Written by Lisa Dreher, MS, RDN, LDN
How Functional Nutrition Can Help You Heal

How Functional Nutrition Can Help You Heal

You have probably heard the saying, Food is Medicine. Nowhere is this more evident than at The UltraWellness Center, where about 80 percent of our patients get better with nutrition intervention alone.

But food is food, right? What could be so unique about the functional nutrition approach as compared to conventional nutrition?

To understand the differences, let’s review a case study example. Say we have a 35-year-old, overweight female with irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, reflux, and excess belly fat. Her goal is to lose weight and improve digestion. Below, we have summarized the key differences in her experience working with the average conventional nutritionist and a functional nutritionist:

Conventional nutrition recommendations:

  • First, develop a plan or give a generic diet sheet, based on symptoms: Start on a low-fat, low-calorie diet. Count calories – emphasis is on quantity.
  • Eat less meat, sugar, fat and sodium. Eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, fat free dairy and grains (only half of the grains need to be whole grains). Some processed/fortified foods may be recommended to achieve vitamins and mineral recommendations.
  • Increase exercise to burn 500 extra calories per day.

Functional nutrition recommendations:

  • First, before creating a plan, the functional nutritionist digs deeper and asks themselves the question “what is causing these symptoms?
    • Are there food sensitivities, environmental toxins, nutrient deficiencies or imbalances in the timing and pairing of foods?
    • Does this person have insulin resistance, gut dysbiosis, difficulties detoxifying, depressed thyroid function, high cortisol levels and adrenal stress?
    • What are their sleep patterns and is there a negative relationship with food covering up deeper emotional issues?
  • Next, develop a nutrition and lifestyle plan based on what is causing the imbalance, NOT based on the symptoms alone. Every patient’s plan will be different with emphasis on quality.
  • We then:
    • Address relationship to food
    • Discuss lifestyle factors that are influencing health – such as exercise, stress, quality of sleep, personal and work relationships and more.
  • Recommend functional medicine testing to understand what is going on at the cellular and genetic level (see below for full list of tests).
  • Suggest targeted supplements based on medical history and test results.
  • Re-evaluate and adjust the plan based on new information, test results, etc.

Most nutrition professionals are not trained to tailor nutrition recommendations to each person’s cellular and genetic needs. With the ability to test and evaluate such things as gut microbiome, immune responses to food, and exposure to environmental toxins or a detailed breakdown of your cholesterol profile, while taking into account your unique genetic makeup – functional nutritionists offer an unparalleled experience.

The UltraWellness Center offers Functional Nutrition Consultations for those interested in benefitting from Functional Medicine without the need to work with one of our physicians.

As part of your assessment, our nutritionists can order and interpret the following specialty tests:

Specialty Test Test Description
Cyrex Testing Tests for intestinal permeability/leaky gut and food sensitivities.
DNA Health Assesses how your genes influence lipid metabolism, methylation, detoxification, inflammation, oxidative stress and unique nutritional requirements.
DNA Diet Assesses specific genes that influence responsiveness to a specific dietary and lifestyle recommendation. Genes involved in insulin resistance, metabolism, satiety, exercise responsiveness, taste and propensity to addiction and overeating are evaluated.
Omega Quant Quantifies omega-3 fatty acids in the blood.
ION Panel Measures over 100 components of your biochemistry to assess vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, organic acids, fatty acids, amino acids and oxidative stress markers.  
Boston Heart A comprehensive assessment of cholesterol production and absorption.

*Please be aware that our nutritionists cannot provide guidance around medication dosing or changes. If you have a complex medical condition that does not respond to nutrition and lifestyle changes alone, your nutritionist may recommend a consult with one of our physicians.

Visit our landing page to learn more about The UltraWellness Center: https://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/new-patients/


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