functional nutrition

Sibo Doctor Approved
Alyssa Simpson RD, CDE, CLT
Alyssa Simpson

(602) 422-9800

Sibo Doctor Approved
certified gastrointestinal nutritionist
Sibo Doctor Approved
certified gastrointestinal nutritionist

Ready to Feel Better? Here’s How a Dietitian Chooses Supplements

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registered dietitian weight loss tips

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This month we’ve been talking about all things supplements. We’ve covered why people need supplements in the first place — check out that article here. We talked about how to make sure you are avoiding supplement pitfalls. You can read that article here.

Now let’s talk about using the right ones for your bio individual needs. 

We are all unique

Each body needs specific nutrients to function properly. It seems like this should be pretty consistent across the board of humanity since we all have the same organs and bodily functions. But there are a lot of factors that determine which supplements are best for you:

? We all experienced slightly different environments in the womb so we were exposed to different nutrients and toxins before we are born. And this sets the stage for our nutrient needs later in life.

? We all live in different environments. Your toxic load — the specific toxins your body has to deal with — is different from mine. We’ve been exposed to different things, from perfumes and personal care to household cleaning products and pesticides.

? We’ve all eaten different foods. The food we eat provides the nutrients that are stored and used by the body. So someone who grows up eating home-grown organic veggies and limited processed foods will have very different needs from someone who has eaten packaged and fast food most of their lives.

? Our bodies are all just different. There are a lot of biological variations from person to person, from your gender to your genes. And these differences mean we have different nutrient needs as well.

How do you know what supplements YOU need?

Here’s where the science comes in (I love this part)!

If you really want to know what supplements your body needs, you’ve got to do some testing and analysis. The type and extent of testing is largely determined by which practitioner you work with.

A functional practitioner who understands the role that nutrients play in your overall health and wellness will dig deep into your nutrient status and use food and supplements (often instead of pharmaceuticals) to help you feel better.

I dig deep with my patients to make sure we have all the information we need to get them feeling better fast! The following are the types of testing and techniques I use in my own practice to make sure my patients are getting the nutrients they need.

Food Intake Analysis

First, I look at what you’re eating. 

When I look at a patient’s food log, I can get a pretty good idea of which nutrients may be lacking for them.

For example, if you eat a vegan diet, you may not be getting sufficient amounts of iron, B12, and zinc that are found primarily in animal foods. If you tend to eat a low calorie, low fat diet, you are probably deficient in fatty acids. If you drink a lot of soda, you may be deficient in calcium.

When I look at a client’s food log, I’m not interested in judging them for what they eat or how much. I’m looking to see where they might be lacking critical nutrients. And then we work together to make the incremental changes that make the biggest difference. 

All my clients benefit from ongoing nutritional analysis using a sophisticated nutrition tracking tool. This allows me to regularly assess their nutritional needs so I can provide helpful feedback and tips to make sure they’re getting enough of the key nutrients.

The next thing I do with patients is look at their lab work. Specialized lab testing allows me to uber-personalize your protocols so we can hone in on symptom relief and optimize your gut health. For each of my clients, I provide a comprehensive review of all your lab results. Then we make sure you’re on a food and supplement plan that will get you fast results, while not disrupting your life too much.

Standard Blood Chemistries

The standard blood work that your doctor orders can provide useful information to assess the status of certain nutrients. So if you’ve had a blood panel done, I’ll take a look at your results. 

Looking at your blood chemistry can help us learn things about your:

  • Vitamin levels — like the B vitamins
  • Mineral levels — calcium, sodium, potassium, etc.
  • Iron levels
  • Enzyme levels (proteins involved in chemical reactions in the body)
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Immune system
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Cardiac health
  • And more…

I’ll take a look at any blood test results that your doctor has ordered. But then rather than relying on the wide range that standard values encompass, I’ll use optimal values to determine where your deficiencies are. Then we can work together to formulate a plan to address not just your symptoms, but also their underlying causes.

Functional Intracellular Nutrient Analysis

Knowing what’s happening with your blood chemistry is key to figuring out which nutrients and supplements you need.

But in my practice, I dig even deeper. 

In fact, we’ll look beyond what’s happening in the blood and look inside your individual blood cells. Most tests look at the liquid surrounding your blood cells. But that doesn’t really give you the full picture.

I use a test called a Functional Intracellular Nutrient Analysis. This is a fancy way of saying that this test will look at not just what’s going on inside your blood, but inside the cells themselves.

It’s inside the cells where the magic happens — repair, growth, detoxification, energy production, etc. Sometimes you’ll have nutrients in your blood that don’t make it into your cells where you really need them. So it’s important to see what’s going on inside the cells themselves.

It’s entirely possible that the tests on the serum your cells are floating in will come up with different results than the tests on the cells themselves. And I want to make sure we have an accurate picture.

The test I use — the Micronutrient Test by SpectraCell labs — assesses the body’s utilization of 31 vitamins, minerals, amino/fatty acids, antioxidants, and metabolites. The results of this test tell me which micronutrients your body needs in order to produce the various chemicals (hormones, enzymes, etc.) your body needs to function optimally.

Organic Acid Testing

One final type of testing I want to talk about is organic acid testing, which measures the organic acids present in urine. 

Organic acids are the breakdown products of metabolism in the body. Checking the organic acids your body is excreting can provide a picture of what’s going on inside. The presence of specific organic acids can indicate specific issues you may be dealing with. 

An organic acid test measures the presence of these compounds in your urine and measures 76 health markers. This test gives us an accurate picture of what’s going on with your gut health because it shows yeast and bacterial issues in your small intestine.

Organic acid testing can help us understand why you might be struggling to lose weight, or feeling low in energy. The results tell us if your mitochondria have the chemicals they need to utilize energy and burn fat properly. These tests can also provide information about how the chemicals in your body are affecting your mood (anxiety, depression) and focus.

I recommend organic acid testing for patients with a variety of disorders from digestive issues, to chronic disease.

Put it all together

This is my superpower! I love putting all these puzzle pieces together to formulate a nutritional and supplement plan to help my patients feel better. I use information from food logs, blood chemistry, intracellular nutrient analysis, and/or organic acid testing to pinpoint EXACTLY what’s going on with my patients. 

Then we can get to the root cause of their symptoms and formulate a plan to get them feeling better in a hurry. No guessing. No trial and error. Just proven strategies based on concrete science that produces real results.

If you’re ready to know what’s really going on with you and get your health moving in the right direction, you can book a consultation below. I’d love for you to be my next success story! 

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