Updated: Feb 14
What is Functional Nutrition?
Functional nutrition is a wholistic perspective on nutrition. It is a systematic approach to what you eat which look at you in the context of your genome, your surrounding environment, your choice of lifestyle and how they are deeply interrelated in every single part of your body. By this wholistic perspective, the ultimate goal is restoring your unique physiological pattern, which functions the best for you.
With functional nutrition, the goal is looking at diet as a tool to help resolve your primary health problems, whether it is related to your lifestyle factors, environmental toxins exposure or even an illness. The purpose is firstly understanding the underlying reasons of the imbalance in your body, then using a diet that benefits that reason. A diet in this perspective is not just a food, it is part of a holistic health plan which takes the whole array of your health into consideration.
The food you eat has an essential role in your wellbeing and at the same time it can be the cause of your concerns and health problems. Therefore, your nutrition should be customized based on your unique characteristics which starts addressing from cellular level. That’s why functional nutrition cannot be one-size for all.
How the Functional Nutrition works?
The naturopathic perspective is the spirit of functional nutrition process. Your evaluation includes comprehensive history taking, review of organ systems, your past medical histories, your past and present medications and supplements, your environmental exposures, your lifestyle habits, your current diet with a one-day diet recall, followed by a thorough physical exam, reviewing your previous medical lab results and nutrient test to determine the potential deficiencies.
This explains why there is no single functional nutrition diet plan. It is designed for you individually, according to your especial holistic need. This is the obvious reason behind success of functional nutrition in the practice of naturopathic medicine. In Functional nutrition food is assumed as your medicine that prepare you for better health, higher performance, and brighter thinking. So, in this way, your food will be the prescription of your naturopathic doctor. Unlike the most prescriptions which are one time job, your functional nutrition will be a dynamic process that you continue examining the different parameters and either finding or inventing new sets that works with your ever-changing circumstances.
How are nutrition and genetics related?
Deeper thinking into nutrition is looking at Bio-individuality. It helps to explain different aspect of a person’s life such as individual’s physiology, environment, ecosystem, toxin exposure can affect their genome’s presentation and the food you eat is the most single affecting parameter that can have influence on all of these factors. Based on the bio-individuality one nutrition advice can improve functionality of one person and at the same time, not be suitable for another one. The mater of your nutritional Genomic is not independent from the environment you live in, the relationship you are in, even the ecological differences. All these parameters are interconnected and modulate your momentary needs. Therefore, a functional nutrition is an everchanging plan based on your present condition with an eye on your future overall wellbeing.
A very good example of how taking function into consideration works is that your size determines how much water you need per day. Amount of required water intake in a 50 kg individual is not equal to an individual who weights 100 kg. Another good example is that the composition of food for people living in colder places is different from individuals living in sub-Sahara climate. Functional nutrition is a holistic way of approach to diet considering all aspect of an individual’s life in addition to their current special medical needs.
In my philosophy of practicing naturopathy paying attention to functional nutrition and the therapeutic aspects of food, is the cornerstone of my practice. The food you consume is the single most important factor that influences your overall health and is where your epigenetics meets your genetics, the place that you can have huge impact on your overall health and future well being. Many of your medical disorders are linked to food intolerances, deficiencies, nutritional excesses, and dietary imbalances. Nutrition matters, from food selection to preparation to eating style. Functional nutritional strategy includes working together to develop an acceptable dietary modification that will have a good impact on your health and feeling good. The result of this health-oriented nutritional strategy is better health, brighter thinking, weight adjustment and set you for success. Functional nutrition is both an art and a science, with a philosophy that addresses fundamental causes rather than merely symptoms and is genuinely a technique to help prevent illnesses
What will happen when you come for a Functional nutritional plan?
The first visit that we call history taking can be in person or virtual (phone or video). During 1 – 1 ½ hours visit, we firstly go over your health concerns one by one and then we take a thorough history from all your organ systems to get a holistic understanding of your condition. At the end of the session we will ask you to fill up a 7-day food diary that gives an overall and comprehensive information for nutrients the you are presently taking.
In the second visit which is 30-40 minutes visit we do a complete whole body physical examination. Then we recommend a comprehensive blood chemistry test based on history taking and physical exam, to track your health and nutritional needs.
In your third visit which is usually few days after receiving your lab exam we review the result of lab exam and setup a customized recommendation, created and tailored to your current needs.
In each of your subsequent visit, we review what food you are taking, how much, and when you eat. We practice stress reduction techniques, lifestyle improvement, environmental use wisdom. I believe knowledge is the key and during our multiple sessions together, you will learn how the food you eat impacts your overall health and well-being. You will learn how improvement in your eating habits positively affect your physical and mental health, your night sleep, your ability to think and learn, and your performance in school or at work.
The lab exam and blood draw are done by a lab technician in a life labs center of your choice. However, there is a Lifelabs medical laboratory at 2050 Weston Road, conveniently walking distance to my clinic.
* Disclaimer: The information in this article is property of Dr. Masoumeh Shayesteh Manesh, Naturopathic Doctor and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases or promote any products or services mentioned on this website.