August 26, 2008
By Carly Baldwin
Are you having trouble sleeping? Does work have you so stressed you can’t digest food properly? Or are you tired all the time?
Inna Topiler is a clinical nutritionist based in Hoboken. From her office, Complete Nutrition and Wellness, she consults with patients every day and more often than not, discovers that it’s what they’re eating, or not eating, that makes them feel lousy.
“It’s integrative medicine, versus a Band-Aid approach. I look at the whole body, trying to get at the root cause of what’s going on,” said Topiler. “I like to play detective.”
Conventional medicine can sometimes mask what’s making someone feel sick, said Topiler. She uses the example of heartburn to show how her practice is different. “If you have heartburn, your doctor may prescribe you Prilosec. That will relieve heartburn, but it will also lower the acid in your stomach. Without acid, you get indigestion and constipation.”
“Or if someone comes to me feeling depressed or anxious, instead of giving them Zoloft or Prozac, I do a urine test to find out why they have low amounts of serotonin. Then I give them a natural amino acid that helps their bodies build serotonin,” said Topiler.
Topiler said most Hoboken patients come to her with irritable bowel syndrome. “It’s mostly people between the ages of 23-40, and many of them are women. They’re eating improperly, they’re stressed.”
Other clients come to her wanting to lose weight, with hormone imbalances, high blood pressure and even hair loss. And Topiler says many of these problems stem from what the person is eating.
I went to see Inna because, well, it would be great to drop about ten pounds. As she does with every client, Inna started with an hour-and-a-half long nutritional consultation. She asked me detailed questions about what I eat every day and how it makes me feel. She then recommended eating different foods to suit my needs — for example, uh, I probably shouldn’t be eating those chocolate chip muffins every morning for breakfast. Sad that I needed a nutritionist to tell me that, actually.
But on a more serious note, Inna also treats many patients who suffer from insomnia or fatigue, which they may not realize can be treated by simply eating better.
“Insomnia, for example, comes from stress levels. I’ll do a hair test on that person to see if they have enough magnesium. More magnesium in your diet will help you sleep better. And many people come to me with fatigue — they’re working their first job, they’re eating on the run, and they’re stressed about a lot of things going on,” said Topiler. “Instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s your thyroid,’ I do tests to see what vitamins and minerals they might be lacking in their diet.”
“It’s not just ‘eat this, don’t eat that,'” said Topiler. “I want people to understand why they should and shouldn’t eat things.”
Topiler’s office, Complete Nutrition and Wellness is located at 200 Washington Street, above Tutta Pasta with the entrance on Second Street.