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®

I often ask patients the following question. Have you notice a decline in your memory or cognition over the last 3-5 years? Too often, regardless of age the answer is flat out “yes”, or a more unsure, “I think so”. The next question, how are you sleeping?, is inevitably followed by an resounding “not well”!


The Center for Disease Control (CDC), data indicates that 35% of Americans over the age of 18 are not receiving enough sleep. Twenty percent of senior citizens over the age of 65 are experiencing Mild Cognitive Impairment. As you will see in this article, Mild Cognitive Impairment is associated with sleep and cortisol function. Poor sleep at any age is a limiting factor for performance in all areas of life.   https://sleep.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41606-017-0016-5

Hippocampus, Sleep and Your Memory

If one area of the brain (mesial temporal lobe) starts to shrink, early cognitive decline may result. Each area of the brain provides a window into various disease states, some are more widely known to impact dementia. The mesial temporal lobe contains a number of important structures, one of those being the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for short term memory, converting short term memory to long term memory. The hippocampus can degenerate in response to excessive cortisol secretion, head trauma, hypoxia (lack of oxygen), chronic infections, and long standing chronic stress.

The circadian rhythm or what is referred to as your biological clock helps you fall asleep, stay asleep and feel alert and energetic throughout the day.

Your sleep/wake cycle is regulated by the hormones cortisol and melatonin. A lifetime of stress, poor relationships, work related problems, financial troubles, poor eating, and exposure to toxins all cause disruptions in cortisol secretion. Years of working night shift or poor sleeping patterns are great ways to cause changes in melatonin and cortisol balance.

For years I have indicated to patients that one of the first signs that we are losing health is the loss of good sleep. If you wake up at 3AM wondering what you are doing up, this is one warning sign that your cortisol balance is compromised and could be your first sign of hippocampal or brain degeneration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4561403/

I day does not go by that I see patients who are having trouble sleeping. Here are some of the common sleep related complaints:

  • Can’t fall asleep
  • Can fall asleep but can’t stay asleep
  • Wake several times per night (as few as 1-2x and as many as 10-20x)
  • Wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep
  • Night sweats and panic in the middle of the night
  • My spouse is snoring
  • My dog is making noise
  • My legs are restless at night
  • Sleep well but don’t wake up rested  

The good news is that all of the above reasons for poor sleep can be corrected with the right understanding of the problem and sorting out the causes (including the dog barking)!. Looking at this another way, it is important for the doctor and yourself to ask the question, what is is that’s impacting your hippocampus?

Is stress causing excess secretion of cortisol, essentially frying the brain. When cortisol is constantly available in the brain it acts on the receptors of the hippocampus changing the way neurons or brain cells fire. Over time this wears them out and we have atrophy or degeneration. Stopping this process is possible and you don’t have to be a victim of dementia or early cognitive decline as long as preventative measures are taken. Most of the patients who seek my assistance are not past the point of no return.

Many have been struggling many times for decades, yet there is still an ability for healing to occur and restoration of sleep and memory. Some, are showing damage to the brain structures in the form of atrophy – think loss of muscle mass- in this case loss of brain mass. When this happens there has usually been severe stress, poor diet, and or environmental exposure to a biotoxin like mold. The reason they are unable to get better is because the doctor’s are telling these patients, you are fine. Take this sleeping pill, anti-anxiety medication, and you will improve. Or worse, “we don’t know what’s wrong with you, come back if things get worse”. This approach only delays appropriate treatment.

Memory Loss – The conventional approach is failing!

Clinical interventions that are not showing promise over the last thirty years are pharmaceutical based, while holistic, environmental and lifestyle interventions are actually leading the pack when it comes to memory.

As mentioned earlier, memory is a function of the hippocampus. When the hippocampus burns out, loss of memory follows. This means that we need to pay close attention to the signs of memory loss early on and not just chalk it up to some of the common excuses we hear that lack adequate explanation.

For example: A 55 year old patient will tell you they are losing their memory, they can’t recall words like they used to and they notice their vocabulary is harder to access. In the same breathe, they may say, “but you know, I am getting old”. The doctor echoes what the patient says and the loss of memory is ignored. Or it may just be the other way around. The patient echoing the doctor. This is unacceptable in today’s health care system, given clinical interventions do exist and success is often determined by how quickly we act.

Prescription medications are used when the problem of dementia is already diagnosed and to make things worse the last twenty to thirty years of research has not created any “breakthroughs” or “blockbuster” wonder drugs to alleviate the loss of memory and reverse the condition.

Pills in model head

The other big excuse is genetics. A sixty year old female will say “my mom had dementia and I am afraid the same will happen to me”. Yet, the doctor offers no solution, only careful monitoring at best, awaiting the “inevitable”. Again, unacceptable by any standard. So, this same patient will decide to take Ginkgo Biloba or some similar remedy. In fact, not a bad idea!

Unfortunately, this lacks the clinical intervention of monitoring memory losses or gains using acceptable clinical tools that track success of therapy. In my clinic, I always start with testing the brain using standardized memory tests that are reliable and reproducible. This way the patient can see the results of our efforts together to improve memory. This is an addition to using the MRI/ Neuroquant technology and less invasive for those who may not require MRI.

The holistic approach to sleep, memory and hippocampal health

Why are we losing battle against early cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s? Unfortunately, conventional medicine in spite of the present technology  is sticking to the old dogma that dementia, early cognitive decline and certainly alzheimer’s has no prevention or cure. Sad but true. There are literally hundreds of published case studies refuting this and yet the same old excuses are being used! Thankfully doctors like Dr. Dale Bredesen, author of The End of Alzheimer’s are starting to breakthrough and more patients are becoming educated along with their providers.

Since 2006 NeuroQuant Software has been approved by the FDA. Neuroquant technology allows your provider to view your brain MRI beyond the ordinary measures. It is very common for patients to go for a brain MRI due to symptoms of early cognitive decline, neurological symptoms of tingling numbing, facial pain, symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis, head traumas, or dementia. When the MRI report comes back the patient is happy to hear the results are normal. They are then left stuck with symptoms in the absence of any meaningful explanation.

Here is where NeuroQuant technology can really make a difference in diagnosis and clinical outcomes for people suffering with symptoms. Neuroquant measures the volume of your different brain structures compared to healthy controls of the same age and gender. Changes in brain volume can be signs of disease states or early warning signs. Think about your brain structures like muscles, each carrying out specific functions. What if one of your muscles start to atrophy or become smaller? You lose function. It appears to be similar in the brain. Structures can also swell as occurs with injury. Either way, this identifies a change in brain structure.

Real time changes in memory and other brain functions like attention are screened initially and  the monitored for progress using computer based cognitive screening including the following tests: verbal and visual memory, finger tapping (motor testing), attention and continuous performance test. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887617706000837

A pathway to improving your sleep and memory

In my practice, I often have people that come in with multiple chronic symptoms ranging from poor sleep and brain fog to digestive problems, asthma, and environmentally acquired illness. One common symptom they share is lack of quality sleep. If you are not sleeping well,  it is nearly impossible to heal. One part of your treatment plan is to get you sleeping better while we sort out the causes of your concerns. In my seventeen years of experience sleeping medications are not required to accomplish improved sleep. This can be done through several natural methods once we take the time to discuss what the issues are regarding your sleep and layout a plan to have you sleeping soundly. When sleep improves, alertness and memory will follow!  

If you have found this information helpful and are in need of improving your memory, sleep, and overall quality of life, I invite you to use the appointments tab on this site to schedule your one hour initial consultation with me. http:// http://doctormattintampa.com/schedule-an-appointment/

Here you can read more about how I approach each patient individually. http://doctormattintampa.com/understanding-my-personal-approach-to-doctoring/

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

It’s been a few months since I have updated my blog. So, where was I?

It’s been a challenge to write while balancing my Tampa Functional Medicine practice, family life, and studying. I figured all that out, sort of! I am happy to be back to writing!

The purpose of my blog is to educate health care consumers on a range of health care topics, and most importantly help you to find the root cause of your health concerns. Since starting my blog, I am happy to say there are many patients who have reached out for more information in a one on one setting.

Besides that, what has really left me busy in the last few months….I have been in the “hole” reading through a borage of papers and books concerning CIRS-Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. Over the last four years I have been engaged in testing patients for CIRS- mostly due to mold (more accurately, exposures to biotoxins in water damaged buildings) and Lyme biotoxin. I decided to take the plunge to learn the Shoemaker Protocol for CIRS- biotoxin illness through Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker and I am currently in the certification process.

In January 2019, I attended the Meeting of the Minds Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. It was a three-day conference, bringing together mold remediators, inspectors, and physicians who treat CIRS patients. If you are not familiar with what CIRS is-let me explain.


What is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome – CIRS?
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome occurs when a genetically susceptible individual is exposed to a biotoxin and as a result becomes chronically ill over a period that usually spans years. The most notable exposures are to a host of biotoxins and inflammagens found in a water damaged building or home. This is more common than you might think. According to the World Health Organization, 50% all buildings/ homes are water damaged in the United States. Another common cause is the toxins associated with Lyme disease. There are other causes of CIRS, but for now these are the two most commonly recognized, i.e. living or working in a water damaged building or post Lyme disease.

Below is the extraordinary list of inflammagens found in a water damaged building: It’s not just mold!

Symptoms of CIRS
The Most Common Symptoms Include:
• Brain fog, loss of concentration, loss of verbal recall
• Chronic fatigue- usually misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome
• Muscle aches and pains- usually misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia
• Abdominal pain or GI dysfunction – often misdiagnosed as leaky gut, SIBO, IBS
• Respiratory symptoms, chronic sinuses, coughing
• Anxiety or depression

There are more symptoms. In fact, there are 37 symptoms grouped into 8 clusters for purposes of analysis. If a person has 8 or more clusters there is a greater than 80% chance that they in fact have CIRS. These symptoms must be reviewed with a health provider with a proficiency in CIRS. Other reasons for the symptoms must be ruled out and some symptoms on the check list require a deeper dive, or interrogation by the practitioner to discover more about the symptom.

For example: I have had patients when asked “do you get leg cramps?”, they say “no, not really”. However, when I ask again in a more specific manner “do you have cramps in your legs at night that are painful or wake you up”, “or do you feel your fingers lock at times?”, the response may change. “Oh, yes, I do, but it’s just one or two times per week”. This is relevant, there is a reason for the cramping, and it should be accounted for in order to properly diagnose. It’s also nice to see that symptoms of cramping often resolve in a few short weeks following treatment.

Genetics Play a Role in CIRS
When encountering a biotoxin the normal immune system response it to tag it, bind it, and eliminate it from your body. For those with certain types of HLA-DR genetic codes they are less capable of eliminating toxins and more likely to acquire a chronic inflammatory response that will cause a host of unrelenting symptoms. Reduced biotoxin elimination allows toxins to remain in the body.
The HLA-DR genetic variances are geared towards increasing inflammation throughout the body, hence the diagnosis- Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. This is accounts for 24% of the population that is genetically susceptible. Of course, not all those 24% will be exposed or will suffer once exposed. The genetic predisposition explains while some in a home that has hidden or exposed mold will become ill, while others will feel just fine.

When I consult with patients, it’s quite common that most people in the home have at least some of the symptoms associated with CIRS. Those who are least affected don’t usually attribute the problems to mold or the indoor environment, but once we discover the AC unit that needs cleaning or the musty odor that was coming from the closet, maybe a leak in the plumbing and clean up the problems, their symptoms often go away! Those with CIRS will remain sick even after the exposure is improved. They might find some symptoms resolving but not completely. They can go from twenty symptoms to ten, but the inflammation remains. The CIRS patient requires proper diagnosis and treatment and so rarely do they get it! When was the last time a doctor asked you “Are you exposed to any musty smells or visible mold at home or work?”

If you can’t get rid of the toxin, the immune system stays indefinitely charged. A CIRS patient can leave the water damaged structure or be treated for Lyme disease but remain with symptoms and chronic illness.

CIRS Targets the Brain
The chronic inflammation that ensues creates a type of cytokine storm. Cytokines are immune messenger chemicals that tell the body to create more inflammation. In CIRS patients, cytokines act on the brain, particularly grey matter nuclei in and around the hypothalamus. These cytokines irritate the receptors in these very important control centers of the brain, leading to abnormal secretions of neuropeptides and hormones. In lay terms, this means the control centers of the immune system, temperature regulation, hormonal control and cognitive function start to shut down.

CIRS is Not an Allergy
CIRS patients can typically present with over 20 active symptoms that are seemingly disconnected to the many patients and the physicians they have visited.
Let me be clear here, CIRS is not an allergy! It is not an allergic response to mold. It is an inflammatory response to mold that is caused by an upregulation of the innate immune system and increased cytokines. You can also have symptoms that appear to be an allergy, but that is a distinct entity from CIRS. Why is this so important to understand? Because, allergists will say you have a mold allergy. Does that explain your brain fog or gut problems? No.

How about when the doctor says I checked and you have no allergy to mold, yet you are suffering. Well, I can tell you one thing if you don’t have an allergy that is identified you are now one step closer to a CIRS diagnosis. Patients with CIRS often present with what appears to be mast cell disease (allergic type responses), but this is due to activation of complement cascade with C4a leading the charge. This is tested as part of the Shoemaker protocol and diagnostic workup. Go back and look at the symptom checklist, is it all allergy? No way!

Diagnosis and Treatment

A trained practitioner can spot CIRS. CIRS can be identified in children and adults. Children will present with 6 clusters of symptoms, while adults will usually have 8. Children will often express behavioral issues or anxiety, stomach pain, and congestion. This could be severe or mild in terms of neuro-cognitive symptoms or development. Children or adolescents with POTS postural orthostatic hypertension are often found to have CIRS. Adults will have brain fog, loss of concentration and many other aggravating symptoms including restless sleep. You can refer to the list provided early in this post.

• Typical blood tests are usually normal. Using conventional labs like LabCorp and Quest, CIRS can be diagnosed. We look for altered hormonal balance by checking markers like MSH, VIP, ADH, and ACTH. You don’t need to be familiar with these now, but you will if you have CIRS. Immune markers are checked including TGFB1, MMP-9, and C4a, same rule applies. In future blogs I will go through these in more details. For now, we need to understand that these need to be checked if you meet the symptom criteria and have a history of previous or ongoing exposure. I should also mention that there is a lot of misdiagnosis going on here. CIRS can cause autoimmune responses and appear similar to Lupus, Gluten sensitivity, and be the underlying cause for thyroid illness.

• Brain MRI is usually normal. When we add Neuroquant to the MRI, we find the problem in the grey matter nuclei of the brain, there is atrophy or loss of size in specific brain structures. Neuroquant is a technology that can more finely measure structures on an MRI, checking for changes in volume against controls. Neruoquant testing can help differentiate Mold or Lyme, each showing a different fingerprint on the brain. Most patients I check have CIRS due to water damaged building. Some have had Lyme and then can’t improve because they are in a water damaged environment. Either way, it’s CIRS that often needs to be treated, once the cycle of antibiotics has failed for Lyme patients.

• Nasal swabs will show hidden biofilms that are not infections but antibiotic resistant bacteria that are releasing their own form of biotoxin, furthering the out of control immune response in CIRS. This is termed MARCoNS. Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staph.

• Genie testing, a genetic test that looks at gene activation and what proteins are being made by the messenger RNA in real time can be used to asses the inflammatory response. This is not a 23&me test that tells you about genetic SNPs that will never change. This type of testing can tell the provider and patient what genes are currently activating. What is being expressed at this very moment in time. CIRS patients have a specific pattern where the genes for mitochondrial function and inflammation are being over expressed. This is cause for concern with regards to autoimmunity and chronic fatigue. Follow up studies can show the genes functioning more normally, showing a resolution of the Chronic Inflammatory Response.

• Diagnosis my also include Stress Echo, Vo2 max and additional lab testing. This is can help rule out other conditions as well as confirm CIRS, and monitor progression of CIRS treatment.

• All throughout treatment we redo tests to see the positive changes and move to the next phase of treatment. Treatment starts with binders and finishes with peptides if necessary. Vasoactive intestinal peptide can literally reset the immune system and result in improved expression of genetics, as well as improvements in brain MRI as seen on Neuroquant.

• It is not advised to start any treatment with binders, (prescription or natural) until a full assessment and diagnosis has been made.

Now that you have read through this article in its entirety, if you believe that you may be suffering with CIRS, don’t wait to be seen. The longer it takes to address CIRS, the more challenging it can become to treat. I know, because I too was exposed several times to a water damaged home and workplace, and I have the genetics for CIRS. Like many of the CIRS providers I was led to focus on this in practice out of my own experience. It took me over seven years to find an answer, and I already knew a lot of doctors! Now that I am equipped to handle CIRS cases, I am overjoyed seeing how well patients can heal even after feeling sick for so long without answers! I am here to be your guide.

References
Shoemaker R, House D. A time-series of sick building syndrome; chronic, biotoxin-associated illness from exposure to water-damaged buildings. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 2005; 27(1) 29-46.

Shoemaker R, Rash JM, Simon EW. Sick Building Syndrome in water-damaged buildings: Generalization of the chronic biotoxin-associated illness paradigm to indoor toxigenic fungi; 5/2005; Pg 66-77 in Johanning E. Editor, Bioaerosols, Fungi. Bacteria, Mycotoxins and Human Health.

Shoemaker R, House D. Neurotoxicolhttps://www.survivingmold.com/Publications/VIP_AN_GALLEY_PROOF_3_20_2017.PDFogy and Teratology 2006; 28: 573-588.http://www.fungalresearchgroup.com/files/61153352.pdf

https://www.survivingmold.com/Publications/VIP_AN_GALLEY_PROOF_3_20_2017.PDF

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C., DACBN, CFMP®, nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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About the Author: Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C., DACBN, CFMP®, specializes in diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of the symptoms related to chronic and unexplained illness through nutrition, lifestyle, chiropractic, and other natural approaches to whole-health healing in Tampa, Florida. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Shenandoah University, his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Life University, his Diplomate status in Clinical Nutrition from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, his CFMP® from Functional Medicine University, and his certification as a Digestive Health Specialist (DHS) through the Food Enzyme Institute. Dr. Lewis’ passion for health and wellness stems from his own personal experience. With a family history of autoimmune conditions and diabetes, and his own lab tests showing his genetic susceptibility to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid), he has learned how to restore his own health and vigor to prevent the onset of these and other illnesses and live an incredibly active life. Through this process, he acquired a deeper understanding of health and wellness, which he now offers his patients in Tampa.

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Persistent fatigue is a tough mystery to solve. Causes include anemia, anxiety, depression, infection, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), poor diet, too little or too much exercise, poor sleep, liver or kidney disease, and the list goes on. One of the most overlooked conditions that can cause fatigue is autoimmune gastritis— a chronic inflammatory disease in which the immune system mistakenly destroys parietal cells— cells that produce the stomach acid and intrinsic factor (IF), which the body needs to be able to absorb vitamin B12.

As a result, people with autoimmune gastritis often suffer from pernicious anemia — a condition in which the body is unable to absorb the vitamin B12 needed to manufacture healthy red blood cells. Without sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, it is no surprise that people with pernicious anemia suffer persistent fatigue.

When we think about autoimmunity, a few specific conditions come to mind including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), juvenile diabetes, hyperthyroid, and Lupus. Of course, there are others.

What we don’t often consider are the less discussed or less aggressive autoimmune conditions that can have a large impact of how we feel day to day, lead to more progressive illness, and are often associated with the development of additional autoimmune conditions.

Unfortunately, conventional medical doctors often overlook autoimmune gastritis in patients who report chronic fatigue. They may test for anemia and treat it with iron supplements or test for B12 deficiency, see that your B12 level is fine, and never consider whether your body is actually able to absorb and use that B12. Even worse, some people who report fatigue are simply diagnosed as having Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

The Plant Paradox Book CoverQuick-fix diets often single out one component of food and blame it for all of our health woes. Shortly thereafter, products begin popping up on shelves that are fat-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, and so on. That brings me to a recent diet that is beginning to gain traction — the lectin-free diet promoted by Dr. Steven Gundry in his book The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain.

In his book, Gundry asserts certain plant proteins called lectins are primarily responsible for a wide range of chronic illnesses, including obesity, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Critics argue that Gundry fails to back up his claim with scientific research, using only his own and his patients’ results on the diet as clinical evidence of its effectiveness.

Others question whether his dietary recommendations are sound. For example, the lectin-free diet calls for replacing whole grains with white bread and white rice, even though these refined grains have been linked to spikes in blood sugar levels.

Where do I stand on The Plant Paradox? Somewhere in between Gundry and his critics. Placing a limit on the amount of lectins consumed in some populations — people with arthritis and autoimmunity, for example — certainly makes sense. However, I believe the book Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

As a Tampa doctor trained in functional medicine and integrative healthcare, I take a patient-focused, integrative approach to doctoring. That is, instead of merely diagnosing and treating illness, I focus on restoring health by addressing the root causes of illness, which are unique to each patient. These causes of illness include everything from genetic susceptibilities to environmental toxins and pathogens to diet and exercise and even psychological and emotional states.

This approach to doctoring is standard practice in functional medicine. However, each functional medicine doctor has his or her own approach to doctoring and to managing his or her practice. In this post, I describe my personal approach to doctoring and practice management, so you can:

  • Compare my approach to that of other doctors.
  • More effectively team up with me to restore your health, if you choose to become one of my patients.

Earning Patients

I do very little marketing to build my practice. Instead, I earn my patients through referrals from several sources:

  • Other patients — typically a friend, relative, or colleague I helped with a similar health issue or concern.
  • Conventional doctors who are “stuck” with a patient’s health issues and realize a different approach is needed (especially those who have had experience with my methods and witnessed the profound improvement in these most difficult cases).
  • Other natural healthcare providers who do not practice functional medicine but understand its value and prefer an approach that helps their clients avoid the automatic application of pharmaceuticals or invasive medical tests and treatments.
  • Personal trainers or nutritional or health coaches whose client are frustrated because they have plateaued.

I am not the only provider in functional medicine who can attest to how well patients perform when they have a different option and more time and attention during office visits. Unfortunately, in the current healthcare system, too much is Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Year after year, parents, mostly moms, bring their children into my office seeking treatment for chronic ear, sinus, or respiratory infections. Their stories are remarkably similar — they have been bringing their child to their pediatrician or family doctor who has prescribed round after round of antibiotics, rarely, if ever, mentioning a cause for the recurrent infection or suggesting an alternative treatment plan.

In conventional medicine, the traditional thinking is deeply entrenched — the go-to treatment for any suspected infection is an antibiotic.

However, this approach is deeply flawed for several reasons, including the following:

  • Antibiotics are effective only for treating bacterial infections. Ear, sinus, and respiratory infections are often viral or fungal infections that antibiotics cannot clear up. Rarely do doctors test to determine the nature of the infection before prescribing an antibiotic.
  • Antibiotics kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria are essential for healthy digestive and immune systems. The antibiotics your child is prescribed may do more harm than good in the long run.
  • Infections often occur in places that antibiotics cannot effectively reach or penetrate, such as the Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

While there’s probably only a handful of Philadelphia Eagles fans living here in Tampa, Fla., the team’s 2018 Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles has certainly been highlighted in the news lately.

That’s because Foles and his wife, Tori, have brought public attention to a private issue within their family. Tori Foles was recently diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome — better known as POTS — which is an often undetected and underdiagnosed chronic syndrome that causes an increased heartbeat, fatigue, dizziness, and fainting.

POTS patients like Tori Foles frequently find themselves at battle with gravity, which is why this disorder is often referred to as “the fainting disease.” The human heart normally beats 70 to 80 times per minute when we are at rest. That rate climbs another 10 to 15 beats per minute when standing up, then settles back down. But for people with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, the heart rate often increases 30 to 50 beats per minute — or more — leading to the lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting that Tori Foles experienced.

(Image © Maria Hagsten Michelsen)

While the plight of those suffering POTS became more visible last month when Tori Foles took her case to news outlets and a CNN audience, many of us in healthcare — especially those of us who practice functional and integrative healthcare — are committed to raising awareness about the disorder, and the misconceptions and frequent poor diagnoses surrounding POTS.

Women and the Misdiagnosis of POTS

Between one and three million Americans suffer from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and 80 percent of them are young women — particularly those in their early teens — with the condition getting worse through the growing years. Because these women are younger and otherwise appear healthy when the disorder strikes, doctors often dismiss the physical prognosis, choosing instead to explore the Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

One of the more recent studies to highlight the negative health impact of sugar and artificial sweeteners is “The Influence of Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners on Vascular Health during the Onset and Progression of Diabetes,” by Brian Hoffman, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Marquette University and Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

In his study, Hoffman points out that high amounts of dietary sugar have been known for some time to contribute to a wide range of systemic health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. He also points out that “it was not until recently that the negative impact of consuming non-caloric artificial sweeteners in the place of sugar had been increasingly recognized as a potential contributor to the dramatic increase in diabetes and obesity, along with the associated complications.”

The fact that artificial sweeteners had been on the market for so many years before being proven to cause serious health problems is, unfortunately, no surprise. Companies are allowed to profit (and withhold information from the public) until their products are proven dangerous. The burden of proof for the safety of their products is rarely placed on the Frankenfood manufactures. Instead, consumers, doctors, and researches carry the burden of proof that a product is unsafe, and then it takes years to decades before the Food and Drug Administration issues a warning or orders the products off the shelves, assuming it ever does.

When I was a kid I, I ate  Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

To the uninformed, the term allostatic load probably sounds more like a setting on your washing machine than a symptom of stress, but if your doctor suspects allostasis, he or she is telling you that your body may be picking up the tab for your stress-filled life.

Allostatic load is a culmination of all the overtaxed pressures in your life, whether that be work related, the result of relationships, health fears, and even past traumatic events that keep cropping up despite our best efforts.

These issues are bad enough by themselves, but then you toss in a diet that features too much sugar or salt, a caffeine habit that keeps you jittery all day, 24-hour news reports that feature no good news, and what you end up with is allostatic load.

Allostasis is a process that includes the release of stress hormones and neurotransmitters within the body. Each of these stress responses take a toll on your physical condition, which in turn only adds to your allostatic load. The end result of this stress buildup? You become sick.

In recent years, many doctors and health practitioners have suggested diet and exercise as a holistic means of relieving stress. And on the surface, a strict diet can make perfect sense. Where it goes wrong — especially when your allostatic load is at a high level — is the accompanying increase in Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

If you enjoyed Part I in our series about hormone replacement therapy (HRT), today’s post will complete the picture, especially with respect to what’s involved in HRT itself.

Hormone replacement therapy involves taking one or more sex hormones — estrogen, progesterone, testosterone. While we use the term “sex hormones,” these hormones are also important for heart, brain, bone, and immune system health and for mental health. Having adequate, balanced hormone levels along with healthy hormone receptors, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and dementia. Optimizing hormones reduces risk factors for many of the chronic conditions that increase with age.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Doctor Lewis Tampa

HRT can be delivered via different routes, including oral (pills), injection, topically (creams or patches), or inserted into the skin as tiny pellets. The mode of delivery is determined with your doctor based on your specific needs and preferences. Pellet therapies injected into the skin can be done every three months in your doctor’s office. Pills or creams are administered daily and do not require any Continue reading…