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3 Reasons You Need Functional Nutrition

Autumn is the Founder and CEO of HopeWella Nutrition in Los Angeles, California. Featured in publications, podcasts and documentaries, such as Eat Play Diet, she is well-known in and around Southern California as a nutritional specialist in the areas if Digestive Health, Hormone Balance, Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Nutritional Genetics and Metabolic Health.

Ten years ago I was fatigued, depressed, anxious, gaining weight (despite eating less calories, exercising, and eating low foods), in pain and had terrible GI problems. I saw 13 different doctors from Primary Care to GI, Rheumatology, OB and Endocrinology. For nearly a decade I sought their help and no one could tell me the source of any of these issues. They merely threw out educated guesses and suggested over the counter (OTC) meds, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, birth control, and told me “according to their chart” I was in a normal weight category for my height. Nevermind the fact that I was 17 lbs over my normal weight on a very petite body…the CHART said I was normal.

I had doctors tell me nothing was wrong with me or that it was in my head. The only “diagnosis” I finally got was Fibromyalgia at 30 years old. The doc told me the meds didn’t work well and there was no known cure. I was taught that when you have a problem, the doctor has the answer. I just didn’t understand why they kept telling me nothing was really wrong with me, that it was in my head or that I was depressed and should take an antidepressant. I was even told that diet had nothing to do with the symptoms I had. I knew that couldn’t be 100% true. I knew my symptoms had a cause. Depression, pain and weight gain comes from somewhere, anxiety can be worsened by certain metabolic imbalances, and GI problems have a cause too. I just needed to figure out what the causes were and fix them as much as I could to get my life back. I refused to believe that this was the rest of my life. Enter functional nutrition…

Reason #1

Get to the Root Cause of Symptoms and Disease

My question wasn’t: “What medication do I need to take to get rid of the symptoms?”

The question was: ”What caused it and how do I fix it?

You could take OTC meds and you might be able to live with the symptoms, but it wont actually deal with the root cause of the problem. In fact, it could turn one problem into another problem.

For example, PPI medications used for acid reflux or GERD cause changes in stomach acid pH, which may get rid of the symptom of acid reflux, however, that change in pH will change your body’s ability to take up vital nutrients that depend on specific stomach pH. Therefore, you could end up with multiple deficiencies that have cascading effects. Over the long term this causes you to chase down new problems with new OTC or prescription meds. If you had just dealt with the foundational cause of the acid reflux instead, you could avoid potentially life-altering changes in your nutrient status.

How we nourish and fuel or bodies through food choices is the driver behind the difference between health and disease. Unfortunately, our insurance-driven medical system has gone wayward in this priority and we seek to give everything a name and attach a prescription to it rather than asking ourselves what caused this to happen in the first place. The basis for proper functioning of the body comes from that which we use to feed, exercise, and rest it. When that is out of place with our ancestral biochemistry the body starts to misfire in its proper functioning.

Reason #2

Minimize the Maze of Doctors and Specialists

Body systems function together, and not completely independently. Functional nutrition practitioners are trained to have an advanced understanding in the interconnectedness that is your complex biochemistry including metabolic pathways and advanced nutrition. They determine whether changes in diet are sufficient to solve the problem or if advanced therapeutics such as supplements, herbs or botanicals are needed. In some cases we will refer out to a physician if the issue needs more attention.

Functional nutrition looks at food first. How you’re nourishing your body fuels the systems in our body. For example, your thyroid needs specific nutrients to function properly, so does your skin, heart, liver, kidneys, sex organs, etc. Talking to someone who has an advanced understanding of nutritional biochemistry and how all of this interrelates is very important. There are many smart doctors, but they usually aren’t taught very much advanced nutritional biochemistry unless they’ve done extra training due to their own interest. They’re out there, but it’s not standard medical school education. I recently spoke with a well-respected endocrinologist in a large university system who did not know the key nutrients that made the thyroid function and why they matter. This was shocking to me as someone that specializes in endocrinology.

Working with clients I look at signs, symptoms and laboratory analysis such as blood, stool, or urine to give clues about what nutrients we may be missing, not what medication is needed to deal with the symptom. I’ll often see how one organ system starts to malfunction because of another organ system malfunctioning from nutrient deficiency. Our bodily systems aren’t all independent of one another as our divided medical systems seems to indicate, but a symbiotic relationship of systems that all function properly given the right environment.

Reason #3

Prevent Disease or Advancement of Symptoms into Chronic Problems

I started Hope Wellness because there is hope that wellness is possible. If any of these symptoms below are causing inconvenience or suffering to your daily life it’s time to work toward finding real solutions and not bandaids for what is happening to you. The goal is prevention altogether, preventing problems from getting worse or becoming chronic disease.

I love it when I get generally healthy clients with no big complaints who still come to me for evaluation to make sure they’re on the right track. This is a rarity, but it happens. Surprisingly, I will always find something going on even with those clients, but because they came to me ahead, they can avoid misfirings in their body that would have turned themselves into chronic problems. Even if that’s not you and you’re already symptomatic or have been diagnosed with something, it’s not too late to get some relief in symptoms. Some things can be reversed and some can’t, but evaluation from a clinical nutritionist that specializes in functional nutrition can do wonders for your quality of life.

If you’re experiencing anything below functional nutrition is an important edition to care for your health:

GI Irregularities

Digestive Challenges

Skin problems


Blood Sugar Dysregulation (Metabolic Syndrome, PreDiabetes, Diabetes, etc.)



High Blood Pressure

High Cholesterol

Fatty Liver

Thyroid Problems

Brain Fog

Want to Decrease Medications

Medication Side Effects

Menstrual Changes

and more!

Want to know if functional nutrition is a good fit for you? Sign up today for a free 15 minute consultation with me over the phone to talk about it.

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