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BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2019-12-10

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When we consider a term like root cause, it’s important to understand that, in most cases, it’s more likely about causes (plural) rather than cause (singular).

As we adopt a clinically Functional perspective in our approach to addressing the more complex cases that we’re experiencing in increasing numbers in healthcare—and we take into account the role of the modifiable factors that I presence in the 3 Tiers to Nutrition Mastery Primer—we need to know how to put our practices into perspective.

That perspective requires a reframe.

And that reframe involves a shift from looking for the single needle in the haystack to understanding that there may very well be a good number of needles buried in that stack of hay!

We now have a collective comprehension that the most prevalent chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, do not stem from a singular cause. Instead they are associated with the impact of myriad genes in tandem with environmental and lifestyle factors.

These conditions induced by multiple contributing factors are considered to be complex and multifactorial.

Most conditions today involve or are triggered by a number of factors or causes, not just one.

Let’s take one fairly common and simple example—hypertension:

In a situation like hypertension we can consider a number of factors that contribute to the manifestation of high blood pressure. Some of those factors include:

  • genes (several genetic variants have been identified with blood pressure issues)

  • obesity

  • sodium/potassium imbalances (due to dietary intake or other acute or chronic factors)

  • alcohol intake

  • stress (life-related or biochemical)

  • deficiency in vitamin D

  • use of NSAIDs

  • and more

We can look at causes individually, and yet it’s just not yielding the results we’re after.

But if we shift our perspective and reframe the conditions through this multifactorial lens, it’s easy to determine that correcting the imbalance will take more than one, singular, method or approach.

When the condition is multifactorial, as most are today, the recipe for recovery must be as well.

[bctt tweet=”When the condition is #multifactorial, the recipe for recovery must be as well.” username=”AndreaNakayama”]

And here’s the good news: Knowing that most conditions we see are complex in nature doesn’t mean you can’t help people with health issues that stem from multiple causes. In fact, as practitioners who work with diet and lifestyle modification, you and I are more equipped to help these people than you might think!

Working with conditions that are multifactorial requires that we address the many root causes. Alzheimer’s specialist Dr. Bredesen calls this “plugging the 36 holes in the roof.”

You likely have many of the skills to plug those holes already. You just need the systems to put those skills into place.

Your first step to join the Resolution is easy. Download my ebook—Roadmap to Resolution: Your Blueprint for Thriving in Practice by Addressing the Root Causes of Chronic Illness—and see just how important you are in this new healthcare paradigm.

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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