Kate Delmar-Morgan, head of clinics at ION and a registered nutritional therapy practitioner, talks to us about personalised nutrition and how it can help to support a multitude of health concerns.

What does ‘personalised nutrition’ mean? 

“At ION we do not work with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach but rather a personalised nutrition approach. Working with clients on an individual basis, we explore their personal health issues and provide tailored nutrition and lifestyle support with sensible, practical, safe and evidence-based advice.

“Nutritional therapy supports the whole person rather than separate areas of the body, and addresses the underlying causes of illness, rather than the symptoms. This is known as a functional medicine approach, and it is from this perspective that we work with our clients by exploring their medical and lifestyle history, family history, diet and lifestyle to understand the root causes of their health issues in conjunction with their health goals.”

Who comes to the ION clinic?  

“In the ION clinic we work with individuals of all ages, including children. Clients tend to approach us for support with a recurring health issue – they often report that their health seems to be declining rather than improving.

“Some clients also come to the clinic after discovering a link between their nutrition and health, but not knowing what to do about it. They are confused about what they should and shouldn’t eat as there’s so much conflicting information being conveyed by the media. We offer the opportunity to understand the nutrition information from an evidence-based perspective and guide them through the nutrition maze to achieve their health goals.”

Do you focus solely on diet? 

“At the ION clinic we work alongside clients to help them improve their health through both nutrition and lifestyle. There is a big crossover between the two as there are many influences in a person’s life on their lifestyle and eating – so we explore more deeply with each client how they can restore balance; we help them to support and nurture themselves back to good health. We may also recommend specific supplements where appropriate for that client and where they may be beneficial for a particular health issue.”

Are there any particular conditions that you can or can’t support? 

“ The ION clinic works with individuals with a wide range of health issues including digestion problems (e.g. IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease, intolerances), immunity issues (e.g. autoimmune, re-occurring infections, allergies and sensitivities), hormonal issues (e.g. PCOS, infertility, fibroids, endometriosis, menopause, hormone imbalances, thyroid problems and adrenal fatigue), weight issues, sleep issues, skin issues, energy issues, anxiety, headaches and migraines. We also have a specialist mental health clinic, the Brain Bio Centre, which works with individuals across a wide range of mental health issues from depression to Alzheimer’s. We are not able to offer support for individuals who are undergoing cancer treatment or those with diagnosed kidney disease.”

What do you do if people are struggling to stick to a dietary plan?  

“Our therapists will work closely with the client to understand what they are finding difficult about their dietary plan and discuss different ways in which the client can weave in changes, taking into account their current lifestyle and dietary patterns. We recognise that making sustainable changes to lifelong habits and behaviour can be very challenging and our nutritional therapy practitioners recommend achievable nutrition goals while coaching the client and working alongside them to guide and encourage them.”  

Are clients expected to do expensive tests? 

“We don’t expect clients to do expensive tests. We do work with some private laboratories and offer the option of functional testing, where these might be useful to help the practitioner get to the root cause of a client’s health issue more quickly. But there is simply no pressure to have these tests and we can work alongside the client with or without test results.

“We work with the client budget and recommend the most appropriate test for that client – but only if they wish to explore more deeply their functioning at a more biochemical level. We can also offer genetic testing where this is relevant to a health issue.”

How do you support people with multiple health issues? 

“Some clients come to see us with complex health issues and many symptoms. Our practitioners are skilled at determining the initial approach. Initial positive outcomes can have a huge impact on a client’s wellbeing. We always work collaboratively with the client so they are very much involved in the decision making, in terms of which avenue we may initially take to support a client with multiple health issues. We establish the client’s primary health goals and work alongside them to achieve these goals.”  

Can you work alongside a client’s GP or other medical professional? 

“There are a number of tests that GPs can offer, and this is one of the ways in which we work alongside a client’s GP. We run an integrative clinic and may engage with our clients’ GPs and other health professionals involved in their care, so that we can work together to support our clients. Working in this collaborative way is very powerful and means that positive health outcomes may sometimes occur more quickly.”  

Are appointments available on the NHS?

“Appointments are not available on the NHS, however, some insurance companies may cover a client for one or more of their sessions – it’s important to check with the insurance provider in the first instance.”

What should people look for in a nutritional therapy practitioner? 

“All of our ION practitioners are members of BANT (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine), which is the professional membership body. They’re also registered with the CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council) – the UK register for complementary healthcare practitioners that was set up in 2008 with government funding and support. This means that they have studied with an accredited course and are specifically trained as a practitioner to work with nutrition, supplements and functional testing. They are fully insured and are required to keep up to date through continuing professional development (CPD).”

If you would like to find out more about nutritional therapy and how it could help to support your own health issues please contact [email protected] to book a free 10 minute discovery call.