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®

Hormone replacement therapy has gotten a lot of press over the years — both good and bad. It all started in the 1960s, when women in their 40s and 50s were prescribed estrogen to alleviate the symptoms of menopause — hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, and mood swings. Then, studies appeared, showing estrogen promotes growth of the uterine lining, which increases the risk of cancer, so doctors began recommending the addition of progesterone to protect the uterus.

However, instead of providing patients with bioidentical estrogen and progesterone, pharmaceutical companies created a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin (which they could patent) and started combining it with various forms of estrogen — synthetic or derived from animals.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Doctor Matt Lewis

At about this same time (the late 1990s), theories emerged suggesting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) would be helpful for preventing certain age-related diseases in older women, and doctors began prescribing it for women in their 60s and 70s. However, in 2002, a large federal study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health called the Women’s Health Initiative linked the leading HRT medication, Wyeth’s Prempro, with an increased risk of cancer, stroke, and blood clotting. As a result of that study and others, many doctors and women abandoned hormone replacement therapy or now use it only to help alleviate symptoms during menopause.

The truth is that hormone replacement therapy is safe and effective for both men and women, as long as it is done right. Doing it right involves addressing other underlying health issues first and then using bioidentical hormones instead of Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Nearly 5 percent of the nation’s population over the age of 12 suffers from hypothyroidism, with older women more likely than any other age group to experience this condition.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland — located in the front lower part of the neck below the voice box— doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones to keep up with the needs of the body. Simply put, the thyroid is underactive.

And that becomes a problem, because the thyroid is charged with overseeing the function of your metabolism, which determines how your body uses energy from food. For those suffering an underactive thyroid, body processes can slow down, which upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions to your body.

What are some of the signs? If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism:

Aches and pains Anxiety
Constipation Depression
Dry skin Elevated cholesterol
Fatigue Hair loss or thinning
High or low blood sugar Memory loss
Morning headaches Restless sleep
Swelling of the face or body Weight gain or difficulty losing weight even with diet and exercise

These are just the short-term impacts. The long-term impacts are even more serious: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Editor’s Note: In this post, we offer suggestions, advice and warnings for anyone who is looking for a doctor in Tampa and in particular, those who are seeking a functional medicine and integrative healthcare provider. We hope this Q&A — featuring the thoughts of Dr. Matthew Lewis — proves to be informative in that search. Dr. Lewis is a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.), a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (DACBN), and a Certified Functional Medical Practitioner (CFMP®).

Q: Aside from a Google search, asking a friend, consulting with your insurer, or driving past a doctor’s office that appears inviting enough to walk inside, what are specific ways people can find a functional medicine doctor in Tampa who fits their needs?

A: Many functional medicine-trained doctors provide a public education service on their websites in the form of blog posts, articles or recordings of webinars. Same with their Facebook pages — assuming they use social media to engage with and educate patients. These can be helpful in offering potential patients more information about the doctor and his or her practice, as well as provide important insights into that doctor’s specific areas of expertise.

(Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash)

Q: What questions are fair game for a doctor when trying to determine if he or she will be a good fit?

A: If it were me, there are three areas I’d focus on: Continue reading…

By: Dr. Matt Lewis D.C., DACBN, CFMP®

Intermittent fasting can produce amazing clinical results — especially if you create a step-by-step plan that is simple to stick to and fits in comfortably with your daily schedule and lifestyle.

In my clinical experience, I have consulted with many patients for whom the prospect of fasting holds the fear of excruciating hunger or near-starvation. I’m here to tell you that intermittent fasting is actually an easy approach to healthy eating that doesn’t require huge changes to your daily routine.

We’ll talk more about that process later on in this post.

What do you plan to achieve?

But first things first. Before I recommend such an approach to eating with any patient, there’s a little  Continue reading…

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…