More and more healthcare providers believe good health shouldn’t just be about treating disease and other problems, but helping to prevent them. It’s called functional or lifestyle medicine, which focuses on the causes of chronic disease rather than the symptoms. Instead of first popping pills for what ails you, proponents believe lifestyle changes are the keys to optimal health: nutrition, exercise, hormone balance, stress reduction, and nutritional supplements.
“It’s the whole person. It’s the environment, what you put into your body, what you eat, and how you live your life,” says Fred Howard, a Rancho Santa Fe resident and CEO of Metagenics, a company committed to improving health and reversing chronic illness through quality products, services, and cutting-edge nutritional science.
Founded in 1983, the San Clemente-based Metagenics manufactures nutritional supplements, medical foods, and sports nutrition products only available through its 75,000 practitioners worldwide, 20,000 in North America. They include physicians, chiropractors, and naturopathic doctors like Kelly Austin, who recently opened a Wellness Center on Cedros in Solana Beach. Austin, a primary care doctor, is clinically trained in both natural and conventional medicine. “NDs” rather than “MDs,” naturopathic doctors mainly use a range of natural therapies but can also prescribe pharmaceuticals. Austin’s healthcare team includes another doctor, two registered nurses, an IV specialist, acupuncturist, and registered massage therapist.
“We think this is the right connection to the community so clients can address healthcare questions and make it all more accessible, and enable people to live better, healthier lives,” says Howard. The company plans to share what it learns about best patient practices with its healthcare partners around the globe.
Metagenics also offers its providers such services as TLC, a therapeutic lifestyle change program, to help patients develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime, as well as educational programs on such topics as successful aging.
The company prides itself on its science-based products, which it insists are made to the highest standards. “We have top-quality ingredients, whether it’s a probiotic or a fish oil. Also the purity — we screen everything,” says Howard. “We’re triple GMP-certified,” which is good manufacturing practices — and most important, “it’s the research that’s behind it.”
Metagenics has more than three-dozen professionals — MDs, PhDs, and clinicians — at its research and development facility in Seattle, including its chief science officer, Jeffrey Bland, a champion of the role of nutrition in healthcare. He’s considered the father of nutrigenomics, the study of nutrition as an important factor in gene expression in determining health and disease patterns.
Metagenics also conducts clinical research in such areas as weight loss and weight re-gain, and bone health. Through research, it has identified natural compounds with therapeutic applications, incorporating them in medical foods, nutraceuticals, and supplements. (858/792-7995, www.solanawellness.com) ANDREA NAVERSEN