Nutritional Medicine has become an increasingly popular topic over the last few decades. This exciting field of healing is certainly being focused on by the public and by the popular media at a level never before seen. This is demonstrated by popular TV shows like The Doctor Oz Show and the explosion of new dietary products. Though some of the new health products are not actually healthy, the fact that a person can find organic produce, all kinds of yogurt products, various types of bottled water and gluten-free foods in any market is evidence that people are aware that the foods they eat have an impact on their health.
In addition, more people are looking for health care professionals who understand nutritional medicine and can offer them effective alternatives to conventional medical treatments, which are often disappointing in their outcomes, expensive or even dangerous.
So what is “Nutritional Medicine”. The dictionary definition of medicine is “the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease”, and the term “nutrition” means, “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Put them together and you get something like this: the science or practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, using food, food supplements and other nutritional substances, for the treatment and prevention of disease.
Nutritional Medicine is based on the following concepts:
- Nutrition plays a vital role in health and disease and suboptimal consumption of essential nutrients is a significant and often decisive factor in the development of many diseases, especially those that are chronic or degenerative in nature.
- Many, if not all, chronic, degenerative diseases have their basis in the inadequate intake, digestion, absorption and metabolism of vital nutritional substances. Conversely, such diseases can be corrected or at least, significantly improved by providing specific nutrients and nutritional complexes as determined by clinical and laboratory evaluation methods.
- The primary focus of Nutritional Medicine is to determine the cause of a given disease and then to apply specific therapeutic applications, that do not involve the use of drugs or surgery, to improve or correct the cause of the health issue, rather than focusing on treating the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease. In a very real sense, nutritional medicine does not “treat” any disease, but deals with the underlying cause of the disease. This is in contrast to the tendency of the conventional medical approach to focus on a patient's symptoms and to treat them by means of drugs or surgery.
- Nutritional Medicine is synonymous with Functional Medicine and strongly related to the concepts of Alternative Medicine, Holistic Medicine and Integrative Medicine.
So to state it briefly, we would say that nutritional medicine is a clinical method using food and food supplements to treat or prevent the underlying cause of any given disease.
More than Just Vitamin Pills
Nutritional medicine goes far beyond the simple concept of providing missing or inadequate levels of nutrients to a person who is suffering from a given disease. While it can be as simple as taking vitamin C to heal scurvy, it deals with the more complex issues of cellular toxicity, oxidative stress, chronic infections (often of a subclinical nature), heavy metal exposure, defects in the proper metabolism of nutrients and the function of nutrient dependent physiological pathways, genetic expression, inflammatory regulation processes, the individual microbiome and lifestyle factors of sleep, stress and exercise. So nutritional medicine involves far more than determining what nutrients you are low in and then supplying the nutrients.
What is Nutritional Medicine Used For?
A Nutritional Medicine approach is effective for most types of health problem, especially the chronic degenerative diseases. These includes depression, general fatigue, thyroid disorders, heart disease, GI problems (IBS, bloating, acid reflux , etc.), menopause, sexual dysfunctions, infertility, dementia, allergies, asthma, adrenal problems, autoimmune disorders, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, anxiety, infections, diabetes and insulin resistance, cancer, and high blood pressure. Nutritional Medicine always helps to some degree and does not cause harmful side effects as many standard medical therapies do.