Being a functional nutrition doctor is like being a detective. The doctor searches for clues to determine the causes of the patient’s symptoms. Is the patient’s fatigue due to a thyroid imbalance, blood sugar swings, adrenal exhaustion, or gut dysfunction? Is someone’s constipation a result of insufficient fiber, lack of exercise, not enough fluids or vagus nerve dysfunction? Symptom analysis, examination and lab tests are the clues we follow to determine what is causing the patient to not feel their best.
The specialty of functional nutrition, also known as functional medicine, is gaining greater recognition. Instead of waiting for disease to occur before seeking help, functional nutrition is a way to help people maintain health as well as regain health. So many of the diseases rampant in our society are preventable.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014, “up to 40% of annual deaths from each of five leading US causes are preventable.”
How are these deaths preventable? Usually with healthy nutrition and proper exercise.
But what constitutes proper diet and exercise? The answer is very individual. One person may have hypoglycemia and insulin resistance. Another may have a gluten intolerance affecting her gut and brain. A third may have an MTHFR SNP, which means he is genetically predisposed to certain metabolic processes not functioning as efficiently. A fourth may have autoimmune symptoms. Recommendations for each individual would be based on that person’s unique biochemistry.
Fortunately we have more diagnostic tools than ever before to evaluate how well your systems are over-functioning or under-functioning before conventional medical testing demonstrates disease. And more people are taking control of their health and recognizing that they have the power to prevent many diseases through functional nutrition and lifestyle choices.
What can you expect from a functional nutrition visit with Dr. Lewis?
Before your first visit, you will complete assessment forms to get a detailed picture of your symptoms and goals. Dr. Lewis will review these as well as your previous lab tests for no charge in advance of your first visit to make your time together as productive as possible.
If you are already on medication or have a diagnosed disease, functional nutrition may help you to minimize progression of your condition by working with your unique genetic profile and biochemistry. Sometimes medication is necessary, and functional nutrition is not a substitute for necessary conventional medical treatment.
At your first visit, Dr. Lewis will
1. Review your symptoms, medical history and any previous lab test results
2. Really listen to you!
(Functional Nutrition, p. 2)
3. Recommend additional testing if needed, such as blood tests, saliva testing for hormones, checking for nutrient deficiencies, evaluation of the intestinal microbiome, 23andme SNP testing, tests for food allergies/sensitivities and autoimmunity, etc.
4. Suggest lifestyle changes if further testing is not needed or enough information is available. Lifestyle changes might include changing the timing of meals, discontinuing or adding certain foods to your diet, supplementation, breathing exercises, good sleep habits or exercise. You may prefer to go step by step or make all the changes at once. What is important is that you and Dr. Lewis will create a plan that works for you and moves you towards your goal of better health and vitality.