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What is a Functional Nutritionist?

Want to know how a functional nutritionist can help reduce symptoms?

Interested in an integrative and functional nutrition approach to symptom reduction?

What kind of testing and guidance does a functional nutritionist provide?

This information is for educational purposes only. As with any medical advice, always check with your doctor or healthcare professional for personal and age-appropriate recommendations.

Let’s review!

What is a Functional Nutritionist?

A functional nutritionist who is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) reviews all your body systems to identify the root cause of symptoms.

They use food as medicine to heal the body, balance the gut, address nutritional deficiencies, detoxify, and restore balance to the body.

Functional Nutritionist

Integrative and Functional Nutrition

Integrative medicine uses therapies to treat and heal the whole person not just the disease as it incorporates functional nutrition, detoxification, and mind-body practices (1, 2, 3).

According to a recent study, “Integrative medicine is the treatment of patients through spiritual, emotional, mental, and environmental in addition to the physical means. The general principle is that all aspects of the patient are considered in treating illness, which include natural and less invasive alternatives when possible” (4).

Functional nutrition focuses on “food as medicine” as phytonutrients influence many chemical reactions in our body (5). A functional nutritionist may prescribe elimination diets such as an anti-inflammatory diet.

Many health conditions including inflammatory, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative diseases, gut and brain health including ADHD improve with integrative and functional nutrition (6, 7, 8, 9). 

Working with a functional nutritionist has shown to improve quality of life (10). 

What Does a Functional Nutritionist do?

Functional Nutrition

RDN’s review body systems for the root cause of symptoms. They prescribe therapeutic diets based on symptoms and medical history using food first to heal the body.

Testing: Test Don’t Guess

Functional nutrition testing includes a variety of tests such as gut, food sensitivity, micronutrient, hormone, and genetic testing.

The 5 R Protocol is followed to heal the gut and reduce symptoms.

Gut Testing

This may include a functional stool test or a SIBO test to look at gut health (11).

Food Sensitivity Testing

MRT food sensitivity testing and the LEAP protocol provide a roadmap for an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan based on blood test results.


Micronutrient deficiencies are a recognized global public health problem, and poor nutritional status predisposes to certain infections “(12).

Testing for micronutrients assesses nutrient deficiencies to guide food and supplement recommendations. 

Hormone Balancing

Hormone imbalance may contribute to symptoms such as fatigue, mood, and poor gut health.

 A functional nutritionist assesses labs and symptoms to:

  • Optimize nutrients
  • Reset sleep 
  • Reduce toxins 
  • Balance stress 

Nutritional Genomics: Personalized Nutrition

Genetic testing identifies potential ways nutrients and genes may interact (13, 14). 

  • Nutrigenomics– How does what we eat affect our gene expression?
  • Nutrigenetics– Genetic variations (changes in our genes such as with MTHFR) can affect our health and can be impacted by nutrition, stress, and toxic exposure.

A functional nutritionist provides personalized recommendations based off your genetic testing results (15, 16).


Detoxification strategies may include reviewing food and cooking methods for possible toxin exposure.

Functional Nutrition Supplement Recommendations

A functional nutritionist will assess conventional and functional labs to address micronutrient deficiencies. Supplement recommendations will be provided.

After reviewing gut health, gut healing supplements may be suggested.

Lifestyle and Mind-Body Connection

An integrative approach to health includes:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Mind body practices

Functional Nutritionist Near Me?

If you are in California and interested in a functional nutrition assessment, contact Amy Archer RDN to schedule a 15-minute complimentary consultation.

Final Thoughts

A functional nutritionist who is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) uses food as medicine to heal the body.

They can provide various types of testing to optimize nutritional health.

Testing may include:

  • Gut
  • Food Sensitivity
  • Micronutrient
  • Hormone
  • Genetic

A therapeutic nutrition plan, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations will be provided.

Test don’t guess.

Contact me to schedule an appointment to review your personalized nutritional health.

© Amy Archer RDN, CLT, CHWC


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