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Root Cause, Schmoot Cause: How FDN Makes It Easier


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A Google search for “root cause and functional health,” turns up almost seven million results. Finding the root cause is a defining principle of functional medicine, and it is a worthy endeavor. We will never stop searching for it, but it also may never be known. It can be elusive, or it may be far removed from where symptoms appear in the body. Sometimes, when you think you’ve got a handle on it, the body does a jiu jitsu move and you’re in a new battle. What then?

Great news. The powerful principles taught at Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) work non-specifically on the whole body, and the root cause, even if it is never clear, can still be positively affected.

Let’s take the thyroid, for example. Your client presents with a cluster of classic thyroid symptoms. You run a thyroid panel, which comes back positive, and you think you’ve found the problem. The client doesn’t get better, though, or they get a little better and then come back later with a hormone imbalance. Are we just applying pressure to watermelon seeds forcing symptoms into another body system, or are we seeing restoration?

Adrenal insufficiency can present similar issues. We assess adrenal function by output of cortisol and DHEA, however, the glitch can be further upstream in the brain where the HPA axis signals hormone production. Since FDN principles work on the whole body, they would have a positive affect on both brain health and adrenal health. We nurture the whole body back to balance and function. It may never be clear where the problem originated, but function is still restored.

Metabolic chaos® is a state that exists because of hidden complexities in metabolism and under-appreciated influences from the environment. —Reed Davis, CNT, founder of FDN

We are assaulted by the environment. Dr. Russel Jaffe, MD said, “We’re all marinating in a toxic soup.” It’s a toxic soup of stressors that are applying pressure to our whole system. Add to that the chronic stress most people are living under, and the poor eating habits and lifestyle habits we have today, and you’ve got chronic illness that develops slowly as the body breaks down. Our metabolism is infinitely complex. It makes adjustments, but it is also sensitive, and it can only handle so much before the balancing act tips too far, and symptoms of illness appear.

The body has a finely balanced hormone network, and it basically robs Peter to pay Paul when a stressful incident occurs. When the stress is gone, balance is returned and Paul is paid back. Normal hormone production resumes. This is called homeostasis. The body makes these adjustments constantly. When stress is chronic we get depleted, and there is no longer anything to shunt from one pathway to another. There may be deficiencies that prevent the body from producing what it needs to recover, or it may be unable to produce enough energy at a cellular level to run this balancing act. That’s often when a symptom appears. The body has tilted and lost its balancing act.

In FDN practice, we use labs to assess function and find a starting point. As we continue the detective work we gain deeper insights, and we are coaching the client in lifestyle changes that nurture the body back into balance. As we go, we’re looking for stressors on the body that contribute to metabolic chaos, and we eliminate those things that are putting pressure on the body. In this process of assessment and correction, we may learn what the root cause is, or we come close enough to it that the client is brought to a healthier overall balance. In other words, we’re having an effect upon it, and we’re happy.

Healing happens when you remove as many contributors to metabolic chaos as possible.

This dynamic process of resuming balance is ongoing in the body, and it will often return to function when it has what it needs.

H.I.D.D.E.N. Stressors that contribute to metabolic chaos.

The areas we assess through testing spell out the acronym H.I.D.D.E.N.

  • Hormones – We assess stress and steroidal hormones.
  • Immune System – We get clues to immune function through hormone patterns and further GI assessments.
  • Detoxification – Liver function is fairly easy to assess.
  • Digestion – We look at how well food is being broken down.
  • Energy Production – The right diet for each person, which enables efficient cellular energy production.
  • Nervous system – Balance in the autonomic nervous system between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches.

We know these systems should be working well. With an organized system of detective work, you can assess those areas and find healing opportunities. We then nurture these systems and educate the client about lifestyle changes to maintain their new better health.

The Solution to the Problem

H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors are the problem. The D.R.E.S.S. For Health Success® program taught at FDN is the solution. It treats every cell, every tissue, every organ, and every system in the body. It treats the whole organism.

  • Diet
  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Stress Reduction
  • Supplements, occasionally

We teach our clients self-care in these areas, and they improve.

Symptoms disappear as the body regains homeostasis, builds up its reserves, begins producing enough energy, comes out of sympathetic nervous system mode, and circulation through movement is restored.  Supplements are occasionally necessary in addition to diet and lifestyle changes. The client focuses on improving overall health habits. They learn they have a level of control over their health because in most cases, they see rapid improvement. Healing happens as they learn and continue down their health journey, and we’re there to guide them.

If you are a patient, interested in working with a trained practitioner and learning this model of self-care, go to to find a qualified FDN practitioner.

To get trained in this exciting method of treating the whole body go to to learn more about our self-paced, online course. Being a health detective is exciting work. Healing happens when we support the whole body.

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