My passion for nutrition started in 2010 after I watched the documentary Food, Inc. Like so many Americans, I was completely blind to the horrendous animal practices being used by industrial farms, the environmental consequences of these practices, and the potential effect on our health.
From there I started educating myself more on the food industry and processed foods. Again, like so many Americans I didn’t really understand what processed food actually was or how much of it I consumed myself. I simply assumed that anything on the shelf at the supermarket was approved by the FDA; and, therefore, was “safe” to eat and wouldn’t have a negative influence on my health. I now know that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
As I continued to learn about the food industry, it became clear that the food supply played a critical role in our current health crisis. My passion for nutrition and educating people on these matters only grew stronger and it wasn’t long before I decided to pursue a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition. Little did I know that my graduate would help me unravel the mystery of my own health issues.
You see, in 2009 I was diagnosed with stage 1B cervical cancer, which was treated with a radical hysterectomy. While I recovered well from the surgery, approximately one year later while going through a routine follow up scan, they detected activity in my throat.
I was sent to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist who looked into my esophagus and diagnosed me with an esophageal infection caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). I was prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), more commonly known as Prilosec or omeprazole in order to lower the acid content of my stomach. When I asked the doctor if I’d have to take it every day for the rest of my life I was simply told, yes.
When I asked, “Is that really good for me?” I was told it was probably the safest drugs on the market with very minor side effects and that most people did not experience any side effects at all. Basically, the doctor explained, if I didn’t take it, the GERD would return.
Like a good patient, I began taking my omeprazole medication every morning before I ate breakfast.
After taking this drug for over 2 years I began feeling different, but initially I didn’t attribute this change to the medication. After all, an ENT doctor had assured me this medication was completely saft.
It’s hard to describe exactly what I felt, but I just knew I didn’t feel “right.” I started losing energy and experiencing achy joints. My cognitive function was off and I often forgot simple things like what I was about to do, or why I walked into a room. With no reason to believe anything was “wrong” with me, I figured these symptoms were simply caused by age, as I was now nearing my 46th birthday.
Then, during my nutrition studies, which I began if the fall of 2014, I learned that PPIs when taken long-term can cause serious nutrient deficiencies that eventually begin affecting multiple systems in the body. In fact, there are a number of scientific articles stating that these medications should under no circumstances be taken over 6 months. Doing so can, and eventually will, cause serious health problems.
It is no surprise when I look back that after taking this medication every single day for so long, I was not only struggling with mental health issues (anxiety/depression), but I was also diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my spine in December 2014. I now understood the nutrient deficiencies I was likely suffering from and the multiple symptoms this was causing all because of my antacid medication!
Although some vitamin absorption can be prevented from acid-lowering medications, the majority of nutrients affected are the minerals – iron, zinc, calcium, etc. Proper levels of minerals, and several other vitamins are absolutely crucial to maintain bone density as we age.
It was shortly after my osteoarthritis diagnosis that I chose to stop taking my PPI. Unfortunately, I was left with a multitude of health issues as a result of nutrient deficiencies. At that time, these nutrient deficiencies were never suspected or diagnosed by any doctor. However, using my nutrition knowledge, I managed to reclaim my health by healing my gut, boosting nutrient levels, reducing stress, and following a whole foods diet tailored to my specific needs.
Anxiety, depression, adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, sleep disturbances, and cognitive issues were all problems that manifested from taking one drug that is commonly seen as completely harmless by many medical doctors.
I have experienced first hand how our current medical system is drastically failing us. We are continuously treating symptoms with medications that more often than not lead to more problems. We completely lack any preventative strategies in health care and our medical doctors are not taught about the holistic functioning of the human body and the role that nutrients plays in its proper functioning. Medical doctors are trained to treat symptoms with medicine without trying to resolve the underlying cause of those symptoms.
More people than ever are now turning to alternative medical practitioners for solutions to their health problems. Whether you seek out a naturopathic doctor, a holistic healer, or a functional medical practitioner, there is one thing that is constant in all alternative medical models – nutrition is the cornerstone of the practice. This is because proper nutrition that provides an appropriate level and diversification of nutrients is the only way the body’s cells can function correctly and thereby provide optimal health.
I am thrilled to be part of an evolving discipline that is literally beginning to transform our healthcare system. This discipline is known as functional or clinical nutrition and it forms the backbone of functional medicine and other holistic approaches to healthcare.
I hope the information in this blog will help people live healthier, happier lives through nutrition and whole foods.
Laura Cadoret, MS
“Love yourself enough to eat whole foods. Eat real food!”
Master of Science Human Nutrition – University of Bridgeport 2018
Bachelor of Arts Psychology – Rhode Island College 1995
Bachelor of Arts Anthropology – Rhode Island College 1995
Member: American Nutrition Association
Certified Nutrition Specialist® Candidate