Brooklyn is a passionate Functional Health Coach who helps people get to the root cause of their disease by using functional labs and correlating their symptoms. She coaches them on lifestyle tips including food plans, rest, exercise, stress reduction and supplementation. She lives in the cozy town of Clear Lake, Iowa with her amazing husband and enjoys working with people all over the world to help them achieve optimal health.
Today we have Functional Health Coach Brooklyn Hanna with us whom is kind enough to answer questions about scientifically based healing alternatives for Graves’ Disease an auto-immune disorder resulting from underactive and overactive thyroid production that affects hormone levels. Brooklyn also helps people with many other more common symptoms we will touch on like chronic fatigue and mold exposure.
To start, can you explain what a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner is compared to other health coaches who also practice natural health?
As a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, I coach my clients on a healthy diet, adequate rest, exercise, stress reduction, and natural supplementation. What makes me different, though, is that I am able to run functional lab tests on my clients to look into the hormone, immune, digestive, and detoxification systems. This really helps me dig deep and figure out the root cause. Without functional lab testing it’s really hard to figure out what’s causing the symptoms. The labs I use are critical to use to get a person well. The protocols I recommend are designed around the client’s lab results and their symptoms, after I correlate the two.
I was recently diagnosed with Graves’ a disease common among woman under 40 with the most commonly reported symptom being chronic fatigue; an area that you specialize in by offering your clients independent lab work that I know first-hand can be difficult to get your Doctor to order simply by request. Can you give us an overview of what types of labs you offer, why they are important and how the results guide changes for a healthy lifestyle that can be incorporated into a treatment plan?
I run several types of functional labs, all of which can help guide my protocols. With fatigue and Grave’s disease, there can be many different things factoring into why you’re having symptoms. That is why I work on bringing the whole body back into balance. I typically start with a DUTCH test which is an in-depth hormone test measuring cortisol (a stress hormone) as well as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and much more. We work on trying to balance hormones first because we want to build the body up after its been under so much stress. As you know, many people with fatigue or chronic illness like Graves Disease have hormone imbalance. These hormones can be balanced with natural bio-identical hormones, making symptoms resolve on their own. I also run a GI MAP at the beginning which helps me identify bacterial overgrowth, yeast, parasites, viruses, and other infections in the gut. These infections have a huge impact on energy levels and can mess with hormone levels as well. A food sensitivities test is important to run, especially for people with fatigue. Eating food we’re sensitive to just fuels the fire of inflammation. With Grave’s Disease it would also be very beneficial to run a thyroid panel to see where those levels are, and we can work with that also. Other tests I run include a neurotransmitter test, heavy metals test, metabolic profile assessment (liver function, oxidative stress, protein digestion), leaky gut test, mineral analysis, and more.
When Graves’ disease results in hyperthyroidism a common symptom is weight loss but after being diagnosed many people like me are prescribed Tapazole > (Methimazole) or a similar medication infamous for uncontrollable weight gain and significate difficulty in losing weight being suppressing your thyroid production also slows your metabolism. When it comes to clients wanting to lose weight are your recommended protocols tailored enough to each client that they often see changes in their BMI?
Absolutely! I don’t typically put people on a “diet”, or I at least don’t like that label. My food plans don’t restrict calories or carbohydrates, and I certainly don’t make people count calories. I give my clients plenty of options and create a food plan that contains nutrient dense, whole foods. The awesome thing is that the weight typically comes off with eating the whole foods, balancing hormones, getting rid of intestinal infections, and balancing the whole body with my protocols. Weight gain is just another symptom that can be resolved once we bring the body systems back into balance.
Thankfully Graves’ disease is an illness that can be healed. For some people it only takes a year or two for others it might take ten or be something they always live with. Most people agree that one large contributing factor to being cured is lifestyle, specifically foods that we put into our bodies. Can you tell us what foods you recommend for a hyperthyroidism diet and how your food plans are tailored to each client?
Well for starters, I tell everyone to eat a diet that contains unprocessed whole foods, preferably organic. I also tell my clients to avoid sugar, alcohol, gluten, and dairy, for an amount of time. This is to bring down the inflammation and see if we can get some symptoms to resolve. Berries are great because they are high in antioxidants, and we want to reduce that oxidative stress. Some of the best foods for Grave’s Disease are the goitrogens. Goitrogens are foods that inhibit the uptake of iodine into the thyroid. Foods in this family include broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Foods high in omega-3s and vitamin D like salmon, walnuts, olive and flaxseed oil are great to bring down inflammation. Protein is also essential to healing including grass fed beef, chicken, and nuts. To design specific recommendations, I would need a full history to further personalize a plan.
We often hear people say there are not enough hours in the day and I would think most people are unhappy with the amount of energy they have during day and hours of sleep they get at night. Would you agree that eating right is a contributing factor to our energy levels and do you have any suggestions for how people can prepare heathy meals ahead of time even when their tired and how much commitment is required by your clients to follow your diet and exercise plans?
Yes I agree! How you eat is so important when it comes to energy levels. Many people are sensitive to foods and they don’t even know it. The reason they can’t fall asleep at night, they’re tired after they eat, or they’re on edge could be because their immune system is reacting to certain foods. That’s why I run a food sensitivity test that tests client’s reactivity to 150 different foods and food chemicals. It becomes difficult for people with fatigue to cook 3 times a day, 21 times a week, though. What I do is pick a day of the week, usually Saturday or Sunday. I grab my recipe books or browse online and find recipes for the whole week. Then I make a list of groceries, and get all that I need for that week. The next day I make triple the amount of my recipe and store it in several containers. I usually put some in the fridge, and some in the freezer. Although all the cooking takes a few hours, I don’t have to cook every meal the rest of the week! This saves so much time and energy. It also saves trips to the grocery store and money on eating out!
I have a friend that was exposed to mold and experienced residual effects for years and traveled hours to see specialist without finding any doctors that could properly diagnose her, it wasn’t until she consulted a homeopathic practitioner that she was able to get her symptoms under control. Can you tell us how mold is a multi-symptom illness and how a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner approaches these conditions vs a traditional doctor in Western Medicine?
Yes! Mold illness, commonly called chronic inflammatory response syndrome, is often misdiagnosed. In fact, conventional doctors don’t even recognize it as an illness. However, there are certain doctors that treat mold illness and they are certified under Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker who has studied mold illness for many years. With this protocol he typically starts by using cholestyramine or welchol to bind up and get rid of the mold toxins. Then he eliminates marcons in the sinuses, and follows a step by step protocol. While his protocol may be effective, it doesn’t address the body as a whole. Mold is very hard on the hormones, immune system, and gut. I look into all these areas with my in-depth hormone and gut testing. I also address the mold with a natural protocol including binders, and address the marcons with natural sinus therapy. I cannot prescribe the drugs that are included in the shoemaker protocol, though. Instead I use alternative natural protocols and address the body as a whole.
Thank you Brooklyn Hanna for being with us today and sharing your knowledge. Before we sign-off can you give us an overview of the Heath Coaching packages you offer and how people can learn more about you and your work?
I have three coaching packages. The introductory one month coaching package is for people who don’t want to run any functional labs. This includes coaching on diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction, and supplementation for one month. It includes 3 consults and unlimited email support with me. The 3 month coaching package is for people who would like to run functional lab tests. Usually I run 2-3 labs during this time period and design specific natural protocols. I provide education on diet, rest, exercise and stress reduction. You receive 6 sessions with me, and unlimited email support. The 6 month coaching session is for people who have a chronic, longer term illness. It is more in depth and I’m able to run more than 2-3 lab tests This package includes 12 coaching sessions, and unlimited email support. To find out more about how I work as a functional health coach, and to look up my prices go to:
I also offer a free 20 minute session. To set this up, email me at email@example.com