What Is Nutritional Medicine?


Nutritional Medicine applies the knowledge that certain micronutrients are essential for our bodies to function optimally, and the lack of these essential nutrients can lead to illness. Nutritional Medicine uses sophisticated laboratory testing procedures to examine biochemical imbalances in the body, which can cause or complicate a specific health problem. Doctors that practice Nutritional Medicine use the test results to design a diet and supplementation program, which will help reinstate balance into the body, give the body what it needs to function normally, and help the patient feel better.


Nutritional Medicine is focused on correcting underlying causes of health problems. In traditional medicine, doctors are trained to diagnose and then use a variety of drugs that can help relieve a particular symptom. This approach usually does not address the cause of the problem but may significantly improve the symptom. A good example here is migraine headaches. The traditional approach would be to treat the symptom with aspirin or other painkillers. A Nutritional Medicine approach is to test for food allergies or a magnesium deficiency since both are common causes of migraine headaches. Another Nutritional Medicine approach is to determine some other possibility, like toxicity, that could be causing the headache.


Nutritional Medicine is primarily aimed at chronic illness. Conditions like cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, neurological disorders, musculoskeletal disorders (like arthritis and fibromyalgia), autoimmune diseases, and certain types of cancers are all types of chronic illness. Acute illnesses are more commonly the domain of traditional medicine. For example, you would not go to a Nutritional Medicine doctor if you were in a car accident and broke your leg. Acute problems that Nutritional Medicine can deal with include cold and flu viral infections. Blocking or inhibiting the progression of these viruses has been achieved when using various nutrients and supplementation.


Nutritional Medicine is not just about changing a persons diet. Research shows that certain nutrients are inadequate in our diets, like vitamin E, for example. It is difficult to get the quantity of vitamin E necessary to help prevent diseases like heart disease simply by eating a good diet. Nutritional Medicine involves a good diet, which is fundamental, and specific supplementation based on individual need, which can make all the difference in a person’s overall health.


Nutritional Medicine is considered complementary medicine that is available to enhance the quality of health care. Nutritional medicine offers a natural non-toxic alternative to dealing with most chronic health problems. One of the benefits of Nutritional Medicine is that you’re using compounds that have evolved with the body. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids are part of what makes up the body. Consequently, they’re very low in toxicity. The body is capable of handling them, even in doses much higher than the recommended daily allowance. Herbal products on the other hand, are outside of the realm of Nutritional Medicine. They are used as an alternative therapy that can produce pharmaceutical effects similar to drugs. Herbal products are not natural to the body and can be toxic at varying doses. However, they can also be quite supportive in a complementary healthcare program when used correctly. So, there is a difference between herbal medicine and nutritional medicine in terms of potential toxicity.


With all of these facts in mind, it is easy to see why Nutritional Medicine is believed by many to be the wave of the future in healthcare, as well as the best form of insurance in the prevention of disease processes.