Busting myths about root cause resolution | Functional Nutrition Lab

Busting myths about root cause resolution


The term root cause resolution gets a lot of play these days.

And for good reason! I mean, if you had to choose between getting to the heart of your client’s issues (or your own), or simply suppressing symptoms, you’d probably go for the roots.

We all know that weeding from the roots is more sustainable than plucking the stems.

But there’s a problem with root cause resolution. A BIG problem.

It’s a myth that acts like a trap, ensnaring dedicated practitioners like you, and keeping you from doing your best work.

The most troubling part about the root cause resolution myth is that when you’re caught in it, you think you’re doing the best thing you can for your clients, while the truth is you could be making matters worse.

Scratching your head?

The good news is that there is a way to practice real root cause resolution that works. It starts with recognizing the myth when it appears.

The Myth Surrounding Root Cause Resolution

First let me say that root cause resolution is possible.

In fact, addressing the root causes of our clients’ issues is the first tenet of practicing Functionally.

The myth surrounding root cause resolution isn’t about the theory. As you know, the premise makes good sense! Rather, like so many issues in healthcare, the myth is about the practical application of this important concept.

The myth says that it’s possible to find the root cause for, say, kidney stones, and that this remedy will work to resolve the condition for everyone—that each person that got kidney stones arrived at their stones for the very same reason.

Sadly, it doesn’t work this way.

The truth is, there is no root cause for a particular symptom or diagnosis.

There is no one root cause for kidney stones. Or tinnitus. Or menstrual cramps. Or any other issue you or your clients are suffering from.

There are root causes for your kidney stones. For his tinnitus. For her menstrual cramps.

Here’s why:

In order for a symptom or a diagnosis to appear, many factors need to align and create the perfect storm for that particular issue. And that perfect storm looks different for everyone. It’s the “tipping point” that’s the culmination of life events and occurences particular to you.

You may have developed kidney stones because of your decreased water intake and loose bowels following a double round of antibiotics. Your neighbor may have them because of her weight in combination with her genetic predisposition to diabetes.

One client may have tinnitus because an ear infection was followed by a minor car accident that caused a neck injury. This created a cascade of conditions that ultimately led to the ringing in his ears.

In breast cancer, when we truly look for the roots, (without just treating what we believe to be the “root of breast cancer”—like the BRCA gene), we can see that one woman has obvious hormonal imbalances while another, with the same diagnosis (perhaps even of the same age, height and weight), has her hormones in check yet surprisingly elevated inflammatory markers.

Can you begin to see the personalized nature of root cause resolution?

The Functional Approach

Functional Nutrition uses proven tools and systems designed to guide you to the true root causes of your clients’ issues.

The process starts with specific questions to ask your clients that will help you uncover key information and begin to make connections between their history, physiology, current circumstances, and their symptoms.

I share those questions with you in my ebook, Functional Nutrition 101.

If you already have a copy, now’s a great time to dive in again and look at it with fresh eyes. You’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come since the first time you read it and how much it has to offer you and your practice now.

I still find myself going back to it to remind myself: What questions have I not asked to reveal the roots?

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Functional nutritionist and educator Andrea Nakayama (FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC) is leading patients and practitioners around the world in a revolution to reclaim ownership over our own health. Her passion for food as personalized medicine was born from the loss of her young husband to a brain tumor in 2002. She’s now regularly consulted as the nutrition expert for the toughest clinical cases in the practices of many world-renowned doctors, and trains a thousand practitioners online each year in her methodologies at Functional Nutrition Lab. Learn more about Andrea here.

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