What is Medical Food? That’s a great question!
Medical foods are those that are specially formulated and intended for the dietary management of a disease that has distinctive nutritional needs that cannot be met by normal diet alone (Wikipedia).
These products save lives every day. They are particularly instrumental for patients who suffer from severe digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They are also the foundation of nutrition for people using feeding tubes.
However, many people still aren’t convinced that these products are worthy of serious consideration in our healthcare system. They say that medical foods are “voodoo supplements” that are more marketing hype than actual help.
But that couldn’t be more wrong.
In fact, there are people right now who live entirely from medical foods. As in, they are fed via feeding tubes every day of their lives. It’s not the most convenient situation, but they get to live their lives to the fullest with daily support from a backpack full of liquid nutrition.
What people also don’t realize is the true opportunity that medical foods give pediatric and adult patients who suffer from chronic conditions.
Take it from me, after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2012, I was firmly on the path to resection surgery. My intestinal tract looked like a war zone. Very scary, to say the least.
After traditional treatments with pharmaceuticals weren’t working, I was desperate to find another way to treat my disease. I was told that 90% of people don’t fully recover from this disease, and that I should expect a lifetime of chronic issues.
Boy did that motivate me!
After some research, I met with a nutritionist who introduced me to the world of functional medicine. And the foundation of my protocol, medical foods, immediately became a mainstay in my daily life.
Within just 48 hours, 80% of my symptoms were gone.
Pre-medical food Lawson Aschenbach was a professional racecar driver struggling to stay focused as he fought dizziness, lethargy, and intense gastrointestinal issues, among many other problems.
As you can imagine, when 80% of your symptoms vanish, your life is changed instantly.
My ability to take my game to another level as an athlete soared. And I was a believer.
Fast forward seven years, and I’m still at the top of my game. I feel stronger than ever, and I continue working hard to push myself to new limits, both on and off the track.
I can say, without a doubt, that medical nutrition will be the backbone in my health and wellness regimen for the rest of my life. Added to a clean diet and smart lifestyle decisions, I feel that I can tackle anything I put my mind to.
Sadly, however, I feel that medical nutrition (medical foods) is still the best kept secret in healthcare. So, a prime opportunity to dedicate time and money to research is now — research that could raise these potentially lifesaving products to new heights.
I was thankful to find a pharmaceutical grade product built using a holistic thought process that kept it natural, pure, and powerful. Not all medical nutrition products are produced in this manner.
I could go on and on about the issues of many products, but that’s not the point of this blog.
We need to urge companies to continue to explore this opportunity to help kids and adults battling chronic issues. We need to see funding put towards research and education.
But most importantly, we need to push our healthcare system to take a serious look at medical nutrition. I strongly believe that this form of “treatment” should be on the front lines for people battling a variety of illnesses.
Recently, I spent two days participating in the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s annual IBD Day on the Hill. One of the asks we made of Senators and Representatives was to cosponsor and/or support H.R. 2501, the Medical Nutrition Equity Act.
Right now, many people can’t get the coverage they need to help pay for these powerful products, especially if they are taken orally. And medical nutrition can be extremely expensive – tens of thousands of dollars a year without insurance coverage.
This bill, if passed, would be helpful to potentially millions of people battling inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and many other disorders by creating an avenue to receive assistance from insurance companies when taking medical nutrition orally or via feeding tube.
Although there are a lot of obstacles and unknowns, I feel that this bill has the potential to open the doors to better integration of complementary and alternative medicine into our health management.
Now, I’m NOT one to say that people should look only towards medical nutrition for treatment of chronic diseases. Traditional medication is lifesaving and must continue to be a focal point in the medical world. Some people simply can’t live without these important drugs.
However, there is no reason to write off medical nutrition as a form of disease management, or as a complementary avenue for health and wellness.
As someone who battles Crohn’s disease, I know that my compromised gut function can lead to other issues such as cancer, vitamin deficiencies, extra-intestinal complications, and so many more. Why should we write off something so simple, so powerful, and so able to change people’s lives?
I ask everyone to support the Medical Nutrition Equity Act. Take a good hard look at the bill and consider the potential impact this will have on people’s lives, and I’m sure that you will agree.
Read more about the Medical Nutrition Equity Act:
Let’s make medical nutrition affordable and accessible in our healthcare system!
Never Give Up!