Welcome to DFitLife

At DFitLife.com you will find the tools necessary to combine fitness, health and nutrition for an optimal balance that fits your lifestyle.

Daniella Dayoub will help you find ways to feed your body and train it to prevent illness, combat chronic conditions, and let your body thrive.


Food choices and exercise selection are based on your individual needs, goals, and challenges.  There is no blanket prescription for everyone. In fact, there are no prescriptions here at all, just sound educational information and helpful advice so that you can make your own fitness decisions. No matter who you are, or what your situation is, there is always something you can do to take your health to the next level.




Most Recent Blog Entries

Intestinal Permeability and Why You Should Care

Posted On: June 25, 2017

The term “leaky gut” (intestinal permeability) has been thrown around the health blogosphere for quite some time now.  In fact, if you’re into the more natural side of wellness, you likely hear it blamed for most all of our current ailments:  autoimmunity, food allergies/intolerances, gut dysfunction, etc..  In this blog from 2014 I actually go into great length on what leaky gut is, why it matters, how it happens and what to do about it.  However, I stated in there that there is no really good test that doctors can agree on to screen for leaky gut.  Through FDN I have found out that that is not actually the case.   Today I am going to introduce to you the “gold standard” in leaky gut testing: the Genova Intestinal Permeability Test. 


First, let me start by reminding you that having any symptoms of gut dysfunction, compromised immunity, or allergies and autoimmunity are clear signs that health has gone so awry that you are truly having some malfunctions. By doing some extensive testing, functional diagnostic nutrition practitioners seek to identify as many malfunctions as possible, their root causes, and try to then restore normal function to cells and systems.  Excellent health is not just an absence of symptoms, it’s a feeling of being at your optimal self!


The core of the immune system is based in the gut.

The intestinal mucosal barrier and it’s integrity are critical to all aspects of optimal health.  Through the hepatic portal system, the intestinal mucosal barrier facilitates nutrition: digestion and assimilation.  If the mucosal barrier is compromised, then proper digestion and nutrient absorption are negatively impacted.  The “barrier” part is designed to keep offensive particles out of general circulation.  We need a well-functioning gut in order to protect us from antigens, pathogens, and other immuno-complexes that would otherwise lead to illness.

In mounting a response against infections, infestation and/or inflammation, the gut releases an immunoglobulin called secretory IgA.  It is the first line of defense against ingested pathogens.  B-cells are antibodies secreted via IgA to respond to “non-self” antigens/pathogens to neutralize bacteria.  T cells then either direct these out of the body or kill the infected cells.  NK cells ultimately destroy the altered or infected cells.  However, stress (ie, high cortisol and depressed DHEA) will suppress secretory IgA.  If/when the body struggles with production of sufficient secretory IgA to to mount a strong response to offenders the following disease states become more likely:

Yep, all very scary and all very related to intestinal permeability and gut function.


The problems lie in that the gut lining (epithelium) has to cope with an onslaught of daily HIDDEN stressors like poor diet choices, toxic exposures, infections, medications/drugs, emotional stress and even just genetic predisposition.  Malfunctions and imbalances cascade over time into disease states (symptomatology). First, the microvilli or brush border are destroyed by the inflammatory reactions.  This blunts that brush border (tiny little finger-like protrusions along the intestinal lining that allow for optimal nutrition absorption).  Second, the compromised digestion through the microvilli causes malnutrition and poor digestion.  Lastly, villous atrophy leads to “crypt hyperplasia.”  Crypts are the spaces between the villi and these get swollen.

All of that inflammation leads to the zonula (tight junctions between the enterocytes/cells) to be loosed up.  When these tight junctions/zonula are too loose, larger and inflammatory particles can get through into the bloodstream.  This now permeable gut “leaks” antigens and toxins into general circulation and the lymph system.  These offenders then invoke a humoral (bloodstream) immune response- an overall pro-inflammatory disease state.  Essentially, leaky gut leads to a humoral immune response.  A “Humoral” immune response may result in fibromyalgia, sore joints, muscle aches and pains, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, severe skin issues, and a host of other autoimmune issues.


What is one to do if they think Leaky Gut is at the root of all their ails?

Well, this is where the Genova intestinal permeability test comes in.  This test looks more at the actual physical aspects of a compromised mucosal barrier than the immunological aspects.  As already discussed, molecules pass through the intestinal mucosa through the epithelial cells (via transcellular uptake) or through the space between (zonula) via paracellular uptake.  Small molecules like glucose and mannitol very readily diffuse through the epithelial cells lining the villi.  Larger molecules like lactulose (normally excluded by these cells) also cannot pass through tight junctions between the cells (zonula).

The Genova IP test directly measures the ability of the two non-metabolized sugar molecules (mannitol and lactulose) to permeate the intestinal mucosa.  The mannitol should be readily absorbed via transcellular uptake (through the cell wall) and helps assess the condition of the cells.  The lactulose is only slightly absorbed  and serves as a marker for mucosal barrier integrity between the cells.  If the zonula are loosened and lactulose gets through, it shows that antigens are too easily getting through into the hepatic portal system and thus the humoral system.

Doing the test is actually quite simple, you drink a premeasured amount of lactulose and mannitol in “challenge” drink, collect urine for the next 6 hours, and shoot it off to the lab.  The only contraindication to taking this test is if one has diabetes.  Once results are obtained, your FDN practitioner will be able to tell you how your gut assimilated the sugar molecules your ingested.  If levels of lactulose are high, then you likely have a “leaky” gut.  If, mannitol on the other hand is low, that shows a decreased absorption of essential nutrients- likely due to villous atrophy.  The ratio of lactulose: mannitol indicates disruption of normal absorption of nutrients.

Granted, none of these results really matter if the client doesn’t exhibit symptoms that correlate…  If, however, the symptoms the client orignally complained of do correlate, then it’s important to immediately begin the DRESS for health success program.  D= Diet, here the practitioner may suggest that the client take the Mediator Release Test (more on this in a later blog) to find out which foods might be causing an inflammatory response. At the very least, it would be recommended to drop sugar, excessive caffeine, alcohol, and likely dairy and gluten for at least 90 days.  R= Rest and making sure to get enough sleep, proper self-care, and time off are critical to overall immune health.  E= exercise and moderate amounts of this are very helpful for proper circulation and immunity.  S=Sleep which will help reduce overall stress.

Lastly, the second S= Supplementation.  In this case, the FDN practitioner would likely recommend the following supplementation in order to help heal a leaky gut:

  • digestive enzymes- to help with proper nutrient digestion
  • mucosa barrier healing- these can include amino acids and other herbals to support repair
  • probiotics and prebiotics-to populate healthy gut flora
  • removal of biofilm- supplementation to remove the biofilm formed by gram negative bacteria and pathogens
  • aloe vera- will decrease gut inflammation
  • lower bowel formulas- specially designed to either decrease diarrhea issues or constipation
  • short-term anti-parasites

I was not very specific with the exact supplements, as each client would need individualized recommendations to support their unique issues.


If you, or someone you care about is feeling like leaky gut may be at the root of ailments or health issues, please don’t hesitate to start investigating.  If you are reading this in 2017, I’m not quite done with my training, but you can contact an FDN practitioner near you now to get started on your road to optimal health.

Yours in Health, 




Supplement Spotlight: Vitamin K

Posted On: May 28, 2017

For those of you who don’t know my  history, I was diagnosed with osteopenia at the ripe old age of 26.  I had suffered a complete shattering of my distal tibia and an additional fracture of my fibula all from a very benign fall while snowboarding.  I received the standard and worthless advice to just take more calcium and be careful.  I was even offered a prescription for bisphosphonates (yep, the same stuff old Sally Fields is promoting on TV).  Well, I can tell you that I knew for sure that was a bunch of B.S. and went away ready to do some serious research.  Guess what helps you get stronger bones?  A healthy, well-rounded diet, minimal acidic foods and beverages, and a serious amount of heavy lifting and gravity-laden exercises!!

So, after building up some bone mass and helping multiple clients do the same, I can tell you from experience, that Calcium by itself is NOT the way to go!!  In fact, I don’t even eat dairy!! And Rx drugs will only put cement on a house of cards.  Ever heard of “Phossy Jaw?”   That’s enough of scare-tactics, but suffice it to say, I’ll never be taking those drugs!!

Enter Vitamin K

This little gem of a vitamin has come up more and more in my conversations with clients.  Vitamin K is actually a rather misunderstood and or even unknown critical component of optimum bone and cardiovascular health.  If you’ve heard of it at all, it’s likely in that you should be avoiding it if taking a blood thinner like Coumadin.(1)  However, there are actually  several different versions of Vitamin K:  K1 and K2 are the ones we’ll be discussing today.  These two versions of vitamin K have wide-ranging uses within the body’s metabolism.

The first discovery of Vitamin K came in 1929 when it was figured out that depriving chickens of cholesterol left them unable to properly coagulate blood and they began to hemorrhage.(2)  This blood coagulant was later found to be vitamin K1.  In 1945, the famous Dr. Weston A. Price found in his travels to undeveloped cultural areas that there must be some kind of “Activator X” that was allowing these people (with no access to modern hygiene) to maintain pristine teeth, strong bones, clear vision, and a lack of heart disease.(3)  This mysterious Activator X that seemed to be helping the body properly deposit calcium, is indeed vitamin K2.

The more widely known version of Vitamin K is K1.  It is found mainly in dark green leafy and some cruciferous vegetables.  K1 or Phylloquinone is actually only partially absorbed by the body and has a very short half-life.  In fact, you’ll only likely get about 10% of your consumed K1 in foods.  When it gets to the liver, it stays there and is mostly used up within 4 hours.(4).  Both forms of vitamin K are fat-soluble, so ideally you’d be consuming your dark green leafies with a dose of oil/butter/cheese.   If you are taking an anti-coagulant like Coumadin, please avoid taking K1 and keep your leafy veggies to a minimum if your doctor recommended as such.


Vitamin K2 is even more fat-soluble, and is mainly found in fermented foods and full-fat natural foods:  Japanese natto, gouda cheese, egg yolks, organ meats/offal, real butter, and grass-fed meats.(5)  Unlike K1, K2 or Menaquinone is mostly absorbed and is quickly redistributed by the liver via LDl particles to peripheral tissues (like the vascular system and bones).(4).  This distribution is critical to moving calcium into the bones and reducing calcification of arteries.(6)  I like to think of K2 like a traffic cop:  with the necessary cofactors, it can direct the flow of Calcium into the right areas (bones and teeth) and keep it from block the major thoroughfares (arteries).


However, K2 cannot work in a vacuum.  It needs it’s other fat-soluble vitamins to function. Vitamins A, D, E and K all work synergistically to help mineralize your bones correctly, keep your cardiovascular system functioning optimally, and keep brain and nerve function at it’s best.(7)  Notice, I said fat-soluble!!  That’s one of the reasons I detest the low-fat trends of the past few decades.  What exactly is the point of fat-free milk?  Why “fortify” a natural food with a bunch of minerals (in forms made in a lab nonetheless) when you can’t absorb them anyway???  I just don’t get it.


Okay, so should you be taking vitamin K, and if so in what form and what dose?


Unless you are a regular consumer of natto (I used to work in a Japanese restaurant, and I can tell you this is a seriously acquired taste!), eat a ton of fermented foods, and only eat grass-fed meats, cheeses and butter, I definitely recommend you supplement with vitamin K2.  Proper levels of K2 have been shown to decrease risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, some cancers and dementia.(8)

If you’re going to supplement with Menaquionone, you have two options:  MK-4 and MK-7.  The MK-4 form is synthetic and may be preferable for those with a sensitivity to soy.(9)  However, keep in mind it is synthetic, so you may be taking some risks as to how your body assimilates it.  Personally, even though I have a soy allergy, take MK-7.  Here is a link to my preferred brand.  The MK-7 form is the exact chemical structure you’d find in nature, and we know the body can use it effectively.(10)  I take 90mcg/day and have seen a significant increase in my bone density!


I hope you found all this helpful.  If you have additional questions about what vitamins/minerals you should be taking?  Hit me up below and let’s continue the conversation!

Yours in Health, 


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  1. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/supplement-guide-vitamin-k#2
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23183291
  3. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/on-the-trail-of-the-elusive-x-factor-a-sixty-two-year-old-mystery-finally-solved/
  4. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/11/vitamin-k1-k2.aspx
  5. https://chriskresser.com/vitamin-k2-the-missing-nutrient/
  6. http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/jointbone-health/bone-health-cofactors-new-science-vitamin-d-k2-magnesium-and-zinc
  7. https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/Which+vitamins+and+minerals+should+be+taken+together+or+separately/how-to-take-vitamins/
  8. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/03/24/vitamin-k-part-two.aspx
  9. http://www.nbihealth.com/t-mk7-hip-fractures.aspx
  10. http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/which-vitamin-k2-supplement-is-best-mk-4-or-mk-7/

Clean Eating

Posted On: May 10, 2017

Okay, so we’ve got the Summer Body Fat Loss Challenge in full swing.  Some of you have already gotten your initial scans from BodySpec.  If you haven’t already, make your appointment online here and get those baseline numbers.  If you’re entering the challenge, please send me your results via email to daniella@dfitlife.com

For May I’m asking everyone to CLEAN UP the diet.

This can mean a lot of things depending on where you’re starting. Most of you already know what could stand to go and what you need to add in to get a “cleaner” version of your current diet.  You don’t have to go nuts, but make at least one or two tweaks to get things moving.  Below are a few ideas of changes you could make to eat clean. 

  • Try swapping out the morning oatmeal/granola for organic yogurt and berries
  • Instead of artificial creamer in your coffee, try simple whole milk or heavy cream.
  • When you need a desk break, bypass the snack area and go for a quick lap around the building or go up and down a few flights of stairs.
  • Take your usual lunch sandwich and throw the contents on a bed of lettuce
  • Swap out the burrito for tacos.
  • Challenge yourself to fill half your lunch plate with veggies.
  • Go to farmer’s market this week and try a vegetable you’ve never eaten before.
  • Swap out pastas and rice for potatoes and other tubers to increase nutrient density.
  • Ditch dessert in lieu of frozen grapes, fresh berries, or just a sparkling water

To support you I decided to clean up my own diet.  I have to say, I do pretty darn well most of the time.  However, wine has become quite a weakness for me.  So for 90 days I’m off the booze altogether.  So far I’m 10 days in and feeling pretty good.  It’s hardest when I go out to eat, as somehow it just seems weird to not order a glass of wine with my dinner.  Other than that, I actually don’t seem to really miss it!  Oh, well there was that one night out for Mexican food. Darn that stuff tastes different without a margarita!!

I’d love to hear how YOU are cleaning up your diet.  Please make a comment below.  It might help others figure out ways they can propel themselves to the next level!!

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