Dr. Robert F. Kidd    

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Nutrition

See also: Applied Psychoneurobiology

Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Although not all disease is caused by poor nutrition, health problems are difficult to treat in the presence of nutritional deficiency.

Good nutrition depends on three things:

  1. Good quality food.
  2. Eating enough of the right things.
  3. Good digestion and assimilation.

Nutrition has become a very popular subject of conversation in recent years. There is no shortage of information from newspapers, television, books and the Internet. All sorts of diets are touted and a bewildering assortment of nutritional supplements is available in the stores. Unfortunately there is little agreement among the 'experts' and millions of people have to experiment with this diet and that, often with disappointing results.

The first assumption made in this practice is that each individual has unique nutritional requirements. Needs vary according to genetic makeup, lifestyle, medications being taken, toxic exposures and general health. Only when all these factors are taken into account can wise choices be made.

To make this assessment, the patient's 'story' is probably the most important factor. Warning signals are symptoms like lack of energy, depression, or pain in many parts of the body. Problems with digestion put people at risk, as does long term consumption of certain medications. Anti-inflammatory, antacid and antibiotic drugs are particularly harmful, and with certain medications, the requirement for specific vitamins or minerals may increase.

Patients with unusual diets often run into difficulties. Extreme diets, e.g. low fat, low-salt diets commonly create certain problems. Vegetarian diets can be quite harmful to some people. People with food sensitivities, who attempt to avoid too many foods, sometimes 'paint themselves into a corner' and end up malnourished.

Physical examination provides other clues. Soft nails, dry skin and thin hair say a lot about what is going on internally. Extra weight carried on the belly tells more. The condition of the teeth and gums yields valuable information as does tone of the muscles and brightness of the eyes.

The third source of nutritional information comes from blood tests. A surprising amount can be learned from 'garden variety' blood tests such as blood sugar, cholesterol, and uric acid. These can be ordered from any lab with the cost covered by government or private insurance plans. Tests, which individually fall into the 'normal' range, when looked at in combination, often point to nutritional weaknesses that would be otherwise missed. A commercially available computer program (Health Equations®) sifts through this data and provides a comprehensive analysis of an individual's nutritional status. For more information on this approach, visit the Health Equations website.

Quality of food is becoming an increasing concern. Food can be no better than the soils on which it is grown and evidence is mounting that our soils are getting 'tired'. Mineral and vitamin content of commercially grown vegetables has been slowly declining for at least fifty years. This is reflected in flavour as well as nutritional value where dressings and condiments are increasingly necessary to make foods palatable, (unless they are organically grown). Gone are the days when one could be assured that a 'balanced diet' would supply all nutritional requirements.

Even if the right foods, of the best quality, are found there is still the question of digestion and assimilation. Sometimes even 'indigestion' can have a nutritional basis and be easily remedied. At other times poor digestion can be the result of disturbance of neurological control (see neural therapy) or from unresolved emotional or social issues (see Applied Psychoneurobiology). Treatment of gastrointestinal difficulty is sometimes necessary to achieve good nutritional status and to make treatment of other parts of the body effective.