Graduate Story

We chat to Claire Doherty, Nutritional Therapist and ION graduate, about how discovering nutritional therapy helped her to manage her thyroid and adrenal problems, and inspired a career helping others to do the same

What was your life like before you discovered nutritional therapy?

“Before I discovered nutritional therapy my life was very different. I worked as a physiotherapist and trained up to 15 hours per week as an Ironman athlete, physically and mentally pushing myself to my limits. Each day was a constant struggle to stay awake. I would arrive at work and by 10am I was yearning to go back to bed, and yet I couldn’t sleep either; I would lie awake at night willing myself to fall into a slumber, but sleep evaded me despite the exhaustion.

“I felt numb, depressed and isolated within a fog that prevented me from enjoying life like I used to. I was monitoring my temperature daily and suspected both adrenal and thyroid issues.”

When did you eventually get a diagnosis?

“I consulted a friend who is a functional medicine Doctor. She ran a DUTCH test on me which suggested thyroid issues and a salivary cortisol panel which reflected a disordered cortisol pattern.”

How has nutritional therapy helped you to manage these problems?

“As the underlying cause of my thyroid dysfunction and associated symptoms was stress, supporting the stress response was the most effective way to make health gains quickly.

“Nutritional therapy helped me to sleep well again and this was key to me reducing my stress levels. I was also able to adapt my diet to support the stress response such as reducing caffeine, sugar and avoiding foods that resulted in digestive issues.

“Lifestyle changes such as going to bed earlier, reducing cardiovascular exercise and introducing meditation helped me a lot. I also believe reframing my beliefs around work and expectations of myself were key to helping me manage stress. These are the tools and techniques that I use effectively with clients.

Why did you decide to study at ION?

"I chose ION because of its prestigious reputation, and because I wanted to become a registered nutritional therapist. The whole experience was absolutely fantastic; I found the whole course to be really well organised. I loved all of the tutors who were incredibly knowledgeable and were very generous in sharing their knowledge. I've done other diplomas; I've done a master's and a degree. And I have to say that hands down, this was the most organised and supportive course that I've ever done."

How has nutritional therapy benefited your business?

"Nutritional therapy has completely transformed the way that I work and the way that I can support my clients. It's added not just another string to my bow, but a whole different dimension. I can now support my clients in a more holographic way and give them really well-rounded support."

What is your advice to someone considering studying nutritional therapy?

"My recommendation would be to definitely go for it. You will not regret it. Even the effects on your own health and for your own family will be absolutely phenomenal. I have not looked back and you won't either."

ION is a leading provider of accredited nutritional therapy training, established in 1984. ION’s BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy is validated by the University of Portsmouth. Be part of a growing community of nutritional therapists and build a rewarding, flexible career helping others to make positive lifestyle changes. Start your journey today and find out more about studying nutritional therapy here.

Interested in finding out more about nutritional therapy?

Find out about some of the different aspects of working as a nutritional therapist.

Download our eBook "Why become a Nutritional Therapist"

Find out about a career in nutritional therapy