An integrative review of dietetic and naturopathic approaches to functional bowel disorders

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Grace, S, Barnes, L, Reilly, W, Vlass, A & de Permentier, P 2018, 'An integrative review of dietetic and naturopathic approaches to functional bowel disorders', Complementary Therapies in Medicine, vol. 41, pp. 67-80.

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Objectives: Naturopathy and dietetics have evolved as two separate but parallel professions that use diet to promote optimal health and manage many illnesses and diseases. Given the increasing recognition of the influence of diet on health outcomes, there is increasing demand for the services of both professions. The aim of this research was to investigate similarities and differences between naturopathic and dietetic approaches to functional bowel disorders (FBDs).
Design: For this integrative review AMED, CINAHL, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, Medline and PubMed databases were searched for articles that focused on dietetic or naturopathic diagnosis and treatment of food intolerance expressing as a FBD in adults. (Registration: PROSPERO 2016 CRD42016049469).
Results: Of the 55 papers in the final review, 10 discussed complementary medicine approaches to FBDs. Both dietitians and naturopaths used similar holistic approaches to diagnosis and treatment, adjusted diets as a primary treatment approach, and individualised treatment for their patients. The professions differed in their use of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements and in their willingness to recommend other treatments like osteopathy and acupuncture.
Conclusions: There is much overlap between dietetic and naturopathic approaches to assessment and treatment of FBDs. Further publications that describe naturopathic treatments for FBDs are needed to confirm these results and to provide opportunities for increased recognition and scrutiny of any distinctively naturopathic approaches. Without doing so, naturopathic practices are likely to remain marginalised and poorly understood. Moreover, the opportunity to fully contribute to the management of lifestyle-related diseases will be missed.

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