016: Reed Davis on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition

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Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and Hormones
Wellness Mama » Episode » 016: Reed Davis on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition
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The Wellness Mama Podcast
016: Reed Davis on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition

This week, Reed Davis of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Program and I talk about practical nutrition for hormone health, weight loss, bone health and much more.

Random fact: People with a lot of moles tend to live longer than people with a lesser number of moles. Also, one human hair can support 3.5 ounces. That’s about the weight of two full size candy bars, and with hundreds of thousands of hairs on the human head, makes the tale of Rapunzel much more plausible, just still fictional.

Reed is Founder of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) Certification Course. He is a Clinical Advisor at BioHealth Laboratory where he helps practitioners to interpret test results and develop natural protocols that restore function instead of just treating symptoms. Reed is one of the most successful and experienced clinicians in the world, having provided functional lab assessments to over 11,000 people for hormone levels as well as adrenal, digestion, detoxification, immune system, bone density and chronic, stress-related health problems.

Topics Discussed with Reed Davis:

  • What the endocrine system is and how it affects the entire body.
  • What happens when part of the endocrine system like the thyroid, adrenals, hypothalamus, etc get out of whack?
  • What are some of the most common problems that happen when the endocrine system gets out of balance.
  • Why conventional treatments don’t always work for hormonal and endocrine problems and what actually does work.
  • The role stress plays in hormone balance and health.
  • Practical ways to address stress and hormone balance
  • Some warning signs to look for when hormones are out of balance

Reed also delves in to the specifics of how to help conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, and infertility with nutrition.

Reed’s advice for a healthier life? Wake up with a positive attitude. He also recommends the books:

You can find out more about Reed and his Functional Diagnostic Nutrition training program here. He also has a program for patients called FDN self care where you can get lab tests and specific help.

[toggle title=”Read Transcript”]
Katie: Hi, and welcome to episode 16 of the Wellness Mama podcast where I provide simple answers for healthier families. I’m so excited for today’s guest, but a random fact for your day first. Did you know that people with higher numbers of moles tend to live longer than people with fewer and that one human hair can support 3.5 ounces which is about the weight of two full-size candy bars? And with hundreds of thousands of hairs on the human head, that makes the tale of Rapunzel a little bit more plausible, but definitely, still fictional.

And today’s guest and I are gonna talk about hormones and hormone balance which affects both skin health and hair health, so it’s gonna be a fascinating conversation. Our guest is Reed Davis who is the founder of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program or FDN certification. He’s a clinical advisor to BioHealth Laboratory, and I’ve taken a lot of their tests, and they’re really good tests. He helps their practitioners interpret the test results and develop the protocols to really restore health and not just treat symptoms. And he’s extremely successful and a very experienced clinician, and just a wealth of knowledge. And his passion is teaching people how to properly assess their chronic stress conditions and health conditions, especially when it comes to hormones and the immune system and digestion and detoxification. And I could not be more excited to talk to him today. Welcome, Reed.

Reed: Thank you so much, Katie. It’s really a pleasure to be here with you.

Katie: Thanks so much for being here and for agreeing to talk to us. And I’d love to just jump right in. I know that you do a lot with hormones, so could you give us a primer on the endocrine system and that delicate balance that it keeps in our body and what it does?

Reed: Well, I sure can. And again, thanks very much. I liked your intro and I’ve been trying to help people for long, long times. The life’s work, just like it is yours, so birds of a feather, you know. And the endocrine system is an amazing system of glands that kind of talk to each other. So they do that by secreting hormones, and they secrete them directly into the bloodstream, and they travel around the whole system, circulatory system, they reach just about every cell.

And any cell that has the receptors that recognizes that hormone will then be the effect of that hormone. So hormones get secreted out and when they reach a cell that knows what it is, it will have its effect upon that cell. And it works in that way, kind of like the nervous system, if you think about it. There’s the brain, you know, and it has all these nerves through the spinal cord and they branch off, and those nerves also go to every cell. So it’s just another system that helps the body communicate and function. And all these should be working really well. And the one particular thing, like I just mentioned, there is the brain, and then the spinal cord, and all the things that branch off. Well, the endocrine system, kind of, has master glands, too. This is called the hypothalamus and pituitary.

Now, you said that this was a show that likes to keep things simple so that families can follow and understand it. So I’ll try to do that, although it is a bit complex. So you have this endocrine system that there’s hormones flying around the body, communicating, just helping you function. Just kind of like the nervous system, it helps you function. And the master glands of the hypothalamus…and in the hypothalamus, there’s this junior executive partner, kind of, the pituitary. So from there, most of the other glands get their signals. You’re talking about the pineal gland, you know, that makes melatonin, helps you sleep at night time, or the pancreas which includes blood sugar levels and also produces a lot of enzymes to help you break down your food.

There’s the ovaries, of course, involved in reproduction, the testes for men, same thing. I know your listeners will be very familiar with the thyroid gland because that controls metabolism, you know, how fast you metabolize in your body. And then, of course, the superior thyroid. And believe it or not, Katie, I find this really interesting. The entire gastrointestinal tract, the size, in fact, it is a huge part of your immune system, and obviously, it’s where digestion happens and you’ve chopped food, but it’s also kind of a big hormone plant.

And then last but not least, everyone’s familiar with the adrenal glands. And they, of course, help us handle stress and have some other functions, too. So it’s a really neat system, and the good news, too, is that we’re able to actually get some hormone levels through blood, of course, but also through urine, which is easier. And easier still is saliva testing. So it’s a great system, it’s gotta be working in balance, and it’s neat when it is. And it’s not so neat when it isn’t, right?

Katie: Yeah, exactly. So talk about that. Talk about what happens when part of that endocrine system gets out of whack, and does that affect the rest of the parts or does it just kind of affect that part of the body, and what’s that cycle? What happens?

Reed: Well, it’s really interesting what happens. In my world, you know, we care a lot more about why it’s out of whack, you know. So there’s this way of looking at it where, “Oh, look, this hormone’s low.” And so you might just wanna take that hormone. You know, you can certainly run a blood test and doctors do all the time and, “Oh, look, your thyroid’s low. Here’s some thyroid hormone.” Now, our view would be, “Why is this out of whack?” And this, you know, it just kind of lump it all together into stress. You know, the world that we live in, whether it be mental/emotional stress from your job or your relationships, finances, things like that. But also physical stress, you know, we take a pounding out there, car accidents, and bed posture, and weaknesses, and all kinds of things like that.

And then, of course, is the stress of the environment, there’s chemicals, and even your body makes chemicals. This is where it gets interesting because, you know, one dysfunction, stress in one area is just gonna throw everything else off. So you know, again, there’s sort of…matrices are used, diagrams are used, there’s charts that tell you how the endocrine system works. And we find that when it’s out of whack in one area, that it’s not ever good enough to just work on that one area, to answer your question. You really have to work on it all at the same time. That’s what our program that we looked at is a very holistic-based program. But, yeah, so that’s a little bit more about what happens when it gets out of whack.

Katie: Awesome. And what might be some of the conditions or symptoms or problems that someone would see if maybe something was out of whack, but especially maybe those people like me, for a long time, who knew something was wrong and had some symptoms but the doctor would just test, like you said, one thyroid hormone and say, “No, you’re fine.” What are some of those things people may experience and how can they know that something may be wrong even if they’re not getting answers?

Reed: Well, that is a really good question, Katie. And I’m certain we’ve all experienced, or a lot of us have, you know, not feeling the way we used to feel, you’re not your best. And it could be something simple at first, you’re tired, you’re gaining weight, or you’re not sleeping well, or it could be a little more serious from there. You might have, you know, skin conditions, your hair’s falling off, or you know, it just…so it goes on and on and on. And what I would like to say is that everything, basically, from allergies, and you know, the more serious, acne, rosacea, blood sugar problems, insomnia, as we mentioned, but even headaches, even that sort of foggy thinking thing, indigestion, bloating, digestive problems.

We just mentioned that, you know, the gastrointestinal tract is kind of a big endocrine organ. So you’ve got the fatigue, like we mentioned, what about people with inflammation, you know, walking around with achy joints or achy muscles, you know? You find yourself not wanting to go up the stairs or even just getting in and out of a car can be kind of a pain. Certainly, there’s the relationship things, low sex drive is a big problem, irregular menstrual cycles and things like that, more mood stuff, depression, anxiety.

A lot of people don’t like this term, but emotional fragility where you just kind of not able to handle things like you used to. And it gets even more serious, talking of hypertension. We mentioned weight loss or weight gain and things like that. So I call all of that stuff chronic stress-related disorders. In other words, it’s not something you caught from kissing or from eating bad food or, you know, like an infectious disease, these are not infectious diseases. They’re not like the measles where you caught it from the kids or whatever. These are chronic stress-related conditions.

The body starts breaking down the minute that you get stressors that build, and build, and build. And again, the first thing you feel, like you were saying, you know, it’s like, “Oh, I’m tired, I don’t feel like my old self.” And when you go to the doctor, they run blood work and there’s nothing wrong with you, it looks normal because they’re really looking for advanced diseases. And they’re there to save your life, and they’re great people, and I’m not a “Us versus them” kind of guy, I’m just saying, “You don’t need them, yet.” They’re saying, “Look, you don’t need me. You know, I’m here for you if you’re really bad, like have an infectious disease. And in the meantime…so there’s nothing wrong with you according to your blood work, so what I can do is treat your symptoms.” In other words, they can give you something to feel a bit better. There’s lots of drugs that work very well that, you know, for symptoms.

You know, so those are the things. Everything I just mentioned are very common conditions associated with chronic stress, and then, of course, the endocrine system getting out of whack. And I can go into details how that works, if you want, but that’s pretty much, you know, what you get.

Katie: Yeah, definitely. So in these times when maybe conventional treatments aren’t as effective or they’re just not taking the whole person into consideration, what are some solutions people can start looking at or like little lifestyle changes they could start making to see if they notice a difference?

Reed: Well, it might sound a bit simplistic that if someone has allergies or acne or, you know, the insomnia, headaches, and things like that, that it’s stress-related. They look more to, you know, “I need a diagnosis and a treatment plan.” What we say is that the best treatment is to adopt, you know, healthy habits, a holistic lifestyle. And I’ve categorized, in my practice, the five areas that I think are most important. So if you don’t wanna just take medication for the symptoms and you really would like to get to the underlying conditions, the things you can actually fix in your body, you need to know a couple things.

One is how the body works, and where can you task, you know, where can you run a little test to identify something to work on? In other words, where can we get some leverage on the functions that are dysfunctional that are resulting in the symptom? So you have to understand the way the body works is the symptoms, they’re the last thing to occur. There is already kind of what we call the disease process, something’s out of bounds, and that’s because, you know, something’s malfunctioning. It could be within that endocrine system, like you mentioned, and the hormones, but it could be digestion, it could be the immune system, it could be your detoxification system, and it could be all of them. So that’s where we go to address more than just the symptoms. And obviously, you know, I’ve put together a program. I’ve been doing this for 15 years.

I came out of the environmental law background, so studying the environment, and I switched over to helping people who basically were sick because of it, and it led to me wanting to investigate just about every health problem, and then the system of assessing using some lab work, and then protocol. So to answer your question, is if you don’t want conventional treatments that are only addressing the symptoms, what can a person do? Well, if you look at your hand and you have five fingers, and you label these fingers D-R-E-S-S, your five fingers, use five letters, D-R-E-S-S, and that spells dress. So it’s very easy to remember. It’s just neat way of…and maybe I could quiz you on what you think the D, the R, the E, the S, and the S stands for. The things you can do is D is obviously what? Your diet.

Katie: Diet, yeah.

Reed: Yeah, so you need to eat really good, high-quality real food, and you need to eat it in the right proportions: the right amount of protein, the right amount of fat, the right amount of carbohydrates. And then there’s selections of which proteins, which fats, which carbohydrates. Because everyone needs a sort of…there’s different, depending on your background, your genetics and things, there’s different ratios of that. But you need to look at food as in two ways, so the macronutrients, protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and then the micronutrients, which is what? That’s the vitamins, and the minerals, and the trace minerals, and the phytonutrients, and other things we get out of food.

So it’s very, very, very important to…almost nothing is more important to your health than what you put in your mouth three or four, five times a day. And obviously, drinking good water, you know, staying well hydrated, and getting the elimination system. But all that comes from diet. So you know, we have some ways to figure that out, but I’ll just give you a little bit of background on the diet part of it. You’re genetically programmed to eat a certain amount of protein.

Everyone today or, at least, what’s really popular today is the Paleo diet. And I’ve nothing against the Paleo diet. It’s actually…the theory is very solid. You should probably eat the way your ancestors ate 500 generations ago. So if you go back 500 generations, that’s a long time ago, you know. My people were living in caves and kind of like what’s now England and maybe France, you know, this sort of Western Europe, you know, that’s my ancestry. So I need to eat like them. And it was a lot of meat, and fish, and very little in terms of grains and things like that. So I’m basically a protein type. And you might be one, too, Katie. I’m not sure of your background, but not everyone is.

There are actually, let’s say your ancestry was South American jungle, and you lived in the…well, you know, they actually ate much more carbohydrates and they’re perfectly programmed to eat a lot more carbs, so they’d be more you’re carb type, and that’s legitimate. So Paleo diet is fine as long as you know which Paleo diet. And so, you know, let me give you another extreme example. It’d be the Eskimos, the Inuit. I’m actually Canadian. So way up above of Northern Canada are these people who are perfectly programmed, genetically, from thousands of years of programming to eat about 95% protein, if you can, and fat. So protein and fat is 95% of their diet, and they’re perfectly healthy when they eat that way. And as soon as they don’t eat that way, they get sick.

And right now in the upper parts of Canada, not only the Inuit, but there’s the Cree nation and these other like almost Eskimos, the deer people, they used to be called, because they live off of deer, and they’re all sick. There is just hundreds of government clinics treating people for diabetes because they’ve gotten off their native diet, they’re eating, you know, donuts and drinking coffee and they’re sick, all of them, because they’re so genetically programmed to not eat that way.

So I hope that I’m not going into too much, but diet is just absolutely critical, and it’s a matter of genetic programming. You are gonna have to figure out, each person listening, the correct amount of protein, fat, and carbs as a good place to start, and you’ll feel better. I’ve had people…we actually run a little test, I mean, about typing tests that tells us where to start. And so I’ve had clients who were eating reduced pure carbs for breakfast, you know, and washing it down with a cup of coffee, which is a stimulant, and then wondering why they were tired at 10:00 in the morning.

And then since we changed their diet to one that was programmed, they were programmed, “Wow, hey, I’ve got energy. I can get through to lunch on a good solid breakfast. What a theory.” What a concept. But, yeah, it actually works in terms of starting to get the body functioning properly. When you eat right, it helps your hormones. When you eat right, it balances your nervous system. You know, we don’t, you know, and I can go into so much detail on how the diet affects the nervous system, and depending on how much time you wanna give me, I know you’re not gonna be here for hours and hours, but that’s kind of what it’s like. You know, it’s so interesting.

So the D for diet, that is the number one first place to start, and making sure you’re staying very well hydrated, and that you’re eating food that helps you eliminate properly. You need to be having your bowel movements on a very regular basis, and if you’re not, you’re not eating right.

And I can explain the rest of the DRESS, it’s the D-R, the R stands for rest which means get a good night’s sleep. We could talk a whole lot about how that helps the body, and balances your hormones, and helps your nervous system up. Then the E is obviously exercise. We’re designed to move. You can’t detoxify your body if you’re not regularly exercising. Obviously, it’s good for the heart, and the lungs, and everything else. And the first S of the…so D-R-E is diet, rest, exercise, that’s no surprise to anyone. The two Ss stands for stress reduction is the first, and supplementation.

And so I’m trying to give you an answer to your question which is, you know, where can a person look? They can look at how they eat, are they going to bed in time? Are they exercising? And by the way, sleeping through the night and feeling refreshed in the morning. Are they exercising properly? And are they reducing stress in every way they can? And then, are they taking their supplements? And the reason supplements are important is because food is not very high quality these days. We’ve really just we’ve ruined the earth and we’re getting food so commercially, you know, harvested. Even if you’re getting, eating vegetables, and fruits, and things like that, there’s a lot of issues around the quality. And so I do think supplements are necessary. Vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and things like that are very important.

But let’s go back to the first S, the stress reduction. That’s where I think that testing is really important that we do. We look for food sensitivities, we look for, you know, parasites, bacteria, funguses, and stuff can be identified. So we can get rid of those kind of stressors for people. And the rest is just a very empowering system of step-by-step, you know, diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction, and supplementation. Was that too long of an answer? Are we doing okay?

Katie: We’re doing great. That was perfect. I was, while you were talking about the first one, I was like, “I bet exercise is in there and probably stress and sleep.” But I love how easy to remember that is. But, Reed, I did not know that you were an environmental specialist before you got into the health side. So I’m gonna throw a question we hadn’t talked about, but talk about environment. What things should we be looking for in our home environment, our outdoor environment that might be not so helpful to our health?

Reed: That’s a really good question. And there are about 80,000-plus chemicals in use today, especially in the United States. We’re one of the most chemically-treated populations. And it’s all sort of accidental contact. So there’s over 80,000 chemicals being manufactured and in use. And some of them are used in agriculture, some are used in other, you know, industry, and in our clothing, and in our…just everywhere. They’re called…the term is ubiquitous, which means they are everywhere. Now, only several hundred of them have been tested for safety.

So when we know something’s really, really, really nasty, you know, the government gets involved and runs a few tests and decides if it’s, you know, what kind of labeling it should have, basically. It doesn’t mean we won’t get exposed to it, but at least, we should be warned that it’s around, you know. Like when you drive into a gas station, you see a sign on the pump that says, you know, “This area is known to have things in it that could cause cancer.” Well, we know, you know, “Hold your breath when you’re filling your tank.”

But what I’m saying is that most of them aren’t tested, so guess what the test is? We’re the test. You know, the population is…we’re the rats that…we’re just figuring out, “Well, this is what happens,” and what we know happens is a lot of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors, they can ruin your hormones, and lots of other sort of dysfunction, they can ruin your nervous system, the brain.

We just know that there are very unhealthy things. And thank goodness there are environmental laws, I mean, which actually didn’t even…the true sort of environmental law era didn’t start until about 1970. So prior to 1970, there was very, very little…there’s like a Clean Water Act that got passed in about the ’50s, and that prevented some mistreatment of water but in terms of groundwater and drinking water, and things like that. But really, the Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, didn’t start until the ’70s. Richard Nixon actually signed the EPA. And so, through…you know, I don’t wanna go too much into it, but they can’t keep up. The chemical manufacturers and users are way, way, way ahead of our knowledge of what it’s doing to us.

So, you have to be careful. You have to read labels. You wanna watch out for things like plastics and, again, clothing. I’ll tell you this. To make it real, Katie, maybe someone else might identify with this. I bought a new sofa, and for about two months, it was still outgassing. And every time, I sat on it, I fell asleep. Now, it’s a comfortable sofa, and you know, I do get tired, but I had this…it was the…and as you looked up the treatment, the fire retardant treatment, and it turns out that it’s a sedative. When you smell that outgassing and that sort of thing, it actually knocks you out. It is basically knock-out gas coming off my new sofa. You know, I had to put it on the porch for a while, let it outgas a little quick. And isn’t that interesting how that works?

Katie: That’s amazing, yeah. And it’s hard, I think, especially for moms to find that balance. Because on the one hand, I think you could probably find something wrong with anything out there and get in such a state of fear that you can’t go anywhere or do anything or touch anything, but it is so important to just be aware of all the things we’re exposed to, and just to be careful, especially of the really dangerous ones. And how crazy that your couch had sedatives in it.

Reed: Yeah, the fire retardants, and there are clothes, especially kids pajamas. You should shoot it with fire retardants, and I guess if you put pajamas on, you’re supposed to go to sleep, but you don’t want it to be because of the chemicals coming off their clothing, you know. And, yeah, you know, and unfortunately, these big manufacturers, they lobby real hard against labeling laws and things like that. They don’t want us to know what’s in that stuff.

But what you can do is you can start to pay attention to what’s going on with your child. You can look at them and see if their complexion changes. A lot of kids’ ears turn red, for instance. One of the most common so sort of sensitivities, if there’s a chemical sensitivity going on, you can see their eyes might dilate, their eyes might droop, they get sort of sleepy, they might go into a fog, and they kind of staring off into space, or their ears could turn red, like I said, or the behavior might get even agitated and things. So you really, certainly, need to pay attention and be your own investigator. It is like we all have to be private detectives, health detectives.

Katie: Yeah, and I love that term that you use. Just from a practical standpoint, I was really…I had researched a lot about flame retardant chemicals in kids’ sleepwear and also in mattresses. And so that was a priority for us. We really researched and saved up and invested in organic bedding and mattresses for them. And there are now, thankfully, some good brands of pajamas that are organic cotton that don’t use flame retardants. And we’ve made that switch just because you spend so much of your life sleeping and in your sleep clothes, and it really can be a big source of toxins that you wouldn’t think about.

Reed: Yeah, it’s incredible.

Katie: Yeah. And I would love to…we’re eventually running out of time here, but I would love to touch on how food can especially affect certain hormone conditions and what those practical pathways that that happens are. Because I know a lot of women who have been told by doctors, “You know, food doesn’t affect your hormones. You can’t make your fertility come back by eating certain foods. It’s not causing your infertility.” Not my current doctor, but I had doctors tell me in the past, “Food does not affect your thyroid, your thyroid condition is not caused by eating any certain foods or not eating any certain foods, or just do whatever you want and just take medicine.” And I know we both know that’s not always the best solution, but talk about, practically, what are some of the ways that food affects hormones directly?

Reed: Well, I can tell you exactly from lots of observations. I’ve tested thousands and thousands of people. It’s kind of my claim to fame, Katie, is that I worked in a clinic for years and years, and I was called the case manager and health director of the whole place. Every person who walked in the door had to talk to me and tell me what their problems were. Now, we had chiropractic, and acupuncture, and massage, and nutrition, and lots of, you know, ways of helping people. But I became a good health detective. And so, one of the most obvious things, and we kind of just covered it, if you’re gonna follow a holistic lifestyle of D-R-E-S-S, diet is critical.

Now, diet could be very stressful, and stress is always gonna throw your hormones off. I mean, the number one cause of, obviously, hormone issues is stress. So when I say that word stress, people think, they just think of the mental/emotional thing, “Oh, I’m not that stressed. You know, my life is good. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and my husband makes lots of money, and my kids are angels,” or something like that. So they don’t think they’re stressed, but food, the wrong diet can be very stressful. And it starts to put a burden on your adrenals and the cortisol that is produced in response to stress.

So there’s two ways that food can stress you out. One is that it’s the wrong metabolic-type diet. In other words, if you’re a protein-type but you live on carbs, that’s stressful to your body. It’s always trying to adapt. It’s trying to create energy from the wrong fuel mixture. And that’s how we need to look at it. Like, it’s like the right fuel mixture. It’s the right amount of protein, fat, and carbs. Your cells need to produce energy so they can do their job. They don’t need to be taught what their job is, but they do need to do their job well. And to do their job, a cell needs energy, and it makes energy out of food.

So if you’re not getting the right fuel mixture, and for your genetics, you’re protein type, and you’re not eating that way, or if you’re a carb-type and you’re eating too much protein, same thing, you won’t produce energy on a cellular level, and that cell won’t do his job properly. Now, that’s the best description of stress, you know, that you can…in terms of diet, you’re not producing energy. Now, that’s just for the body. It causes, this is a good term for you guys, metabolic chaos. And so that’s not something that’s a diagnosis. You can’t go to your doctor and he says, “Oh, you’re suffering from metabolic chaos, here’s your prescription.” There is no prescription for that. The only thing that will straighten out that metabolic chaos is the step-by-step, you know, kind of get the diet right, get to bed on time, and all the holistic living that we get to do.

So diet can be very stressful in that way, that you’re just not producing energy at the right way. But it can also be stressful another way. There are both genetic and acquired immune problems or just basically inflammatory problems. So your body will create inflammation if you eat the wrong foods. And then inflammation will start to break you down for…and it can break down the lining of the small intestine that can lead to dysbiosis in the colon. It can also lead to you’re not absorbing food very well. It can lead to you’re not protecting yourself, your immune system isn’t…because 75% of your immune system is in the gut. So now you’re catching or you get yeast overgrowth. You get yeast overgrowth now. That’s sort of a bad thing.

And then other bugs can move in, bacterias can move in, and they can start building condominiums and inviting their buddies, which are the big, bad guys like parasites and things. So there’s stress from eating wrong for your genetics and then there’s stress from eating foods that we’re very sensitive to. There’s just some foods, and it changes from person to person, that’s why we actually like to test. But one thing that you could do at home now is eliminate foods. Pretty much everyone listening probably is sort of just getting rid of gluten and dairy, for instance, and that’s less stress on your system. Now, that less stress in your system is gonna mean, “Oh, your hormones, there’s not so much demand for high cortisol levels.” And those high cortisol levels, you know, aren’t gonna have the negative impact they have.

Again, back to that idea of metabolic chaos. There’ll be less metabolic chaos when you eat right for your type and also don’t eat foods that you’re sensitive to. And so, you know, I could go on and on about that. It’s really interesting how, you know, the direct relationship between stress and cortisol levels. You know, cortisol raises your blood sugar, or where could that lead to? Obesity, type two Diabetes, eventually, and things like that. So don’t let anyone tell you that food doesn’t affect your health, especially the hormones.

Katie: Yeah, I think that’s so important and I love your approach of…because you see so many groups that wanna totally eliminate different macrobiotics like, you know, no carb or low carb or low fat or no fat, and obviously, none of those approaches at their extreme are good for you, but I think it’s so important for people to figure out what specifically works best for their body and not take any diet program, you know, at face value. But then once the macrobiotics are figured out, focus on the most nutrient-dense bioavailable micronutrient-rich foods that they can find within those guidelines and what works best for them. Because you’re right, we’re kind of fighting a losing battle with our food system and we need all those nutrients that we can get in whatever framework we have.

Reed: Absolutely. It’s really important to support your local organic farmers and these kind of things because diet is critical. And again, we like to run some tests, but you can do elimination diets and they work very well in a lot of cases, especially with your kids. You know, if your kids have the issues around behavior or attitude or energy levels or these kind of things, the number one thing you can do is start thinning out the diet and finding. There’s lots of places you can go to look for tips on that. Yeah, it’s really critical.

Katie: Awesome. Well, in a minute, I wanted to tell everybody the special link where they can go find out if they wanna get more distinct testing and learn your programs. But first, I have a few questions I always end with and the first one is what is some advice you wish someone had given you earlier in life?

Reed: Some advice that I wish someone had told me earlier in life. Oh, man, I might have to make some confessions if I tell you that. The number one thing I absolutely know, I’m 61 years old, I feel most of the time like a teenager still. You know, I have that enthusiasm for life, I love to learn, I’m a real optimist. I mean, to me, the cup is not half full, it’s three-quarters full. That’s the way I go about my day. And I get up every morning, and I pray, and I just get into a state of gratitude and thank God for, you know, everything I have going for me and blessings on all the people I know.

But the number one thing, Katie, would be I wish I took better care of my body. When I was younger, I was very hard on my body. I’ve had 15 motorcycle accidents. I used to do some recreational drugs, for instance, and you know, a lot of sort of bad things I don’t do anymore. But I sure wish I took better care of my body when I was younger. And so, again, I’m in my just early 60, I just turned 61 a few weeks ago. And I’m really doing my best now, but there are some things that, you know, you kind of like…here’s a good concept for you to think. Maybe we could…we talked about metabolic chaos and that’s at different levels in each one of us. There’s some metabolic chaos…you know, it just means things aren’t working quite right.

Whether it be on a cellular level or organ level or a whole system level or even within certain tissues, there’s some chaos, and that’s why you might not feel or look your best. And so everyone’s got different levels of that. And when it gets really bad, that’s where you need help, you know, straightening it out.

I’ve trained professionals how to do this, but, you know, kind of go through step-by-step process of figuring out where within that metabolic chaos do we need to make improvements functionally? Again, it could be hormones, immune system, digestion, detoxification. There’s some markers that allows us to get some leverage in there. But the other thing, what is required for us to work the way we do is called vital reserve. Everyone has varying degrees of vital reserve. It’s the life force. It’s an innate healing ability that the body has. An example would be if you get a cut on your arm accidentally, you just keep it clean and it heals.

Well, guess what? In some people, it heals a lot slower, or in some people, literally, it might not heal at all if they get a cut. And so that’s a vital reserve that needs to be in effect. And we do very, very well if we have enough vital reserve left to, you know, counter in the metabolic chaos. And so that’s my job in what I practice, to help people straighten out. And it’s, by the way, what allows us to appreciate physicians and doctors who work on people where there is no vital reserve.

So you know, when you’re going to a doctor and he says there’s nothing wrong with you, what he means is that you’ve, you know, your blood work is showing up that there’s enough vital reserve that you should be okay. You know, you’re not dying yet. Because doctors, you know, their real job is to save lives and they do every day. But it’s when the metabolic chaos has reached a point of no return and there’s not enough vital reserve for you to come back on your own. Well, that’s when you need a doctor. And so we don’t have a “us versus them.”

You know, I practice what’s called Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. That’s a phrase that I coined to describe my outlook on the body and healing and health. And we use the DRESS protocol. It’s the D-R-E-S-S, is part of our protocols. So that’s perfect and that’s what your listeners need. Unless they’re dying, basically, well, then you need a doctor or if you have a bone sticking out of the arm, bleeding because you just had a cut, you need a doctor for that. That’s not when you call a nutritionist, right?

So we work within this very…I’ve been able to sort of simplify these approaches so the people can understand it. And we focus on the needs. And so if you don’t, if your physician says, “You don’t need me right now,” that’s what he’s saying when he sees your blood work, “You don’t need me. Unless you wanna take something, I can write you a prescription for your headaches or whatever it is.” But what you do need is to pay attention and sort out the metabolic chaos because we trust that you do have the vital reserve. Everyone listening here probably has the vital reserve that if we would just get a handle on those stressors that are causing the metabolic chaos, they’re gonna be okay. You can make steps. You can all improve. We can all improve. At 61, this is my life’s mission for myself. And everything I learn, I’m gonna disseminate, I’m gonna share, and that’s what I do, and that’s why I’m so glad that you had me on today so I could share it a little bit.

Katie: Yeah, happy late birthday, for one. And I agree with you. That is some advice I wish someone had given me at 16 instead of 26, you know, take care of your body. And that’s why I know we’re both so passionate about helping everyone, but helping, especially moms and parents because if we can keep the next generation from getting to that point and having to fix themselves as we have, then they’ve already got a head start.

Reed: Amen.

Katie: Yeah. And, let’s see, next question would be what are the books that you really enjoyed, that you maybe read more than once, and that you would recommend?

Reed: Well, in terms of the average book that a person might read that I would recommend, I’ll say that, “The Metabolic Type Diet,” is a good one for health. You know, I’ve got, gosh, so many because I kinda used to be a book freak, and everything is on the internet. You know, Kindle or something. But, you know, something like, “Why Stomach Acid is Good for You,” by Jonathan Wright. There’s another book for…because I believe that being healthy requires us to be mentally, and emotionally, and spiritually, you know, developed as well. I think “The Richest Man in Babylon” is a good book that helps people sort of manage their way around the world. The world requires us to make a living and pay our bills. To pay our bills is to be self-reliant. To be self-reliant in health, you have to be self-reliant in life, I think. And so books like that have been very helpful to me.

Katie: That’s awesome.

Reed: Yeah.

Katie: Very cool. And then lastly, I know all of this, if someone’s new to this type of lifestyle, can seem so overwhelming. So if someone is just starting out and maybe has some of these health problems or just struggles that they’re having, what would be the first step, the one little piece of actionable advice that you would have them start with?

Reed: Well, get up in the morning and be glad you are alive, and count your blessings, and try to improve upon whatever your situation is. And really, I think that one’s worldview, and attitude, and intention are the key, and you can write that down. Worldview, which is basically your intentions and your attitude, they’re critical. I know some people aren’t. I don’t understand how it works, exactly where it comes from, but this glass is half empty, those people have more problems than “the glass is half full” people. So I think if you get up every day and count your blessings and you try to improve, you just take a step in the right direction.

Sometimes, you have to narrow your focus in order to do that. Like I need to get up early and I need to eat a breakfast, you know, drink some water. I keep water by my nightstand so that I can drink water during the night if I do wake up but, you know, first thing in the morning, I’m downing a bunch of water trying to hydrate my body, and then from there, you know, see what the day brings.

But, yeah, I think that, for me, it might not be exactly what you are thinking of. Like the D-R-E-S-S thing, yeah, that works. But, you know, just getting up in the morning and try to adjust your attitude and your intentions. Your intentions have to be productive and helpful, and blessings will come to you if you go about your life that way, I guarantee it. And, you know, work on your…your intention is to be helpful, to be healthy. And if your attitude is good, you know, glass is half full, which means count your blessings. Be glad for what you have and your days are gonna be a lot better.

Katie: Absolutely, I agree 100%. And I would also really love to tell everybody listening to go check out your site. We created a short link for them to be able to find your resources and that’s wellnessmama.com/go/fdn. And do you wanna tell everybody else any more places they can find you or where they can stay in touch if they wanna learn more about you?

Reed: Well, you know, I have a website. It’s fdntraining.com. We do train people how to practice Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. So fdntraining.com is a good site that you’ll see me. You can wave to me as you go by. But, yeah, that’s probably the best place.

Katie: Awesome. Reed, thank you so much for taking your time to be here, and for all the great information you just shared, and for your mission of trying to help others every day.

Reed: Well, thank you and likewise. I know you’re on a mission to help families and moms, and it’s a amazing and wonderful thing to do. And I know you’re getting up every day being thankful and so are your listeners, I hope. And this time went by so fast, I really enjoyed it.

Katie: Awesome, thank you. We’ll have to do a round two some time.

Reed: All right, Katie, anytime. Thank you.

Katie: Thanks, Reed.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Wellness Mama podcast where I provide simple answers for healthier families. If you would like to get my “Seven Simple Steps for Healthier Families Diet” for free, head on over to wellnessmama.com and enter your email and I’ll send it over to you right away. You can also stay in touch on social media, facebook.com/endlesswellness, or on Twitter and Instagram, @wellnessmama.
And I would also really appreciate it if you would take a second and subscribe to this podcast so that you’ll be notified of future episodes. And if you’ve ever benefited from something I’ve talked about on this podcast, I’d be really appreciative if you would leave a rating or review since that’s how others are able to find this podcast, and so we can help to spread the message. Thanks as always for listening, and for reading, and for being on board with creating a future for our children that’s healthier and happier. And until next time, have a healthy week.

Thanks as always for listening to the Wellness Mama Podcast. If you’re enjoying these interviews, please subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher and leave a (5 Star!) rating and review if you haven’t already!

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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


10 responses to “016: Reed Davis on Functional Diagnostic Nutrition”

  1. Kathleen Avatar

    I’ve been using Clarysage essential oil, on my wrists each morning. I use almond oil for a carrier, half and half, then 1 or 2 drops. I forgot it once on a trip, after three days the hot flashes returned.

  2. Amy McRoberts Avatar
    Amy McRoberts

    I have been in contact with FND Self care concerning their testing program but am uncomfortable sending them 2800.00 with out knowing something more about them. I can not find any review or independent testimonials anywhere.

    I would feel so much better if I knew their rate of success with their patients (at the very least) or something independent of FND. Since I first learned of Reed Davis from your podcast I was hoping you would have investigated the program prior to having him as a guest speaker.

    Any suggestions

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I know that Sean Croxton (http://undergroundwellness.com/) is an FDN grad, though I don’t have any personal experience with the self care program. Depending on what your struggles are and what labs you specifically need, you may consider going through other companies first. For instance, I did the 23andMe genetic test and it provided a lot of information that really helped me dial in my health issues (thyroid, mthfr, etc) but that isn’t a test that is traditionally recommended or given in regular panels. Also, if you have a functional medicine doctor near you, you might be able to get the labs less expensively there (and have some of it covered by insurance!)

      1. Dan Avatar

        It’s interesting to see they did put your website logo on the front page under “FDN IS RECOGNIZED BY” title.

        This gave me an impression you actually studied with them so I’m glad I found this comment that clarifies it for me.

  3. Rhonda Avatar

    I am 51 and have begun the menopausal journey. What can be done to minimize hot flashes and night sweats naturally? I have been trying to clean up my “act” and eating better and quit birth control about 3 months ago after years of being on them. As I said, 2014 I began the journey to clean up my body in hopes that it is never too late to begin doing the right things in life. I began taking gelatin about two weeks ago and added black cohosh extract just this week.

    1. Tammi Clifton Avatar
      Tammi Clifton

      Rhonda, after a lot of research and now having these symptoms myself, I am finding Maca (capsules or powder), primrose oil (capsules) and Women’s tea to be very helpful. I haven’t tried the black cohosh yet, but may on the future. I just make sure to be diligent about the sourcing of these type of supplements and the use of any supplements. And, always consult your physician. Taking care of yourself is #1: reduce stress, eat well, exercise sensibly. I find deep breathing, relaxing baths and lavender aromatherapy useful. Next, I’m going to try some cooling bedding.

  4. Cookies n' Creme Avatar
    Cookies n’ Creme

    I have an off-the topic question. Recently I have been reading the book “Nourishing Traditions,” and it says healthy (butter, coconut oil, egg yolk) fats are good for you…Grains are bad….This is of the Weston A Price Foundation…..Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, is the president of The WAPF, ……She is fat. She’s fat?! Can you explain to me why all of these paleo/primal people are fat?! I have quit grains and feel alot healthier, but I don’t want to look like an apple like Sally Fallon does. Help!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I understand that you have an image of the way you want your body to look, but realize 2 things: health does not equal skinny, and health does not equal fat. Health equals health. Sally is one person who follows this diet. There are many many people who follow this diet for health reasons and are thin, and many many people who follow the same diet and are not slender. The important thing is the health. And frankly, it’s generally healthy for a woman to have a shape.

      1. Brenda Avatar

        PS to the “Thank you,”
        I just bought a milk cow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Super excited:) We live on a farm and pasture-raise our animals….We make our own hay and grow our own grain. (For the animals) Just bursting with excitment and had to tell my fav blogger!

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