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®

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…

By: Site Editor 

Editor’s Note: Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C, CFMP®, specializes in diagnosing and treating chronic and unexplained illnesses through proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, chiropractic, and other natural approaches to whole-health healing.

Dr. Lewis (left) and friends at high school graduation (1991 – Bayside High School, NY)

A Tampa, Fla.-based medical practitioner, Dr. Lewis began his career in medicine after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.; his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Life University in Marietta, Ga.; his CFMP® from Functional Medicine University in Greer, SC; and a certificate as a Digestive Health Specialist (DHS) through the Food Enzyme Institute in Madison, Wi.

We asked Dr. Lewis to fill us in on his career in healthcare thus far and to relate a little about his personal life.

Here’s what he had to say:

What was it that sparked your passion for resolving health issues and promoting wellness?

Dr. Lewis: My immediate family has a history of autoimmune conditions and diabetes, and my own lab tests demonstrated a genetic susceptibility to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid). With much study, I learned how to restore my own health and vigor to prevent the onset of these and other illnesses. Today I live an incredibly active life and have acquired a deeper understanding of health and wellness, which I offer my patients in Tampa.

When did you decide the traditional route for treating patients was not how you wanted to practice medicine?

Dr. Lewis: After graduating from Shenandoah University where I studied pre-med and biology, I spent the next two years working as an advanced behavioral therapist in NYC with children on the autism spectrum. During that time, I gained a good deal of insight into how the environment, diet, heavy metals, and overuse of childhood vaccinations were influencing the rise in autism spectrum disorders. This was one of the main reasons I chose a holistic route, even though I did not continue to treat autistic children for very long.

At what point did you acquire an interest in pursuing functional medicine as a specialty?

Dr. Lewis: As a Certified Digestive Health Specialist (CFMP®), I practiced  Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Is coconut oil a silent killer? Is it a superfood? A cursory Internet search only reveals how entrenched the factions are on either side of this heated debate and serves as a smokescreen to cloud what we really know about the connection between nutrition and good health. So, is coconut oil a silent killer or a superfood? Maybe it is neither or both.

Challenging the Coconut Critics

As the critics of coconut oil point out, it certainly contains a lot of saturated fat. However, saturated fat is not necessarily bad for you. The anti-saturated-fat faction, such as the American Health Association, bases its argument on the premise that low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the blood and high levels of LDL (considered bad cholesterol) is a good predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, HDL and LDL are broad categories, each of which contains numerous subtypes, and those subtypes matter a great deal.

For example, LDL can be divided into two categories:

  • Small, high-density LDL particles, which really are bad, can get lodged in compromised arterial walls and cause blood clots. These small LDL particles are even more of a concern when the blood contains high levels of Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a), which inflames the blood and makes it sticky.
  • Large, low-density LDL particles are less likely to get lodged in the arterial walls, so they do not carry the same risk.

Likewise, HDL has different subtypes, some of which, such as HDL2, remove excess lipids more efficiently than others. What you want is high concentrations of HDL2 and low concentrations of small, high-density LDL particles.

So, yes, saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, but it raises it in a good way — increasing HDL and decreasing high-density LDL particles. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, have them tested, but make sure the tests are ones that break down the HDL and LDL into subtypes. HDL and LDL levels alone tell you very little.

The focus on saturated fat is a smokescreen that hides the real culprit —  Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

The 2017 hurricane season is on track to become one of the most active ever. In the Continental United States alone, we have seen two tropical storms (Cindy and Emily) and two hurricanes (Harvey and Irma). Floridians are no stranger to these storms and hurricanes. Our state gets hammered far more than any other U.S. state. In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), from 1851 to 2017, Florida sustained 117 direct hits, representing a whopping 40 percent of all hurricanes in the U.S. Most of us manage to recover, even after we lose our homes and possessions, and we stay put. After all, Florida is paradise!

However, in the wake of a passing hurricane, and long after, our health is at an increased risk. The mosquito population explodes. Flood waters increase our exposure to dangerous bacteria, viruses, parasites, hazardous wastes, and industrial chemicals. Saturated homes, furniture, and clothing become breeding grounds for toxic mold. And in the aftermath, we are more susceptible to mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

(Photo ©2017 Marjorie Goodman — to donate to Marjorie’s hurricane recovery effort, please visit: https://www.youcaring.com/marjoriegoodmanmeyers-941933)

Although nobody can stop a hurricane, we can take steps to protect and restore our health in the aftermath.

Battling Mosquitoes

First, the good news, mosquitoes don’t fare too well in hurricanes. Adults generally don’t survive the high winds. Immediately after a hurricane, however the mosquito population explodes when the mosquito eggs laid in the soil during the previous floods hatch. This is when you tend to see large populations of floodwater mosquitoes, most of which are considered a “nuisance,” and not a health hazard. They don’t generally spread viruses that make people sick. It’s weeks or months later that the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes begins to rise, especially in areas that received more rainfall than usual but did not flood. These mosquitoes can spread infectious diseases, such as Zika, West Nile, and dengue fever.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, whether they are the nuisance or disease-carrying type, take the following precautions: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that more than 100 million adults in the U.S. are now living with diabetes or prediabetes. Counted among those ranks are 30.3 million Americans (9.4 percent of the population) who have diabetes, and another 84.1 million (26 percent of the population) who have prediabetes — a condition, if it goes untreated, typically leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.

Read National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017 — Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States by clicking on the link here. Please note: Clicking on the aforementioned link will automatically download a PDF file.

To put those statistics into perspective, in 2015, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. By any measure, diabetes qualifies as a serious epidemic. What’s so tragic is that this epidemic is mostly preventable through changes to diet and activity levels.

The silver lining in this cloud is that pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes can be reversed. The problem is, it’s not being reversed.

Photo: ©2017 Kate Fern on Unsplash.com

Most of those affected who seek treatment from doctors who practice conventional medicine, continue to get worse, develop a growing list of health problems, and take more and more medication in an attempt to Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is even more unpleasant than it sounds — abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, gas, and diarrhea and/or constipation. Symptoms can be triggered by certain foods or by stress, infection, medications, or hormonal changes.

If you have IBS, you’re not alone, and you’re in good company. IBS affects between seven and 10 percent of the world’s population (it’s twice as common in women than in men), and like other illnesses, diseases, syndromes and disorders we’ve covered as of late here on my blog, it has a celebrity following; John F. Kennedy, Tyra Banks, Cybill Shepherd, and Jenny McCarthy have all been reported to have suffered from IBS.

If you are struggling with irritable bowel syndrome, I know how difficult it can be. Daily life is often interrupted or halted, time with family and friends can be unpleasant, and dealing with the condition at work can be unbearable. Even worse, you may be too embarrassed to discuss your condition with even your closest friends and family members; IBS isn’t a topic for dinner conversation. Understandably, anxiety and depression often accompany the illness.

The good news is that treatments for those suffering with IBS are available and very effective, even when traditional medical efforts have failed to produce results.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

The symptoms of an irritable bowel (colon) vary according to the nature and severity of the symptoms. I already mentioned some of these earlier in this post, but here is a more complete list of IBS symptoms: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

The one-two punch of cancer and chemotherapy can literally kill you. In fact, chemotherapy typically involves the use of cytotoxic drugs, meaning medications that are deadly to living cells. Yes, chemo is designed to target and destroy only cancerous cells, but it can also damage healthy cells, significantly increase the toxic burden on the body, and deplete stores of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants). As a result, people undergoing chemo feel weak and exhausted.

Post Cancer Treatment Image

In addition, chemotherapy often causes oxidative damage to cells resulting in a condition referred to as mitochondrial fatigue. A cell’s mitochondria serve as its power house, providing the energy the cell needs to function properly. Exhausted cells make a tired body. Fortunately, targeted nutritional therapies can help to repair damaged cells and restore depleted nutrients to make you start feeling significantly better and re-energized after chemo.

In addition to making you feel better, these nutritional therapies help to Continue reading…