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You may have heard of it; you may have not but what the heck is Functional Diagnostic Nutrition or in short FDN?

Functional practitioners are on the rise and rightly so. Their approach is like no other and always aims to get to the root cause of symptoms or as close to as possible so healing can occur. We may not always find the root cause, but we get close enough to influence it.

What makes FDN’s approach so different to other health care professionals?

Functional Diagnostic Nutrition is not a medical approach. Medical treatment is for specific diseases or “diagnosis” and managing the symptoms only.

As FDN’s we don’t diagnose or treat symptoms. We work in a non-specific manner, identifying healing opportunities and underlying causes. Medical treatment depends on drugs and surgery in most cases. We apply wellness principles in an opt-in self-care model, not a forced in disease care model.

The one phrase we probably hear a lot from people who come to us is that they had their bloodwork done and “everything looks normal”. So, is it all in your head then? Are headaches an aspirin deficiency? Is fatigue a caffeine deficiency? Is sleeplessness an Ambien shortage?

“Symptoms are not the problem, they are the result of the problem aka dysfunction” – Reed David, founder of FDN.

Referencing Laboratories collect data on a population and report wide ranges and list the data as “normal”. Statistical medians are values where half the population is above, and half the population is below that value. Values are reported only as “High”, “In Range”, or “Low”.

“Individual Optimums” may be above, below, or equal to the statistical medians and vary from person to person. Genetic potential, type and number of stressors present, duration of stressors and beneficial stress reduction activity are mitigating factors we as FDN’s always consider.

Prevention of disease in this model of care is impossible as there are no ‘checks’ that look for early onset dysfunctions as we do in Functional Health through functional testing.

Distress of any kind (Mental/Emotional, Physical/Biomechanical, Chemical/Functional) contributes to loss of homeostasis. “Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its own internal environment to maintain a stable condition” – Claude Bernard 1865.

A weakened state of health, left unchecked, diminishes vital reserve and resiliency, leading to symptoms downstream. Our job is to look upstream using labs available to identify areas to restore function and balance and look for healing opportunities.  

One of the first areas to head south is steroidal hormones Cortisol, DHEA, Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone. Rather than treat symptoms, we adopt behaviours and therapies that ‘coach up’ that vital reserve and restore balance while we ‘coach down’ contributors to ‘Metabolic Chaos’ leading to a return of health and vitality as symptoms disappear.

As FDN’s we trust in the body’s innate intelligence to heal itself by addressing the body as a whole and its functions which work together in a relationship never in isolation.

Every Practitioner can run labs. What differentiates us as FDN’s is the fact that we don’t treat the paper. Lab values are just that, values on a piece of paper. They do not tell us why a specific person shows up with such values. The skill is not in finding a dot on a paper but to understand and know how to connect them. Therefore, we never just run one test alone. Standalone tests tell us very little. We run several functional tests that give us vital clues for a range of healing opportunities.

Our functional lab work includes saliva, blood, urine, hair, and stool and provides information about how a body is functioning, especially within Hormone, Immune, Digestion, Detoxification, Energy Production and Nervous Systems. Lab reports are explained with respect for each client’s genetic potential, history, environment, lifestyle, metabolic type and current health complaints. Data become relevant as we seek clinical correlation with each client. Lab screenings provide objective criteria with which we engage clients in a process of education, self-care, commitment, and responsibility not just treating the paper.

“In functional health we are more interested in the person who has the disease than the disease that has the person” – Reed Davis, FDN.

Given the many stressful lives people live these days it is no surprise that after time and prolonged demands our body will start stealing energy from other areas of the body and this is entirely dependent on each person’s weak links in the body and metabolic individuality. 70 – 80% of all doctor visits are for stress related illnesses. Stress contributes to 50% of all illnesses.

The bodies main concern at any given time is to preserve energy. A body in an energy deficit can steal from your immune system, detoxication system, digestion, nervous system, hormones and so on. Chronically high cortisol (which is catabolic meaning it will break things down) can even go as far as using cartilage in your joints, break it down and utilising that as gluconeogenesis to get more blood sugar happening to meet a stressor! When the body starts to be on a budget due to internal or external stressors (or both!) it is going to do whatever it needs to do to survive. But here’s a tricky part, the body is not going to share with us what its biggest priorities are at any given time and it’s often not in alignment with what your biggest priorities are.

When we raise our bodies bank account balance by focussing on supporting all functions, we give the body the choice to use it in the way it feels necessary, most likely towards its biggest priority.

“The more we see health as a practice rather than as a problem to fix, the more we encourage the body’s natural potential to be healthy”- FDN.

In my next blog post I will go into more detail explaining the functional tests I will have available for clients next year as well as more information about what ‘Metabolic Chaos’ is and what contributes to it.

If you are interested in working with me next year (early 2023), please send me a message as I currently have a growing waitlist and I will only take on limited clients. As test kits are sent directly to your home, I’m able to work with clients from all over Australia.

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