Nutritional Therapy – How can it help?
Nutritional Therapy should be the first step to take when you have symptoms which are normally not well managed with meditation or explained by your doctor. Examples relate to:
- Painful joints with or without chronic inflammation
- Muscle aches
- Whole body aches
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Repeated headaches and migraines
- Difficulties to fall asleep
- Interrupted sleep
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Bloating, indigestion, heartburn, gas and alterations in bowel movements
- Irregular bowel function with alternating diarrhoea and constipation
- Food intolerances and adverse reactions to foods you used to be able to consume
- Appetite changes
- Loss of function
- Muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass
- Unexplained fatigue
- Exercise-associated fatigue
- Inability to deal with stress
- Difficulties with temperature regulation
- Alterations in blood cholesterol levels, homocysteine, CRP and other markers of inflammation
- Blood pressure control (high or low blood pressure)
- Immune related issues
- Frequent infections and immune challenges with lingering symptoms which take too long to recover from
- Immune imbalances and abnormal immunity
- Yeast infections
- Repeated respiratory and/or stomach bugs
- Sexual hormones and reproductive system
- Pre-menstrual symptoms
- Menstrual cycle disturbances
- Difficulties to conceive (infertility)
- Painful and irregular periods
- Difficult-to-manage menopausal symptoms
- Unexplained fatigue
- Mood alterations, lack of motivation, irritability and food cravings
- Itching, spots and other cyclic skin reactions
- Palpitations, numbness and tingling sensations
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
These are amongst many other possible recurring symptoms for which you can’t quite find an explanation or struggle to manage well.
The success of the therapy can be measured not only by your perception in wellbeing but also through many blood markers commonly seen to improve and get back into range after a few months of following Nutritional Therapy. Amongst the most common blood markers to change are those related to heart disease (homocysteine, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and total cholesterol), diabetes prediction and management (blood glucose, insulin, HbAc1), nutritional imbalances (folate, vitamin D, iron/ferritin, calcium etc), thyroid function (TSH, T4, T3, thyroid and thyroglobulin antibodies), hormonal imbalances and infertility (FSH, oestrogen, progesterone, prolactin, CA125 etc), inflammation markers used in the management of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases (hsCRP, ESR, red and white blood cell count etc), liver function (ALT, AST, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase etc). These are by no means exhaustive with many more markers used to clearly show the impact of therapy and progress of patients. Besides these, there are several questionnaires and other tools for patient reported outcomes that show quantifiable and measurable therapy results.
Even if you are diagnosed with a medical condition for which you are prescribed medication, you should still make sure that you assess your dietary needs to give your body the best healing chances. Nutritional Therapy can significantly enhance quality of life and the management of your symptoms as an adjunct therapy.
A Nutritional Therapist’s job is to translate the latest developments in nutrition science into simple strategies that suit your needs and circumstances.
Nutritional Therapy can help in many ways but above all, it will teach you all there is within your own power to positively influence your health. Rather than create dependence on the therapy, Nutritional Therapy aims to educate people so that they can do the work themselves.
Nutritional Therapy fosters patient independence and individual empowerment through a process of gradual learning and understanding of one’s own body signals. Whatever the presenting symptoms or named conditions you may have, a Nutritional Therapist will make a thorough investigation of your individual circumstances to establish the possible lifestyle habits likely responsible for underlying metabolic imbalances.
A Nutritional Therapist takes the time to explain to you what is going on inside your body and the reasons why underlying imbalances may contribute to your symptoms. Once the reasons behind symptoms are revealed, you will learn what to do with your diet and lifestyle in order to better support your health. A nutritional programme designed specifically for you will show you what to do to improve your well-being, support your body in the management of chronic conditions and improve organ functional capacity.
More importantly, your nutritional programme will be educational to you. You will learn to recognise signs and symptoms to take effective action in time. Some cases might take more investigations than others but the ultimate goal is to reveal imbalances which can be corrected through modifications in diet and lifestyle.
According to the Nutritional Therapy Council (NTC), Nutritional Therapy is recognised as a complementary medicine and it is relevant both for individuals looking to enhance their health and for those with chronic conditions wishing to consult a Nutritional Therapist in collaboration with other suitably qualified healthcare professionals.
Many signs and symptoms apparently unrelated may actually be a reflection of a less than optimal state of health. Nutritional Therapists specialise in analysing these signs and symptoms from a functional perspective. Within your own context, you can learn how to maximise health and vitality through sensible strategies. Common goals sought through Nutritional Therapy are:
- maintain optimal gastrointestinal health with a focus on digestion and absorption
- augment tolerance to a wide range of foods
- achieve & maintain a healthy weight
- reduce risk of disease-development
- promote healthy immunity
- contribute to emotional and psychological well-being
- augment fertility
- promote healthy blood sugar balance
- promote healthy energy levels
- optimize skin vitality
- contribute to healthy aging & an active lifestyle
- support well-being within the pressures of a modern lifestyle
- promote and support optimal thyroid function
- promote metabolic and hormonal balance
- support endocrine health
- promote balanced biotransformation and elimination