What is Functional Diagnostic Nutrition®?
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioners are health detectives. We use self-directed functional lab work and clinical correlation (your input) to uncover the root causes of dysfunction in the body. Rather than simply chasing symptoms in an endless cycle of trial and error, an FDN Practitioner will help you to understand why those symptoms are happening in the first place. While an FDN Practitioner® is assigned to your “case”, we work tirelessly, spending hours researching to connect the dots between your lab work, health timeline, and symptom history.
We compile all of these clues to uncover sources of stress on the body and identify healing opportunities. In doing so, we aim to teach you how to restore your body to normal function without having to “diagnose” or “treat”. Ultimately, the goal of the FDN Practitioner is to guide you through customized diet and lifestyle programs so that you can recover your health and learn to remain healthy for a lifetime.
I've Literally Tried it All...Can You Help Me?
Your body is designed to perform at 100%, and the functional approach helps to get your body back to optimal function. Whether you’re experiencing fatigue, depression, or unexplained weight gain, the functional approach maintains that your symptoms are not the problem, they are the result of the problem. Unfortunately, many of us spend years stuck in a cycle of trial and error in an attempt to alleviate those symptoms. Rather than wasting energy suppressing symptoms, the functional approach aims to “reverse engineer” the root cause of hidden stress in the body. We may never be able to label the root cause, but by working to restore balance overall, your body will restore function and you will feel better.
Complex Chronic Illness
I specialize in complex chronic illness, specifically cancer and autoimmune disease, and I have also seen clients dealing with the following:
- Mast Cell Disorders including MCAS
- Histamine Intolerance
- Lyme Disease and Coinfections
- Mold Toxicity and Illness
- Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
- Burnout Syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosus
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
My Approach to Autoimmunity
I work based on the three-legged stool or tripod theory of autoimmune disease. The 3-legged stool of autoimmunity theory, coined by researcher Dr. Alessio Fasano, M.D., requires the following three components to be present for autoimmunity to develop:
- Genetic Component
- Microbiome Disruption
- Accumulated Stressors/Triggers
There is no single gene for autoimmunity. Some genes have the potential to impede a body’s ability to complete normal functions when stress is applied. Functions like synthesizing nutrients, producing enzymes that break down hormones, or binding toxins to make them water soluble so they can be eliminated from the body. For autoimmunity to develop, multiple genetic mutations have to be present that leave the body genetically predisposed. These genes can be uncovered with at-home saliva tests like Nutrition Genome.
Dysfunction in the microbiome puts an inordinate amount of stress on the immune system. Not only are the beneficial bacteria in our gut involved in the production and function of immune cells, but a compromised gut lining can lead to chronic activation of the immune system and malabsorption of nutrients critical for proper immune function. Vitamin D is probably the most important nutrient for proper immune function as it is responsible for self-differentiation.
The presence of genes that predispose a body to autoimmunity isn’t enough to kick off an autoimmune disease. The study of epigenetics has shown that we have control over our genetic expression. If those genes aren’t expressed, then the body will not be open to developing autoimmunity. There has to be exposure to an environmental stressor, usually multiple stressors. The immune system mismanages that because of this genetic makeup. This is where troubleshooting, experimentation, and functional testing come in. Each body must engage in an investigation to uncover what the stressors are that are kicking off their disease process.
Every Body Is Different
Each body is different regarding what each of these three components looks like. This is why different approaches work for people with the same autoimmune diagnosis.
We will work together to understand what your specific microbiome disruption is and work through it. It's not always as simple as intestinal permeability (leaky gut).
We'll dig into your genes to figure out what your specific genetic predisposition is and create a plan to address it. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as a single autoimmune gene or gene for your specific autoimmune diagnosis. It's more complex, involving genetic mutations that affect the building blocks of your bodily systems that can leave you vulnerable to stressors.
We'll work together to take an inventory using lab data of all the things putting stress on your mind, body, heart, and soul and work through them to allow your body to come back into balance naturally.
What You Can Expect
Here's what you can generally expect during our engagement together.
Receive Lab Kits and Complete Intake Forms
The first step will be to get relevant lab kits shipped out to you. As you wait for those kits to arrive, you will receive several intake forms to fill out at your earliest convenience within the online HIPPA-compliant portal (PracticeBetter). You will also be asked to fill out a food and mood journal.
Lab Sample Collection
Once you receive your lab kits, you will follow the directions provided for each kit to collect your samples in the comfort of your own home. Samples may be hair, urine, saliva, stool, or blood (may require lab draw). You'll submit your samples as directed with your payment information to the labs.
Initial Results & Recommendations
Once I have all of the lab test results, nutrigenomics report, completed forms, food and mood journal, and any additional documentation you'd like me to review, I will put together your initial protocol. At this time, we will schedule a 90-120 minute Results & Recommendation session.
Your lab test results will be uploaded and shared with you via PracticeBetter. Together, we will walk through a detailed analysis and clinical correlation of your lab results and the comprehensive diet and lifestyle self-treatment protocol prepared specifically for you. Supplement and nutraceutical recommendations, when appropriate, based on findings, will be offered to you via Fullscript at discounted rates.
Several 60-minute follow-up sessions will be booked at an agreed-upon frequency based on your needs for the next 3-12 months, depending on your package. These sessions are intended to help track progress, troubleshoot, and provide any guidance that might be needed to help you through your journey. These sessions are held via Zoom video conference. I will always be on video so you can see me, but you are always welcome to join without video based on your comfort level. Between follow-up sessions, you will have direct access to me through the PracticeBetter chat feature.
Autoimmune Success Stories
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Package Options
**Actual packages are customized to your needs and goals.
- Screening Questionnaires & Personalized Analysis
- Self-Directed Lab Access & Expert Interpretation
- Case Dependent Functional Testing
- Sex + Stress Hormones
- Food Sensitivities
- GI Pathogens, Digestion, Detoxification
- Minerals, Heavy Metals
- Mold, Mycotoxins, Mitochondrial Function
- Additional lab tests as needed based on individual needs. Additional costs apply
- Nutrigenomic Analysis
- Customized Self-Treatment Protocols and Recommendations
- Supplement Recommendations
- 15% Discount on Supplements
- 90-Minute Initial Results & Recommendations Session
- Ongoing Protocol Optimizations
- Ongoing Messaging Support: Unlimited ability to reach out with questions to help keep you supported and motivated along the way
- Live Follow-up Video Calls (up to 60-minutes via Zoom video conference)
- Access to Supportive Materials and Resources
- All the Behind-the-Scenes Time Spent on Your Case
- A Grand Opportunity to Transform Your Health and Life (PRICELESS)
Lichen Sclerosus Resources
I work with a lot of women (and a few men) suffering from Lichen Sclerosus (LS) since I am also an LS Warrior, and there are very few resources for LS. Here are some helpful resources for LS sufferers while you wait for your consultation or your lab results.
- Lichen Sclerosis Comprehensive Diet Guide - If you'd like to troubleshoot independently and are not ready to work 1:1, learn about your specific nutritional requirements.
- Lichen Sclerosus Provider Directory - Search for doctors who at least know what LS is in your area.
- Lichen Sclerosus Overview - Written by Dr. Jill Krapf, M.D., one of the leading medical specialists on LS.
- The Lichen Sclerosus Support Network - All things LS support
- Sharing is Caring Lichen Sclerosus Facebook Support Group - A non-judgemental and open group for peer-to-peer support and sharing.
- My Secret Topical Salve Recipe and Other Resources - Tools that may be helpful while you wait.