What is Nutritional Medicine?
Nutritional Medicine is based on the principle that nutrients are needed for the proper functioning of all the biochemical processes on which our bodies depend. Disturbances in these biochemical processes, which can be caused by the body not receiving these nutrients, may have an impact on your well being and contribute to the development of poor health.
There are many factors that can cause a disturbance in your body’s biochemical functions, such as poor diet and lifestyle choices around exercise, environment chemicals, virus and bacterial infections, genetics, and stress are just some of the influencing factors.
However, a one size fits all approach to using nutritional therapies for health and well being just doesn’t work. You are individual and nutrient requirements to support your own metabolic function for health, can and will differ enormously from everyone else.
Treating Causes, Not Symptoms
Symptom = "a physical or mental feature which is regarded as indicating a condition of disease"
Cause = "a thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition"
Most standard medical practices tend to treat symptoms without addressing the underlying cause of that symptom.
Lets take, for example, the traditional treatment for acid reflux, which is usually a prescription of medication. However, there are many causes of acid reflux which can also be considered for treatment, such as:
- low stomach acid
- high blood sugar levels
- excess weight
- eating too many fermentable carbohydrates.
Medication will only mask acid reflux symptoms in the short term and not address the underlying cause. By addressing the cause as well as the symptom, this will provide long term relief and resolution of the symptom, and not just mask it.
When I treat clients, I always look to address the underlying cause and not just the symptom. I do this by spending time to complete a comprehensive review of your health, diet and lifestyle to help understand your individual requirements.
How Can Nutritional Medicine Help?
Many health issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD and digestive disorders are caused or aggravated when the body is depleted in certain nutrients. By supporting these known area’s of depletion through dietary changes and selective supplementation, Nutritional Medicine can help you regain your overall health.
There is increasing interest in the community in using nutrition and diet to help with a wide range of health issues and concerns. The pool of evidence supporting the use of specific diet, nutrition and nutritional supplements to help with certain health issues is also getting larger all the time. These two factors, together with its clinical effectiveness, and very low risk of side affects means that tailored nutrition to support good health is an easy way for clients to pro-actively take charge of their own health.
Protecting yourself from unqualified advice
Unfortunately, increased interest in the area of food and nutrition to support health has resulted in an explosion in people claiming to offer expertise in that area who are only qualified to provide very generic advice. I am qualified Nutritionist which means that I have studied for over 3 years to complete a Bachelors degree in Nutritional Medicine. This degree includes comprehensive scientific study on the body’s bio-chemistry which gives me the technical base to best determine what diet, nutrition or supplement can be safely and effectively used clinically. I also continue to undertake professional studies to ensure I am up to date with the latest developments and more importantly give clients the comfort that the treatment I am giving them is based on proven research, rather than the latest food fad trending on social media.
When choosing to take nutritional advice, please check that they have appropriate qualifications, especially in the area of supplementation. What may be a good supplement generically, may not be right for you and could cause interactions if the person providing the advice does not have the right technical background and qualifications. If you are on medication, then seeking qualified advice is even more important, especially if a supplement is suggested. A qualified practitioner will use their clinical knowledge and access to health practitioner only resources to ensure there is no risk of interactions occurring.
Many supplements bought off the shelf, or from unqualified practitioners are also not in strong enough doses to be of therapuetical benefit and will often have “filler” ingredients to compensate, or will be in the wrong form of a specific nutrient, and probably prescribed at incorrect dosages, which can cause further health issues.
To protect your health you need to ask the following questions:
What are your qualifications?
A degree qualified nutritional medicine practitioner has had the university training to therapeutically prescribe diet, nutrients and nutritional supplementation for health issues. A Nutritional Medicine degree covers many areas such as chemistry, biochemistry, nutritional biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, psychology, dietary planning, sports nutrition, nutritional physiology and research as well as 2 years applying this knowledge in clinical practice. This makes us uniquely qualified in using nutrition as medicine.
Are you professionally registered?
Being professionally registered protects you as the client from harm. A professional association ensures as a nutritional medicine practitioner, my qualifications meet the technical standards to practice in my area of expertise. It also ensures degree qualifications are compliant, regulated and approved by the proper governing authorities at the Australian federal level for tertiary education.
Can I get private health rebates?
As a health professional, you can only qualify to register with private health refunds if you are registered with an approved professional body, and your therapy is clinically recognised to offer therapeutic benefit. Many funds offer rebates for advice provided by Nutritionists.
Are you covered by professional insurance?
All health care practitioners should have professional insurance for their area of practice, such as nutritional medicine. It is always advisable to ask if your health practitioner has professional insurance as this is designed to protect you as a client.