Nutritional Questions and Answers for Optimal Health

Nutritional Therapy is the application of nutrition and health science to enable individuals to maximise their health potential.  It can also help alleviate a wide range of conditions and assist in the recovery from many ill-health situations.  SOME questions which may be apparent but previously people have not felt inclined to enquire about not realising that there is help within this field.

Q. Why should it be necessary to take nutritional supplements and why is it important to have these prescribed individually?

A.  With the consumption of processed and fast foods and the depleted minerals in the soil, we do not achieve optimum levels of nutrients, therefore it is often necessary to take additional supplements moreover it is of vital importance that a practitioner takes a full case history in order to ascertain the correct therapeutic programme specifically designed for that individual.  There may be an underlying reason that an individual is either not absorbing nutrients or indeed synthesising them therefore the consumption of supplements is both a waste of time and money.

Q.  Why very commonly do our blood readings register a vitamin D deficiency?

A.  There is probably stronger evidence associated with vitamin D than any other vitamins.  Research is now showing that vitamin D has immune activation potential, low levels are connected to an increase in cardiovascular disease and there is a risk of being twice as likely to develop heart failure.  Vitamin D is found in egg yolk and   oily fish but in low quantities, we absorb so much through our skin from direct sunlight but over exposure present other health risks.

Q.  What are people with diabetes deficient in?

A.  Again the emphasis is strictly upon the individual having a consultation with a practitioner so this can be accurately ascertained but generally due to insulin resistance by the body that is insulin not being absorbed by the cellular structures therefore overload in the blood stream, there are deficiencies in zinc, chromium and vitamin C but these deficiencies have a knock on effect towards the metabolism of other nutrients.

Q.  How can I avoid high cholesterol as I have a low fat diet?

A.   Cholesterol is transported in the blood by lipoproteins these are categorised as LDL (low density lipoproteins) and HDL (high density lipoproteins).  LDL transports fats from the liver to the body cells, while HDL  returns fats to the liver,  raised LDL is associated with increased risk of heart disease whilst elevations of HDL are associated with a low risk of heart disease.  Although in most cases raised cholesterol levels are associated to diet and lifestyle factors, elevations can also be due to genetic factors, the basic problem is a defect in the receptor for LDL in the liver, under normal situations this receptor is responsible for removing cholesterol from the blood, when the connection is made a signal is sent to the liver to stop making cholesterol, if there is a defect in this mechanism the liver will continue to make cholesterol.  Normal aging and disease states may also contribute to this defect.  Therapeutic considerations are a healthful diet and lifestyle, dietary guidelines are straight forward:-

  • Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amount of animal
  • products in the diet
  • Eat more fibre rich plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes)
  • Lose weight if necessary.
  • Regular aerobic exercise
  • Don’t smoke
  • Reduce or eliminate the consumption of coffee (both with caffeine and decaffeinated).

Supplements for this condition should be prescribed by a practitioner with approval of the patient’s doctor!

Q. How can nutrition aid female and male hormonal health?

A.  Nutrition can be a very useful tool in balancing both male and female hormonal health, as this is a vast subject an individual consultation is necessary.

Q.  What are probiotics?

A Probiotics are a variation of friendly bacterium necessary for the balance of the microbiology within the intestinal flora.  The gut is the greatest site of immunological activity and a deranged balance of this may be caused by some medications such as antibiotics or diseased states reducing efficacy of the immune system, this imbalance is also strongly linked towards mental illnesses.  There are many probiotics available but it is advised to consult a practitioner on which to take as different ones act at various geographical sites within the intestines and advice should be given on how to take them in order to benefit from their powerful effect.

Q.  What are the health risks to a high protein diet?

A.  Protein is digested in the upper part of the intestines where specific enzymes are allocated this function, if these are over loaded undigested particles of protein enter into the colon and escape into the blood stream causing allergies and a dysbiotic state within the colon.  See list for a more comprehensive explanation.

Q.  What is the most efficient way to attain weight management?

A.  It is advisable to consult a doctor who will then refer you to a nutritional therapist, who will then ascertain a safe and efficient programme for the individual.  Some  weight loss programmes can be guilty of depleting people of essential minerals meaning loss of muscle mass rather than fat, making weight loss harder as muscle tissue metabolises fat as fuel.  Minerals affect appetite control, blood sugar balance, food cravings and use of fat for energy, adrenal and thyroid functions.  Certain deficiencies causes imbalances in the way your body handles carbohydrates making it more likely to increase body fat when you eat them this is NOT an indication that you eliminate carbohydrates from the diet in order to lose weight as this does carry serious health consequences, see high protein health risk list.  Specific levels of vitamin C helps to oxidise fats as vitamin C synthesises carnitine which is an amino acid responsible for the transport of fatty acids.

Vitamin supplementation helps overcome defective enzymes making them work more efficiently and effectively therefore attaining optimal health is achieved through optimal nutrition.

Kathleen Thornhill Dip.Nut.Med.
Nutritional Therapist.


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