What is Functional Nutritional Therapy?

14 June 2023 by Leanne Scott

What is Functional Nutritional Therapy?

The world of nutrition professionals has never been so accessible and so diverse. There is a lot to navigate if you are looking for the right person to support your health, or looking for a program that is worthy of your investment, financially and with your most precious resource - your time.

To help, we've answered some of the most common questions we have had lately around what it means to be a functional nutritional therapy practitioner and how it differs to other fields of nutrition.

It's important to understand that not all Nutritionists are trained in Functional Nutrition - so let's explore the differences.

What is Functional Nutritional Therapy?

Functional Nutritional Therapy is unique and separate from conventional or even holistic nutritional training which tends to focus on symptoms, conditions and applying template protocols to clients based on populations that have those similar conditions or symptoms. Conventional or even Holistic Nutrition may use a diet, and even lab work to identify the cause of symptoms but this is not the same as identifying the underlying driving mechanism that has led to the symptoms a client is aware as well as dysfunctional signs they might not be as readily aware of. They will often use a series of lab work which then might be repeated at a later date. 

For example, functional lab work might identify a disrupted Microbiome and food sensitivities which then a holistic nutritionist may apply a template protocol (diet, supplements and limited lifestyle recommendations) for - inappropriately calling this level of investigation the “root cause”. 

However just using a template Diet and Supplements based on Functional Labs results alone actually does not qualify as Functional Nutritional Therapy nor does it qualify as supporting root causation. 

FNTP’s (Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners) looks at everything that has impacted the terrain of the body to allow the disruption to occur from a completely bio-individual perspective - this might also include lifestyle, environmental factors and emotional wellness. FNTP’s also use their clinical skillset to identify where the body has prioritized healing. 

An example as to why this is important, is that starting with Labs and template dietary protocols might be an expensive waste of time if the body’s initial priority for healing is actually elsewhere or involves a more specific or targeted therapeutic starting point.  

Always thinking from the “why” perspective, our practitioners look deeper than initial layers of dysfunction such as a disrupted Microbiome and food sensitivities to investigate and understand what has contributed to this Dysregulation. 

This can be the critical difference between feeling better for a short period time only to have symptoms return vs long term thriving health.

What is in an FNTP's clinical toolkit?

FNTP’s provide completely bio-individual nutritional and lifestyle recommendations based on a thorough assessment of a clients health history, lifestyle, diet, taking into consideration environmental factors as well as barriers and influences to emotional well-being. An FNTP may utilize Functional Clinical Lab work but does not solely rely on this as a method of assessment as the body is ever changing and dynamic.

The Functional Clinical Assessment is one of the FNTP's tools for evaluating their clients' health. Using the innate connection between the nerve endings at skin level and the body's internal organs, FNTP's can determine where dysfunction in the body is occurring.   This unique set of skills allows FNTP's to truly create bio individual protocols and support for healing and reconnecting the client back to themselves.  Learn more about our unique skillset here.

What does a Diploma qualified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner mean?

A Diploma qualified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner is a title which ensures the practitioner has done significant Functional Nutritional Therapy hands on clinical work as part of their training and a minimum of 1200 contact hours. Many programs these days are only online, offer no hands on, one on one clinical training for their students and are not nationally recognized in Australia or New Zealand. Our Diploma program includes well over 200 clinical hours alone. 

7500 hours practitioners world wide. If you’re ready to truly get to the root cause of your health check out our directory here.

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Leanne Scott

Leanne is a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Integrative Health Coach and Lead Instructor for NTA Australia/NewZealand. She hopes to change the health of future generations through loving support and knowledge. Find Leanne at