What is Clinical Nutrition?
Clinical nutrition differs from the conventional medical model of nutrition some fundamental ways. Clinical nutrition looks at what are called “subclinical” indicators of nutritional imbalance. Sub clinical is a term from conventional medicine. It refers to the fact that in their interpretation of a patient’s symptoms, examination and lab results subclinical findings are not generally treated. The goal is to root out the cause. This is vitalistic medicine.
What may look like unrelated problems to the interpretations used in conventional medicine likely points to the source of what is causing your symptoms. Treatment of subclinical findings is preventative medicine. Have you or have you heard of anyone that went to the conventional medical doctor with vague symptoms and was told, “there is nothing wrong”.
A chiropractor’s story: A 66 year old woman visited a chiropractor with symptoms of increasing leg weakness and pain from her back and down her right leg. Her tongue “felt funny and looked odd”. She complained of her feet “burning”. She had frequent stomach aches and diarrhea. She had been seeing a medical doctor for a year for these problems. Tests had been performed for orthopedics, neurological and gastrointestinal. It was determined that she did not have diabetes. The doctor gave her a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Three years before this she experienced low back pain which radiated down her leg. She did not respond to physical therapy or medication, so after several months, her medical doctor tried B12 injections which relieved her pain and gave her a perceivable feeling of well-being. Shots were continued on a monthly basis. She also saw another chiropractor of 30 visits over 4 months.
Blood was drawn upon her first visit to the second chiropractor. The only finding that was notable was a low folic acid study. She was advised to stop the B12 injections because this was causing the low folic acid finding. She was placed on a balanced nutritional program with chiropractic and other therapy. After three weeks the pain in her right leg was gone, the muscle weakness was improving and her feet no longer were “burning”.
After 12 weeks another blood study was done. Folic acid levels were normal and the patient was free of symptoms including relief of tongue and gastrointestinal complaints.
Conventional medicine devises drugs to either slow the body function which is causing the symptoms, speed it up or change a second process to govern the first. In the vitalistic approach the cause is removed or supported by providing therapeutic measures. This allows the body to bring the abnormal process into harmony with the rest of the body.
Clinical nutrition applies the practice of using accepted scientific testing procedures to screen for pathology, to find biochemical faults and to identify predictors of potential health problems and conservative recommendations according to the indicators. These may include diet modification, exercise, specific individualized supplementation, chiropractic treatment and cooperative referral to outside specialists when indicated.
The philosophical difference between conventional medicine and vitalistic healing is that from the vitalistic point of view the practice of medicine is known to be an applied healing science rather than a pure science.
Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, relatively constant condition of properties such as temperature or pH (Wikipedia). The body maintains normality as long as possible and will compensate until it is no longer able to compensate. By understanding how it compensates we can identify the tissues that are being exhausted in order to maintain the normal blood values.
The two methods of laboratory testing and evaluating vary. Conventional medicine concentrates on what is inside the cell while Vitalistic healing concerns itself with what is outside the cell. Also whether it is capable of carrying adequate nutrients into the cell and carrying the metabolic waste out of the cell and further whether these two functions are being done. Conventional medicine does not address homeostatic mechanisms. Rather it artificially elevates low blood value, or lowers a high blood value by use of medication.
Two thirds of the water in the body is found inside our cells. The other third is outside the cell. Water bathes the cells, carries nutrients to the cells and collects waste that is to be carried away from the cell. The two fluid compartments: in the cell and outside the cell are different in some very important ways.
Example: Osteoporosis is the result of the body robbing calcium from the bones. Conventional medicine alters the problem with hormone replacement therapy. Later the HRT causes bone loss (osteoporosis) and other serious side effects.
Vitalistic healing works to reverse the process, restore balance, feed the exhausted tissue and support the normal homeostatic healing process to stop the compensation mechanism. This allows the body to restore its normal homeostasis.
To prevent disease, the threats to homeostasis must be identified before the deviations in blood chemistry are evident. Sometimes alternative lab testing can be more accurate than conventional lab testing.
Clinical nutrition is focused on assessment and early intervention, not high cost, or crisis care.
• It recognizes low-grade functional disorders, sometimes referred to as “subclinical”, not just overt disease.
• Clinical Nutrition seeks for the cause of illness and imbalance, whereas conventional medicine typically treats the symptoms.
• It emphasizes the use of natural treatment interventions.
• It emphasizes education of the patient and that responsibility for health is their own.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest the patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison.
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2. Frost , Mary, Going Back to the Basics of Human Health
3. West, Bruce, Health Alert (Health and wellness newsletter)