What is nutritional therapy?
It's a personalised programme of using food as medicine to manage health conditions and promote optimal health.
It is based on the principles of Naturopathy and Functional Medicine, and applies the latest research in health sciences. It looks at health in a systemic way, e.g. how tiredness and hormonal issues can be linked to blood sugar imbalance, how your digestive system can affect your thyroid, etc.
Nutritional therapy uses food, nutrients and herbs in order to restore balance and cater for possible deficiencies caused by the typical western diet.
People may not relate chronic conditions to nutrition, yet it is food that provides the raw material for building every cell, muscle, organ, producing hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. In other words, the body cannot manufacture these without providing the building blocks from food. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to focus on nutrition as the key driver in creating good health or disease.
Conditions that benefit from nutritional therapy:
- Allergies and intolerances - food and environmental
- Digestive problems (abdominal pain, bloating, Chron's, constipation, diarrhoea, gas, heartburn, Helicobacter Pylori, ulcerative colitis, ulcers)
- Anxiety, depression, low mood, neurodegeneration, poor concentration, etc.
- Addictions, compulsions, obsessions
- Eating disorders
- Low energy
- Respiratory issues like asthma, chronic cough, wheezing
- Cardiovascular issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
- Degenerative arthritis
- Autoimmune conditions (Celiac, Crohn’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Hashimoto Thyroditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.)
- Recurring infections (cold sores, cystitis, glue ear, tonsillitis, bronchitis, runny nose, sneezing)
- Skin conditions: (flaky scalp, rashes, cracks, athlete’s foot, acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, facial hair in females)
- Underactive and overactive thyroid
- Hormonal matters (PMS, PCO, PCOS, fibroids, clots, endometriosis, symptoms of menopause, moodiness)
- Pregnancy support
- Children's health (immunity, picky eating, glue ear, ADD, ADHD, all forms of autism)
- Frequent injuries when doing exercise
- Weight management
How long does the therapy last?
It depends on the individual needs, the duration of symptoms, priorities and personal circumstances. Some protocols are less, and some are more demanding.
Nutritional needs of a healthy person and someone who is unwell are different. Even if something is theoretically considered healthy, it may not suit your current physiology - some foods may be putting your body under stress, or your demands may be increased. The therapeutic stage of GLOW's health plans is formulated specifically for those who aim to experience a shift in the quality of life, the way they look and feel.
Supplementation and nutrient therapy
Supplements can be highly beneficial at the initial stages of the therapy in order to replenish long term deficiencies and accelerate any sluggish processes. In the ideal world, whole foods should provide all nutrients. However some people, especially those who are particularly unwell, have absorption issues or don't cook, may need them more than others and for longer periods of time.
Testing is a valuable diagnostic tool which can wonderfully support the therapy and track its progress. However, it can also be deceiving due to possible false results which can be caused by various factors. From the naturopathic point of view, testing should not be conclusive and doesn't take priority over individual's health history and the symptoms they are experiencing. In other words, it's only a piece of a puzzle.
What about science?
Science is extremely important but there is more to health that what clinical trials have shown us to date. Although certain things haven't been scientifically proven, it doesn't mean they don't exist. Science is relatively young compared with millions of years of human evolution. There are simply too many variables in nature to carry out studies in all possible circumstances, especially when they don't bring financial profits. Health is not black and white. Instead, it's a dynamic inter-relation of complex processes which requires an open minded approach based not only on science but also empirical experience of both, the person and the clinician.
Nutritional therapy vs primary healthcare
Medicinal nutrition is a complementary approach and does not replace either primary medical care or medication. However, it's up to both, the healthcare provider and nutritional therapist, to understand the interactions between nutrients, herbs and medications. Always consult with your healthcare provider for any significant lifestyle changes and drug / nutrient interactions.