Health has many dimensions. It’s the variety of foods we eat, the quality time we spend with others, the way we move and challenge our bodies, the precious hours we spend recharging and, in times of need, the medicines we require to recover.
As a nutritionist, I believe food sets that foundation of health. It is our fuel for the day, our ability to connect around a dinner table, our calming mechanism for increased slumber. Food serves as the first port of call when looking to boost energy, mood, and personal performance.
That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place for pharmacy. In today’s world, there will undoubtedly be times where medication and medical advice is needed to complement good nutrition - particularly in the later stages of life. The emphasis is placed on “complement” here. Each side has something to offer, so why not work together to provide a holistic health experience?
Speaking this week with Chin is a prime example of how leaders in different health sectors can work together to provide people with information, options, and advice that is backed by science.
Few people understand the balance of trace elements in your diet and pharmacy. Chin and I discussed a common marginal imbalance in a trace element that is estimated to effect over 2 billion people, zinc.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral, it is widely known for its role in immune system health, as a zinc deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu. However, zinc is the most common mineral in your body aside from iron; it's actually found in every cell and effects everything from DNA repair through to helping your heart beat.
You might not be aware that zinc also has potent antioxidant properties, helping to neutralise free radicals that may accelerate ageing and contribute to the development of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Using the example of zinc we wanted to show how our combined expertise can provide people with the best possible nutrition and health service:
1. Give people access to information, by means of free zinc testing in antidote pharmacies.
2. If found to be low or at risk of zinc deficiency - food comes first, by means of a nutrition consultation with yours truly at Myfoodformula
3. If diet alone isn’t enough to increase zinc status, explore supplementation making sure a range of options are on-hand for people to make their own informed choice
Indeed, this formula can be flipped on its head. If medication must be prescribed, this can alter how the body uses, stores, and gets rid of nutrients. So, we work together in the other direction:
1. Administer medication when it is a must to do so
2. Identify the ways the medication could alter the person’s nutritional needs, and give tailored nutritional advice
3. Track a person’s health over time to ensure the dietary changes rebalance any effects of the medication, and (where possible) negate the need for medication in the long-term
By combining our knowledge, passion and attention to detail, we can open the gates for far better health outcomes to walk through. Perhaps even run!
I am looking forward to bringing another facet of health care to antidote pharmacies to encourage people to own their diets, take control of their health and well-being, and reach that quality of life we all deserve.