A Passion for Research and Nutrition Therapy
Jennifer Barrell began honing her natural talent for research and finding solutions that can restore an individual’s health when her first child was born with digestive issues. “The doctor’s wanted to put my daughter on acid reflux medication when she was only 1 week old. That didn’t feel right to me, so I told them to hold off until I found a better answer,” says the certified nutrition specialist and licensed dietitian/nutritionist, who is also the most recent addition to the staff at D-Signed Nutrition, in Bonita Springs.
Barrell’s search for solutions that would help her daughter, now 6 years old, led her to a different path. “After discovering the principles of functional medicine, I told my husband that I would study until I understood how to prevent disease within our family, or if I didn’t have the answers, I would surely know by then what expert to call,” advises Barrell, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from Central Connecticut State University, in New Britain, and later earned her Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States, in Portland, Oregon.
Today, along with the principles of functional medicine, Barrell applies her 10 years of experience as a chef and more than eight years as an educator in the classroom and administration, to nutrition education and nutritional counseling for prevention and anti-aging. Combining her passion for science with a love of cooking, she can not only identify clinical issues, but also develop personalized medical nutrition therapy, as well as lifestyle and meal plans. Barrell’s focus is on family nutrition as it relates to clinical conditions such as gut health, food allergies and sensitivities, as well as other health challenges. She also helps individuals succeed in personalized weight management programs.
“My passion is helping people to increase their gut diversity. While certain strains of probiotics target particular symptoms, they can't be taken with the end goal being re-inoculating the gut. Probiotics are transient. In order to reestablish a healthy, diverse microflora, you need large quantities of specific fibers, or prebiotics, and polyphenols, which are found in all the beautiful red, purple and blue foods we eat,” advises Barrell.
Depending on the state of the gut, it takes time to reestablish a healthy ecosystem, but it can be done. “Strengthening the gut strengthens the patient’s immune system naturally and the body becomes more resistant and stronger. Neurotransmitters also tend to balance in this process. Order can be restored once the gut is healed and functioning properly with all the billions of key microflora that can be destroyed by stress, poor diet, irregular sleep patterns, lack of physical exercise or too much exercise,” explains the Naples resident.
“Where there is a will, there is a way,” says Barrell. “I have the will, resources and a community of practitioners that I can refer out to when necessary. An individual simply must have the desire to make beneficial changes and to understand that healing is a process that we go through together.”
D-Signed Nutrition is located at 3531 Bonita Bay Blvd., Ste. 300, in Bonita Springs. For information call 239-676-5249 or visit D-SignedNutrition.com.Edit ModuleShow Tags