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Why Should People Hire You as Their Health Coach? - Vimeo

For most people, change can be a challenge; however, as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) health coach, you can make that change an inspiring and positive journey.

Whether it be for energy problems, moodiness, fatigue, foggy thinking, weight gain, food sensitivities, vague medical diagnosis, and the list goes on…

Your training as a FDN health coach provides you with superior functional assessment skills and proven strategies, methodologies and tools to help your clients transform their lives.

Providing structure, accountability, expertise and inspiration; as a FDN health coach you empower your clients to grow, increase self-awareness, commitment and confidence beyond what they can achieve on their own.

By helping your clients picture what life would look and feel like at their optimal level of health and wellness, your FDN training provides you with the  knowledge and tools to best support and motivate them to create a plan that makes their short and long-term goals a reality.

So why should people hire you as their FDN health coach?

Because your FDN training helps you to understand the mental, emotional, physical, bio-chemical, behavioral and lifestyle factors that are required to improve your client’s overall health and well-being.

That’s why Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) practitioners are the most successful health coaches in health and wellness.

And that’s it for this week’s Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Vlog of the Week.

Isn’t it time you help your clients on a deeper level?

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The Growing Trends in Health Coaching - Vimeo

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As FDN practitioners, we so commonly work with clients suffering from symptoms related to thyroid issues: chronic fatigue, feeling cold all the time, constipation, weight gain, dry skin, hair loss. Some come to us with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Some suspect it. They hope that thyroid replacement hormone can solve all of their problems. Or they wonder why it’s not working.

As FDNs, we know the root cause of these symptoms isn’t hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is itself a symptom of other underlying issues that can trip up the delicate balance of the body’s metabolic homeostasis.

While it’s true that Hashimoto’s or thyroid cancer can damage the thyroid and impair its work, it’s also quite possible to have a perfectly healthy thyroid gland and still suffer from hypothyroidism.

The production of thyroid hormone is a complicated process. At each step of this process, dysfunctions and deficiencies can hinder the messaging, production, transportation, and uptake of active thyroid hormone.

Let’s take a closer look at how it works, and what can go wrong
  1. The Hypothalamus gets things started by sending a signal that thyroid hormone is needed. The hypothalamus is a gland in the brain that manages the body’s autonomic nervous system. One of its jobs is to monitor metabolism and body temperature. For example, when your core temperature drops, it sends Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) to the pituitary gland, requesting more thyroid hormone to help raise your body temperature.
  • What can go wrong: If the hypothalamus isn’t working properly, it can’t effectively send that request to the pituitary, and so the required amount of hormone won’t be produced. Causes of hypothalamus dysfunction include things like head trauma, infection, radiation, eating disorders, malnutrition, and excessive iron build-up in the body.
  1. The pituitary passes the message on.  In response to receiving the TRH, the pituitary sends Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to the thyroid gland, telling it to produce T4 and T3.
  • What can go wrong: If your client is under chronic stress and the pituitary is also being asked for more cortisol, the request for thyroid hormone will be deprioritized in favor of cortisol.


  1. The thyroid gland gets to work. The thyroid receives TSH, signaling it to produce thyroid hormones. Thyroglobulin, created by the follicular cells in the thyroid, contains tyrosine and iodine. Through the action of the Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) enzyme (aided by selenium, zinc, manganese, and other nutrients), it binds them together to create T4 and a small amount of T3. Tyrosine plus four iodine molecules is T4. Tyrosine plus three iodine molecules is T3.  (T1, T2, and Calcitonin are also produced, but are less studied in terms of their role in metabolic function).
  • What can go wrong: Nutrient deficiencies of tyrosine, iodine, selenium, zinc, or manganese can inhibit thyroid hormone production. A thyroid damaged by Hashimoto’s autoimmunity or thyroid cancer will also be unable to effectively create the needed thyroid hormones.
  1. Hormones load up for transport. Thyroid Binding Globulin (which is produced in the liver) binds the T4 and T3 to transport it to the liver and gut for conversion.


  • What can go wrong: If the liver is congested due to things like exposure to toxins, food sensitivities, or gut pathogens, it won’t be able to produce as much TBG. This means that even if enough hormones are produced by the thyroid, they cannot be effectively transported for conversion.
  1. The liver spins straw into gold. The liver is where 60% of the conversion from T4 to active and bioavailable T3 takes place. Here, the deiodinase enzyme system removes one iodine molecule from T4 to create T3 for the cells.
  • What can go wrong:  If your client has elevated cortisol or a congested liver, the ability to convert from T4 to T3 will be compromised.
  1. The liver also provides the brakes. 20% of T4 is converted into inactive reverse T3 (rT3), slowing metabolism down when needed (such as when you are sick and the body would like to conserve energy). While too much rT3 is not a good thing, we do need some to keep the body in balance. The liver also produces two other inactive T3 forms: T3 sulfate (T3S) and triiodothyroacetic acid (T3AC), which are sent to the GI tract for conversion.
  • What can go wrong: Elevated cortisol levels due to stress drive up production of rT3, which results in slowed metabolism. High levels of rT3 are often correlated with things like chronic stress, trauma, heavy metal toxicity, calorie-restricted diets, infections, inflammation, liver/kidney dysfunction, and certain medications and nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, the same congested liver that impaired T4 to T3 conversion, also impairs conversion of T4 to T3S and T3AC, which means less potential for active T3 conversion in the gut.
  1. The gut adds fuel to the metabolic fire. Healthy gut flora in the GI tract produces an enzyme called intestinal sulfatase, which converts that T3S and T3AC sent from the liver into active T3. This is just one way in which a healthy microbiome enhances immune health.
  • What can go wrong: If your client’s gut is compromised due to things like food sensitivities, excessive sugar/carbs, SIBO, or parasitic infections, they miss out on the opportunity to maximize bioavailable T3.
  1. Thyroid hormones goes out for delivery. The liver produces Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG), which binds the hormones and carries them through the blood stream to the cells and tissues that need them.
  • What can go wrong:  When the liver is congested and those TBG levels are reduced, the ability to transport active hormone to the cells is slowed. On the other hand, if too much TBG is created, a higher percentage of hormones become bound up, which reduces their bioavailability. Lastly, if iron levels are inadequate to effectively move the TBG through the blood, the T4 builds up. The body clears excessive T4 by converting it to more inactive rT3.


  1. Cells and tissues fuel up. The TBG releases free T3, which is brought in through receptors on the cell membrane to be utilized by mitochondria in order to keep our metabolism humming along in a state of homeostasis.
  • What can go wrong: Elevated cortisol due to a variety of stressors can inhibit free T3 from actually entering the cells. Oxidative stress damages cell membranes, making them less absorbent. If the liver is too congested to effectively clear estrogen, that excess estrogen will compete with T3 at the TBG receptor sites, reducing the cell’s ability to access that bioavailable T3. Once in the cell, a number of nutritional issues can inhibit utilization. Key suspects may be a potassium deficiency, the presence of toxins such as chloride from bleached flour products and fluoride, or over-consumption of raw goitrogenic vegetables like kale, cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli.


Rinse, repeat

To make matters worse, when a lack of thyroid hormones lowers metabolism, gut motility as well as liver and gallbladder function are slowed. This makes an already congested liver even worse. And those with low thyroid hormones have a harder time managing stressors, which also taxes the HPA axis, deprioritizing thyroid hormone. So, it becomes a vicious cycle.

What can you do as an FDN practitioner?

Just understanding the intricacies of the process of creating and assimilating thyroid hormone can help us to better identify the root cause of hypothyroidism and create more successful DRESS protocols. It also helps us give our clients a deeper understanding about the relationship between food/lifestyle choices and healthy thyroid function.

The Advanced Thyroid Course offered through ADFNP, taught by fellow FDN practitioner Whitney Morgan, goes through all of this in much more depth. It also covers hyperthyroidism, autoimmune thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s, Graves’ Disease, and Addison’s Disease. You’ll learn:

  • Detailed physiology of the thyroid and related disorders/diseases
  • How various dysfunctions and deficiencies in the body affect thyroid hormone production, transport, and uptake
  • How to properly test for thyroid dysfunction
  • Which tests are available to FDNs, and the pros and cons of each
  • How to interpret these tests to understand what part of the process is broken
  • How to support those different potential functional issues through DRESS
  • What supplementation strategies may be most effective based on dysfunction type

This comprehensive course is a must-have for those who want to be best positioned to successfully understand, identify, and support thyroid issues in their practice.


Note from author: I have personally taken this course and am impressed by all the information packed into it. Whitney is incredibly knowledgeable and shares what she knows in an easily digestible format.  I am far more prepared for dealing with clients with complaints relating to thyroid function because of it. And lifetime access means I’ll always be able to refer back to it when dealing with tricky cases. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

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Today it seems like pretty much everyone has a website. As a health coach, you want to reach more people so that you can help them rebuild their health. You may consider expanding your efforts online to increase the exposure of your business – but you are still undecided about the value of using a website to help market your brand.

Here are the top 10 reasons why your health coaching business needs a website. People expect you to have one

How often do you look up a business online that you are considering purchasing from or doing business with? The Ecommerce Foundation released their United States Ecommerce Country Report that shows 88% of people research the goods and services that they are considering purchasing before spending their hard-earned money. Also, the public will expect you to have a website. Public opinion of companies that do not have a website is lower and it may prevent people from wanting to work with you.

It builds consumer confidence in your brand

As a health coach, you ARE your brand. Helping people to know more about your business and what you can do to help them builds consumer confidence. Those who choose to not have a website will have a lower level of consumer confidence. Being without a website prevents you from sharing the type of information with potential clients that can help them to be confident that you and what you offer can help them. If people don’t have confidence in you, they won’t risk spending their money buying your services. For coaching services and programs that can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, having the confidence of potential clients is a must!

It helps show people who you are

A website is your online business card and a whole lot more! It gives you an opportunity to share who you are with potential clients. As you share your mission, why you are passionate about what you do and other insights into your personality, you begin building rapport with potential clients before you ever speak with them. People purchase for emotional reasons before logical reasons. So, when they get to know who you are through your website and begin to connect with you on an emotional level, they will be more likely to do business with you. They need to feel that they can trust that you can help solve their problem. Getting to see who you are can help with that.

You can reach people 24/7

You certainly can’t be awake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week working on marketing for your business. But your website can! While you cannot answer questions that potential clients may have, often your website will provide some of the information they need until you can respond to any email questions or phone calls during business hours.

The competition has one

Let’s face it, all the health coaches who are marketing themselves well and who have created a name for themselves have websites. They understand the need for a website for marketing and have taken the time to put one in place. They will be the ones that most of the 88% of the online researching public will go to. This goes back to building consumer confidence. A potential client will be much more confident that you can help them if they feel that they know you, like what you offer, and see that you’ve had success with other clients.

It gives people a taste of what you do as a coach

Potential clients want to know what types of programs you offer and how you work (example: one-on-one or in groups). Every single coach is different and offers different things. Therefore, potential clients are looking for coaches that offer what they need. Being able to access that information on your website allows potential clients who need the services you offer to find you and learn more about what you offer and how you coach.

You can share your products and services

Many health coaches offer far more than just coaching. Many also sell eBooks, meal plans, supplements, online courses and more. Having a website handy can allow you to sell any products that you have along with the services you provide.

You can set yourself up as an “expert”

The information you share can help potential clients to understand what you know. Those coaches who have blogs on their sites can share even more valuable knowledge. This in turn helps them to be seen as an expert in the field by potential clients. Sharing information that is relevant to how you help your clients helps to boost a potential client’s confidence in your ability to help them…and that translates to more business, and helping more people.

It increases your value

As a coach, you want potential clients to see the value in working with you. Having a good website can do that by helping increase connection and relatability. Your website is what will help people to connect with your brand and your message on an emotional level, and that’s important when it comes to gaining more business!

It allows a greater reach

Without an online presence, you must rely on local word-of-mouth and other means of local advertising to get your name out to those who may need your services. With a website, you expand the amount of people that you can reach. An increased reach gives you an opportunity to work with a greater number of people. That allows you not only to help more people to rediscover wellness, but it brings you more money as well.

Having a website is a worthwhile investment. The benefits it brings can help your business grow. It should be considered a vital part of your marketing presence.

The post 10 Reasons Your Health Coaching Business Needs a Website appeared first on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.

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Many people experience heartburn, acid reflux or indigestion regularly. Heartburn is one of the many common symptoms that most now accept as normal. According to the National Institute of Health, 20% of Americans suffer from heartburn symptoms at least once a week. Almost half of these people experience symptoms daily. As with most health problems, modern medicine treats the heartburn symptoms of acid reflux without trying to understand the cause. Unfortunately, popular methods of treating heartburn symptoms worsen the most common cause – and the treatment often leads to additional health issues.

  Too much stomach acid?

Stomach acid backing up into the esophagus through the valve at the entrance to the stomach causes the pain of heartburn. The lining of the esophagus can’t handle the extreme acidity of stomach acid. Because of this, acid reflux can cause considerable damage, leading to ulcers and even to cancer. It’s commonly believed that acid reflux is caused by excess production of stomach acid, but when you take a closer look at how the stomach functions, this doesn’t make any sense.

The production of stomach acid naturally decreases with age. In fact, we produce about half as much stomach acid by the time we’re in our forties as we did in our teens. Despite this decrease, the incidence of acid reflux increases considerably with age. If acid reflux is more common with older people who produce less stomach acid, then how could excessive acid production be the cause? Children and teenagers tend to produce much more stomach acid than adults and they have a low incidence of acid reflux.

A better explanation of acid reflux is based on the function of the lower esophageal sphincter. This sphincter is the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. If this valve is functioning properly, it will prevent stomach acid from coming back up into the esophagus. But, with impaired function, stomach acid can easily make its way into the esophagus, causing painful damage to its lining. Ironically, poor function of the lower esophageal sphincter is often associated with low levels of stomach acid. This contradicts the basis for conventional heartburn and acid reflux treatments. While some cases of acid reflux are caused by too much stomach acid, it’s very rare.

Why Stomach Acid is Important

Stomach acid breaks down the dense food we eat into small particles. The intestines absorb the particles and distribute them throughout the body. This absorption can only occur when an adequate amount of stomach acid is available to create an acidic environment in the small intestine. Food isn’t fully digested when low stomach acid levels exist. Improper digestion prevents nutrients from being absorbed well. Low stomach acid levels even impair the absorption of supplements.

People who experience improper nutrient absorption due to low levels of stomach acid may suffer from malnutrition. This may even be true if they’re overweight. This malnutrition can lead to a wide variety of diseases including anemia, heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. The lack of nutrient absorption prevents amino acids from being extracted during the digestion of protein. Amino acids are required to create the neurotransmitters that promote good mental health. Therefore, poor production of stomach acid can even result in mood disorders.

Stomach acid also protects us from infection. The acidic environment it creates in the stomach prevents intestinal bacteria and fungus from migrating there. That environment kills infectious organisms and prevents them from entering the intestines and blood stream. Low levels of stomach acid increase susceptibility to infection. And it allows more undigested protein molecules to enter the intestines. As a result, the intestinal lining becomes susceptible to damage that can lead to hyperpermeability, also known as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut allows undigested protein molecules to be easily absorbed into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, these molecules often cause immune responses throughout the body. These immune responses often lead to food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases.

The Big Mistake of Most Heartburn Treatments

Modern medicine is all about chasing symptoms. Most doctors also hold the false belief that excess levels of stomach acid cause heartburn and acid reflux. As a result, the most common treatments for these problems is to reduce stomach acid levels with antacids such as Tums, Rolaids or Alka-Seltzer. Or to use acid suppressors such as Nexium, Prilosec or Zantac.

Antacids work by neutralizing existing stomach acid. Suppressants are much more invasive. This is because they prevent the stomach from producing acid. Most conventional medical treatments aim to relieve symptoms but do nothing to address what’s causing them. Conventional treatments for heartburn and acid reflux are even more flawed; they relieve the pain of heartburn by reducing stomach acid levels so that it won’t come back up through the malfunctioning lower esophageal sphincter, however some heartburn treatments reduce acid levels down to almost nothing. While this relieves pain, it worsens the digestion and absorption problems associated with low levels of stomach acid and increases susceptibility to serious health issues.

Helping Heartburn and Acid Reflux…Naturally

The best way to avoid heartburn and prevent acid reflux is to support proper function of the lower esophageal sphincter. The following are some practical ways to do this.

Drink more water

Dehydration can lead to acid reflux by causing the lower esophageal sphincter to relax.

Avoid foods and beverages that weaken the lower esophageal sphincter

This includes chocolate, coffee, mints, sugar, alcohol and onions.

With the agreement of your client’s physician, avoid medications that can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter

This includes bronchodilators such as theophylline, albuterol and ephedrine, and NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. It also includes calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, diazepam, valium, nitrates and Demerol. Avoid Cigarettes as well.

Avoid overeating

Large meals put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. Eating too much food encourages it to open when it shouldn’t.

Avoid anything that increases intra-abdominal pressure

This includes activities such as bending, heavy lifting and tight clothing.

Elevate the head of the bed by 4 to 8 inches

This will keep gravity working in your client’s favor so it will be less likely for stomach acid to drain into the esophagus.

Test for food sensitivities

Have clients avoid the reactive foods that they are sensitive to. These foods can contribute to lower esophageal sphincter problems. If your client can’t get tested, at least have them consider eliminating grains and dairy from their diet temporarily. These are the two most likely food groups to cause sensitivities. It will be important for them to read labels to avoid hidden foods they may be sensitive to that could prolong the problem.

Reduce stress!

When the body goes into fight of flight mode, it automatically decreases production of stomach acid. Digestion slows down. Those who experience chronic stress may also have chronically low stomach acid. Practicing regular stress management can help stop the constant stress response in the body and is a step towards helping promote good stomach acid production.

It’s also helpful to avoid foods and beverages that can irritate the lining of the esophagus. This includes citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, coffee and carbonated beverages.

Supplements for heartburn

Hydrochloric acid is naturally produced by the stomach and it is the primary component of its digestive fluid. It’s also available in supplement form. HCl is a convenient way to increase low levels of stomach acid. For people who have a chronic low stomach acid, hydrochloric acid supplementation can be an effective way to improve digestion. Taking it often prevents or even reverses the health issues caused by malnutrition.

People who need hydrochloric acid supplements may also benefit from digestive enzymes, especially pepsin. Although hydrochloric acid supplementation is generally safe, it does pose some risk. People with gastrointestinal lining damage could worsen the damage by taking hydrochloric acid. Because of this, it’s important that your client works with a physician who is knowledgeable about acid reflux and its connection to low stomach acid levels. If possible, have them find a physician who uses the Heidelberg test to assess their current level of stomach acid production. For more information on this test and to find physicians that use it, visit Heidelberg Medical Incorporated.

Additional Information  

For more information on heartburn and acid reflux, you might want to check out Why Stomach Acid is Good for You by Jonathan Wright, MD. Dr. Wright is one of the most widely recognized supporters of natural medicine who provides a lot of great information in this book. You’ll find more detailed information about the true cause of heartburn and acid reflux. You’ll read about the many problems caused by the digestive issues associated with low levels of stomach acid. You can learn more about the dangers of popular antacids and acid blockers and get recommendations about a variety of natural supplements that will help relieve heartburn and prevent acid reflux.

The post Why Antacids Will Never Cure Heartburn appeared first on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.

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People regularly use store-bought household cleaners to clean their homes. But they often don’t know that when they do, they expose themselves to harmful chemicals. These chemicals may take a toll on their health when used each week.

Earlier this year, the University of Bergen in Norway concluded a 20-year study. This study followed 6230 participants who were between the ages of 20 and 44. The participants had their lung function tested up to three times during the study.

The participants were divided into three categories: those who didn’t clean, those who cleaned their home at least once a week and those who cleaned for a living. The study showed that women who used chemical-filled cleaners once a week or more had a decline in lung function. This same group showed an increase in asthma.

Those women who clean regularly experienced a decline in lung function that was the equivalent of smoking ½ to a full pack of cigarettes daily. The study also showed that men were not similarly affected.

If we are now seeing lung damage from these products, what other damage is being done to the body?

Unfortunately, these cleaners don’t just affect the lungs. Another system of the body that is prone to being affected by chemical cleaners is the endocrine system. All the glands of this system create the vital hormones that the body uses.

Many cleaners used in households across the globe contain chemicals known as endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors interfere with the body and its natural messaging system. The chemicals do this in a few ways: they block hormone function or mimic hormones in the body; they can also accumulate in the organs that produce hormones, disrupting production; and they can compete for vital nutrients in the body, leading to nutrient deficiencies.

Problems household cleaners cause

Hormone disrupting chemicals can impact the reproductive organs. They can cause lowered sperm count and reduced fertility. They can also cause birth defects and developmental problems in infants and children. Exposure to these chemicals also contributes to thyroid hormone imbalances and can create hormone imbalances throughout the body.

Many of the chemicals found in commonly used household cleaners are also known carcinogens. A carcinogen is a substance that contributes to cancer in the body. Many of the chemical ingredients that people are exposed to regularly are both carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting.

The companies that manufacture common household cleaners must disclose ingredients in their products that the government has deemed “chemicals of known concern”.  But manufacturers do not have to disclose all ingredients in their products. And many ingredients that harm the body have not been recognized as a concern by the government.

How does use of these products impact the health of the people you work with?

These products may contribute to issues such as:
  • Infertility
  • Trouble carrying pregnancy full term
  • Birth defects
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Respiratory issues such as asthma
  • Cancer
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • Skin irritation
  • Allergies
  • HPA axis dysfunction
  • Eye irritation
  • Diabetes
  • Heart damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Inflammation

If you are working with clients to help them rebuild their health, you must encourage them to reduce exposure to harmful cleaning products. Convenience keeps most modern consumers reaching for store-bought cleaning products. Your clients may be used to the convenience as well.

But they can begin using simple, safe ingredients to clean that can help them avoid the chemicals that make them sick. Ingredients like castile soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax can be great for household cleaning. These ingredients require a little elbow grease to work, but work well.

If you have a client who struggles to give up the convenience of store bought cleaners, then there are options. Using EWG.org’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning Database can help. This database allows you to look up 2500 different cleaning products and gives a breakdown of the potential health hazards of each. It assigns a grade to products and will allow your clients to choose safer products to use in their home.

As exposure to harmful chemicals decreases, the stress on the body does as well. For clients working to reverse nagging symptoms, a reduction in stress will help to speed the process along.

What healthy cleaners do you use and recommend to your clients?

The post What Do Household Cleaners Really Do to the Body? appeared first on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.

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Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Blog by Functional Diagnostic Nutrition - 2M ago

As humans, we often take good health for granted. Even worse, we fail to recognize the bad habits we have developed that can negatively impact our health in significant ways. With the increasing use of cell phones, laptops, tablets and video games, these present us with another cause for concern. Use of these devices can lead to chronic poor posture. And those who fail to correct this pattern often experience a negative impact on their health as a result. It may be impacting the health of your clients as well.

What are some of the ways that health can be affected by poor posture? Damage to the spine

When using a computer, tablet or smartphone, people tend to jut their head forward. This places undue stress on the spine. If not corrected, this position leads to degenerative disk disease and herniated disks in the spine. Lack of natural, healthy movement in the spine can also cause it to become inflexible. This makes it more challenging to move freely increasing the likelihood of chronic back pain. This can prevent your clients from moving their body regularly and therefore getting too little exercise.

Loss of lung capacity

Sitting with improper posture has a direct effect on the capacity of the lungs. Poor posture can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%. This in turn influences the heart and vascular system. It also prevents your body from pulling in the amount of oxygen that it needs to run efficiently.

Shoulder and upper back pain

Most people have experienced pain in this area after sitting with improper posture for a long period of time. With bad posture, the muscles of the shoulder and upper back experience constant stress. The body sends a pain signal that communicates that a problem is occurring and needs attention and correction. For most people with bad posture issues, this is the first official warning sign that they encounter.

Increase in depression

A study was done with 110 university students in which they were asked to use a slouched position or skip for three minutes and record how they felt after. Those who used the poor posture reported that they felt sad, lonely and isolated while using that posture. When a person uses poor posture, the reduction of lung capacity can and will cause the body to receive less oxygen. Lowered oxygen levels have been linked to both depression and anxiety.


Sitting improperly for long periods of time causes fatigue. Slouching constricts blood vessels and prevents the lungs, heart and other organs from working efficiently. It causes stress to the muscles and tendons, which then require extra oxygen to function in order to counteract the high levels of stress and tension. Since the body is already dealing with a lowered oxygen supply due to reduced lung capacity, it simply won’t have the energy required to function at optimal levels. This causes fatigue that can range from mildly irritating to debilitating.

Digestive problems

When sitting down and working all day each week, the digestive organs will become compressed. This prevents them from working the way they should. This slows down the digestive process and can result in abdominal discomfort and constipation.


Slouching and sitting with bad posture does more than just create tension in the neck and shoulders. That tension can continue up through the facial muscles and into the scalp. This excess tension can result in recurring tension headaches.

Increase in stress

A recent Harvard study showed that people who sit with good posture experienced a 25% decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone. Shallow breathing caused by poor posture stresses the heart and lungs. That in turn creates a stress response throughout the body, causing cortisol levels to rise.

Although bad posture can influence health negatively, there is good news. Bad posture habits can be changed.  As your clients learn correct posture, they can experience improvements in health symptoms that were a result of sitting improperly.

Things that your clients can do to minimize and reverse the effects of poor posture:
  • If they work at a desk and hunch over a computer, have them stand up and stretch for a couple of minutes every half an hour.
  • Share some specific posture exercises. You can find exercises that can help posture from experts online. A quick Google or YouTube search will help you find exercises that can help your clients reverse poor posture habits.
  • Encourage your clients to take a yoga class. Regular yoga practice led by a qualified yoga instructor can help to strengthen the core and improve posture. An expert yoga instructor will also make sure that your clients are using proper posture during class. This can translate to improved posture overall.

Being mindful of posture and making the necessary changes will help your clients protect their health. Being aware of their bodies and getting professional assistance when necessary can help them correct bad posture habits. This will help them be healthier, happier and avoid the pain and health complications of bad posture.

The post 8 Ways Poor Posture Damages Health appeared first on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.

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There are many forms of heart disease. However, atherosclerosis causes the most concerns. Those with atherosclerosis experience hardened arteries that restrict blood flow to the heart. Scar tissue created when the body repairs damage to cells in the arterial lining causes atherosclerosis to occur. The scar tissue may also rupture. If this happens, blood clots may form, which can reduce or completely block blood flow to the heart. When cell damage occurs, plaque accumulates there in response. One of the components of plaque, cholesterol, earned its bad reputation simply by being at the scene of the crime.

Many accept that the buildup of plaque happens in the arterial wall, not at its surface. Damage of the cells directly results in plaque buildup. However, much of the general population still believes a myth about plaque buildup. Many believe that high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol cling to the arterial lining, accumulate and result in plaque buildup.

Good Health Requires Cholesterol

The membrane of a cell provides physical protection. It influences cell function by controlling interaction with hormones, neurotransmitters and other influential substances. It also controls the transfer of nutrients. Cholesterol is a key component of the cell membrane. This makes cholesterol an important factor in the health of the trillions of cells that make up the body.

Important sex and corticosteroid hormones require cholesterol to be produced. Another hormone that requires cholesterol for production is vitamin D. These hormones effect human function in nearly every way imaginable. And low levels of cholesterol will result in hormonal deficiencies and imbalances that can lead to major disease.

Nerve synapse development also needs cholesterol, which serves as a protective coating on nerve fibers. Low levels of cholesterol have been shown to be associated with memory disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Myth of Good and Bad Cholesterol

There are three types of measurements for cholesterol: total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. LDL and HDL are not actually cholesterol but are the lipoproteins that carry it through the blood. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to tissue. HDL carries it away from tissue and back to the liver to be metabolized and reused.

LDL is regarded as “bad” because it brings cholesterol to arteries and HDL as “good” because it carries it away from arteries. The amount of cholesterol being transported throughout the body indicates of how much need the body has for it. A high level of LDL indicates an excessive amount of cellular damage that needs to be repaired. It doesn’t indicate that the liver is malfunctioning and producing too much cholesterol.

High Cholesterol Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease

Many still believe that cholesterol and saturated fat sticking to artery walls causes atherosclerosis. However, the scientific community now widely accepts that cell damage and inflammation that occur within the arterial lining are to blame.

When damage to the cells occurs, the immune system activates to repair it causing inflammation. During this process, repair materials can collect. Scar tissue can form, and the substances created by the immune system can cause additional damage. When this happens within the lining of the artery, it becomes restricted and less elastic. As cellular damage continues to occur, these effects accumulate and eventually result in atherosclerosis.

Certain factors cause cellular damage and inflammation in the lining of arteries. These include stress, high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, exposure to toxic chemicals, lack of quality nutrition, and infection. Lifestyle contributes to all these factors and can be changed.

Ancel Keys

In 1953, physiologist Ancel Keys published a chart showing that the number of deaths caused by heart disease increases sharply along with an increase in fat intake. He wanted to identify consumption of saturated animal fats as the cause of heart disease.

The research used to create this chart included data for 22 countries. But Keys only used data for 6 of them. And he conveniently excluded the 16 other countries that didn’t support his theory. Many of the excluded countries showed either low incidence of heart disease despite a high fat intake, or they showed a high incidence of heart disease with a low-fat intake.

Contradicting Evidence

In the early 1960s, Professor George Mann of Vanderbilt University visited the Masai tribe of Kenya. He went to solidify Key’s theory. But instead, he found evidence that strongly contradicted it. The diet of this tribe consisted entirely of milk, blood and meat. They ate no vegetables whatsoever. And they consumed excessive amounts of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat.

In direct contrast to Key’s theory, they had no incidence of heart disease. And their cholesterol levels were 50% lower than those of Americans! Study of the Eskimos showed similar results.

Modern research on cholesterol, when looked at closely, shows a different story. Research shows that most people who die from heart disease have lower-than-average cholesterol levels. However, many researchers still support the idea that cholesterol causes heart disease. Corporate influence and dishonesty may be corrupting the research data.

But plenty of research on modern heart disease exists that dispels the cholesterol myths we’ve come to accept as common knowledge.

The Irony of the Healthy Heart Diet

Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol have become the enemy. Because of the false connection to heart disease, doctors and media warn the public to consume as little of these nutrients as possible. Even the US government’s “My Plate” website cautions people about consuming saturated fat. The site connects the eating of saturated fat to an increased risk of heart disease and encourages people to stop eating it to reduce that risk.

The body needs saturated fat and cholesterol to maintain proper cell function.  Restricting them plays a significant role in the high incidence of poor health in modern society.

Some do much better than others on a high carbohydrate diet. But nobody does well on a diet high in processed carbohydrates such as bread and pasta. These foods cause drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar imbalances contribute to diabetes, but also damage arteries.  They also cause the inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis.

Government recommendations encourage people to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils. But nearly all vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and other polyunsaturated fatty acids that are highly susceptible to oxidation. These factors promote the inflammation and tissue damage associated with atherosclerosis.

Who’s to Blame?

Most of the information we receive about cholesterol comes through mainstream media. But much of it originates from the pharmaceutical industry.  The drug companies have successfully convinced people of the great risk of heart disease.  This has gotten so out of hand that doctors now even prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication to children!

A shocking number of people currently take cholesterol medication. The drug ads downplay the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Cholesterol medication is a $29 billion-dollar industry – one that keeps many families fed, puts many kids through college, and provides many executives with big houses and fancy cars. Because of the financial interests, there is tremendous incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to have people believe that their cholesterol level puts them at risk for heart disease.

Is Cholesterol Medication the Right Choice?

The pharmaceutical industry has significant influence on politics, medical schools and doctors. As a result, many of the doctors that prescribe you cholesterol-lowering medication directly feel this influence. Current guidelines suggest that anyone with a total cholesterol level above 200 mg/dl, is at risk for heart disease and should be on medication. Based on more recent recommendations, some doctors prescribing medication for anything above 185 mg/dl.

An honest analysis of heart disease research shows some populations have a low incidence of heart disease with cholesterol levels averaging around 250 mg/dl. In many cases, low cholesterol levels can be more dangerous than high levels, particularly in the elderly, and particularly when low cholesterol levels are a result of medication.

The Drug Industry

The pharmaceutical industry is literally turning millions of healthy people into patients and customers with their questionable guidelines. Many of your clients may be a part of this pattern.

With a good understanding of cholesterol’s role in the human body, it should be quite clear that high levels are much more of a symptom than a cause. And taking medication chases the symptoms, instead of getting to the heart of any dysfunction. Chasing symptoms is a temporary solution at best.  And it completely neglects the lifestyle factors that cause cellular damage and inflammation in the arteries.

Statins, the most popular type of medication prescribed for lowering blood cholesterol, are often quite dangerous and create more risk than they reduce. The reasons why this medication is so dangerous are discussed thoroughly in two of the books listed below.

Further Reading

It is up to you to form your own conclusions and do more research on this topic. Most people need to be exposed to multiple sources of an opinion before opening their mind to it. The following three resources are great recommended reading to help you get a better and deeper understanding of the issues surrounding modern cholesterol beliefs.

Arm yourself with knowledge. This can help you have better information to share with your clients who may be getting information from their doctor. It can help you put together a better plan of action with them that can help them improve their health.

Recommended Books

The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD. This book addresses 9 common myths regarding cholesterol. And it delves deep into the flawed and manipulated research that “supports” each one.

$29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol by Justin Smith.  An excellent resource that tells you everything you need to know about cholesterol, the dietary factors that influence it, and the questionable intentions of the pharmaceutical industry. Like Dr Ravnskov’s book, it also analyzes much of the “supporting” research.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, based on the work of Westin A. Price. This book provides undeniable evidence that primitive cultures who regularly consumed significant amounts of animal fat and cholesterol enjoyed exceptional health and suffered from very little disease.

The post Busting the Myths About Cholesterol appeared first on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.

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Most women experience mood swings during pregnancy. But why does this happen? And how can symptoms be eliminated? Mood swings are also a common symptom of PMS. In both cases, a hormone imbalance is the most common cause. Unfortunately, hormone imbalance is quite common. And unhealthy habits that today’s lifestyle promotes are typically to blame.

Female Hormone Imbalance

The major hormones involved in menstruation and pregnancy are estrogen and progesterone. In general, estrogen promotes tissue growth and progesterone regulates it. When an imbalance between these hormones develops, serious problems can result.

Low progesterone has become the most common form of hormone imbalance in women. It typically results in a condition called “estrogen dominance.” Even if estrogen levels are normal, they’ll still be high in relation to the low level of progesterone. This can cause mood swings, breast soreness, migraines, irregular periods, water retention, weight gain and much more. If left untreated, it can lead to fibroids, infertility, endometriosis, cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Production of both estrogen and progesterone dramatically increases during pregnancy. As a result, the severity of estrogen dominance can increase if the body is not able to meet the increased demand for progesterone. In extreme situations, this can even result in miscarriage.

What Causes the Imbalance?

The hormone pregnenolone creates progesterone. Cholesterol creates pregnenolone. Cholesterol has been demonized in the media and so we’ve come to fear cholesterol in the diet. Because of this, many people follow a low fat and low cholesterol diet. This deprives them of the materials needed to create important hormones like progesterone. Also, the brain and nervous system require cholesterol to function. Because of this, the body will always sacrifice hormone production to send cholesterol to these vital areas of function instead.

Exposure to xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens also plays a role in estrogen dominance.  Xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens come from both chemical and plant-based sources. Both substances act like estrogen in the body. Plastics, pesticides, and other agricultural chemicals contain xenoestrogens. Soy products contain phytoestrogens. Eating organic food and avoiding storing food or water in plastic helps to reduce exposure to xenoestrogens. Avoiding soy reduces exposure to phytoestrogens.

The Contribution of Stress

Stress contributes to the majority of chronic illness. It also contributes to progesterone deficiency. Progesterone comes from cortisol, the body’s primary stress and anti-inflammatory hormone. Chronic exposure to stress will greatly reduce the availability of progesterone for other purposes. And common sources of chronic inflammation such as infection and food sensitivities will do the same.

Many of us live with excessive stress. Many eliminate saturated fat and cholesterol from their diets, eat conventionally farmed foods coated with chemicals, and unknowingly eat foods to which they are sensitive. In fact, this often occurs on a daily basis. Each of these things can cause estrogen dominance. And modern society promotes all of them!

Finding Balance

Can eating specific foods resolve all of this? While diet is part of the solution, it’s far from being the complete solution. Searching for a particular food or supplement to resolve a specific problem is nothing more than a natural form of chasing symptoms. The solution to all health problems begins with living a lifestyle that includes healthy food, appropriate exercise, quality sleep and regular stress management.

Because cholesterol is a precursor to many essential hormones, we must get past the fear that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease.  A few good sources of saturated fat and cholesterol include beef, pork, butter, ghee, and eggs. Be sure to get these foods from quality sources. And consider following the Metabolic Typing Diet to understand what foods would be best for each person.

For some with chronic cases of hormone imbalance, lifestyle changes won’t be enough.  When too much progesterone is used to produce the cortisol needed to handle frequent stress and inflammation, additional support may be needed. This is because the body’s preferred pathways of hormone creation can become altered. When this happens, lifestyle improvements are still necessary, but often not enough.

Supplementation of bio-identical hormones is often needed to re-establish the proper pathways. However, for this to happen, any existing food sensitivities or chronic infections must be addressed. For this type of treatment to be effective, and safe, proper testing is absolutely essential.

Interested in learning how you can test hormone levels with your clients? The FDN Certification Course can show you how! Learn how to run tests and to look for subtle patterns of dysfunction that doctors often miss. This allows you to create holistic protocols for your clients that are targeted to their needs. 

The post Hormone Imbalance During Pregnancy Causes Mood Swings appeared first on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.

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Over the past few years the ketogenic diet has become all the rage. The ketogenic, or keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet. It typically limits carbohydrate intake to 30-50 grams a day. Carbohydrates break down during the digestive process into glucose to be used as fuel. But with such a low amount of carbohydrates, the body no longer has adequate glucose to burn as fuel. It resorts to burning ketones instead. This puts the body into a state of ketosis.

Ketosis occurs as the body breaks down fat cells to use as the primary fuel source for the body. Because of this, weight loss and ketosis typically go hand in hand. The use of ketones as the primary food source can also reduce inflammation and has been shown to be beneficial in diseases such as epilepsy and diabetes.

While the keto diet may be promising for some, for many it could compromise thyroid function.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland that sits at the base of the neck. It releases hormones that control metabolism. It also plays a key role in other important functions such as body temperature, immunity, reproduction, body weight, breathing, heart rate and cholesterol levels. The thyroid also controls both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Although small, the thyroid influences every organ and cell in the body.

In the US, as many as 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease. And women are 10 times more likely to suffer from thyroid dysfunction than men. Unfortunately, as many as 60 percent of those with thyroid conditions aren’t even aware of the issue.

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland is under-performing and not producing enough thyroid hormone. It is the most common form of thyroid disease in the world.  Symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, memory problems and depression.

There are four main hormones produced by the thyroid; T1, T2, T3, and T4. The two thyroid hormones that regulate the metabolism are T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).

When the thyroid isn’t functioning the way it should, symptoms can become severe. To help themselves feel better and lose weight, some may look to the keto diet to help.

Why the keto diet may not be the best choice for hypothyroid

Problems can occur when someone who already has unrecognized thyroid dysfunction reduces carbs to such low levels. Without adequate glucose from carbohydrates, the thyroid cannot do its job.  It needs glucose to convert T3 and T4 from inactive forms of the hormone to active forms.

Without the glucose produced from carbohydrates, production of the active forms of these hormones will come to a standstill. This can worsen symptoms for those who have pre-existing hypothyroidism. It can be particularly damaging to those who have an autoimmune thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s disease.

So restricting carbohydrates with the ketogenic diet may be adding fuel to the fire when it comes to thyroid dysfunction.

A better solution?

What can you do if you have a client that comes to you and wants to jump on the keto bandwagon…but have symptoms of thyroid dysfunction? At FDN, we always emphasize how important it is to stop guessing and start testing! FDN currently offers an advanced course on thyroid function.

In this course we will teach you how to identify the signs of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism from a functional perspective.  We’ll show you what questions to ask and teach you how to determine why dysfunction is present.  More importantly, we will teach you how to address the cause of the dysfunction.

You’ll learn about the creation, transport and conversion of the thyroid hormone, how other organs and body systems interact with thyroid function to create a healthy body system, and what happens when something goes wrong.   By the end of this course, you will know how to recognize the underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction.

Are there tests?

Of course, there are tests! We’ll teach you about the in-depth tests that can help your thyroid detective work, when to test and what the results tell you about the health of your client.   We will show you how to interpret the results and understand what those results mean about specific thyroid function.  What’s more – you’ll learn and how to evaluate free t4, t3, reverse t3, tsh, tbg and thyroid antibodies.   You will also learn methods on how to help your clients home test.  We’ll walk you through a few case studies and familiarize you with lab evaluation practices.

Want more?  We’ll talk about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, and the role of the immune system in thyroid autoimmunity.  You will learn how commonly prescribed medications can disrupt thyroid function, what nutrients can support it, and other factors that can support thyroid function.

We want you to have all the right tools at your fingertips.  We’ll not only give you all that, but we will also give you access to nutritional guidelines for healing thyroid dysfunction and restoring health to your clients, as well as which dietary toxins are the most common offenders in dysfunction.   Learn the role of goitrogens in thyroid health, the effect of inflammation, leaky gut & autoimmunity on thyroid function.

Become a thyroid expert with this in-depth course!

The post How the Keto Diet May Harm the Thyroid appeared first on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.

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