I recently completed my certification in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN), and I’ve been getting a ton of questions asking for my experience and a review of the program. So here it is! (SEPTEMBER 2022 UPDATE: Since I am now over a year removed from completing my training and am now running a thriving one-on-one practice, I’ve added some insights here to help you get a feel for how FDN is serving me as a practicing nutrition practitioner.) If you want to learn about me or how I run my private nutrition practice as an FDN-P, just head to the links here.
Overall, I enjoyed my time studying in the FDN program. The course is jam-packed with so much anatomy and physiology along with essential training on interpreting functional lab work that there is no way you can’t become a successful practitioner once you graduate.
In this blog post, I’m going to give you a formal outline of what you’ll find inside the course as well as my thoughts and experience on all of it.
Becoming a certified FDN-P is not easy, but it’s such an amazing investment. Whether you’re doing it to improve your own health or to expand your ability to run lab testing with your clients, I highly recommend signing up!
What Makes the FDN Program Different
To my knowledge, the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program is the ONLY functional health coaching program out there that enables you to actually run labs with your clients. This makes you so much more than just a “Health Coach” and FDN encourages you to market yourself that way too. And this is one reason why I wanted to review my experience in the FDN program because it IS so different than everything else out there. I wanted to help you see what you’d be getting in this program compared to others if you’re unsure about which direction to take.
The Mission Statement of the FDN Program is to ‘“Educate as many people as possible on how to ‘get well and stay well naturally’ so that they, in turn, may educate others.”
And I completely resonated with this! FDN is about so much more than just running labs and interpreting the results. They teach you how to look deeper than the symptoms, how to treat the client not just the lab work, and how each and every body system works together to contribute to what they call Metabolic Chaos® (what is essentially at the root of all health issues).
In the FDN program, you’ll split your time between learning the physiology behind things like chronic stress, hormone imbalances, and gut disturbances. And once you’ve got that foundation down, you’ll dive into learning not only how to interpret five functional labs, but WHY running them on every single client you see is SO critical in helping them achieve true healing.
The five foundational FDN labs are:
- Hormone/Cortisol Screening – Stress and Hormone Panel by Fluids iQ
- Liver/Detoxification Screening – FDN Metabolic Wellness Profile (MWP) by Fluids iQ
- Mucosal Barrier Screening – FDN Mucosal Barrier Assessment (MBA) by Fluids iQ
- Pathogen Screening – GI-MAP Stool Screening by Diagnostic Solutions Labs
- Food Sensitivity Testing – MRT LEAP 170 by Oxford BioMedical
The FDN is also a huge proponent of Metabolic Typing and teaches on that extensively. Personally, I was not a fan of this method of testing for clients, so I do not use this in my practice.
The FDN philosophy is that all health ailments and symptoms are rooted in stress. Whether that’s mental/emotional stress, physical stress, or hidden/biochemical stress, addressing the root of the client’s health complaints (stress) will ultimately be what gets them out of that cycle of trial and error and ultimately getting well and staying well.
These foundational labs are meant to look at all areas of potential hidden stress in the body and give you an amazing snapshot of what’s going wrong that’s contributing to the client’s ill health.
FDN is an extremely robust program that really prepares you, not just to treat the client’s symptoms, but actually uncover what’s going wrong in their body and address that.
Outside of addressing lab work, FDN teaches you to treat the client as a whole using their DRESS for Health Success® program. This program gives you a solid foundation of health coaching guidance to help steer the client through fundamental diet and lifestyle changes that will address their stressors and get them on the road to wellness.
Combining the DRESS for Health Success® program along with the ability to interpret labs and recommend supplements gives you the ability to run a robust functional nutrition practice that will definitely deliver results for your clients!
What’s in the FDN Program
The FDN Program consists of 16 self-paced modules. These modules cover the physiology of body systems, lab testing, and how to successfully manage clients in your future practice.
Module 1: How to Be an FDN Health Detective
Module 2: The FDN Stress & Hormone Profile
Module 3: HPA Axis & Sex Hormone Assessment
Module 4: FDN MWP – Metabolic Wellness Profile: Digestion, Detoxification, Oxidative Stress
Module 5: Mucosal Barrier Assessment & Immune Health (Fluids iQ MBA and Genova IP)
Module 6: How Antigens & Pathogens Contribute to Metabolic Chaos
Module 7: Food Sensitivity Testing and What to DO About iIt
Module 8: The Metabolic Typing Test and Introduction to DRESS for Health Success Program
Module 9: “D”iet
Module 10: “R”est
Module 11: “E”xercise
Module 12: “S”tress
Module 13: “S”upplements
Module 14: Case Studies and Bringing it All Together
Module 15: Onboarding and Managing Your Clients
Module 16: Practical Exercises & Exams’
There is also a large addendum all about DUTCH testing, which can be a valuable tool to add to your practice.
The course is completely self-paced and you have an entire year to complete your certification. I was able to get mine done in just under five months – and that was with just studying at night and toddler nap time!
It’s a lot of information to learn and absorb, but if you’re dedicated to getting it done, it won’t take you long.
There are several practical exams, along with a giant written exam, to get through after you’ve completed the course material. These were my favorite parts of the course, and where I was really able to take all the head knowledge I had gained and turn it into knowledge I actually knew how to apply to working with a real client.
The course is very expertly set up, and all of the modules are taught by the FDN Founder, Reed Davis. He has a great teaching style and I found it very easy to understand and learn what he is trying to get across.
The One Additional Training I Did
When I went to launch my one-on-one practice, I really wanted to use Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis with my clients. The test is extremely inexpensive and gives so much valuable insight into the client’s health and often finds answers to a lot of “mystery” symptoms they’ve been having.
The FDN does not do extensive training on HTMA testing, so I took an additional training course from fellow FDN graduate Kendra Perry.
Her HTMA Expert course was extremely valuable and I felt confident interpreting HTMA tests and giving my clients valuable, health-improving protocols.
I would highly recommend this course as an inexpensive add-on to supplement your FDN training.
Review of My Experience in the FDN Program
Overall, I’m a HUGE fan of the FDN Program. I had the best experience becoming a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to add functional lab testing to their practice.
This course taught me what I need to know to get started in my functional nutrition practice and enabled me to run and interpret labs for my clients, which is a huge missing piece for a lot of them.
If I could do it all over again, I would, without a doubt, choose to enroll in the FDN Program over any of the other health certification programs out there.
I am so encouraged by my knowledge of the human body, how it all functions together, the role of stress in all ill health, and how to take a client who is feeling unwell and help coach and educate them to be able to feel their best again.
SEPTEMBER 2022 UPDATE: Now that I’ve been taking one-on-one clients for a few months, I can truly say that the principles you learn inside the FDN program work!
My clients have been so successful and so encouraged with the healing progress that they have been able to make, not only with their main complaints but also just in feeling better all around.
I know it can feel intimidating taking on your first few clients after graduating, but I assure you that if you use that knowledge that you’ve gained in this program, your clients will see improvements and you will have success as a practitioner.
The Only Thing I’m Not Happy With
The only thing I was not completely thrilled about after graduating FDN and trying to run my own practice was their Medical Director Program (MDP). This program is how FDN graduates are able to order functional lab testing without being a licensed practitioner, which is incredibly valuable, but in my opinion, the program needs some improvement.
When I was ordering through the MDP my card was often charged to the wrong client, and the person in charge of communicating between the lab and myself often made mistakes and was just clearly overwhelmed.
But, fortunately, as an FDN you are able to order directly through most labs (like Fluids iQ for hormone testing and Analytical Research Labs for the HTMA). And any labs that you aren’t able to order directly from (like Diagnostic Solutions for the GI-MAP and Precision Analytical for the DUTCH test) you can get by creating an account with Evexia Diagnostics.
Evexia has the best support staff, ordering labs has been a breeze, AND the labs are much cheaper through them than they were for me to order through the FDN’s MDP – which enables you to pass those savings along to your clients!
This workaround to get past the less-than-impressive MDP has been just what I needed for my business and I’m very happy with how I’m able to source my functional lab tests.
If you’re interested in becoming an FDN-P and joining this amazing family, I’d be so happy to help answer any additional questions you may have. Feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected].
And the FDN has just added the ability to try out the first module of the course for free, here’s the link to sign up for that. This is a great way to get a feel for Reed’s teaching style and see if it is a good fit for you!
(And using these links to sign up for the course when you’re ready gives me a small commission, that doesn’t add any additional cost to you, but that I would be forever grateful for!)
And if you’re ready to join the FDN family, you can get $500 off your program tuition by enrolling using this checkout page!