You are uniquely created with your own genetic makeup.Epigenetics is an emerging field of science that helps us understand how our daily habits, stress, diet, and environmental exposure to harmful substances can influence gene expression by turning “on ” or “off” certain genes that cause chronic diseases.
Boom! We are not predestined to be “just like the family.” How’s that for empowering?I’ve worked with thousands of clients over many years in medical settings. One of my primary responsibilities as a Registered Dietitian was to track each client’s blood work month after month, after implementing diet and treatment changes to evaluate the effectiveness of each plan. I was constantly amazed at the unique response each client would have to the same treatment plan despite sharing commonalities in health history, medications, age, and sex. I learned to deeply respect the individuality of each client through this experience. Functional nutrition helps me design personalized approaches using the science of epigenetics. This approach allows me to help my clients improve their health with empowering client-focused strategies
What is Functional Nutrition?I start with an in-depth evaluation that takes into consideration the function of the body as a whole. In this blog, I will demonstrate the difference between traditional and functional nutrition approaches with a case study.
The ChallengeA client we’ll call Frank contacted me after seeing his doctor for some troubling digestive issues and getting a specific diagnosis after some diagnostic testing. His doctor advised him to follow a low-fat diet to remedy the situation. Frank was highly motivated to get back on his feet so he dutifully followed the guidelines from his doctor. To his consternation, Frank gained weight quickly and his symptoms got worse. And that’s when I got an SOS call.
First Steps with Functional NutritionFor step #1 in my evaluation, Frank filled out an extensive evaluation including:
- Family and personal health history
- Prescription and OTC drugs
- Physical complaints
- Current and past diet habits
- History of antibiotic use
- Stress evaluation
- Current daily practices
I identified the following factors that contributed to Franks issues:
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- Ultra-processed foods that lacked the necessary nutrients and fiber for proper digestion
- Ongoing chronic stress which slowed down the secretion of digestive enzymes and created imbalances in acid levels in his stomach
- Poor sleep patterns which contributed to poor digestion and overall fatigue (more on that to come)
- High-risk for nutrient and vitamin deficiencies that can develop from malabsorption in the digestive tract and diminished bile production.
Now let us see how functional nutrition saved the day for Frank.First, I educated Frank on how chronic stress created imbalances that lead to insufficient secretion of enzymes needed to break down food for nutrient absorption. We supported digestion with a dietary enzyme supplement for acid balance, a methyl B complex vitamin to enhance energy production, and an herbal supplement to support bile secretion. We devised daily practices to enhance sleep. I educated Frank on something called the migrating motor complex that helps ” clean ” the small intestines during sleep. Now Frank understood the value of sleeping as part of his healing plan and promised to be more intentional about getting a proper shut-eye. Lastly, I advised Frank to take a quality high potency probiotic to restore balance to the gut microbiome and boost immunity. Next, we devised a diet plan that included fiber-rich foods, complex carbs, healthy fats, and clean protein. We researched the restaurants that Frank had to depend on for his meals while he traveled and went over the best possible menu selections for his diet plan.
We busted some myths, too.The traditional diet approach focused on a low-fat diet. This strategy does not address the root cause or restore balance to the body as a whole. It isn’t even based on the latest scientific evidence and only provides a band-aid solution. The functional approach recognized the role that stress, poor sleep, nutrition/enzyme deficiencies, digestive imbalances, and poor diet played in Frank’s illness. Equally important, it supported his body towards healing and gave him a list of action steps that put him in control of his health.
Intrigued with functional nutrition?If that’s you, then I would love to have you join my inner circle on Facebook! Follow the link for exclusive holistic resources and future case studies!
Don’t wait another day to start feeling yourself again, just like Frank. I have a proven process to take you to a whole new level of health that I can’t wait to share with you!