Optimal health is our birth-right! But as we make our way through life, we often develop symptoms of ill health and feel a loss of vitality. Nutritional Therapy Practitioners dig deep to identify the root cause of these symptoms and address underlying imbalances so that the client can thrive with optimal health.
An example of an “imbalance” would be someone who consumes too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. This imbalance can contribute to a host of issues related to inflammation, skin problems, slow healing, and even depression. Another example would be someone who is deficient in a particular nutrient, such as iron, and as a result, has symptoms of fatigue or a slow metabolism. Someone with food intolerances can have imbalances that manifest as inflammation in the digestive tract which can attribute to systemic inflammation and autoimmune disease.
We use a comprehensive Nutritional Assessment tool to graph an individual’s areas of strength and weakness (or “imbalances”) in the categories of diet, digestion, blood sugar regulation, essential fatty acid balance, mineral balance, and hydration. These six areas are the foundations of nutritional therapy. Weaknesses in the foundations lead to the degenerative health problems that plague the modern world. The Nutritional Assessment tool also highlights imbalances in the areas of endocrine, immune, and cardiovascular health as well as detoxification pathways associated with liver and colon function.
What Are The Foundations?
A properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet of whole foods provides the ultimate foundation leading to optimal health. When we realize that unrefined carbohydrates are delicious and don’t destroy our blood sugar balance, that good fats are essential to our mood, energy, and hormone balance, and that appropriate amounts of protein from clean sources build muscle and support the nervous system, healthy eating becomes part of our self care. It is not about calories in and calories out; it is about the quality of foods we consume and ensuring we have the right balance in both our macro and micro nutrients.
We are not what we eat, we are what we absorb. Every cell that makes every tissue that makes every organ that forms your entire body depends on your digestive systems ability to properly digest and assimilate the nutrients you are consuming. It is absolutely vital the digestive system functions properly so as to support the rest of the body’s organ systems for optimal health. Digestion is directly related to immune function, mental health, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular health, hormone function, detoxification pathways, and so much more. Frequently, poor digestion is at the root of chronic health challenges.
Blood sugar regulation
The body depends on stable blood sugar levels to function properly. Our bodies have multiple biological systems in place that work to raise blood sugar, such as cortisol stimulating the liver to release storage forms of sugar while we are sleeping, or the process of insulin moving glucose into cells, but we have no biological system in our body to lower blood sugar. We were not, and are not biologically capable of properly functioning with high levels of sugar in our systems. Period. Processed foods, corn syrup, poor food derivatives in everything we eat, soda… never before in the history of mankind have we experienced such an emergency need to lower blood sugar.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential Fatty Acids are entitled “essential” simply because the body cannot produce them by its own accord. For example, the body creates glucose through gluconeogenesis, therefore glucose is not considered “essential”. There are two essential fatty acids (EFA’s): alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6). Most people are under the impression that omega-3’s are the “healthy” EFA, when in fact one is not necessarily healthier than the other. The importance concerning EFA’s is the ratio between the two (omega 6 & 3). Humans evolved on a diet with a ratio of 1:1, whereas western diets the ratio is currently 17:1. Why? Processed foods, hydrogenated oils, and products from the Standard American diet contain incredibly high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids.
Why does this matter? We need a proper balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids for prostaglandins to function properly; a very important hormone-like substance that is responsible for managing inflammation in the body. An imbalance of prostaglandins can contribute to heart disease, immune system dysfunction, inflammation, pain, and PMS.
Every organ in the body has a mineral on which it is dependent, however, due to depleted soils and the consumption of more processed foods, the average American is not consuming barely any of the key minerals needed for optimal function. Calcium is most commonly known, as it is the mineral of largest concentration in the human body. Did you know, almost everyone gets enough calcium in their diet, however, they are often missing the cofactors that allow the body to absorb and ultimately utilize calcium? Proper mineral balance is vital to hydration status, mood, structure and function of the teeth, bones, blood, tissues, muscles, and nerve cells.
Water is the most common nutritional deficiency in America, yet it is the most important nutrient in the human body. Not only are we drinking too little water every day, but coffee, caffeinated teas, alcohol, and fruit juices are all diuretic beverages that contribute to dehydration by increasing the production of urine and further increasing the rate of dehydration in the body. Early signs of dehydration can manifest as fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, with more advanced dehydration causing joint pain, back pain, migraines, heartburn or colitis.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners do not diagnose or treat disease, but work to correct imbalances within the body to guide individuals back into a state of optimal health and function.