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So…What Does a Nutritionist Do?
The health and wellness industry has exploded in popularity and grown at an rapid rate in recent years. With the sharp rise in national and global healthcare resources being spent on chronic & metabolic diseases, this has put a large strain on public resources.
Source: MSD, 2020
As a result, what has followed is an industry which focuses on functional medicine and preventative care to improve personal health.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a field which puts the focus on the individual and not the disease. Conventional medicine focuses on treating the disease, functional medicine investigates the underlying cause of the disease. It aims to pinpoint contributing factors to get to the root of the problem. The focus therefore, is prevention and with limited public healthcare resources, functional medicine may help to alleviate strain on national health services. This will, in turn, allow them to focus on acute and non-preventative conditions.
As functional medicine is individual-focused, a consultation with a practitioner usually involves a detailed health questionnaire. The body is made up of a number of interconnected systems, all affecting one another in various ways. As a result, if a single system is irregulated it can have a detrimental domino effect. It is the aim of a practitioner in this field to connect the information provided in order to improve clients health.
How Does This Relate to the Role of A Nutritionist?
A nutritionist will use a functional approach with their clients to try to deeply understand the individual and how their choices might be impacting their health. A clients history will be explored to investigate what might have triggered a change in health. A nutritionist will also explore the clients mental, emotional and physical health to aid understanding.
The aim of a nutritionist is to educate and gently encourage the client to make the associations between their environment and their health to make sustained and informed changes. Consultations are a collaborative effort with both parties finding a balanced compromise when creating a plan.
Nutrition is one fundamental factor to consider for a long, healthy and happy life. Nutritionists however cover a range of health and lifestyle areas to offer comprehensive advice to help improve general quality of life. Nutritionists can help with:
- Skin Health
- Weight Management
- Sleep problems
- Digestive Health
- Stress & Fatigue
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Immune Health
- Chronic Pain
- Inflammatory Conditions
- Women’s/Men’s Health
- Sports Nutrition
- And more!
The process of treating health complaints and symptoms is a detailed-oriented process. Although we live in a culture which champions convenience and quick results, results without investigation into the individual will unlikely stand the test of time. The benefits of understanding your health and your own biological synchronicities far outweigh an unsustainable quick fix.
What Tools Do Nutritionists Use to Help?
Detailed Health Questionnaires
A detailed health questionnaire is usually sent to the client to complete prior to the initial consult. The aim of the questionnaire is to begin to understand the client’s past and present health status. This in order to help provide a blueprint for the direction of the consult in the most efficient and time effective way. The questionnaire may cover medical history including any past or present diagnoses, prescribed medication, family health history, symptoms and lifestyle choices.
Client’s are also usually required to complete a food diary for the nutritionist to analyse prior to the consult.
Functional testing is a great tool for assessing imbalance that might otherwise be overlooked. It can often provide relief for those who have visited conventional health professionals who haven’t been able to provide answers. It can help pinpoint and identify contributing factors to health complaints at a detailed level.
Carrying out a functional test may save both the practitioner and client time and resources as it may confirm a suspected health issue. This can then further improve accuracy of outcome by further personalising the clients health plan. Testing can discover:
- Vitamin & mineral deficiencies
- Gut Microbiome status
- Immune profile
- Inflammatory profile
- Hormonal imbalance
- Detoxification ability
- Genetic mutations
Functional tests are non-invasive and usually carried out in the comfort of your home.
Although nutritionists will focus on dietary intake, supplements work particularly well to improve results if there is, for example, a test result which unearths a strong vitamin or mineral deficiency. Supplements may be an efficient tool to improve nutrient levels as they contain concentrated dosages.
Supplementation advice is usually provided for short-term use as the individuals health improves, the need for supplementation is likely to diminish.
To summarise, a nutritionist focuses on each client as an individual with their own blueprint to provide a personalised health plan to empower the client to improve their health. It is a educational effort with a goal to maintain health and quality of life.
Please get in touch for a no obligation chat if you want to discuss whether working with a nutritionist is right for you.