Michelle Simon, PhD, ND, head of the Institute for Natural Medicine, spoke with NutraIngredients-USA at the recent Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA.
The nonprofit Institute for Natural Medicine, which is based in Seattle, WA, has several accomplishments to its credit. These include having launched an association of accredited naturopathic colleges and helping to obtain licensure for naturopathic physicians in California.
Among the organization’s goals are to increase education of the benefits of naturopathic medicine, to connect patients up with practitioners and to foster research into the benefits of this healthcare modality.
In this last vein the institute has partnered with the supplement manufacturer Standard Process on a project aimed at validating the benefits of lifestyle changes and targeted supplementation in a real world setting.
Food as medicine
“We’re calling it a food as medicine project. It’s a 12-week interventional trial where we take a group of patients and we move them through a program where we use diet as an example of how to change their health,” she said.
The program includes an educational aspect to help participants better understand how their bodies work and how diet affects the performance of the whole system. The goal is also to help the trial subjects, who all live in a rural county in North Carolina, understand how the standard American diet fosters the development of chronic diseases.
The recommendations given the participants incorporate a lot of organic offerings and more fruits and vegetables than what they’ve been used to eating. The trial also uses protein powders, vitamins and omega-3 supplements from Standard Process.
“The standard American diet is very acidic, and fruits and vegetables help buffer that,” Simon said.
The outcomes will be collated and published in a peer reviewed journal, Simon said. So much research into the effects of dietary supplements are for obvious reasons done under very tightly controlled parameters. Simon said the goal of this project to get a better handle on how the beneficial effects of supplement ingredients and diet changes play out in the real world.