No matter where you are located within Australia, or even internationally, at The JCN Clinic we are passionate about you receiving the best level of care when it comes to your gut health. More so than ever, as a global collective we are open to Telehealth and the internet communication highway that has been an integral part of our lives these past years in particular. In saying this, we still adore the connection of an in person consultation within our Brisbane based clinic and know that many of you are looking for that face to face consultation process too. I know I am asked on a weekly basis through social media ‘how do I find a gut health nutritionist near me?‘ or ‘do you recommend a Nutritionist/Naturopath in Melbourne or Sydney or Adelaide’…the list goes on. Therefore, I wanted to create a check list for you in regard to finding z Nutritionist or Naturopath to help with your gut health issues, whether you choose The JCN Clinic or elsewhere.
7 Top Tips For Finding A Good Gut Health Specialist
1.A good Gut Health Specialist has experience with functional testing
Realistically in todays medical world, from a general GP to an integrative GP, from a Nutritionist to a Naturopath you simply must have experience with functional testing. Specifically, you want to look for a practitioner that has experience with functional stool testing, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) testing, Organic Acid Testing (OAT) as a base line. At The JCN Clinic our Nutritionists and Naturopaths are well versed in these functional tests and others, however I would pick these three tests as a mandatory base line to working with gut health issues. These tests provide a clinical insight into the health of your microbiome and digestive function. The more experience a practitioner has with these functional tests the more they can read between the lines and understand the nuances of functional testing in relation to your individual case. Therefore, ask the practitioner or clinic you are considering if they have experience with these functional tests.
2. A good Gut Health Specialist should have experience with chronic gut health conditions and/or have an experienced mentor
Likewise to experience with functional testing, you want to seek out a practitioner that has experience working with chronic gut health conditions. The more years of experience a practitioner has, the more they understand the bio-individuality that comes with treating the gut. It allows the practitioner to become well versed in how to use an array of tools alongside time to learn from clinical experience. Alternatively, if a practitioner does not have years upon years of experience, ensure they have a reputable mentor that they work closely with. For us at The JCN Clinic all our new practitioners go through intensive training with our senior practitioners on top of the Bachelor degree’s they already hold. At JCN we have created an open and communicative environment for practitioners to share cases and learn from one another with continued mentoring. When choosing a practitioner make it a priority to ask about experience and how practitioners are mentored and supported.
3. A good Gut Health Specialist can be a Clinical Nutritionist, Naturopath or even a Dietician
I have seen wonderful gut health specialists in all arenas. A Gut Health Specialist should not be pigeonholed to a gastroenterologist. In saying this, a good Gut Health Specialist would know when to refer to a gastroenterologist for further investigations and not hold all the cards thinking they have all the answers. Essentially, whether you are considering a GP, Integrative Doctor, Naturopath, Nutritionist or Dietician you want to ensure they meet the requirements above and below and have an accredited Bachelor Degree. Please also ensure your practitioner is also part of an Association recognised by the TGA. No cereal box qualifications please.
4. A good Gut Health Specialist knows your case history is more important than any functional test
I am so passionate about this point! In fact I have created mentoring sessions with practitioners around this area in particular. Functional testing is a fabulous modern day tool and I stand by looking for a Gut Health Specialist with experience in this area. However, nothing is more important than individualised case history and gathering a detailed background of your clients health. This should also involve a detailed dietary recall and history of your diet. This can be a little trickier to ascertain prior to seeing a practitioner, so I would advise looking at their services page to see what timeframes they allow for an Initial Consultation and subsequent follow up appointments. Realistically a practitioner will need minimum of 60min – 90min for an initial to gather enough information and then a minimum of 30min for a follow up appointment. You can also ask the clinic and/or practitioner you are considering what is involved in the consultation process. We outline clearly on our Services page what to expect from an initial consultation.
5. A good Gut Health Specialist listens
From here these check list points can be a little harder to know without some additional digging. The predicament can sometimes be (and we see this at The JCN Clinic with clients relayed experiences prior to coming to us) that a practitioner can be very educated, well studied, well respected in their field but not actually be that great at being a practitioner. What do I mean by this? It doesn’t matter how skilled you are, if you cannot listen and communicate to your clients on a level that resonates with them then you are fighting a loosing battle. A good Gut Health Specialists listens whole heartedly to their client. They have the aforementioned knowledge, but they also take that knowledge and use it in an appropriate manner through listening and communicating in a way with clients so they feel respected and heard. How do you know this prior to an appointment? Go digging! Look at Google Reviews (here are our Google reviews for The JCN Clinic) and ask around. For us a referral is golden, as we know one client passing on a great experience with confidence to another says everything.
6. A good Gut Health Specialist pivots and learns with you
Look out for what I call the ‘god complex’. If a practitioner claims to know all and not openly discuss with you the need for bringing in other therapies, modalities or referrals when needed then this can be an alarm bell. A good Gut Health Specialist should talk openly about bumps in the road of treatment plans, the ups and downs and need to pivot treatment when needed. They should be open about what they don’t know and not give you shady answers that seem hollow. They should be open to working with a team of other practitioners and know when to let go if a case is outside their scope. Again, realistically the best way to know if a practitioner has these attributes is through a referral or looking at reviews. You can also look at any social media or other educational tools a clinic or practitioner may share. For us at The JCN Clinic our long running Podcast is a wonderful insight into how we practice and our open vulnerability with clients.
7. A good Gut Health Specialist educates
If a practitioner is seriously passionate about gut health then they will live and breath it. They will feel driven to educate not only within consultations but also to the wider community. A good Gut Health Practitioner will ensure that one of their major purposes throughout the consultation and treatment process is to educate you on understanding your own health needs and requirements for long term success. At The JCN Clinic our goal is to get you to a point where you don’t need us anymore! How do we do this? Through education. Look for practitioners and clinics that speak of this on their services page and also check out reviews and what other clients have to say. You will also find that good Gut Health Specialist will have endless free resources through websites, social media and podcasts where they can channel their passion for education.
I hope this check list gives you a thorough insight into what to look for when seeking out a good Gut Health Specialist. If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below!
Need personalised nutrition advice catered to your needs?
If you are after personalised nutrition advice and dietary planning individualised to your health and dietary needs then contact us at The JCN Clinic with your enquiry. We are always happy to answer any questions you have!
Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.