[00:00:00] Detective Ev: Well, hello my friends, and welcome back to another episode of the Health Detective Podcast by Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. My name is Evan Transue, aka Detective Ev. I will be your host for today’s show about a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis that no longer exists.
We’re talking to my friend Aline McCarthy. She is a fellow Functional Diagnostic Nutrition practitioner, except she is all the way across the pond, and I mean all the way, in Sydney, Australia. So pretty cool that we get to talk to someone from Australia. This is probably the third or fourth time it’s happened on the show in almost 200 episodes now, which is absolutely crazy to think about.
But one thing that is not so cool about these conversations is the fact that I’m talking to someone who is thousands and thousands of miles away from me, flying, and yet they have the exact same problems in terms of healthcare problems in their country as we do in the United States.
How can it be that I talk to people from Europe, from Canada, from Australia, all over the world, and yet they have such similar problems to the ones that we have here in terms of this. Because there’s more socialized healthcare certain places, there’s private healthcare, some places. I’m not saying it’s those problems, I mean, each of those systems has its own problems, right?
I’m talking about the problems where people have mystery symptoms and don’t get answers. I’m talking about the problems where someone goes into a doctor and gets told that nothing’s wrong with them. I’m talking about the problems where the client or the patient finds themselves in the cycle of trial and error that we describe in the FDN course.
Help Us Get the Word Out
Just going from doctor to doctor, trying pill after pill, after pill, perhaps supplement after supplement, and even diet to diet. How is it happening all over the world? It leads me to believe, because I don’t really know what else I would believe with this knowledge, that there’s a bigger issue here, right? This stems way higher up than we might initially realize.
I don’t mean that in some strange conspiracy way necessarily, although I love a good conspiracy. I’m saying it in the sense of we need to think bigger if we actually want to solve these things. One of the best ways to do this is to be on the ground as well, right? You can start super small, but also think big.
It is amazing to be able to do what we do as FDNs and get to just work with the average person one on one. We’re going to need a heck of a lot of FDNs to get that done though. If you really want to help this while you’re working with these people one on one, while you’re helping people with coaching or programs or courses, it’s also good to share this message as much as possible.
Start your own podcast. Spread this one. Spread another one that you like, whatever it might be. Because to really solve these issues, yes, we need to do the groundwork right now, but we need to constantly be pushing up higher and higher and higher. Because that’s probably where the issue is actually stemming from. I digress.
Figuring Out the Arthritis Diagnosis Independently
We’re talking to Aline today about her own health journey. You know, she got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her early thirties and it didn’t really make sense. She was a pretty healthy person. No one could tell her why she got this. No one was able to help her. It got so bad, actually because RA can be pretty debilitating. It got so bad that she couldn’t even play with her own kid. That’s an issue.
So, like many people that get on this podcast, she decided, although this is noble, it sucks that people have to do this. She decided that she was going to take matters into her own hands and figure out what was going on with her. Well, we’re very thankful that she did because it led to her not only becoming an FDN, but also helping other people around the world.
At the time of recording this, she has over 30,000 followers on Instagram, like real followers because of the information that she’s sharing. So, I highly recommend going and following her. Her Instagram is at the wellnesswitches, and you can find her at thewellnesswitches.com.au if you are in Australia.
I know I don’t normally shout out the websites and handles and stuff in the beginning of the episode, but the reason I’m doing that today is because it is kind of a rare opportunity that we get someone from Australia on. And when I look at the analytics, I believe Australia is country number four in terms of our most listened places.
I think it’s United States, Canada, UK, Australia in that order. So, we see you guys. We appreciate the other countries that are coming up and along here. We hope you guys enjoy this episode.
Screwing Up People’s Health Universally
Without further ado, let’s get to it.
All right. Hello there, Aline. Thanks so much for being here with us today.
[00:04:21] Aline McCarthy: Thank you. I’m excited. Nice to meet you.
[00:04:24] Detective Ev: Yeah, you as well. This is cool because I was saying to you before we started recording, if I’m not mistaken, this is only the third guest we’ve ever had that was actually physically in Australia during the time of recording.
I’ve met plenty of people from there, but it’s interesting to be talking to someone, completely different time zone, morning time your time, right? 5:00 PM here in Pennsylvania in the United States. So, it’s cool. It just shows too that what we’re doing is a global thing and it’s a global need. This is not just something limited to America. I think we’re doing a very good job of leading the way of screwing up people’s health. But it’s not limited to America. It is other places as well.
I’m excited to hear more about your story today and learn about you. This is one of those times guys, for those of you that are regular listeners, it’s my favorite type of podcast because I have a fellow practitioner with me and yet we don’t really know much of anything about each other. So, it leads to a super honest and natural conversation.
The first question I’d like to start with today, Aline, is what we typically always start with in this podcast. What did your health symptoms look like? I know that’s an assumption, but usually people don’t get into this space by accident. I’m going to assume that maybe you had some health issues starting out. And if that’s correct, what did those look like?
Terrible Pain and a Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis
[00:05:33] Aline McCarthy: Yeah, you’re correct with that assumption.
Well, throughout my twenties I had recurrent thrush and UDIs, anxiety, mood issues, and would sort of get panic attacks and stuff like that. That was still in Germany, so I’m actually German, but I then moved to Sydney in my late twenties and started working here.
I was still in a different industry, in the film industry back then. I started having babies and then, as it often is, the stress, the sleepless nights, the hormonal ups and downs of pregnancy and childbirth and postpartum time accumulated to me having absolutely debilitating chronic back pain.
There was a little bit of a structural issue, but then in the end, no one could really explain why the pain wouldn’t improve, why it wouldn’t go away. I saw every doctor that I could get access to. In the end, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called rheumatoid arthritis. I was put on the steroid drugs and treatment.
I still didn’t get any improvement. So that diagnosis was kind of revoked because nobody really knew what was going on with me. I was basically just put on long term, incredible, disruptive painkillers to manage the pain, but there was basically no help from the conventional side. Nobody wanted to see me anymore, and I was absolutely desperate because I had tiny children.
I couldn’t pick them up, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t sleep. I then started to see some integrative doctors and it kind of pushed me into the direction of investigating very deeply what was actually going on with me. That’s how I found functional medicine and fell in love with it. I am absolutely pain free now.
An Arthritis Diagnosis: The Autoimmunne Epidemic
[00:07:23] Detective Ev: Awesome. The thing that people don’t realize with rheumatoid arthritis sometimes is a stereotype in their head of the old person with some pain in their knuckles. I’m not lessening that, I’m sure that’s not fun either. But rheumatoid arthritis is a lot more than that.
It can be debilitating for some people as it sounds like it was starting to become, if not actually did become for you. I mean, the fact that you can’t even interact with your children, that’s serious. And I’m sorry, I may have missed the timeline. So, by the time you got the diagnosis, are you in your twenties still? Are you in your early thirties?
[00:07:54] Aline McCarthy: I was in my early thirties then. This was after I had my second child. Everything, just my whole health sort of started collapsing. I still don’t know what actually was going on other than I obviously started to discover I had gut issues and hormonal issues. I had to start working my way through that to get better.
[00:08:12] Detective Ev: Yeah. That’s the thing. That doesn’t meet the stereotypical picture of this at all where someone might think of like some old person. It’s like, okay, you were in your early thirties. You should be in basically the prime of your life in many senses. Yet here you are with this. I find this is so common in America as well, the autoimmune epidemic.
I mean, cancer is something that everyone talks about, right? We know it as a serious thing. If someone in our family that we love gets diagnosed with cancer, it’s immediately taken to a hundred percent. You’re like, whoa, we need to take care of this person.
An Arthritis Diagnosis: Possibility of Decades of Suffering
Cancer can be more deadly than a lot of autoimmune diseases, generally speaking. But autoimmune disease is an epidemic. There are so many different types. A lot of the people that have autoimmune diseases end up getting more than one. And it can be debilitating in its own sense, right?
There’s usually, thankfully, not this ticking time bomb over the person’s head where they’re wondering how much time they have left. Some autoimmune diseases, that can be. But the difference is for this person that if you don’t get the help, as you know, because Western medicine was not able to help you with this, even with their treatments, you can suffer with these things for decades and never get any relief.
So, when you started to study this outside of yourself, I have a question. I’m curious about this and the regular listeners know, I’m kind of obsessed with this question. I’d love to know what was going through people’s minds at the time. You started doing your own research. I get that. I want to know why.
What I mean by that is, Aline, there are so many people that I know, and I don’t know if this is a common theme in what you’re seeing in Australia, but I would assume this is universal, there are many people that I know that are like you. They get the diagnosis, the treatment doesn’t work, but then they quit for maybe a variety of reasons.
Maybe they just don’t believe that they could possibly know more than the doctor, they don’t trust themselves, whatever it might be, but they quit. They don’t keep doing their own research. So, why did you believe that you could even figure this out? Why didn’t you just throw in the towel?
There’s More Than Just Taking Prescription Drugs
[00:10:05] Aline McCarthy: Well, first of all, my upbringing in Germany there was a lot of access to homeopathics, homeopathic medicine. Even GPs in Germany back in the eighties and nineties when I was a kid were quite open to, particularly with children, first try an herbal cough syrup or something herbal rather than giving prescription meds to children. There was still a lot of antibiotic use going on even back then.
But then also my husband is an osteopath here in Australia. So, I was already on the side of integrative medicine and other options. I was already open to that, I suppose, compared to other people. I already believed that there is more to it than just taking a prescription drug.
[00:10:54] Detective Ev: Fair enough. I was curious about that. That’s interesting because I’ve interviewed a few people from definitely European backgrounds, but especially Eastern Europe. I find that not only are they very into the Eastern medicine, no pun intended, but they are almost like rebellious against Western medicine sometimes.
We have a local business here in Pennsylvania, and the one woman that comes in, her mom is Ukrainian. I’m not recommending this, right. We all know that we should be using Western medicine when we can and then using functional medicine when it’s appropriate. But she does not want to use a dang thing Western medicine wise. It is like, I only want to do the natural, and I respect it. There’s a time and place for both.
But I find it interesting that America has become the exact opposite. Even if people know that there might be natural ways, they still just want to take the pill and see what can happen. There’s no personal responsibility in the mix.
Osteopathic Treatment, Acupuncture, and Other Body Works
So, I give anyone, especially you, a lot of credit for taking that journey and just saying, hey, you know what? I think I can figure this out, I’m going to try to.
What were some of the first things in your research that you came across that maybe worked for you? When I say worked for you, it’s not like it had to work a hundred percent. But typically, how these stories go is we do our own research, we start experimenting with different natural things, and we find something that maybe gets things moving a little bit. Then we get inspired and become more confident.
So, what was the first one or two things that you remember working for you for this condition?
[00:12:15] Aline McCarthy: I was obviously receiving osteopathic treatment and acupuncture really helped. Obviously, I was exploring all of the different body works to get out of pain. But then I also started working on my gut health and my nutrition.
You know, I had to wean myself off the pain medication as well, so it slowly all started to come together. But it did take time and it did take work.
[00:12:43] Detective Ev: Cool. How did this eventually land you into the world of becoming a practitioner yourself? That’s a whole nother level. You know, you have the people that are sick and never research, sick and do research and get better, then the people that say, hey, I want to go do this as a job, I want to do this with my life.
So, when did you make that decision and how did you find it?
Finding Purpose in Life Through an Arthritis Diagnosis
[00:13:01] Aline McCarthy: Well, funny enough, as a child, I remember walking around saying, I am going to be a doctor, but not a normal doctor. I remember that inherent feeling of knowing it so deeply that that was my mission in life but I kind of lost it later. You know, like how you get sidetracked by what society wants from you.
I studied engineering for media, and I ended up in the film industry, which was part of the things that was making me really unwell actually, the stress and the pressure and not being in alignment of what I was actually meant to be doing.
When I did find I was getting better, I was just endlessly fascinated. Everything in me clicked. Every light bulb went off and I just, to this day, still can’t stop learning and learning and learning because it’s endlessly fascinating to me. I really feel like it’s my mission and my purpose in this life.
I’m actually very grateful that I had to go down this path. It was horrible, it was a very hard time, very challenging time to be physically that sick. But I am very grateful that it’s brought me to where I am now.
[00:14:15] Detective Ev: It’s so cool how many times this is a part of someone’s story with the health stuff where they just feel like this is their path, they know it’s in alignment. That’s certainly true for me and many of the people that I interview. It sometimes makes me wonder like, are there not just a bunch of people and souls just coming here to get sick and then help other people get well? Like, I don’t know.
Knowing Functional Health is the Right Path
But I feel like the fact that you had that knowing at that age before you even had the diagnosis is crazy. It makes you wonder are there just certain things that we can see before they happen?
If it was my first time hearing it, I might just think, okay, well that’s a cute thing and you know, that’s nice, but maybe it doesn’t have a lot of validity. I mean, Aline, I’ve heard this hundreds of times at this point. People just felt like they knew that this was their path and I’m one of those people. So, I get that. That’s cool.
When you were going through your studies and taking different stuff, cause obviously you eventually did FDN, but did you do any other courses?
[00:15:08] Aline McCarthy: Yeah, I did. I did a mentorship in functional medicine. I am still enrolled in the Kharrazian Institute for Clinical Mastership of Functional Medicine there. So yeah, I’m still doing a lot. But FDN brought a lot of the pieces together that initially I didn’t have.
[00:15:27] Detective Ev: Nice. So, when did you go through the FDN course? I should word it as, when did you graduate?
[00:15:32] Aline McCarthy: That was actually this year. I graduated this year.
[00:15:36] Detective Ev: Nice. Do you remember how long it took you to get through the course?
[00:15:38] Aline McCarthy: I was pretty quick. I already had a lot of knowledge in functional medicine, so I think it took me about six months.
A Short Time of Training to Earn a Huge Opportunity
[00:15:45] Detective Ev: Nice. I like to ask this question sometimes. I don’t ask it nearly enough. But I want people to know that one, there are a variety of different amounts of times that it takes people to get through this. There’s some people it takes the full 12 months, that is totally okay. But people that put their heads down and really focus, yes, this can be done in five, six, or seven months.
It’s kind of amazing the opportunity that we have here, because half a year flies by, that’s nothing. I mean, the older that I get, really past the age of 18, I found every year seems to fly by. It’s kind of nuts. It’s almost scary, like you realize how short your time is here and so six months is nothing. Then you could be done, the course, and like literally ready to charge very good amounts for what we do, and you can genuinely help other people.
You said that you had a good amount of knowledge before you got into the FDN world. That makes sense. I find that happens with a lot of our practitioners. We would love if they found FDN before they knew all this stuff, but unfortunately, we’re still in a place where people, they kind of have to dig through some of the stuff to find us, that’s for sure.
When you were going through the course though, certainly you learned a few new things. What were some of the coolest things that you learned in the course? It might have been even the lab tests that you got to run on yourself. What were some of the findings that you got?
The Power of Lab Data
[00:16:52] Aline McCarthy: It was a lab test that brought it all together for me, which I didn’t have access to previously.
I found out that my hormones were starting to decline because I’m in my early forties now. I still had some gut dysbiosis to clean up, which was a little bit surprising because I had been working on my gut quite for a long time. But it just comes to show that things do take time and you need to continuously keep working on it because our environment still exposes us to stuff.
It was that bringing together the knowledge but then being able to actually see it in a variety of different labs, and really helping people see the big picture rather than just vaguely thinking, chasing symptoms, and potentially leaving some healing opportunities hidden.
[00:17:45] Detective Ev: I think that’s probably the best part about FDN in many ways is when we do finally see the labs. It’s very validating to many of us, for those of us who have been through symptoms for a while.
It’s empowering too because to know that we have access now for the rest of our lives, as long as we’re in good standing with FDN, which is pretty easy to do, all you have to do is be a half decent person and you can do that. You will always be able to have these in your back pocket to figure out what’s going on with you health wise, if something comes up or for a family member or friend. It’s pretty amazing.
So, did you utilize the FDN trainee community a lot? Was that something that you were engaged in when you went through the course, or did you kind of do your own thing?
AFDNP is a Think Tank of FDNs
[00:18:23] Aline McCarthy: No, absolutely. I found the Facebook group with the live trainings and support going on even almost the best part of the whole training. And I continue to find it after graduation to be part of the professional group. I find it to be absolutely invaluable and the continued expertise and education and support that’s going on there is absolutely outstanding, I think.
[00:18:48] Detective Ev: Yeah. The professionals’ group, I always say this, and I stand by it. I would pay the cost of tuition just to have access to that group.
It’s a think tank of FDNs. There is nothing that I couldn’t ask in there that someone could not help me with. It applies to business too. That’s the craziest part. It’d be one thing if it just did the health side. I could ask any business question, and someone would be able to help me out with that too.
I’m so jealous of you guys for having the FDN trainee group. When I went through five and a half years ago, we didn’t have this group of people that were actively training. So, you kind of just worked with your mentor. There was a few less sessions. You really did FDN quite independently.
At the time of recording this, my girlfriend, one of my best friends, and his girlfriend are all actively training in the course right now. It’s awesome that they get this trainee group and get to really just interact with a lot of the FDN mentors prior to having ever graduated.
Now, one question I did not ask you so far is, were you in business for yourself? Were you working with people prior to going through FDN?
Confidence is a Business Game-changer
[00:19:48] Aline McCarthy: Yes, I was. Not for very long, but I had been working with clients already.
[00:19:54] Detective Ev: So, when you finished FDN and now you have the labs and this extra knowledge, how has that been able to help you on the business side of things?
[00:20:04] Aline McCarthy: Well, it sets me apart from other cultures in the industry to be able to run labs and be more science based.
But also, client to client base, I find again compliance with clients has skyrocketed because they can now see it in a lab what’s actually going on with them. They actually are more likely to stick with the program, to retest, and see and reap the rewards.
Before I had people sort of not be really committed, still doubting things when things weren’t improving as quickly as they wanted to. They would go like, oh, this isn’t working, and they might drop off. Whereas now they have seen it in a lab. They are like, okay, I need to address this, I need to fix this. It’s been really helpful from that side.
But also, the confidence has just grown for me. That is always incredibly helpful for business. The more confident you are, the more tools you have in your toolbox, obviously as well, really helps business wise.
[00:21:00] Detective Ev: There’s two really great points there.
The confidence thing matters so much. It’s very subtle, it’s an energy type of thing. I don’t think people are thinking about it consciously. But if I go up to someone and I have to quote/unquote “sell them” on my services or what I’m doing, we can sense this in people when they believe what they’re pushing or not. You know what I mean?
Compliance Grows When Lab Data is Utilized
When I went through other programs prior to FDN, they were good programs. But like what you’re talking about, I didn’t feel I had the confidence to help every person. I’m not saying I can get every person to a hundred percent right now. I’m not a miracle worker, I’m not a doctor. But there is literally no one that I have ever met now in the last five and a half years that’s sick or dealing with chronic symptoms that I do not believe I can’t help in some way.
When you genuinely believe that, when you see what happens to your own health as you go through the FDN program, you are able to talk to people with this level of authority and level of confidence that you cannot fake. It’s genuine. Does that mean you’re going to sell everyone on your services? No. Is your percentage of sales going to go through the roof compared to when you don’t have the confidence? Yeah.
Then the second point was the compliance thing. This was a really brilliant point. I had this acupuncturist that I go to locally. I love this guy, it’s a good friend of mine. But he brought up to me one point. He said, Evan, don’t you think that running the labs on people, he doesn’t utilize labs, well now he’s changing it up a little bit, but he didn’t before. He said, don’t you think that running these labs with people, don’t you think it just scares them once they get the results?
What I said to him is, my friend, I am so glad that you have never been sick enough that that’s what you think goes through these people’s heads when they get the results. They are not scared, they’re happy.
Giving Clients Hope and Empowerment
And like you said, they’re compliant. I’m sorry, happy might be the wrong word. They are empowered and hopeful now because someone has finally been able to tell them what is wrong with them. And by the way, not only can we tell you what’s wrong, we have a plan for you. We can help you get past this and get through this. That’s never a bad thing, it’s a great thing. Of course, it encourages compliance.
That’s so true with like the food sensitivity testing. It’s a lot easier to remove gluten when you know you have a gluten sensitivity on a test versus when some practitioner just tells you to remove gluten.
[00:23:17] Aline McCarthy: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I have people crying in some of the sessions because finally somebody has at least some hope and an idea for them what might have been going on for them sometimes for decades. They’ve been suffering for decades, and they didn’t want to give up hope, but they couldn’t find a solution.
Then you show them on tests what could be causing this, like the metabolic chaos that’s going on in their body. They’re actually relieved and as you say, empowered because they’re like, oh my God. Finally, somebody’s giving me some glimpses into what can be worked on to maybe improve some of my symptoms and help me feel better.
So, I don’t feel like they’re hopeless anymore. That’s an amazing thing for people to feel.
Was The Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis a Misdiagnosis?
[00:24:05] Detective Ev: When I ask this question, we are never, ever expecting someone to come on and be a hundred percent. Most people aren’t. We want just their truth and how they’re doing in their journey.
So, I have to ask, I’m curious, how is the rheumatoid arthritis going? Do you still get symptoms? Are the symptoms better? How’s it been going?
[00:24:21] Aline McCarthy: No. Well, I do think it was misdiagnosed. One of all, because I don’t have it anymore. And after I didn’t respond to the drugs, the prednisone, all of the things that I had to go on for an autoimmune condition and I didn’t get any improvement, I went to more rheumatologists.
Then they were basically debating is it a correct diagnosis or not? So, I doubt that I actually was diagnosed with an autoimmune. It was probably a false diagnosis or a misdiagnosis at the time. But also, I have normal pain. I can lift weights; I lift heavy weights. I feel great.
[00:24:56] Detective Ev: Nice. That’s so cool. This is also an interesting side point about like the possible misdiagnosis.
I think two things happen with autoimmunity. Ironically, when people do have an autoimmune disease, sometimes that doesn’t get diagnosed ever. Then on the flip side, yeah, sometimes symptoms, especially the pain related ones, can get diagnosed as an autoimmune disease because that’s all Western medicine has, when it’s really not that at all.
It is, it’s metabolic chaos in a sense, right? There’s other things going on that are leading to the pain that aren’t necessarily fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis. Those diagnoses do exist, that’s for sure. But it’s not always the case.
Who is Aline’s Ideal Client?
At the very least, I 100% believe autoimmune disease can be put into remission. I’ve seen it a million times. Regardless of what it was that was causing it, it’s just great to know that you’re feeling better now and have went from someone who could barely manage the kids to being able to lift heavy weights early into her early forties. I think that’s just a true testament to what we’re doing in the functional space in general, not just FDN.
So, when you work with clients now, do you have a specific type of person, like a niche that you like to work with, or is it more broad? Who’s your ideal client?
[00:26:02] Aline McCarthy: An ideal client is a mom in their forties because I can obviously really relate to them. I know what stage they’re in with the hormones usually, and what kind of age their children would be in.
But my niche online is more gut health. I do think when working on gut health, your hormones, everything else downstream definitely improves. It doesn’t matter if it’s thyroid or whatever people are struggling with. You do always need to work on your gut health. That’s what fascinates me.
We can always improve people’s nutrition. I truly believe food is our medicine. Heeding all of those foundational pieces of the D.R.E.S.S for health protocol, your diet, rest, exercise, and supplementation for me is obviously something that we need to jump into to address the stuff showing up in the labs. But if we don’t have that first part of the D.R.E.S.S protocol in place, the supplements are going to do very little. So, I love working on gut health because it includes all of that nutritional piece.
Changing Basic Stuff is Powerful
Often, I can get people feeling crazy amounts better just by them actually having better food on their plate every single day.
[00:27:12] Detective Ev: I don’t want to insult anyone that’s listening that is super sick. I would hope that this is taken as a good thing. It’s actually kind of crazy how fast you can make people feel better by doing what in our world is very simple things.
I mean, the labs are great. We can get very fancy if we need to get fancy with someone. But the end of the day you give me the standard American, which I would assume is pretty similar to the standard Australian, and you have someone that we can help within a matter of days, really just by changing very basic stuff that they’ve never been taught about.
Obviously, one of the perks of being an FDN and working online is we have access to labs all around the world. I mean, we have FDN practitioners in over 50 countries and counting. Do you work exclusively with people from Australia, or have you taken clients all over the world?
[00:28:00] Aline McCarthy: Yeah, I’ve got a pretty big Instagram profile, so I do see people from everywhere. I had a person from Jamaica jump on a call. But mainly it’s obviously English-speaking countries because I do speak English on my social media.
It’s funny, I haven’t ever had a German client because I obviously don’t speak German on my profile. Maybe I should start doing that to connect to my home country more. It’s usually UK, US, and Australia.
Follow the FDN System
[00:28:29] Detective Ev: I feel like it would be pretty darn hard to do the lab analysis in a language we might not be familiar with. So yes, definitely sticking to English and German for you would probably be a good idea.
I actually should know this as staff and I’m pretty sure this is correct, but I couldn’t list off what they are. Are you using different lab tests?
[00:28:47] Aline McCarthy: Some of them are slightly different, but not a crazy amount. We also run the DUTCH test, stress hormone, saliva tests and stuff like that. They sometimes just look different when the report comes back, even though it’s a DUTCH test. It looks a little bit different here in the printout, but otherwise pretty the same.
[00:29:08] Detective Ev: Got it. This could be personal to you. I mean, listen guys, if you’re listening to this, I don’t want to confuse anyone, but I always mention this. If you go through FDN, we teach you a system. I highly recommend that when you graduate, you don’t reinvent the wheel.
Try it for a little bit, and then you can customize it how you want. I mean, we have access to over 60 labs for a reason. No one’s stuck in a box. You can do what you’d like to do. But especially if you don’t know where to start, don’t reinvent the wheel. Do what we have known has worked for years and years.
But the better question that I could ask then is, when you are working with clients, I’m sure maybe you have packages and stuff. So, let’s just assume we’re talking about the fullest and biggest program that you have. How many labs will that person run, and which labs are you using?
The Functional Blood Chemistry Test
[00:29:51] Aline McCarthy: Oh, I got you now. So yeah, usually what I do is I run functional blood chemistry because everybody here has very good access through Medicare to get their blood taken. I kind of specialize in that. I did a lot of work, intensive training, on blood chemistry.
I love that it is even accepted in conventional medicine and Western medicine as the most valid test. It opens up the opportunity to also collaborate with doctors and stuff more once you can show them that you are knowledgeable enough to assess that.
I also usually run a GI MAP or what we call here, complete microbiome mapping, obviously, because I do specialize in gut health.
I very often would run a SIBO breath test because a lot of the ladies that come in are extremely bloated and I do suspect SIBO when they check a couple of the boxes. Then we usually run a hormone test as well. So, either the DUTCH or a stress hormones. I’m kind of marrying between the two.
[00:30:47] Detective Ev: That is pretty cool and a little different. That’s what works for you in your practice. Because the functional blood chemistry, it’s something that FDNs can learn. I do encourage people to consider that if you’re going to do one of the advanced courses. Because Advanced Blood Chemistry is awesome since it is US based.
When you have a client that runs blood work, which most of them will with their doctor at some point, especially the basic markers, even in America, almost all health insurance that we have here is going to cover those basic markers. You can now analyze something that they got for free at their doctor, I mean “free” quote/unquote, you know, cheap enough.
Be Intelligent with the Client’s Money
Now you can help them in a way that was really cost effective.
That’s the thing as an FDN, we’re always trying to be intelligent with the money because we’re not making money off the lab tests. We’re not lab salespeople. We don’t get some kickback at the end of the year, and we get a free vacation.
That’s the pharmaceutical reps, right? They get to do that, but not us, unfortunately. Just a little pun. I’m not making too much fun of our pharmaceutical friends. We have plenty of pharmaceutical reps that are FDNs.
[00:31:44] Aline McCarthy: We’re open to the holiday at the end of the year if anyone wants to give it to us. Right?
[00:31:50] Detective Ev: Yeah. For real. If they want to start doing it, I’m all for it.
But yeah, we have to be conscious of the money that we’re spending and so the blood chemistry can be a great thing. And like SIBO testing, that’s interesting that you’ve started utilizing that in your practice. I actually don’t know many FDNs that do that as kind of a straight up thing.
So, with your clientele, let’s call the average client of yours, that 40-something-year-old mom with the gut health issues. What are some common patterns that you might be seeing in their lab tests? Like, are there certain bugs that are coming up more often than not? Are there certain hormonal patterns? I’m really always curious about this cause it does vary from demographic to demographic.
Finding Certain Patterns in This Demographic
[00:32:27] Aline McCarthy: Obviously, most people nowadays probably doesn’t matter which age, but I’ve definitely seen dysbiosis across the board. Just a general sort of depletion of the microbiome and then other opportunistic bugs or not so good bugs taking the hand and running the playground show.
Definitely a lot of parasites and H. Pylori going around for sure as well. Australia is quite heavy in Blasto and Giardia and things like that. I’m not sure if that’s because of the waterways and people swimming a lot and those sort of critters obviously being in waterways and stuff as well. But it’s definitely a thing here.
Then with the hormones, for women in their forties who are already in perimenopause, we often see that their progesterone is quite low. They’re getting all of the symptoms in their second part of the cycle where they might not be sleeping well. They might be starting to get really crazy headaches just before their period. They might be getting heavier periods and stuff like that.
I can definitely see that in labs. Their DHEA, their progesterone might be low. Estrogen looks high in comparison, but it’s actually not because it’s obviously also on a decline.
A lot of women just are not aware that it can start that early, actually in your thirties already. You know, we’re not being taught that. Our doctor basically dismisses us when we go. I’ve done this myself. I’ve been to the GP many times and they always say, oh, come back to me when you’re in your fifties. They don’t want to hear about it when you’re in your early forties.
It Takes Time and Work
Then they wanted to put me on a pill, right? I was like, I do not need to go on a pill. I’m actually genuinely asking for help for my hot flashes and my sleepless nights the week before my period and stuff like that.
Then when I run the SIBO breath test, I only run that when I have a strong suspicion and a person sort of ticks all of the boxes with their bloating, diarrhea, constipation, sort of symptoms. We can kind of see methane bacteria in a GI MAP as well. But when I do run it, I obviously then often see either a methane or an imbalance there with the bacteria as well.
We can also see how long it will approximately take for them to be on an antimicrobial protocol to see those levels come back to normal. It’s empowering to decline because again, we can kind of say, well, you know, you’ve got really high levels. It’s definitely going to take two or three rounds of antimicrobial treatment, and then we are going into the maintenance protocol. So, it’s not going to be done in a month.
Like you’re looking at six to nine months just to get on top of it, right? And then we still need to investigate the root cause of it as well.
FDNs Go Where No One Else Wants to Go
[00:35:09] Detective Ev: It’s interesting that you mentioned the parasites being a really common thing. I’m not saying that I don’t see them sometimes. Every one of my clients has always been US based. But it’s interesting to see this from the Australian perspective, that it’s much more prevalent, it sounds.
In five and a half years of doing this, even though we learned about Giardia, I have never once seen Giardia actually show up on a test that I ran with a client. Blasto comes up occasionally, but it’s really those two.
The only other thing I’ve ever seen, and he shared this publicly so I can talk about it. My friend, Eric, he’s actually a business partner of mine, but his other business is, he owns a dog training facility. He had a very specific parasite that one of our clinical advisors, our clinical advisors are people that we actually have access to as FDNs. When we run certain tests, we get consults with them, and we can get a second set of eyes on our client’s test results. I always use those. I love talking to those guys.
It was Dustin that I worked with for this one. Dustin said to me, I’ve only seen this parasite in one other person. Of course, this is a guy that looks at tons of these tests. Guess what? Her job was a dog trainer. She also trained dogs just like my friend. We found out, sure enough, it is a parasite that’s very common in dogs, not the worst one in the world.
No one would even think to look for this thing or test for this thing, let alone actually be able to find it and do something for the person. That’s really about all I see.
Seeing Quick Improvements
It’s interesting to me that that comes up so much in Australia. Then yeah, those people are going to have to be dedicated cause that can be a half a year to a yearlong process.
But as we mentioned before, people start feeling better though within a matter of a couple weeks. By the time we’re at month six or nine, they might feel what, 50%, 60%, 70% better. Now we’re just doing the rest of the work.
[00:36:55] Aline McCarthy: Usually, we see symptoms improve relatively quickly, as you say. If I don’t see some of their symptoms improved within the first three weeks, I’m starting to get a little bit dubious. Then I kind of might have to zone in a bit more on their diet or ask them more questions about are they ticking the other boxes off the D.R.E.S.S for health protocol and stuff like that.
But that’s sort of around the time where I usually expect to see some sort of improvement. Saying that, if I do see people with autoimmune conditions, sometimes we don’t see that, that quickly, even with them completely adhering to an autoimmune paleo diet and stuff like that.
Certainly, when they’re in a complete flare up, it’s going to take quite a while usually to get them to feel significantly better. They’re actually saying, oh yeah, I do feel different. But then I’ve also had people where I very hesitantly took them on and kind of was like, oh my gosh, you know, you’ve had this for so long, you’ve been so chronic, and they have all of these crazy symptoms including neurodegeneration and stuff like that.
Never Give up Hope
I don’t really tell the client, but in myself I’m thinking, the prognosis to get this person better is very limited. You know, like they have tried a whole range of things, and no one has gotten them better. They’re already taking a whole range of drugs. In my mind I’m like, I’m going to try everything that I can for this person. But I’m not sure how much I can get them better.
Within three weeks, they’re basically a transformed person, which then is a massive surprise as well. So, both things can still happen, it doesn’t matter how horrible people feel. I just want people to know, to not give up hope, even if they’ve had something very chronic and something terrible going on.
[00:38:46] Detective Ev: Nice. I fully admit to that as well, by the way. I still to this day have these issues where if someone comes to you and they know their stuff, right? They’ve done research and you’re like, wow, and you still don’t feel better. They’re like, no. Then you get a little bit of nerves. It’s like, can I actually help this person?
This just happened recently. But what’s amazing is our training is very thorough. I couldn’t believe what some of these practitioners missed in these other people. The woman that I’m working with right now, she had Mercury that was through the roof on an HTMA test.
The practitioner said it would go away over time. They didn’t even do a protocol for it. It was literally off the charts, Aline. I’m like, okay, yes, I guarantee it’s going to go down if you stop doing the things that you’re doing. But that’s not something that disappears in six months or even a year.
A Client Testimonial
You have to be conscious about that. You have to do something about it. I made a deal with her. I was kind of joking, but I made a deal. I said, how about we do a retest and if it’s still high we work through the protocol, and if it lowered to where that practitioner said it would, I’ll pay for your test.
Sure enough, the test was nowhere near where it should have been. It’s kind of funny, like these other people really do miss a lot of stuff and we have a lot of options for helping practitioners. So never doubt that as an FDN. That’s a great point.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not like you’ve been doing it that long, but it does sound like you’ve worked with plenty of people at this point. You mentioned you’ve had some success on like Instagram and stuff, so that’s probably a great way to draw in clients. I’m curious, is there any client testimonials?
I know that you probably can’t share names sometimes, I get that. But I’m just curious if there’s any stories of clients that got a lot better working with you that really just stick out and that might be fun to share with the audience. I always love hearing other people’s stories.
[00:40:22] Aline McCarthy: Yeah, absolutely. For example, that lady with the neurodegenerative issues, she was put on ADHD medication, on anxiety medication. She had to quit work. She couldn’t even work anymore. She was so tired and debilitated by her chronic pain all over her body. Gut issues, like so much stuff going on. She had seen every doctor under the world, she had seen naturopath and stuff like that.
Success After Just Working Mostly on Diet
Basically, I picked up that she had three different massive head traumas from when she was a child and a teenager. She had terrible falls onto her head. Then she had a motor vehicle accident a couple of years ago, which is the last thing that kind of threw her over the edge. It was actually the accident that changed her life.
Then I was like, this is not a gut issue. It’s a brain issue. Your brain cells are primed. We need to first and foremost, calm the brain inflammation down to get your other symptoms to get better. Pretty much just started working with diet because she lives in New Zealand, her supplements take ages to arrive. It’s a bit of an issue since COVID as well, just to get supplements to people over here.
So, it was mostly 95% just working on her diet, stabilizing her blood sugars, eating enough protein, going in on autoimmune paleo, that sort of stuff. Within three weeks she was out hiking, off her meds. I didn’t tell her to come off, but she didn’t need to take them obviously. She just was like, I feel great. I feel like I’ve got my life back. My partner is absolutely blown away.
That is obviously a beautiful story of how quickly we can get people better that even had to quit work and had zero hope of getting better.
[00:42:09] Detective Ev: So cool. It’s one thing to hear about people like us who are practitioners. Obviously, we live very different lifestyles than the average person. Then maybe people hear those stories and they’re like, well yeah, they’re super passionate about this. Of course, they can do it.
Powerful and Effective FDN Principles
But then no, there’s clients of ours too, man, that they are otherwise normal people. They have jobs that are not related to this, and they do get better doing this stuff.
What’s fascinating about that story, I understand there was a lot more to it, but the fact that the car accident was this huge issue, right? Yet FDN and the principles can still help someone recover from even something like that indirectly. Right? That’s just amazing. There’s really no limitations to what the body can do when it is truly healthy. That’s awesome. Great job.
One other thing, because we have a little time, I think I have enough time for this question. I was wondering because it seems like compared to some people, you’ve had a decent amount of success on the business side. Are you doing this full time, can I ask?
Aline McCarthy: Yeah, yeah. Pretty much full time.
Detective Ev: Well, for someone who graduated this year, even though it’s the end of the year, I get that, but you only graduated this year. You were taking clients a little bit before FDN, like you said, but it was pretty slow. For you to be full-time now, that’s amazing to be able to do that.
What is maybe one business tip that you have for people that are just starting off like that led to your success over these last couple of years?
Business Tip – Be Confident
[00:43:23] Aline McCarthy: Whew. What would be the number one tip? Yeah, be confident. You know, you need to be confident enough to put yourself on social media to speak to people to know that you can help people. That’s where it all starts. Because otherwise you’re going to hold yourself back, you’re going to doubt yourself. You’ve got so much support from the AFDNP community and the mentors and stuff still ongoing.
So don’t doubt yourself and just actually go for it.
[00:43:53] Detective Ev: And if you need any of that extra confidence, find something like FDN or find anything that has practitioners that are able to go do this work. Because you’ll be able to tell. The reason we have so many practitioners running around doing this is because they feel like they have the confidence with the system that we have to be able to help people. It’s a beautiful thing.
Aline, where can people find you if they’d like to work with you? I know that you said you take clients all over the world, but this is a unique opportunity for people that might be in Australia, just for the sake of the time zone thing.
I mean, look at what we’re doing right now. This is almost 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM on a Sunday for me at night. Then you’re sitting there in the morning. So many of our people listening probably don’t have the opportunity to always work with someone from Australia. So where can they find you?
Where to Find Aline McCarthy & The Signature Question
[00:44:48] Detective Ev: Excellent. My final question for you today is the signature question on the Health Detective Podcast. This is how we always finish. It’s nothing too complicated, but it’s just a fun one that I like to do.
The question is this, if I could give you a magic wand and you could wave it and get every single person in this world to do one thing for their health. So, you can choose either one thing that you make them do or one thing that you stop them from doing. What is the one thing that Aline would get them to do?
[00:45:18] Aline McCarthy: Prioritize sleep. I think that is so undervalued. Every single cell in your body has a circadian clock. We are all exposed to screen light. We don’t spend enough time in nature anymore. I think the health disruption from not sleeping enough and having too much blue light and not enough sunlight is absolutely massive.
[00:45:43] Detective Ev: Thank you so much for coming on with us today and for being like our third or fourth Australian guest ever.
[00:45:48] Aline McCarthy: Amazing. Thank you so much. It was good fun.
[00:45:51] Detective Ev: All right guys. That’ll do it for today’s episode with Aline McCarthy. Always fun, again, talking to someone from way across the pond. It’s going to be interesting over time to see how many different countries we can get on this podcast. I’m going to have to go back one day and start keeping track of that. I’ve never really thought about that prior to this, but it’ll be interesting to see how we can stack them up along the way.
If you are looking to work with someone in Australia, then this is a rare opportunity to get to do so from this podcast. You guys know where to find her. You can go into the show notes and see her website there. I encourage you to reach out if you feel so inclined.
I am looking forward to talking to you guys again soon, though. I will be back with a pretty interesting video interview episode where we’re actually analyzing some live lab results. But until, please take care.
You can always visit us at functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com.
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