Once the cause is determined, nutritionists recommend diet adjustments to repair the problem in a natural way.
Everything in your car depends on your tire. If the tire isn’t properly inflated, it could affect the gas mileage and steering. When one part of your body suffers, other parts suffer.
The functional nutrition method aims to consider that all body parts are interconnected. Each component must function in harmony with the others.
In a nutshell, functional nutrition is using food to optimize the interconnected functions in living organisms.
The Principles of Functional Nutrition:
The detailed explanation includes key principles to guide the investigative process.
- Biochemical individuality: You are unique like a snowflake. Your personal genes, environment, lifestyle and attitude all affect your nutritional needs.
- Patient-centered nutrition: In order to guide you on your path to health, we need to understand your health history and your genetic predispositions. What factors trigger your health issues and why is your body’s natural healing process not functioning properly?
- Dynamic balance of internal and external factors: Examine the root cause of your complaints, not just your physical symptoms or lab results. (However these factors can provide some insight into your whole-health evaluation)
- Web-like interconnections of physiological factors: Your body is an interconnected system. Everything affects everything else and nothing is truly isolated.
- Health as a positive vitality: If you’re nutrient deficient, this method asks WHY this nutrient is not being absorbed. If you have malfunctioning organs, WHY is this organ not performing? Once we address the underlying factors of an obvious complaint, the body AS A WHOLE responds with renewed vitality, often in areas that were just accepted as ‘stress’ or ‘growing older.’
- Promotion of organ reserve: Optimal health is more than just the ability to operate adequately; it also means the ability to withstand the challenges of everyday life. You should be able to tolerate periodic exposure to colds/flus, increased stress at work, increased physical activity and be able to bounce back.
Dig Deep to Get Well
Functional nutrition examines the core clinical imbalances that underline a disease or condition. Look beyond signs and symptoms and prioritize a deeper understanding of functionality. Environmental factors such as diet, nutrients (including water), exercise, and trauma can cause imbalance. Your body processes those factors through your unique mind and metabolism.
The approach identifies core areas of focus:
- Optimizing Gene Expression
- Nutrition & Supplementation
- Gut Health
- Immune Support
- HPA Axis Balance: Adrenal, sex hormones, thyroid hormones, blood sugar balance
- Lifestyle Factors: Sleep, stress, exercise, outlook
If you have an imbalance, it’s probably time to take a trip to the body shop. Your body should be a lean, mean, high speed machine.