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August, 2014

Why You Should Position Yourself as a Nutrition Expert

By Tina Beaudoin, ND

If you are reading this, it is likely you are passionate about relieving human suffering and pain while increasing health and vitality. It is a privilege and honor to work with the patients who come to you for help. Granted, we may not feel this way every second of the day, but these sentiments are the foundations of our practitioner soul. It was the driving factor that pushed us to succeed in school and it is the reason we are practitioners. We want to help people.

If you are practicing in the United States, it has become an uphill battle. We are working with patients in a country that is not doing well in terms of health status in comparison to other nations. In 2013, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released a 300-plus page report detailing how Americans are living shorter lives and experiencing more injuries and illnesses than their counterparts in other wealthy countries. The report looked at more than two decades of data and found an alarmingly consistent trend among Americans when compared to other high-income countries: the highest infant mortality rates, our children are less likely to reach their fifth birthday, the highest rates of obesity and the second highest rates of death from ischemic heart disease.

nutrition - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark We are passionate about helping an ever growing unhealthy population. If we look at our health statistics, nutrition is an essential piece of the equation. Dr. Chris Oswald, DC, CNS, graduate of Northwestern Health Science University, finds it critical to position himself as a nutrition expert in addition to being a chiropractor. "When chiropractic started everyone was eating 100% organic, daily lives had plenty of 'exercise&' built in, and we were exposed to very few chemicals in our environment. This situation set up a perfect situation for someone to have a tremendous response to a chiropractic adjustment,” said Dr. Oswald. He feels that a well-nourished body will respond significantly better to chiropractic treatment. Dr. Oswald goes on to explain that, “when I can provide daily support through nutrition, and people start to come to me because of this expertise and their improvements, I can help far more people in a more powerful way."

When you look at the research, you find that micronutrient deficiencies are commonplace in the population. When we look at just magnesium, we find that Americans have diets that fall well below the RDA for magnesium intake by 30-50%. Magnesium deficiency is commonplace and is associated with Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elevated C-reactive protein, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraine headache, asthma, and colon cancer. It is not surprising that low magnesium levels are linked to many health conditions considering that magnesium is essential in hundreds of biological activities. Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular cation in the body and is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is crucial to bone health, as nearly 50% of our magnesium is found in our bones. When asked how positioning himself as a nutrition expert has impacted his practice, Dr. Oswald said, "As a chiropractor, it has added tools to my repertoire. When patients are not responding the way they should, I have the training to explore the biochemistry of their problems and provide nutrition recommendations that are rooted in scientific evidence. This combination of care has resulted in many happy patients that were ready to write off chiropractic as not working, but realized they just needed to support their body with specific nutrition and/or supplementation and then realized the amazing benefits that chiropractic can provide."

There are numerous ways to integrate nutrition recommendations into your practice. You may want to consider keeping it simple at first and discussing just the macronutrients with your patients. This is a good starting point and you would be amazed at the improvements that can be made just by teaching your patients to balance fats, carbs and proteins during meals and snacking. You may want to move on to recommend increased intake of foods rich in some of the major micronutrients like calcium and magnesium. Having a couple of handouts on rich food sources of calcium and magnesium (or a smart phone app) may be an easy way to help your patients make better food choices to increase health and vitality. Whether you have a general chiropractic practice or specialize with specific populations, you and your patients will benefit tremendously when you also position yourself as a nutrition expert and incorporate dietary recommendations into your treatment plans.

Dr. Beaudoin is a medical educator for Emerson Ecologics, a distributor of professional nutritional supplements to healthcare practitioners. She also enjoys maintaining a naturopathic family practice and is the president of the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors. She can be reached at .

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