Practitioners around the world are seeing patients every day that suffer from chronic diseases. These patients experience increased inflammation, metabolic disturbance, elevated autoimmune activity, energy deficits, and often have altered body composition as a result. Many of these issues are related to diet and nutrition: we are living in an era where over-consumption is ironically coupled with undernutrition due to diets devoid of nutrient diversity. These emerging nutrition insufficiencies are seen in both the developed and the developing world.
The evidence is compelling that the root cause of most chronic disorders lies within our lifestyle choices, particularly our daily food choices.1
Socioeconomics impacts food security, and the purported solution of industrialized farming and commercial food production has played a key role in making poor-quality foods more available and affordable. As the shelf life and stability of processed foods have increased, the quality of food consumed has declined. Healthy dietary choices, appropriate meal timing, and an improved quality of food all impact the trajectory of disease and can support the return of patients toward optimal health.
Primary care physicians recognize the lack of adequate training in nutrition, as most identify nutrition education as a significant gap in their medical training. In fact, the number of US medical schools requiring nutrition education and the average hours spent on nutrition education have both declined in the last 10 years.2
Introduction to Functional Nutrition is a 1.5 hour, online, interactive course that trains healthcare providers in the advanced practice of personalized nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and monitoring, with the goals of promoting optimal health and preventing diet-and lifestyle-related disease. It emphasizes the importance of high-quality foods and phytonutrient diversity to address clinical imbalances and move individuals toward the highest expression of health.
This course is a first step in offering physicians and nutrition professionals an overview of the ABCDs of Functional Nutrition Evaluation, a step-by-step system that guides practitioners in the what and how of assessing nutrition status. Experts will demonstrate elements of the nutrition physical exam as well as how those exam findings suggest specific nutritional insufficiencies. The course will also explore how common laboratory tests can be used to glean detailed information about nutritional status.
Resources included in the course allow clinicians to immediately apply the principles of Functional Nutrition. The course also introduces the Functional Nutrition Operating System, which directs clinicians in how to gather pertinent information to determine the patient’s nutrition status, how to organize those nutritional findings, and how foundational dietary and nutrition interventions can be used to initiate care (GOI). Experts will illustrate how the Proteins, Fats, and Carbs—Minerals, Vitamins, and Phytonutrients (PFC-MVP) model can be used to identify nutrition-related concerns and lead to appropriate personalized dietary treatment, as well as to help practitioners determine where to begin with patient education and dietary guidance. A case study will model the entire process, showing how Functional Nutrition offers solutions for organizing information and then initiating appropriate changes to both diet and lifestyle.
Your takeaways from the Introduction to Functional Nutrition eLearning course will include the ability to:
The Institute for Functional Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
MDs and DOs: The Institute for Functional Medicine designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
The American Osteopathic Association has approved IFM’s courses for Preventive Medicine certification within the American Osteopathic Board of Preventive Medicine.
Release Date: April 12, 2015
Last Reviewed Date: March 2020
Termination Date: March 12, 2023