Graduate Focus – Antoinette Witter, The Happy Gut Clinic

After years of dabbling in nutrition and health as a hobby I decided to change career from Construction Economist to Nutritional Therapist! Pursuing your dream can be challenging but I knew that my life depended on making that move to better physical and mental health.

Antoinette Witter

This was following a particular stressful time that left me tired, wired and generally fit for nothing. Conventional medicine had no answer for me and all my test results showed I was ‘fine’ but I knew deep down I had to change to get my health back, but how, where and who??

Choosing the right course was essential to allow an ease of transition period and IHS fitted the bill! I spoke in depth to the course director about my fears of a new career change but I had nothing to worry about. At every step, IHS provided the guidance and support I needed to successfully complete a four year course of study from the very fundamentals of anatomy and physiology to the latest research in nutraceuticals. It wasn’t easy but I loved every minute of it.

In 2016, I graduated with a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy and together with my colleagues Anna and Gerardine, we established The Happy Gut Clinic. As Hippocrates said ‘All disease begins in the gut’ and this is as true today as it was 2000 years ago. We look at gut health as the starting point to wellbeing and continue from there. It’s always amazing to us just how many people live with digestive disorders and believe it’s perfectly normal as they have had the condition all their lives. Smelly wind sound familiar?! Normal to most but to us it’s a sign of very happy, overfed, naughty gut bugs causing a little, embarrassing issue!

Like every scientific subject, nutritional therapy evolves continuously with new and sometimes disquieting research being presented. I had thought that after four years of intense study that I had a good grasp of nutritional therapy but in this field, constant research is your best companion as you need to bring the best possible information to your clients.

With this in mind I decided to further my studies in functional medicine following on from an intense introduction to Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP). It was here I quickly realised that nutritional therapy is an immense field of study and is fundamental to the doctrine of functional medicine namely ‘root cause resolution’. I was hooked!

Attending online and in person the Advance Practice Modules in each area of Gastro-Intestinal Health, Cardiovascular Health, Hormonal Health, Immune Health and Energy I qualified as a Functional Medicine Practitioner in 2019. In my opinion there is a paradigm shift coming in the medical community as they face a tsunami of chronic illnesses that cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of euros each year. Going ‘upstream’ to find out what’s causing this rise in cases of non-communicable diseases is slowly becoming the trend and we as Nutritional Therapists are there at the forefront of this wave. How exciting is this!

In these challenging times, now more than ever, there is a need for a focus on preventative medicine and root cause resolution to health and wellbeing and nutritional therapy, albeit a fundamental aspect, is but one leg of the proverbial stool. The focus must be on the whole person and the uniqueness of the individual presenting with the condition. I believe that we as therapists are similar to the Sherpas in the Himalayas gently guiding and supporting our clients up the mountain towards their respective goals. Change is the most difficult of all things to do even if that change is for the better as we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. Even small steps in the right direction can bring about massive transformations, so keep going!

Never one to give up, I’ve decided to pursue a PhD in Natural Medicine. And it all started at IHS! We at the Happy Gut Clinic wish you all continued success in your studies and stay well.