Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD
Nutrition Response Testing is a non-scientific treatment modality for resolving chronic health issues. We fully support natural treatment modalities when they’re supported by science (like meditation or natural Adderall), but this one isn’t.
In this article we’ll review Nutrition Response Testing and explain why it doesn’t work and what some alternatives are.
Overview - What is Nutrition Response Testing and How Did it Start?
Nutrition Response Testing, also called applied kinesiology, has become popular in the alternative health provider circles as well as “natural” chiropractic offices. We put natural in quotes in this context because it’s an unregulated and clinically meaningless term.
The process involves a “health practitioner” who’s usually not a doctor applying pressure to various parts of the body and assessing “weaknesses”. As you can probably already tell, this is a very subjective and unscientific process.
The Nutrition Response Testing “specialist” then prescribes a diet to the patient, often with supplements and food concentrates, which is thought to improve their condition and resolve their chronic health issues.
Why it Doesn’t Work
There is no published medical literature suggesting that this practice is effective in any way.
There is also no logical reason that pressing on people’s skin would confer knowledge of their nutritional deficiencies. You can’t determine nutritional state from outward appearance or touch.
The most popular websites describing their Nutrition Response Testing practice, which we won’t link to because we don’t wish to support their practice, don’t explain how this process works biologically, because they cannot. It’s modern witchcraft, and they are taking advantage of people desperate for answers and profiting from them.
Alternatives to NRT
Dealing with a chronic condition can be frustrating, because conventional medicine isn’t structured to solve complex, multifactorial problems, moreso to treat symptoms, so we empathize with patients going to such lengths to try and treat their condition.
Nutritional deficiencies, which NRT seeks to resolve, are easily detectable with blood tests. Even a standard blood panel tests for many vitamins and minerals, and there are more advanced blood panels like intracellular nutrient testing which can uncover deficiencies to a more accurate degree.
As an example, magnesium is a mineral that’s incredibly important to human health, but a standard blood panel only tests for magnesium levels in the blood. This is an outdated and non-ideal way to test for magnesium because most of it is stored in tissue and bone. An intracellular nutrient test could uncover low magnesium levels that a standard blood panel wouldn’t.
We recommend that patients with chronic health issues request thorough blood work from their doctor, and even consider paying out-of-pocket for more advanced blood work when financially feasible. To solve a complex health problem you need as much information about your current health state as possible, and that information is attained through testing, not by an unlicensed charlatan poking at your joints.
Nutrition Response Testing is unscientific and a waste of time and money. There is zero proof it works, and the providers offering it are not real medical doctors.
Patients seeking to resolve chronic health issues would be best suited to undergo lab testing and try to find the root cause of their issue.