Building partnerships in nutritional health
A special word from Dr Joanna McMillan-Price
"Nutridesk recruited me as an expert consultant to overview their site and provide feedback on their progress at several steps along the way over the last few years. The site has improved markedly and developed into what is now a fabulous resource for both lay individuals and doctors seeking an understanding in nutrition based medicine. I fully embrace the integration of nutrition with medicine and if this site can encourage more doctors and their patients to recognise the importance nutrition plays, particularly in preventative health, this is a major step forward. "
Dr. Joanna McMillan PhD, BSc(hons) R. Nutr. APD, is a registered nutritionist and accredited practicing dietitian with a PhD in nutritional science from the University of Sydney. Many of Joanna's research articles are under the name Dr Joanna McMillan-Price.
A special word from Dr Rodney Lopez
MBBS [Sydney University] Grad.Cert.Nutri.Med [RMIT]
I am a board certified actively practising medical practitioner with postgraduate qualifications in nutrition medicine.
My focus is on diet and nutrition and its effect on health and disease processes. I am an avid reader of research papers, scientific magazines and authoritative books on health and nutrition.
As the creator of NutriDesk, my wish is that this site becomes an important launching pad for the discovery of crucial nutritional interventions that can be used in your clinical setting to prevent or alter the course of disease.
You may have a family history for a certain disease or a genetic marker, but these predispositions to a particular disease are not a fait accompli, and the course of disease can be modified or even reversed by diet and lifestyle change.
'Researchers generally agree that a growing body of evidence from epidemiology, clinical trials and modern nutritional biochemistry underlines the connection between diet and health. This impact is not only in the short term, but also in the development and management of chronic Diseases.' [Policy Paper, Health Canada, 2002].
The Road Ahead
- Billions of dollars are being spent on genomic studies and the study based on the scientific understanding of gene-nutrient interactions, is a new and emerging discipline called nutrigenomics.
- Nutrigenomics is the study of mutations called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms [SNPs or 'Snips'] and how diet and nutrients interact with these mutations. Associations are now being made between SNPs discovered so far with the many chronic illnesses that affect humanity.
- SNPs can affect how genes respond to nutrients in either a neutral, positive or negative way--- see tutorials: 'Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms [SNPs] and 'Nutrigenomics', on this website.
- Nutrition-based medical treatment is a new and exciting nascent field in medicine that shows great promise in preventing disease and improving the medical outcomes of those with existing conditions. Hopefully nutrition based treatment will be the first thing on a medical practitioner's mind in the near future and not the last.
- That diet can influence your health is beyond doubt. You can make a difference to your clinical outcome and this website will be your ally in this regard.
I will endeavour to monitor current literature in nutrition based medicine and to frequently update this site with this important information and to keep a close eye on genomic advances, and in particular, nutrigenomic advances and keep you posted of these new findings as well.
New QuickGuides and Tutorials will also be developed by me on a regular basis, so keep a close eye out for new additions to the educational content of this website.
New functionality will eventually be added as well. Your feedback will be most welcome. Please send me an email about your thoughts. I will value your opinion on how I can improve this site. Let me know about developments in nutrition based medicine that have caught your attention. Are there any tools or downloads that may be helpful to others? Any functions you wish to see added to this site?
My wish is that you and your general practitioner will find this website informative and helpful, and that you live a long life with health and happiness.
Building a partnership with your GP
To explore nutritional interventions in disease
Putting any and all information in the context of an individual:
- NutriDesk is purely an information source.
- The information on this website is not meant to diagnose or to solely treat a condition.
- The nutritional interventions described on NutriDesk are not designed to take the place of but to complement any medical and pharmaceutical treatments.
- It is designed to be used in partnership with your doctor after consultation with your GP or specialist.
- It is up to you, in partnership with your doctor, to put this information into context for you as an individual who has highly specific needs, and to see if such information may be of help in your clinical circumstance.
- Please do not make your own decision on nutritional treatment options - ALWAYS seek medical advice first!
Nutri = Nutrition and Desk or Bureau a source of information thus NutriDesk = Nutritional Information
Motto: Building partnerships in nutritional health:
- As mentioned above, nutritional modalities of treatment once seen to be on the fringe and inconsequential in regard to the management of disease states, are now seen as a science on the verge of a profound paradigm shift in medical thinking and treatment possibilities. The study of how nutrition affects your genes and hence your health is called Nutrigenomics. This is a rapidly expanding and complicated genomic science that holds great potential for both the prevention and treatment of many diseases. The following statement attests to the enormous potential of nutrigenomics:
- 'There has been a growing recognition that micronutrients and macronutrients can be potent dietary signals that influence the metabolic programming of cells and have an important role in the control of homeostasis.' [Muller et al, 2003]
- Homeostasis is a scientific term used to signify 'balance' in terms of physiology, function and biochemistry. In other words an optimal state of affairs within the body with no disrupting influence to cause disease.
- As a general practitioner with extensive experience in the primary health care setting, NutriDesk has been the endpoint of a journey of discovery over these many years. It is the culmination of over 2 decades of experience in general practice and the realization of the great limitations in treatment potential where pharmacologic methods [drug therapy] are in the main the only means of treatment being utilized.
- This has been a journey full of frustration at treating common chronic disease states such as type-2 Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, macular degeneration, cerebrovascular disease, obesity, the metabolic syndrome and many neurodegenerative diseases by unidimensional pharmacological approaches.
- Ideally a conservative approach should always be adopted whenever possible in the first instance for the treatment of a host of diseases that respond to diet and lifestyle changes but this is often overlooked due to the complexity of implementing such change.
- Diet and lifestyle interventions in combination with pharmacologic treatments can make for a very powerful combined or integrated approach. This should NEVER be seen as 'fringe' or 'new age' or outside the scope of medical practice - indeed this approach should be adopted as the absolute gold-standard for patient care. 'push will come to shove' soon with nutrigenomics and systems biology rapidly advancing to take clinical nutritional approaches to a level of complexity that is truly awe inspiring.
- The medical profession of the future will shake their heads in absolute disbelief that current practitioners viewed nutrition as being so dissociated from human illness.
General Practitioners are an integral part of the NutriDesk philosophy:
- To be fair, doctors are well aware of the need for dietary and lifestyle modification in their patients but time constraints and the complicated nature of such consultations in association with insufficient training in the area of nutritional assessment and treatment, conspire against the general practitioner or specialist treating their patients.
- It is also important not to underestimate the importance of general practitioners in being able to assess the suitability of a nutritional or nutraceutical treatment in the context of the conventional and prevailing medical model and to determine the safety of such treatments at the level of the individual.
Gather the information you need and see your GP with notes in hand:
- GP's have extensive and detailed medical knowledge and should without a doubt be the first port of call.
- See your GP with notes in hand ready to discuss nutrition-based issues that affect you, as an individual.
- Gather all the relevant information you need from NutriDesk. Please check with your GP to see if they would like you to book in a longer consultation to discuss these issues. Also allow your GP time to assess this information after seeing him or her.
- Plan to make another appointment in the future allowing enough time for the GP to research your input.
Information for General Practitioners:
- I will endeavour to provide as much information that I can for general practitioners to assess particular nutritional-nutraceutical interventions through their own information portal found by clicking the 'GP Resources' tab on the NutriDesk home page.
- You as an individual using this website, will have access to your own research links through the 'My Research' portal on the home page to look for further information on the pros and cons of any dietary nutraceutical lifestyle intervention relevant to your clinical concerns which can be the basis of discussion with your GP.
- Ensure that you check this site regularly for new topics and updated information and functionality.
The power of an integrated approach:
- As a general practitioner I recognized the amazing potential of a combined or integrated approach to treating chronic illnesses using pharmaceutical and nutritional modalities of treatment.
- Nutritional modalities of treatment however have a greater advantage in the prevention of disease if such modalities can be used early enough in a disease process and where this early intervention is perhaps guided by nutrigenomic studies [see above].
NuriDesk as a research tool: Facilitating nutritional dialogue in medical consultations.
- NutriDesk, is a research tool for individuals enabling crucial dialogue on nutrition to begin between patient and doctor.
- NutriDesk has been designed to fill a void in the consultative process between individuals, general practitioners and specialists. It enables both GPs and specialists to bring diet and lifestyle considerations into the discussion and yet still keeping the consultation within a normal and workable timeframe.
GP Recommendation Form: In the 'GP Resources' section:
- NutriDesk will enable doctors to practice as they normally do and yet bring into the mix, critical diet and lifestyle issues simply by the doctor directing a patient to NutriDesk.com.au.
- To facilitate this, a GP Recommendation Form has been created that indicates either a diet or a QuickGuide for a particular clinical problem. This form is found on the home page. This makes it easy indeed to write a script for diet and lifestyle change within a consultation for a particular individual. It is quick and easy. The Diet or QuickGuide provides detailed information about nutrition, functional foods, special foods, nutraceuticals and lifestyle issues that may be of benefit in specific disease entities.
Short, in-depth free tutorials are available at NutriDesk:
- Short, highly informative and visually stunning tutorials that provide a great foundation for further research into a topic are supplied free of charge. Slides and graphics are available for purchase for non-commercial use [see under graphics in the Terms of Agreement].
- The information has been assessed through an evidence-based lens enabling a sharper focus on nutritional or nutraceutical interventions to be explored in a particular clinical [disease based] context.
Wishing you health through knowledge.
Muller, M. and S. Kersten, Nutrigenomics: goals and strategies. Nature Reviews Genetics, 2003. 4(4): p. 315-22.
*Health Canada, Policy Paper on Nutraceuticals/Functional Foods and Health Claims on Foods, 2002