Dr Nina Brunker, BSc, MBChB, MRCGP, AFMCP
Since before going to medical school, I have always been fascinated by the role of lifestyle in both illness and wellness. Once at medical school, I really wanted to understand why the patient was experiencing symptoms and was constantly looking for connections back to their history or their environment. And as a junior doctor, when I saw patients with chronic health problems, I was curious about what came before – how did they get here and at what point did things fall out of place?
My introduction to Functional Medicine
In many ways, without necessarily realising it, the functional way of thinking was already there but something was still missing. Having worked in the NHS for over 10 years, I’ve seen first-hand how the chronic disease burden continues to grow despite doctors prescribing more medication. It felt like most of the time we were just kicking the can further down the road. I knew I had to do better. So when I first came across The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), it was a light bulb moment for me and everything suddenly clicked. Addressing the root cause rather than just the symptoms, using food as medicine, appreciating the complex interplay between genes and the environment – all this immediately struck a chord and I haven’t looked back since.
I chose to train with IFM not to provide an alternative, but to complement my conventional medical training. These two are not competing disciplines. The Functional Medicine model simply provides a different lens and an additional toolkit through which to manage chronic health and lifestyle problems. With its highly personalised and individually targeted approach, which takes into account not only the patient’s whole biology, but also the environment on a local and a global scale, I really do believe that Functional Medicine is the future.
Hippocrates famously said that all diseases start in the gut and this is where my love for Functional Medicine first began. I am passionate about working with patients, who suffer with digestive symptoms – everything from bloating to reflux to IBS symptoms. Equally, I am interested in mitochondrial dysfunction and can help with feeling tired all the time, adrenal dysfunction, and other energy-related problems, as well as hormone imbalances, menstrual problems and thyroid disorders. I have a particular interest in the role of insulin resistance in metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, PCOS and fatty liver disease. I am a certified Nutrigenomics Practitioner with Lifecode Gx and so nutrigenomics (the branch of science that aims to understand how food and nutrients impact gene behaviour) features heavily in my approach.
Training and qualifications BSc, MBChB, MRCGP, AFMCP
I completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in 2005. After this I attended Warwick Medical School from where I graduated with an MBChB in 2009 and then went on to complete my specialist training in General Practice in London in 2016.
In 2018 I completed the foundation course in Functional Medicine (AFMCP) with The Institute for Functional Medicine and am currently in the process of obtaining full certification. I continue to work as a GP in the NHS, as well as Private Practice, alongside my Functional Medicine work.
My interests and hobbies
Outside of my Functional Medicine work, I continue to be a General Practitioner, working for both the NHS and the private sector. My husband and I have a daughter and a son and we live in southwest London. If I am not wearing my medical hat, I can be found on my Peloton bike, playing with my kids, cooking for friends and family, sipping an oat milk latte while walking outdoors, or losing myself in a good book. I can consult in English and in German.