Bioindividuality in practice

In order to truly practice the principles of bioindividuality we really need to understand the concept of what—in the Functional Nutrition Lab community—we call “what’s going on in there?”

“What’s going on in there?” is different than what’s supposed to be going on in there, or what the textbooks say is probably going on in there.

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It’s an inquiry that, when practiced properly, removes our filters, biases, and that seductive mindset of “I already have the answer so I don’t have to listen to the rest of my client’s story.”

When you honestly ask “What’s going on in there?” you open the doors to uncover new and pivotal information about the individual you’re working with. This allows you to take what we know about food and lifestyle modification and bring it to bear for the person who’s consuming the food, and who’s making the modifications.

In other words, we learn to appropriately tailor our therapies to meet the needs of the actual patient seeking our help.

Understanding the precept of bioindividuality allows us to see that every single remedy (natural or otherwise) will impact each person differently. We think of it as the place where “food meets physiology”, but really, it’s about where everything meets physiology.

Think about it for a moment…

Two individuals can suffer similar life injustices—adverse childhood events, the death of a spouse, food poisoning on a trip out of the country, or even exposure to gluten after abstaining for six months—and yet respond distinctly from one another.

That specific response is due to bioindividuality.

Though we all primarily have the same organs and glands, we each have a unique operation manual due to the cumulative life experiences and exposures we’ve had—a beautifully knit web of genetics, history and choices.

We are all biologically and genetically unique and we’re all impacted by myriad and diverse life experiences and exposures.

Your clients will have different responses to the same stimulus. Your job is to listen intently for those unique responses, and then use your knowledge of physiology to uncover what’s really going on in the body of your client.

Biochemical individuality

The word bioindividualty comes from the term biochemical individuality, coined by the biochemist Dr. Roger Williams Ph.D, in his book by the same name, back in 1956. The concepts in that book have carried forward and help shape the foundations of Functional Medicine.

Biochemical individuality is the viewpoint that the chemical and nutritional profile of each individual is unique, therefore necessitating that dietary and other needs must be modified from person to person. This unique biochemical make-up stems from genetic structures, nutrition, and environmental exposures (of every sort).

This is one reason why bioindividuality and personal evidence (vs study evidence alone) are so important. Each of us has unique physiology and we each react to food (and all other inputs) differently.

My advice: Pay heed to the individual for the best results in practice!

Related Blog Posts

How to get the most practical benefit out of the Functional Nutrition Intake Form
personal evidence
Part 1: What’s Functional and what’s not
Part 2: What’s Functional and what’s NOT?
Part 3: What’s Functional and what’s not


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