Symptoms can be misleading by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson

It’s a common misconception that symptoms are always a reliable indicator of health problems. In reality, symptoms can be misleading, and in some cases, they may not even be related to the root cause of the issue. This is especially true when it comes to holistic health, which takes into account all aspects of an individual’s life, including their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

Symptoms can be misleading

When it comes to our health, symptoms can be deceiving. They are often the first thing we notice when something feels off, but they don’t always give us an accurate picture of what’s going on inside our bodies. In fact, many times they can lead us astray.

For example, let’s say you have a headache. The symptoms would indicate that there is a problem with your head, but the root cause could be something entirely different, like dehydration, stress, or low blood sugar. If you only focus on treating the symptoms, you may not ever get to the bottom of the real issue.

The same can be said for other symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and digestive problems. Often, these symptoms are the result of an underlying imbalance that can be addressed with lifestyle changes and natural remedies. Treating the symptoms without addressing the root cause will only lead to temporary relief at best and could potentially make the problem worse in the long run.

Let’s break a few of these down a little bit further.


There are a number of factors that can cause fatigue, including poor nutrition, lack of sleep, high stress, nutrient deficiencies, gut dysfunctions, and hormonal imbalances. Many of us write off fatigue as just part of life – being busy, growing older – but just because these are common, does NOT make them normal! You were designed to have limitless energy and vitality! It is possible with the right plan!

Weight gain or an inability to lose weight:

Weight gain or stubborn weight can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, insufficient quality and quantity of sleep, and hormonal imbalances. In some cases, it may be a sign of something like an infection or a thyroid disorder. But in many other cases, it’s the result of consuming the wrong foods for your body.

What, when, and how much food you eat is very personalized – there is no one perfect diet for all of us or even one perfect diet for you throughout your entire life. Things change in your life and body – age, location, the people in your life, your habits, your overall lifestyle (work, retirement, volunteering, gardening) – and these changes mean your plan should change!

Treating the symptoms of weight gain or inability to lose weight (by going on a crash diet, for example) without addressing the real underlying cause will only lead to yo-yo dieting, worsened metabolism, and further frustration.

Digestive Problems:

There are many factors that can contribute to digestive issues, such as poor diet, stress, food allergies or sensitivities, microbial imbalances, pathogens, insufficient sleep, and low stomach acid. Often, these problems can be traced back to lifestyle choices like eating too many processed foods, not getting enough exercise, being dehydrated, or having unhealthy eating habits like eating too fast, on the go, or without adequately chewing. The solution isn’t to take probiotics or Pepto Bismol frequently – in fact, they may make things worse!

You can see now how symptoms can be misleading. If you’re struggling with symptoms that just won’t go away, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Talk to your holistic health practitioner about all of your symptoms, not just the ones that are bothering you the most. And be open to exploring other options beyond traditional medicines that are designed to remedy symptoms. With a holistic approach, you can get to the root of the problem and finally find lasting relief.


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