So what exactly is nutritional therapy, and how do Nutritional Therapy Practitioners differ from other nutritionists, health coaches, or dieticians?
NTP’s have a fundamental belief in the bio-individuality of each person, and that everyone has their own genetic and geographical makeup that determines their unique nutritional needs.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are unique in the clinical assessment techniques they are trained to use to thoroughly evaluate your body's systems and determine areas of weakness, dysfunction or deficiencies. These non-invasive tests help the practitioner to address and balance your specific weaknesses through diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are trained from a physiological approach to nutrition, and are certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association. In order to maintain this certification, they must earn 24 Continuing Education Units every two years. Not all nutrition or health coaching programs require their graduates to participate in continuing education.
The Nutritional Therapy Consultation
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners have been trained to use the following nutritional assessments:
The Functional Evaluation:
Includes palpations of specific neuro-lymphatic, neurovascular, and nutritional reflex points that can be used to determine which organs or systems have dysfunction, and could benefit from nutritional support. This evaluation is performed over your clothing, and which points are evaluated will be determined by your specific needs.
This testing is performed after the functional evaluation has been completed, and can help the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner determine which foods or supplements your body responds positively to. This helps the practitioner to develop an individualized nutrition and supplement protocol that is designed based upon your bio-individual needs.
Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire (NAQ)
The NAQ is a very thorough questionnaire that assesses signs and symptoms and is organized by system. This questionnaire is
then analyzed by software that gives the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner valuable information to combine with the results of your Functional Evaluation and Lingual-Neuro Testing. The NAQ is one tool used to assess your progress.
Food Journal Analysis
After you complete a 3-day food journal, your nutritional therapist will use this information to make specific recommendations on ways you can add in or remove certain foods that will help you reach your health goals.
After your evaluation, testing, NAQ and food journal are completed, all of this information is used to create an individualized plan based on your specific nutritional needs, and what your body responds well to. The individualized plan that is created for you will include input from you about what you feel comfortable doing, and at what pace you want to proceed.
Nutritional therapy is not about counting calories, measuring or weighing food, or depriving yourself! We don't give blanket recommendations to everyone that are based on an outdated pyramid. NTP’s have a fundamental belief in the bio-individuality of each person, and that everyone has their own genetic and geographical makeup that determines their unique nutritional needs. While we do not believe there is a one-size fits all eating plan for everyone, and some people need to avoid certain foods if they have sensitivities or certain health challenges, we do believe in basic guidelines for healthy eating for healthy individuals which can be found on our philosophy page. We believe in eating a wide variety of foods, and using food as much as possible to obtain the nutrients you need before resorting to supplements. Some health conditions may require an initial dietary protocol that limits certain foods, but as healing occurs, these foods can often be re-introduced.
When someone has experienced chronic health problems over a long period of time, it will take the body time to rebuild and regain health. As you implement your new health plan, it is important to regularly assess your progress and make adjustments to your plan as needed. Food is always used for nutritional support as much as possible, but there are some times that supplementation may be necessary for a short term to help rebalance the body. This is another reason that progress checks are important, as the needs of the body can change as it is rebalancing. Packages are the most affordable way to get all the support you need for long-term nutritional therapy plans that range from 3 months and up. See our services page for more details.
You will be making the ultimate decisions about your health, but will have all the guidance and support you need from your NTP along the way. A nutritional therapy practitioner should be one part of your healthcare team, and not a substitue for medical care or advice. See our disclaimer below.
The NTA is a member of the NANP (National Association of Nutrition Professionals). In order to belong to this Association, a school must meet the following criteria:
Programs approved by the NANP must demonstrate proficiency in the following postsecondary subjects:
a. Anatomy & Physiology
b. Fundamentals of Chemistry & Biochemistry
c. Fundamentals of Nutrition (Macro & Micronutrients)
d. Nutrition & Pathophysiology:
i. Nutritional Support of the Body (Digestive, Immune, Cardiovascular, Musculoskeletal, Nervous, Lymphatic, Integumentary)
ii. Environmental Influences on Health & Disease
iii. Symptomology of insufficiency, excess and impaired metabolism
e. Life Cycle (Pediatrics, Men, Women, Geriatrics, & Sports Nutrition)
f. Comparative Dietary Systems (diet analysis & planning, popular diets review, whole food model, cultural influences)
g. Nutritional Supplementation: indications of need, contraindications and interactions with herbs, foods and medications
h. Nutrition Assessment: health assessment and laboratory testing
i. Nutritional Counseling
j. Introductory Herbology
k. Business Management (Legal Issues, Practice Development)
l. Nutrition & Research Applications
m. Optional/preferable courses: whole foods cooking and menu/meal planning
The program must include at least one final exam (proctored, if distance learning) or thesis/research paper. Open book exams do not qualify.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are not licensed to diagnosis or treat any medical condition or disease. The information presented on this website, or information received during individual consultations or group education classes or webinars should not be considered individual medical advice or diagnosis.
If you are receiving care from a physician or other healthcare provider, it is vital for you to continue your treatment as prescribed until further consultation with them. You should always inform your physician of your nutritional and/or supplement protocol. If you are under medical care, you should not begin taking any nutritional supplements until your physician or pharmacist has verified any contraindications with your prescribed medications.
If you have received a medical diagnosis, you should never substitute nutritional therapy or other protocols in place of your medical treatment against a physician’s advice. It is important to always keep your physician informed of changes in your nutritional program. Your nutritional therapy practitioner can only discuss your nutritional protocol with your physician after you have given proper written authorization.
Nutritional Therapy Consultations and education should be considered purely informational and utilized at your own discretion and risk. The information presented here and in classes/consultations has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should receive clearance from a licensed physician before implementing any nutrition or exercise program.