Nutritional medicine works out what your body needs to work properly, and then provides those things in the correct amounts and forms so that the body can heal itself and function well. Things like vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and other natural compounds that your body is designed to be supplied with – and would be, in an ideal world.
For a longer, more nerdy, and detailed explanation of how nutritional medicine works, click here
Everything we do, think and say, is controlled by chemicals in the brain. We call them neurotransmitters. In the case of mental, mood and behavioural disturbances, there will be too much, or too little of some of these neurotransmitters (or they will not be working properly for other reasons.) All of the neurotransmitters are made with the help of components that we should get from our diet – vitamins, amino acids, fats, minerals etc.
We can often tell through careful questioning and by examining the patient which of these neurotransmitter systems is malfunctioning. We also sometimes need genetic or other tests to work this out. Based on this information we make sure that the brain has enough of the specific vitamins, minerals and other factors that are needed to make these neurotransmitters and break them down properly when no longer needed.
For example, to put it simply, serotonin makes you happy. If there are signs of low serotonin, such as constipation and depression in winter, then you give the patient extra tryptophan, vitamin D, B6, B2, magnesium and zinc because those are the vitamins and minerals that are required to make serotonin. This should raise serotonin, which will fix the constipation and winter depression, and make the person feel happier. Of course it is not always so straightforward to work out what is going on, but the process is similar in each case. In most of my patients, there have been specific issues like this that can be pinpointed and corrected. This can achieve huge behavioural, mood and learning changes. Trial and error is often involved, but persistence pays off.
Yes, absolutely. Nutrition plays a role in any health condition and I am experienced with a wide range of conditions. If you are unsure, please feel free to shoot me an email and I will let you know if I can help, or I recommend an alternative practitioner. If I do not feel competent to treat a particular condition, I will refer you on to someone who specialises in that area.
Unfortunately for some people, they have higher-than-normal need for particular nutrients – or lower-than-normal supplies. This can occur due to genetic mutations, extra stress, toxins in the environment, poor diet, poor digestion and absorption or faster excretion. Any increased need, or lack of supply, or even excess, can result in disease. There are no diseases that are not affected by nutrition – not one. The RDA only allows for a normal healthy person who has no increased need. It is designed only to prevent serious deficiency diseases; it is not always adequate to produce optimal health.
Absolutely. Nutritional medicine is evidence-based, which means that I look to the published, quality scientific literature to guide my prescription. At times there is no literature to guide my decision-making. At these times, a thorough understanding of biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology help to form logical conclusions which I combine with clinical experience (of myself and others). This then provides a sound guide for decision-making.
Yes! This is one of my favourite areas to work with, because nutrition can be so powerful at boosting the immune system, warding off gastro bugs and reducing pain and inflammation; reducing the need for medications.
For existing patients, I offer a 15 minute, $35 consultation for acute illnesses or flare-ups. These can usually be arranged at short notice. I can also help with illness prevention if you have been exposed to something….nasty. If you are too unwell to leave home, or have something contagious, we will do your appointment via skype or phone. If you need an appointment urgently I will try to see you as soon as possible. Short/acute care appointments are not available via online booking, so please complete the contact form here to request one. Of course if you are concerned about your symptoms you also need to see your doctor.
If you are not already a patient with me I am still happy to help with acute or urgent care, however I will need you to book a full initial consultation so that I can get a thorough health history to make sure that what I prescribe is appropriate for you as an individual. Once you have had an initial consultation, you can take advantage of a 15 minute acute-care appointment if you need one again in the future.
During your initial appointment, I will ask you to tell me your ‘story’. What is going on that is troubling you? What happened around the time that it started? What makes it better? What makes it worse?
Once I have some information about your main concern, I will also ask you questions about your medical history, family history and other aspects of your health. This might mean that I ask about your digestion even if you came for help with arthritis. Don’t worry – there’s method to the apparent madness! Every part of our body works in cooperation with every other part. Very often, the source of a problem is in a different part of the body from where you feel it. That may sound strange, but each of us have experienced it. Ever had a headache after too much to drink? The problem is that excess alcohol has been too much on your liver – but you feel it in your head. This is why my questions may not seem relevant to your concern. I am simply looking for links and clues.
If anything I ask makes you uncomfortable you do not have to answer. If you don’t understand why I ask something – feel free to check with me!
After questioning, I will perform a physical examination, looking at things like your skin health, your nails, weight, colour and blood pressure. These give me more clues about what is going on in your body.
After gathering all of this information, I will put together a treatment plan and explain to you what I think is going on. My treatment recommendations will aim to address the underlying cause of your symptoms and I will explain how each recommendation can help you specifically. At the end of each consult we usually book a follow-up appointment to see how you are going after an appropriate time on my treatment plan. For some people, this will be a few days away (for acute illnesses such as flu), for others, it may be several months. If I believe we need to do some tests, I will also recommend these at the end of your consultation.
Note that if the patient is a child, it is a great idea to bring another adult with you. The child can come for physical examination only (which I can do at the beginning of the consultation) and then go and play in the nearby park with the other adult so that they do not get bored. Just let me know if you wish to do this.
I see a wide range of ages; I have seen patients in their 80’s and my youngest patient to date was only 10 days old!
I simply mean that our emotions and thoughts, our social connections, our moral convictions (and our adherence to them or otherwise), our sense of purpose for our lives and our thoughts about where we come from and where we are going, do affect our health and happiness. By exploring these with patients (talking together), we are often able to achieve huge gains in health. Even if we don’t, sorting through these important life issues is crucial to truly achieving an abundant life. Sometimes one just needs a little help untangling a mix of emotions and beliefs, and I love to help do that. This doesn’t involve any psychic abilities, hypnosis, or new age practices. You are in control and you do not have to discuss this part of your life if you do not want to.
No, I do not use any therapies that rely on vibrations or energies. This does not mean that you are not welcome to continue to use them, however I have not studied any of these therapies and do not include them in any of my prescriptions.
It is often helpful to combine nutrition with other treatment modalities. For instance, musculo-skeletal therapies are often helpful for people with stomach complaints. Did you know that your vertebrae can press on nerves that impair digestion? Referrals will be discussed with you if I feel they are necessary. None of your information is shared with another person without your written permission.
There is a physiotherapist and a massage therapist available on site at the clinic. I also work in tandem with an occupational therapist, counsellor and lactation consultant where required.
More than half of my patients are children and I am very used to working with children who don’t like taking supplements – I have many tricks up my sleeve including a healthy jelly and ice-cream gut-healing routine! I accept patients of all ages, whether or not they can swallow tablets.
I am also very used to working with children with sensory issues that make dietary changes difficult. I always support you to make these changes gradually with special tips, tricks and recipes. I won’t expect you to go ‘cold turkey’ – I promise!
Behavioural strategies are often needed in the treatment of children. I have worked as a professional assistance dog trainer for eight years and so I am trained in positive reinforcement and other behaviour modification techniques. I have used these not only in animal training but also in working with children and people with disabilities. I have particular experience in gradual food introduction techniques and I advise behaviour modification programs when needed for my patients. (I also occasionally prescribe an assistance dog!) I also work closely with an occupational therapist in The Gap for patients with sensory sensitivities and motor coordination issues.
Supplements are often needed to bring the body back into balance. Ideally, all patients would eventually be weaned off supplements as they become well, but this requires an ideal diet and lifestyle, as well as living in a low stress, low toxin environment. This is hard to achieve for many people. Some people are able to maintain good health without any supplementation, but due to our busy and toxic world this is rare. I do my best to keep long-term supplementation to a minimum.
Supplements are prescribed in various forms – capsules, powders, tablets, liquids – your preferences in this are taken into account. More than half of my patients are children and I am very used to working with children who don’t like supplements– I have many tricks up my sleeve including a healthy jelly and ice-cream gut healing routine!
Nutritional Medicine addresses biochemistry, however the way we approach this takes the whole person into account. It’s not all about tests and tablets. Very often, simple lifestyle and dietary measures make a whole world of difference to a person’s health. So while we are balancing biochemistry, we do this in a holistic way by considering how your whole life – from who you live with, to how you feel, to when you eat – even your spiritual practices – how it all affects your biochemistry and therefore your health. Our prescription will reflect this as we make dietary and lifestyle recommendations along with supplements if necessary.
Nutritional medicine aims to detect where a person has higher needs for, or lower supply of, nutrients, so that we can supply those nutrients in the right amounts for each individual. Sometimes we can tell what is needed based on symptoms alone. At other times, we may need to do blood, hair, urine or saliva testing for genetics or vitamin levels, amongst other things. Testing can be helpful, but is never forced on anyone. If this is your first appointment and you haven’t had any tests done, don’t worry, it’s best to see what is needed and order tests after the appointment, if required.
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