All of the concepts that make up our Healing Hypothesis are important and make a difference in helping you feel better and heal, and this one can truly have a significant impact.
I firmly believe that supplements are an important intervention as part of an overall protocol.
In functional medicine, we focus on natural ways to improve your health. That means food first. The functional medicine approach looks for the underlying causes of disease and illness and addresses it in order to improve health status.
The core of functional medicine is functional nutrition, and we use diet, lifestyle and supplements as primary tools of addressing your health problems.
I've been asked, can't food be enough? After all, as a clinical nutritionist the expectation is that I'm going to create a diet plan to make you feel better. Yes! This is part of what I do.
Sometimes, food isn't enough. This can happen as we age and bodily processes slow down and need a little extra help, when we have a functional deficit in a metabolic pathway, when our hormones become imbalanced, and when our guts aren't functioning the way they're supposed to.
These are just some examples of when we may need a little more than what even the best, most thought through food plan can provide. And this is where supplementation can help restore your metabolic processes to an optimal state, which is important, especially when you’ve had long-standing imbalances.
We are exposed to stress, environmental toxins, and lack of physical activity (for most of us) daily. We also don’t get enough exposure to sunlight, and have many other problems associated with the 'conveniences' of Western society.
These are reasons why you can benefit from supplementing your healthful diet with extra nutrients. Some supplements help support metabolic pathways and therefore the biochemical reactions that make your body run. Others help support your immune system and combat oxidative stress and inflammation, two causes of chronic and complex disease. These are just some examples.
Keep in mind, for supplements to work, recommendations need to be customized for the needs of your body. If you’ve tried a variety of supplements based on Google searches, and haven’t had any results, the reason is because your unique needs are not accounted for.
I do believe that most of us can benefit from taking certain supplements. There are some standards I keep in my toolbox. To get access to professional grade ones, click here (you’ll be prompted to create a free account).
So, are nutrient supplements necessary, and can't we get everything we need from food? Yes, and maybe not.
Speaking of getting what we need from food, we also need to address fad diets and calorie counting, and this is a concept of our Healing Hypothesis.