Who’s The Expert? And Why?
“I have known and worked with Tanya for several years. She has been my lecture buddy and has become a good friend. I have watched her work and work tirelessly, never stopping until she has fully grasped the science, the concept or the facts, to better help her clients. I regularly turn to her for help with some of my more complicated clients and she always has the most up to date, most relevant knowledge at her fingertips. Warm and friendly, kind and caring, discerning and well informed, she is an excellent practitioner. Don’t waste her time if all you want to do is lose weight; she is already in huge demand and her time is far better reserved for those with complex digestive and thyroid issues.” Amelia
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Tanya Borowski mBANT mIFM, DipCNM
Functional Nutritional Therapist
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Where you practice?
London, Harley Street and Lewes, Sussex.
Where did you train & what are your qualifications?
College of Naturopathic Medicine and Institute of Functional Medicine
What inspired you to work in nutrition?
Wanting to combine my love of food with an ever-questioning mind to understand the science to optimize my own and family’s health – then it just got under my skin!
What area of nutrition do you specialise in?
I would say I’m a generalist! The model of specialising is failing so many people. All our systems are connected – often, the devil is in the detail. That said, I see and have a particular interest in thyroid health conditions, having completed much post graduate training with Dr Kharrizian. You cannot reach optimum thyroid, or general health, until you have addressed the gut. Correcting problems in the gut has been documented in clinical trials to decrease thyroid autoimmunity, which is the most common cause of hypothyroid. For those who are not truly hypothyroid (labs are normal) but exhibit hypothyroid symptoms, it’s usually a gut issue which is causing inflammation which, in turn, causes hypothyroid-like symptoms.
What would you say are the three biggest challenges faced by clients in your area of specialty?
Being told that they are “fine” and that all blood results are “normal” when, most frequently, a complete set of blood markers hasn’t been run, nor interpreted within the context of how the person is presenting. A comprehensive blood chemistry panel is the single most efficient and effective tool for evaluating health – it screens for a wide range of conditions, including: several types of anaemia; indications of gut, viral and bacterial infections; insulin resistance and hypoglycaemia; liver and kidney issues; and thyroid and adrenal problems. But, many of these functions listed here can only be illuminated when interpreting the results, as it is in functional medicine, within a patterns analysis model. Such a model recognizes that the bodily systems, (i.e. digestive, immune, endocrine, cardiovascular), are not separated silos, but interconnected through our biochemistry of hormones, neurotransmitters enzymes and chemical reactions that occur 24-7 and have a causative effect upon each other.
A comprehensive blood chemistry test is a snapshot in time of the culmination of all these reactions, and therefore can tell an overall story of where to dig deeper, if interpreted in this way. A patterns analysis goes far beyond the concept of “ideal” ranges for individual markers, i.e. “your total cholesterol is high and needs to be “lowered” – there is a drug or indeed a supplement for that, or “everything on you blood test is in-range, so you are fine”. As markers begin to shift away from “range” and symptoms start to occur, a picture begins to emerge. The training of understanding blood chemistry from a view of patterns analysis, identifies more subtle physiological imbalances or highlights system/s moving away from “homeostasis” and towards sub-optimal function, that present as multiple symptoms. Thus looking for patterns of function better explains or provides more targeted reasoning as to why a marker is raised and or what systems are involved. 95% of the time when I first see a client I run this detailed panel to assess from a systems based approach, in conjunction with spending a good 90 minutes listening to their health history.
Please describe an average working day in your life
I get up at 6.00am and 5 days a week go to the gym for 40 mins. I’m home for 7.15am for the school run and I’m at my desk for 8.30am. I see clients 3 days a week – the other 2 days, I’m researching their case, writing their plans and going over test results. I have a huge whiteboard in my clinic that I use to mind-map cases and also explain my thought process of what we are doing with my clients. Quite often, clients take a quick picture of these on their phones!
If you could give one piece of advice to everyone reading this interview, what would it be?
Put quality sleep as a top priority. The biggest common denominator in poor health is stress, and sleep deprivation is one of the biggest stressors to the body. We get into a vicious cycle of “stress “– cortisol release – inflammatory immune marker release and hormonal anarchy ensues, that presents as IBS, anxiety and depression, weight gain, loss of blood sugar control and, ironically, poor sleep. Try to be in bed for 10pm with the light off by 10.30pm zzzzzzzz
What is your favourite meal?
Brunch: I absolutely love the combination of avocado and chilli flakes, so a slice of gluten free toast like buckwheat with some mashed avocado and chill flakes, layered smoked salmon and a squeeze of lime, served on a bed of rocket or spinach. Simple and delicious.
How do you manage your work:life balance?
It’s hard to be honest. I always have my head in a health book, but in my previous work life I was in the travel industry, so I love to take time away from work and travel with my family and girlfriends – laughter is my medicine!
Is there anything else that you think might be interesting for people to know about you or for anyone considering working with you?
I’m 100% dedicated to the cause – I never sit on my laurels and think “yup – I know that now”. Science changes all the time and I immerse myself in it. I said at the beginning of this interview that I consider myself a generalist, but also I think of myself as a guide, if you will, that makes a commitment to work with you, to move you to a better place of health and wellness together. I see my work with clients as a complete partnership.
Tanya Borowski mBANT mIFM, DipCNM, visit nutritionalvalues.co.uk