Welcome to the Tampa Blog of Dr. Matt Lewis

I’m glad you’re here. I have more than six years of postdoctoral education in functional medicine and over a decade of experience in clinical nutrition. Through my Tampa-based practice, I help patients by identifying the underlying causes of low thyroid, fatigue, weight gain, and other chronic health issues and provide holistic treatment through nutrition, lifestyle, and other natural approaches.

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Detoxing flushes toxins from the body. Unfortunately, some toxins resist and remain in the body. Over time, the levels of these toxins rise causing various health issues. To remove these toxins, you need toxin binders that attach to the toxins making them easier for your body to eliminate.

Toxin binders are similar to soap molecules, each of which has two ends — one end of a soap molecule attaches to a water molecule and the other attaches to an oil molecule. This is how soapy water removes dirt and grease from dishes, laundry, and even your body.

Toxin binders work the same way, attaching to toxins and bodily fluids, so the combination can flush the toxins out of the body. Think of toxin binders as tiny sponges that sop up poisonous debris.

Recognizing Sources of Toxins

Toxins enter our bodies from the food and beverages we consume, the air we breathe, certain substances we are exposed to, and organisms that live in our bodies and produce their own waste products. Common sources of toxins include: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

The conventional approaches to the treatment and management of diabetes is the single worst case of mismanagement in medicine today!

Full disclosure: My family history is riddled with diabetes — uncles, aunts, grandparents, and parents all with diabetes. These were not overweight people. Not by today’s standards. They had a genetic predisposition for sure. However, each had a chance to control the disease and failed miserably.

Besides genetics, what did they have in common? They all used the conventional approach to diabetes care: Lowering blood sugar by any means necessary, including using prescription drugs and insulin injections, which increase the risk of long-term complications including heart disease and cancer. Diabetics using the pharmaceutical heavy model are destined to remain reliant on the medical system.

Diabetes treatment in the current conventional health care environment will not reverse diabetes and in many cases will actually aggravate the underlying causes of the illness, leading to more chronic conditions and long-term complications.

How can we expect to reverse something with medicine if we never address the root cause?

Asking Better Questions

Conventional medicine approaches diabetes treatment with the wrong question: “How can we lower the patient’s blood sugar?”

A better question is this: “What are some root causes of blood sugar problems and what can we do to resolve them?”

The underlying causes of blood sugar problems include the following: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Do you suffer from bloating, gas, or chronic diarrhea? Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? If so, the problem may not be your gastrointestinal tract but what’s inside it. You may have SIBO.

SIBO is short for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth — the presence of excessive bacteria in the small intestine and/or changes in the types of bacteria normally present. (The small intestine, or small bowel, is the section of the gastrointestinal tract that connects the stomach to the large intestine and is responsible for most nutrient absorption.) SIBO is often the underlying cause of chronic diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, unplanned weight loss, and osteoporosis.

Left untreated, SIBO negatively impacts the structure and function of the small intestine. The overpopulation of bacteria can damage the lining of the small intestine, which can cause leaky gut — a condition in which large protein molecules pass through the intestine into the bloodstream, triggering immune reactions that can result in food allergies or sensitivities, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.

Recognizing the Risk Factors

The following risk factors increase the likelihood of a person developing SIBO: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

You wake up feeling exhausted, and you drag yourself through the day. You feel as though you’ve lost your mojo. You have no pep in your step. Maybe you’re anxious, irritable, or forgetful, or you just can’t think straight. All the color has been washed out of your life. Your world has turned gray. You’re well aware that you’re suffering from brain fog, but what caused it?

Well, that’s a tough question to answer. Any number of physical and psychological factors can contribute to brain fog, including poor sleep; nutritional deficiencies; lack of exercise; overconsumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine; emotional stress; infection; dehydration; and the list goes on.

Brain fog isn’t so much a medical condition as it is a catchall phrase for symptoms related to the onset of a lack of mental clarity, confusion, forgetfulness and a lack of focus.

An often-overlooked cause (or contributing factor) of brain fog is mycotoxins.

What Are Mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by a fungus such as mold (microscopic fungi) to kill off competing mold species. They enter the body through foods, dust, air, and long-term exposure to water-damaged homes or buildings.Mycotoxin Fungi are a normal part of our environment and food source; they are particularly prevalent in grains. However, in water damaged buildings or homes, mold species that are harmful to your health can be Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

In a previous post, Toxic Mold: How a Medically Supervised Detox Can Help, I called attention to the serious mold problems that are common in South Florida, including Tampa, due to high humidity or water damage. Mold poses an increased risk during the hurricane season, but risk also rises as summer approaches with its one-two punch of heat and humidity.

While most people have the biology to purge mold and mold toxins (and a host of other toxins) from their bodies, some of us are particularly sensitive to certain substances, and those who aren’t can also be affected when the toxic load overwhelms the body’s natural ability to detox.

Photo ©2018 by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

Whether you are susceptible to certain toxins or not, a detox can help your body eliminate those toxins and restore proper function. Of course, there are right ways and wrong ways to detox. To get the most benefit from a detox and avoid the risk of harming your body, follow my ten recommendations in this post — the five don’ts and five do’s of detox: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

In functional medicine, we strive to address the underlying cause(s) of illness, not merely to provide symptomatic relief. So when someone visits my office with symptoms of low T — low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue or hot flashes, muscle weakness, weight-loss resistance, and so on — I don’t just treat the low T. Instead, I ask what’s causing it, and the answer to that question is often metabolic syndrome.

I then ask what’s causing the metabolic syndrome, and I work with my patient to identify and address the root causes of that condition. After successfully addressing the metabolic syndrome, we can then reassess hormone levels and seek other ways to restore healthy levels, if necessary.

I refer to this approach as “baking the cake.”

What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities that place a person at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes. While there are several definitions and different sets of criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome, the easiest set of criteria used to diagnose metabolic syndrome is Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Valentine’s Day is filled with images of healthy red hearts. They are a symbol of love. But sadly, on Valentine’s Day, our hearts are often neglected, as they are for the other 364 days of the year. It’s easy to neglect something that typically functions as reliably with as little maintenance as the heart requires. It’s easy to take for granted an organ that functions 24/7/365 without a conscious thought from you; it even keeps the beat while you sleep!

On average, the heart beats 80 times a minute, 4,800 times per hour, and 115,200 times per day. If you live to the age of 80, your heart will have beaten more than 3.3 billion times. Most people think about heart health only when something starts to go wrong, when it’s often too late to reverse the damage resulting from long-term neglect or abuse.

Photo © by Jamie Street | Sourced via Unsplash — used with permission.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to optimize your cardiovascular system and ensure that you have a healthy red heart. Use this Valentine’s Day to pledge your undying love to your heart, and then make it feel the love by taking these steps to optimize your cardiovascular health: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Our sunshine state has been hit particularly hard by the flu this season. As reported in Florida Flu Review published by the Florida Department of Health (January 21-27, 2018), “Flu activity was at higher levels than at the highest points in previous flu seasons,” and deaths due to pneumonia and influenza “were slightly higher than expected and are expected to increase over the coming months.”

Photo © by Kinga Cichewicz | Used with permission from Unsplash

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health (FDH) recommend everyone boost their immunity to the Influenza virus by getting a flu shot, vaccines aren’t a silver bullet. According to the CDC, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is between 40 and 60 percent; in other words, it works about half the time. And effectiveness can vary, because each flu season vaccines are developed based on predictions of what will be the three or four most prevalent flu strains for the coming season. If you’re exposed to other strains, the vaccine will be of little or no use. In addition, viruses frequently mutate and “dodge” the silver bullet.

Also, despite claims that flu vaccines are safe, they still carry risks, not the least of which is that the virus introduces foreign substances into your body that serve as stressors. After getting a vaccine, people often report a number of symptoms, including  Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Last spring, when I sold my functional and integrative medicine practice in Long Island to be closer to family in Tampa, Fla., I had no idea demand for my services would be so great that I would need to practice out of three different Tampa-area locations — two in South Tampa, and one north of the city in New Tampa.Doctor Matt Lewis Locations TampaIf you’re interested in having me or the medical professionals I work alongside diagnose and treat your symptoms of chronic and unexplained illness through lab testing, followed by nutrition, lifestyle, chiropractic, and other natural approaches to holistic healing, here’s what you need to know: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

How exactly does functional and integrative healthcare differ from conventional medicine?

Functional Medicine vs Traditional Doctoring

It’s a question I’m often asked by prospective patients and family and friends alike. Here’s the difference in a nutshell:

  • Conventional medicine treats symptoms and diseases with medication, radiation, or surgery. When you see a conventional doctor, you’ll likely get a diagnosis and then a treatment for eliminating the illness or alleviating symptoms.
  • Functional medicine strives to optimize health by identifying and treating the underlying causes of poor health, which can be traced to interactions among genetics, nutrition, lifestyle, and environment.

For example, suppose you have high blood pressure. You’re likely to have two very different experiences depending on the type of doctor you see:

  • The conventional doctor diagnoses high blood pressure and prescribes a drug to lower it and perhaps another drug to lower cholesterol. To be fair, the doctor may also recommend dietary changes (low-sodium, low-fat) and lifestyle changes (reduce consumption of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, and increase physical activity), but if the drug works, few patients are willing to make long-term changes to their diet and lifestyle.
  • A functional medicine doctor interviews you to gather a complete medical history to determine when the symptoms began and what may be causing them. The doctor is likely to order a series of tests to figure out why your blood pressure is high. Underlying causes of high blood pressure include the following:
    • Insufficient physical activity
    • Excess caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol
    • Emotional stress
    • Excess weight
    • Nutritional deficiencies, including biotin vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin D, choline, magnesium, or coQ10
    • Toxic levels of mercury
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Excess sodium and insufficient potassium
    • Magnesium deficiency
    • Chronic systemic inflammation
    • Elevated blood sugar
    • Hormone imbalances, such as estrogen deficiency

Functional healthcare targets the underlying causes, which not only eliminates the illness but also restores health and prevents future illness. The table below compares the two approaches side-by-side. Continue reading…