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Nutritional Genomics, when considered within the context of someone's clinical narrative and laboratory biomarkers, can provide useful information to support the functional and integrative nutritionist in clinical practice. 

Nutritional genomics helps the nutritionist and CNS candidate provide 1) personalized nutrition care, 2) increase patient buy - in, and 3) help folks with chronic illness progress and remove barriers to health.


Many of you are probably familiar with the game "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." In this party game a tailless donkey is taped to the wall. The player stands in front of the image and handed a tail. Then the player is blindfolded, spun around and then challenged to pin the tail in the correct place. For many clinical models, this is the approach, have a general idea where the need might be and do your best to find an intervention that might help. The alternative to this approach is a precision model of care. 


Increasingly over the past six years or so, the field of nutrition has begun to integrate the model of personalized care.  Although there are still some who hold to nutritional approaches that emphasize matching the correct diet to the diagnosis, many of us are looking at exploring biochemical pathways necessary for healthy function and understanding which nutritional building blocks are necessary to support those pathways. Nutritional Genomics is a tool to help us understand which pathways might be uniquely compromised for each client. 


Another unique challenge in the field of nutrition is people feeling "confused about nutrition advice." There are so many experts on social media, self-help books and vastly differing approaches to weight loss, performance enhancement and symptom management. At times when we offer a personalized nutrition recommendations it may conflict with general advice that a client has received from one of the many possible sources.  Data about that client's unique needs as evidenced by genetic predispositions can be the missing piece that helps a client better understand the therapeutic approach and adhere to recommendations.


My population of patients have complex chronic illness and often folks who find my practice have gone through all the nutritional basics with me or with another clinician and still have lingering needs that need to be met. Often those are persistent nutritional insufficiencies that don't budge with supplementation or unusual biomarkers on an organic acids test. Nutritional genomics can be the tool that brings us to our eureka moments; those breakthroughs that finally help us see significant progress.


So there you have it. Three reasons why I use Nutritional Genomics in my practice.  I hope that if this in not part of your current approach, this may inspire you to dig in and explore bringing nutrigenomics into your practice.

Dr. Keren Dolan is a CNS Supervisor and nutrition mentor with 17 years of experience as a clinical nutritionist and herbalist. Dr. Dolan brings compassionate wisdom to the team at TNHC.  She is president of the American Herbalist Guild, a faculty at NDMU (formerly MUIH) and she specializes in chronic health conditions, autoimmune disease, trauma and nutrigenomics.  Come meet the supervisors of our internship for nutrition students, and learn about who they are. 

Have questions?  We’ve got you! Check out our Frequently Asked Questions  about our personalized nutrition Mentorship Program and meeting the SPE requirements.


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