"what can an MD learn from me?" | Partnerships by functional nutritionist Andrea Nakayama

“what can an MD learn from me?”

So often I hear practitioners say things like:

“I feel self-conscious when I speak to doctors.”
“How can I partner with doctors when they know so much more than I do?”
“How do I gain respect from doctors?”

Whether you’re looking to partner with doctors or not, read on…
Feeling more confident, respected, and like you really can hold your own with any type of practitioner (or client!) is something we can all benefit from.

We’ll use doctors as an example because (let’s be honest), talking with them can be intimidating.

You might feel small, less-than—less educated, less respected—and you might think, “Who am I to be in conversation with an MD? How can I possibly bring something to this partnership?”

Many practitioners tell me that they don’t think they know enough to reach out to physicians.

They’re afraid they’ll appear foolish, or less intelligent than they know themselves to be.

So, they don’t reach out.

The practitioners who hold themselves back don’t value what they do know, and instead focus on what they don’t know.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you might just know more than you think!

Here’s what Sandi, a Full Body Systems student and practitioner, recently shared regarding a conversation she just had with a physician:

I had a really interesting thing happen to me yesterday. I was at a dinner party and was introduced to a physician who heard I was trained in functional nutrition. She started asking me a bit about my background, then said “I hear you should give up gluten and I’ve read a few functional medical doctors’ books, but I didn’t understand what they meant and how it could be damaging for patients. I tried to give it up once and nothing happened. So what do you think?”

If I had been asked that same question a year ago, I would not have been able to answer! Not a lot of confidence for sure, but this time I was thinking to myself, “I’ve got this!”

I reminded her where the small intestine is located, what gluten does to those villi that line the small intestine, how they can become flattened by gluten and dairy, and how that affects nutrient uptake. I also told her that this creates inflammation in the small intestine by affecting the tight gap junctions, which will begin to expand and create more of a chasm between the cells, allowing foreign substances (like gluten proteins) to enter the bloodstream where they don’t belong.

She said, “Oh I get it now!! Thanks for explaining that!”

A doctor said that – I couldn’t believe it!

She also asked me about GERD, and I went on to explain how I would approach that and also ‘what’s going on in there’. I couldn’t believe that I could answer nearly everything she asked. It was a great feeling!!

After the conversation she took my name and wanted to see my website and plans to refer clients to me.


Andrea, thank you so much for the amazing way you teach and really break it down. This would not have been possible if I hadn’t taken your program, I’m truly grateful.


Wow! I love hearing these kinds of successes.

It’s not about leaping tall buildings, it’s about using plain language and understanding ‘what’s going on in there.’

And partnering with a physician doesn’t require that you know what they know. You can’t!

But similarly, they don’t know what you know. Or what you can know once you study nutrition from a functional lens.

You need to know your unique piece. And you need to be able to share it – to educate both your clients and other practitioners.

Your piece is functional nutrition, and as you can see from Sandi’s story, it’s a vital piece that many physicians are missing!

So many doctors are in the same boat that this one was—they want to help their patients but they don’t understand the deeper connections between food and physiology, why diet modification matters, or what it actually takes to make such a huge lifestyle change.

Yes, you read that right!

Doctors know a LOT, but they aren’t taught nutrition (especially functional nutrition).

They don’t necessarily know (or understand) what gluten does to the small intestine. Or what sugar can do to hormonal balance. Or what lack of sleep can do to blood sugar balance!

They need you to do that piece.

And while they aren’t all ready to talk to a nutrition pro and hear their perspective, many of them are.

Are you ready to answer the call?

Sandi will be joining 3 other stellar Full Body Systems grads in our upcoming LIVE Graduate Spotlight and Q&A. They’ll each share their golden nuggets of success, and then they’ll open the mic to answer your burning questions about how to create a successful nutrition practice.

Mark your calendars!

Graduate Spotlight

Date & Time: Mon, September 9th @ 7pm EDT /4pm PDT

Register here and get ready to be inspired!


Related Blog Posts:

Functional Nutrition
Back it up
Therapeutic Partnership
Root Cause
Allied Functional Medicine Practitioner

Functional nutritionist and educator Andrea Nakayama (FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC) is leading patients and practitioners around the world in a revolution to reclaim ownership over our own health. Her passion for food as personalized medicine was born from the loss of her young husband to a brain tumor in 2002. She’s now regularly consulted as the nutrition expert for the toughest clinical cases in the practices of many world-renowned doctors, and trains a thousand practitioners online each year in her methodologies at Functional Nutrition Lab. Learn more about Andrea here.

3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
MargariteSarah R.Salena Recent comment authors
Notify of

Nicely done! Once again a fabulous article!

Sarah R.
Sarah R.

Andrea~ Thank you for sharing Sandi’s awesome experience and for continuing to teach and encourage us to be the bridge to other health care practitioners! What a win! 🙂


That was good to read. What is the answer to this doctors “getting off of gluten but not noticing anything” ? Does this mean she was symptom free?

And a question from me: I did notice symptoms (migraines) disappear when I came off of gluten. When I cannot resist a bite sometimes, I get a lighter version of my old symptoms the following day. Does this mean my gut is still leaky? I mean, getting a sore neck and slightly headachy, does mean the gluten went into my blood stream, right?