What is Nutritional Medicine?
“Let food Be Thy medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food”
“First do No Harm”
These are famous quotes taken from the father of medicine. Hippocrates.
Nutritional medicine practitioners regard these quotes as an example of how healing and medicine should be practiced, and form the basis of their healing philosophies. Unfortunately doctors have move away from this and with the use of drugs and surgery have limited their ability to address the underlying cause of problem, instead more often than not addressing the symptoms only.
Nutritional medicine also known as functional nutrition and naturopathic nutrition forms the foundation of complementary medicine. The core components of nutritional medicine understand and respect the value of food as medicine, there is also a strong understanding that whole foods are of greater value and using only single components of that food. An example of this is extracting Vitamin C from an orange and using this in isolation rather than eating the fruit that has a far greater number compounds that would enhance the Vitamin C. The most important factor in using nutritional medicine is the understanding that every individual person will have a unique interaction with the food and nutrients in that food.
Naturopaths are very respectful of this individuality and nutritional assessments are equally important in this understanding. There are many ways of assessing nutrient requirements, depending on the practitioner, but before a specific prescription is formulated here are some of the factors that are taken into consideration. Genetics, age, gender, exposure to environmental toxins, current drug consumption, existing conditions, and emotional factor.
When using the principles of nutritional medicine, naturopaths will always uphold as the best option, a diet based on whole, natural foods, particularly one that emphasis quality, fresh, seasonal and organic food.
Supplements have always formed a strong basis of nutritional medicine, incorporating Vitamins, minerals, trace elements, as well as incorporating essential fatty acids, amino acids and different forms of protein supplementation. Until recent years, nutritional medicine has been aimed at correcting faulty diets and prescribing supplements to correct deficiencies.
More recently with more research and better assessments, naturopaths and functional nutritionists are using nutrients more as therapeutic agents to help correct not only deficiencies but to improve the body’s ability to balance and heal its self. This enables practitioners to utilise nutrition as a means for treating many of our more chronic diseases as well as identifying possible potential causes of disease and therefore aiding in prevention.