Nutritional medicine is a holistic approach to the interactions of both nutrition and the environment on your health. Nutrients are the building blocks of our physical body; when the body is furnished with - and can effectively assimilate - the correct balance of foods containing essential vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins, it has the best chance to function optimally. All of us are unique in terms of biochemistry, metabolism, anatomy, genetics, physical needs and emotional wellbeing. Our internal environment; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, all affect our ability to process foods, absorb nutrients and detoxify and expel wastes (ANPA 2020).
When assessing nutritional status, we also need to include the impact of external environmental factors. These include toxic exposure to heavy metals, fertilizers, pesticides, home furnishings and synthetic chemicals such as pharmaceutical medications and vaccinations, recreational drugs, and artificial food additives, flavourings and colourings. Further, specific foods or groups of foods may cause sensitivities, intolerances and allergies; chronic parasitic, fungal, bacterial and viral infections can also disturb our ability to absorb and utilise nutrients. Poor sleep and mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety and stress directly impact health (ANPA 2020).
Working in synergy with herbal medicine, nutritional medicine involves assessment of your dietary intake, lifestyle factors and physical activity, while addressing mental health. Current states of health and disease are focused on in order to replenish and maintain nutrient levels in different stages in life, giving your body the best chance to function optimally. Treatment may include avoidance or increase of certain foods or food groups, nutritional supplements, homeopathic and herbal remedies, mindfulness exercises as well as guided lifestyle modifications.