What is Functional Nutrition?
Functional Nutrition is synonymous with “Functional Medicine” in parts of the United States from where it was first developed. In Alberta, “medicine” is a protected term which is why we are calling it something different. In functional nutrition, we are interested in looking for the root or source of your health problems (instead of just masking or treating symptoms) so you get well and stay well without unnecessary drugs or surgery.
Who are our patients?
We treat patients with a wide range of chronic health problems, from digestive disorders, to persistent joint pain and muscle pain, to fatigue, to autoimmune disorders, to hypothyroidism. Patients who do best under our care:
- Don’t want to rely on unnecessary drugs or medical intervention for the rest of their lives
- Are interested in finding out the underlying cause of their symptoms or health problem(s)
- Are willing to take an active role in changing their diet and lifestyle behaviours to achieve the best result for themselves
- Are motivated to continue to fine tune their diet and lifestyle behaviours in the long run to optimize their health and performance.
How do we work with patients?
Think of us as trying to put together a puzzle picture of a healthy you. Happy, full of energy, focussed, clear, on purpose, strong, healthy body weight, and productive. Our job is to find the missing puzzle pieces that are preventing you from obtaining that perfect picture of health and put them together to complete your picture. Maybe you are missing the healthy immune system piece, the healthy digestive system piece, or the healthy brain piece. Often it’s more than one piece that you are missing. All of these pieces have to connect directly or indirectly together to complete your “whole” health picture. So how do we find them?
We search for them by looking for unhealthy pieces.
We use a variety of tools to assess what “pieces” are unhealthy including, detailed questionnaires, a thorough health history and examination, and comprehensive laboratory tests (blood, urine, stool, and saliva testing). This approach allows us to focus on finding the root or source of your health problems (the unhealthy pieces), rather than just masking or treating symptoms. Deep and lasting healing are only possible when the root causes of you health problems are addressed.
We then have to “rebuild” those unhealthy pieces. We do this by using nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, supplements, stress management, detoxification, lifestyle changes, and—in some cases and only when necessary—refer out for prescription medications to eliminate triggers and restore proper function and balance.
By understanding how all of the pieces and systems of your body are interconnected, and how their function can be restored or “rebuilt”, many chronic health problems can be prevented and even reversed.
When you approaching your health problems in this way, you can help rebuild yourself so you are the perfect picture of health.
What is our treatment philosophy?
FUNCTIONAL NUTRITION IS:
- Investigative. Addresses the underlying or root cause of your health problems which leads to optimal healing and long lasting results.
- Holistic. Understands the systems and parts of the body and our environment are all interconnected and recognizes the importance of theses connections in health and disease.
- Safe. Treatments have mild or no side effects, and other “untreated” complaints often improve.
- Patient-centered. Treats the patient, not the disease. Treatments are highly individualized based on the patient’s needs. Not a “cookie cutter” plan.
- Participatory. Patients are educated, empowered, and encouraged to take an active role in their healing process.
- Integrative. Multiple treatment approaches are often used and emphasizes importance of diet and lifestyle.
- Restorative. Tests and treatments are designed to zero in on the underlying problem and optimize function, prevent and reverse disease, and improve the quality of your life.
- Preventative. Treatments always entail that you engage in lifestyle and dietary changes that will help prevent chronic illness.
- Evidence-based. Based on the latest research from peer-reviewed medical journals, and uncorrupted by corporate and political interests.
What conditions do we treat?
Conventional medicine will have specialist for each body part: cardiologists for the heart, podiatrists for the feet, dermatologists for the skin, gastroenterologists for the digestive system, and neurologists for the brain and nervous system. But in functional nutrition we see all body parts as an interconnected whole, within a larger environment. So when we treat one area of the body we understand that it will have an effect on all of the other parts of the body.
If we were to work with you as a patient, we would look at the big picture, look at the common patterns, look at the lab results, and zero in on treating the most important system or systems in your body that would have the greatest impact on your overall health. This approach tends to help you recover fast and more completely and allows us as functional nutrition practitioners to treat a wide variety of health problems, including (but not limited to):
- Adrenal gland disorders
- Autoimmune disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive disorders (IBS, GERD/reflux,IBD)
- Environmental and food allergies
- Female Disorders (PMS, Menopause, Infertility, PCOS)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance
- Migraines and headaches
- MS (Multiple sclerosis)
- Overweight and obesity
- Sleep disorders and insomnia
- Thyroid disorders
What conditions do we specialize in?
While Dr. Collins is confident that he can help most people with the conditions listed above (as well as others not on the list), he does have particular interests and training in the following:
- Persistent joint and muscle pain
- Improving strength and athletic performance
- Digestive problems and food intolerances
- Fatigue, low energy, and poor sleep