Alexandra Falconer IBS Nutritionist


Frequently Asked Questions

Changing the way you eat and live can be a confusing and daunting process. Here are some answers to common questions that might help demystify things. If you don’t see your query below, get in touch!

I support people with any health condition, but in my experience most people with chronic illness have gut symptoms too: diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and pain. I want to find out and address the imbalances that are likely to be driving your symptoms both inside and outside your gut.

Your gut is at the centre of your body, both literally and metaphorically. Think of it as a large tube that runs from your mouth to your bottom, that has to keep most of the outside world from getting in. It’s home to 100 trillion microbes, and is home to around 80% of your immune system. It also plays a role in producing your hormones, generating your energy and even regulating your emotions.

If your gut isn’t right, you aren’t right. Research on the interplay between your gut and the rest of your body is just beginning, but we know there are connections between gut health and heart disease, type-2 diabetes, depression, autoimmune disease and many other conditions.

None of us are taught how wonderful and complex our guts are. At best, you might have learned how it digests the food you eat,

Because all your body systems are connected to your gut, a troubled gut can show up in symptoms anywhere else: headaches, skin conditions, joint pain, insomnia, depression, to name a few from an almost endless list.

Addressing the gut is a key part of the puzzle in any health condition. 

Everyone is different. I work from a Functional Medicine perspective, which considers the individual history, genetics, biochemistry and health history of every person, rather than prescribing a set approach for every condition. The reason you’re suffering from depression and bloating could be completely different to your friend who also suffers from bloating and depression, for instance.

It’s my job to find out why your body has produced your set of symptoms, and support your journey back to health.

Functional Medicine is health-care, rather than disease care. Our bodies need more than just air and food to be healthy. They need clean air, and the whole spectrum of nutrients only available in whole foods, for a start. But because our current medical model looks at health from the perspective of preventing disease, we need a different approach.

This is where Functional Medicine comes in. To find out more, read my Healthpath article What is Functional Medicine?

I’m not a doctor or a dietician. I will never recommend that you go against your doctor’s advice. In fact I will work with you to make sure everything I recommend is in line with any treatment or medications you’re getting from your GP or any other doctors.

As a Registered Nutritional Therapist, I’m different from a dietician. Although some practice privately, most dieticians are employed by the NHS and governed by their rules. You can find out more about the different types of nutrition professionals from BANT, my governing body.

Functional Medicine is an evidence-based approach to health. If you’re into science, you’re probably aware of the massive growth of research into the causes of disease that started to build around twenty years ago.

For instance, there’s now evidence that points towards several possible root causes of allergic diseases, like dermatitis or asthma:

  • A westernised diet
  • The mode of delivery during childbirth
  • Early-life antibiotics/overuse of antibiotics
  • Dust in the home
  • Mould exposure
  • Outdoor air pollution

While we don’t know for sure that these things cause specific allergic diseases, we know that there are definite links. You can check out the specific research papers in this article from the Institute of Functional Medicine.

Diet and targeted nutrients are powerful tools in the fight against chronic disease. Here are some examples in the medical literature: