Dr. Matthew Lewis, DC
Dr. Matthew Lewis, DC

The Healing and Rejuvenating Power of Therapeutic Peptides

By |2023-06-06T19:14:21-04:00May 12th, 2023|Categories: Peptides|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

As a functional medicine-trained doctor, I thrive on discovering therapies that harness the body’s ability to heal and rejuvenate itself. I’m talking about therapies that build upon the fundamentals associated with proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, and medication.

And that’s why I continue to be impressed with the benefits of therapeutic peptides — those chemical molecules that bind to receptors on the surface of cells and trigger positive responses at the cellular level. I experienced these benefits firsthand recently when I started to treat an old rotator cuff (shoulder) injury of mine with a combination of two therapeutic peptides — Body Protecting Compound-157 (BPC-157) and Thymosin Beta 4. Look for a separate blog post about this later this month. For now, I’m going to share what you need to know about the use of therapeutic peptides in a medically-supervised plan of care.

What Are Therapeutic Peptides?

Peptides are short strings of amino acids — much shorter than protein molecules and easier for the body to absorb and break down. Therapeutic peptides are those that are bioactive and have a beneficial effect on the body. Some common peptides are available in over-the-counter supplements, such as collagen peptides for skin health, and creatine peptides, which may help build strength and muscle mass. Some therapeutic peptides are natural or derived from natural sources; others are synthetic — manufactured in labs.

Pharmaceutical companies have developed a wide variety of natural and modified peptides into medications that act as hormones, growth factors, neurotransmitters, ion channel ligands, and anti-infective agents. One example is insulin, which is a peptide hormone produced by the pancreas.

Semaglutide (also known as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus), which is commonly used to control blood sugar and support weight loss, is another therapeutic peptide that you may have heard of. More than 60 peptide medications have been approved for use in the United States and other major markets.

Using Therapeutic Peptides to Treat Specific Medical Conditions

Peptides are now being used in plans of care to treat many illnesses and diseases, including: Continue reading…

Ozempic for Weight Loss: Too Good to Be True or an Effective Treatment?

By |2023-03-27T15:55:25-04:00March 27th, 2023|Categories: Diabetes, Weight Loss|Tags: , , |3 Comments

When it comes to medications, supplements, diets, and other trendy solutions for weight loss, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And as anyone who knows me is aware, I am highly skeptical about quick-fix, one-size-fits-all treatments for any medical condition.

So, when I started to hear stories about Semaglutide (sold under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus), my initial reaction was to wonder, “What’s the catch?” Could this medication, which was developed to treat insulin resistance really be as effective for weight loss as many people claim? And could it possibly be as safe as the pharmaceutical companies and the FDA have led people to believe it is?

Then, I started to recognize some patients who had struggled with losing weight, feeling healthier, and looking the best I had seen them in years! Seeing these amazing results with my own eyes forced me to take a deeper look into the Semaglutide craze that is taking over the weight loss industry.

In this post, I share what I discovered.

What Is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is more than what you see on TikTok! It is an injectable medication that is typically prescribed in combination with diet and exercise to help control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes to manage weight.

Semaglutide works by mimicking the action of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) — a naturally occurring hormone that has the following effects:

  • Stimulates insulin production to help regulate blood sugar
  • Inhibits glucagon release, slowing the release of sugar into the blood causing the body to burn more fat
  • Slows gastric emptying to make you feel full longer
  • Reduces appetite (because you feel full)

Together, these effects can help slow the conversion of sugar to fat, burn more fat, make you feel less hungry, and adhere to a healthy diet, all of which make it easier to manage weight and blood sugar.

Understanding the Connection Between Insulin Resistance and Weight

The research on diabetes, weight gain and loss, and inflammation is very clear — two thirds of all Americans are on a spectrum of insulin resistance. This means that their Continue reading…

Why I Take a Consultative Approach to Healthcare

By |2023-01-27T21:45:00-05:00January 27th, 2023|Categories: Dr. Matt Lewis|Tags: |0 Comments

Depending on where you take your vehicle to have it serviced, you’ll deal with either a mechanic or a parts changer. A mechanic conducts a thorough evaluation before doing anything. Your mechanic asks you to describe what’s going on; drives the vehicle, taking note of any strange sounds, vibrations, or odors; visually inspects the vehicle; and runs diagnostics to check for any error codes.

A parts changer makes an educated guess as to what the problem is and then proceeds to change parts until the problem goes away. It can be a costly, time-consuming process that often fails to address the root cause of the problem.

Unfortunately, modern medicine is driven largely by a part-changer mentality. Many doctors spend only a few minutes talking at a patient and reviewing results from lab tests and even less time listening to the patient, coming up with a diagnosis, and generating a thoughtful plan of care. Instead, they jump right to treatments that often include prescription medications — many of which alleviate symptoms without addressing their root cause. Even worse, medications can cause adverse side effects, resulting in a symptom profile that grows longer and more complex with every visit.

In contrast, I take a consultative approach to treating and caring for my patients. This approach is more collaborative and relies far more on listening to my patients, enabling them to play a much more active role in their treatment outcomes.

Image for consultative healthcare

What Is a Consultative Approach?

A consultative approach requires a deep understanding and appreciation of your medical history, family history, lifestyle, life events, and current health conditions and concerns.

The process begins with you completing your functional medicine analysis form, which I review in preparation for your initial consultation, and refer to over the course of your recovery. Your functional medicine analysis is an inventory of your health history and presenting symptoms. In time, we should be checking off symptoms and seeing a trend towards better health and quality of life.

The consultative approach requires good listening in an environment that is not rushed, judgmental, or dismissive. I contrast this to a visit with a more conventional healthcare provider who works in an environment that rewards speed over thoroughness and the importance of building a collaborative doctor-patient relationship.

In this non-consultative scenario, it’s a quick conversation and lab review, followed immediately by knee jerk recommendations. I see this happening today in both conventional and holistic medicine as practitioners build models of medicine based on meeting the demands of insurance providers instead of improving patient outcomes.

Key benefits of a consultative approach to medicine include the following: Continue reading…

Addressing the Root Causes of Chronic Fatigue and Brain Fog

By |2023-01-09T16:45:04-05:00January 9th, 2023|Categories: Brain Fog, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome|Tags: , |1 Comment

Chronic fatigue is common, but it’s certainly not normal. It’s common, in that many people experience it on occasion. But a healthy body doesn’t naturally feel worn out — even when dealing with a fairly hectic lifestyle.

In fact, if you’re unsure about the underlying cause of your brain fog or fatigue, you shouldn’t be feeling that way. For example, if you’re working 12 hours a day and your baby or your neighbor’s dog is keeping you up all night, you have a clear reason to be fatigued.

However, if you’re eating healthy foods, remain physically active, get six to eight hours of sleep each night, and you still feel tired or unfocused during the day, something’s wrong. And you most likely have a medical condition that requires evaluation and treatment.

In this blog post, I discuss how to move away from brain fog and fatigue and toward increasing focus, energy, and vitality. You and your doctor need to take it seriously, acknowledge the problem, and work together to identify the root cause(s), with the end result being solutions intended to restore your energy and mental sharpness.

The take-home message here is this: Solutions exist. Stay focused and be persistent until you receive treatment that makes you feel your best.

Where Conventional Medicine Falls Short

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you already know what I think about the conventional medical approach to treating chronic health conditions, including thyroid disease, chronic fatigue, depression, menopause, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Conventional medicine focuses on diagnosing illness and treating its symptoms —typically with medication. It rarely identifies or addresses the root causes of these illnesses. These often include:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Too much, too little, or the wrong types of exercise
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Poor sleep
  • Leaky gut
  • Other lifestyle and treatment options we have influence over

Imagine entering your doctor’s office and complaining of fatigue or brain fog. Your doctor orders some blood tests and tells you the results show no cause for concern. According to your doctor, you’re perfectly healthy.

Or, you go to see your doctor complaining of fatigue and brain fog, and you’re treated for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, neither resulting in a resolution to your fatigue issues. You have digestive issues, so you’re referred to a gastroenterologist who treats you for acid reflux or irritable bowel disease, but again your fatigue remains untreated. Why is this? Because none of the “solutions” were the Continue reading…

Taking a Holistic Approach to Hormone Therapy

By |2022-08-15T22:52:43-04:00August 15th, 2022|Categories: Hormones|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

Many clinics — including conventional healthcare and those that promote themselves as “med spas” — offer hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women.

HRT, when part of a thoughtful treatment plan, can be a safe option for alleviating symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, as well as optimizing health. Having robust and balanced hormones slows the aging process and can help reduce the risk and slow the progression of chronic diseases associated with aging.

Unfortunately, the HRT often being offered by both traditional healthcare practices and med spas is typically a one-size-fits-all solution that overlooks other factors that may be causing or contributing to your health conditions or symptoms.

Graphic for hormone replacement therapy

Worse, typical HRT offerings overlook the fact that the body needs to be able to metabolize hormones effectively in order to maintain optimal hormonal balance. If the body is already struggling to metabolize its endogenous (internally produced) hormones, adding exogenous (pharmaceutical) hormones can do more harm than good.

In my healthcare practice, I take a more holistic approach to hormone replacement therapy — one that accounts for each patient’s diet, lifestyle, body composition, and overall health and that not only supplements hormone production but also supports hormone metabolism.

What we offer in my clinic is unique because we take a holistic approach to your health and the use of hormone replacement therapy as part of your doctor-supervised treatment plan.

Recognizing the Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

If you’re a woman around the age of 50, your ovaries are gradually producing less and less estrogen, resulting in a hormonal imbalance. You may start to experience hot flashes, anxiety, depression, mood swings, fatigue, brain fog, dry skin, wrinkles, brittle hair, reduced sex drive, vaginal dryness, tender breasts, weight gain, and poor sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy can Continue reading…

Functional Medicine Explained: Experiencing the Difference

By |2022-07-14T16:55:44-04:00July 14th, 2022|Categories: Functional Medicine|Tags: |2 Comments

You can find plenty of information on the web about functional medicine — websites, blogs, videos, podcasts, and more. In fact, I’ve even written about it myself (please see The Difference between Traditional Doctoring and Functional Healthcare here on my website).

But based on my 20-plus years of experience as a functional medicine practitioner, it dawns on me that some potential patients may not fully understand or appreciate the advantages of functional medicine until they experience the difference for themselves.

The patients who describe the most dramatic epiphanies say they reached a dead end on the path through conventional medicine just before discovering functional medicine. They arrive at my office only after having “tried everything.” They are frustrated and they say I was the last house on the block in their search for a solution to their health issues.

Even their doctors were losing patience — and patients — because nothing in their many years of conventional medical training offers them any insight as to what’s going on or how to treat it. As a result, these patients often are led to believe that “it’s all in their head” or that the best they can hope for is the ability to manage their symptoms.

Functional; Medicine Graphic

Patients say their first encounter with a functional medicine doctor resulted in a session with someone who not only listens to them but understands and empathizes with them. These health practitioners can describe what’s going on in their patients’ bodies and in their lives and how corrections can be made. They begin to feel a huge burden lifted as their frustration is replaced with understanding and hope.

In this blog post, I explore some of the attributes of the practice of functional medicine that make it so different from conventional medicine. And despite my obvious bias, I will attempt to do so from a patient’s perspective.

Time and attention

One of the big differences you’ll notice when you visit a functional medicine practice is Continue reading…

Chronic Itching? It’s Usually More Than Skin Deep

By |2022-04-21T16:00:24-04:00April 21st, 2022|Categories: Skin Conditions|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments

If you are suffering chronic itching — a common but difficult-to-treat symptom of an inflammatory skin condition — then you’ll want to read about my experience with diagnosing and treating Lexi.

Chronic Itching

Lexi is a 25-year-old woman who came to see me about a skin condition that was causing persistent itching. She was suffering with cellulitis on her face and eczema on her hands. (Cellulitis a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. With cellulitis, the affected skin appears swollen, red, and is typically warm to the touch and painful.) In Lexi’s case, she had been previously treated by another doctor with several rounds of topical steroids, oral steroids, and antibiotics.

She told me that, at first, the infections and skin cleared. But after a few short weeks, all of her symptoms reappeared. She said the skin on her hands was itchy, and the cellulitis on the side of her face was causing her to feel depressed and self-conscious.

The astonishing thing to me, was that her dermatologist continued to write prescriptions without actively seeking out the cause — the root cause. Lexi was never questioned about her environment at home or work or her stress levels, and her diet was only briefly discussed. And perhaps most shocking of all — no lab tests were ever ordered.

If this sounds familiar, you might be relieved to find out that skin conditions like Lexi’s — while often more than skin deep — can be effectively treated. In fact, you can start experiencing relief in a matter of days and be on your way with a treatment plan aimed at curing you in a matter of weeks.

Common Skin Conditions

Before we investigate the causes and cures for itchy skin conditions, let’s take a look at the most common diagnoses: Continue reading…

How I Interpret Your Thyroid Lab Tests

By |2022-02-15T14:51:55-05:00February 15th, 2022|Categories: Thyroid|Tags: , , |0 Comments

At least once each year, most adults have — or should have — a blood test to evaluate thyroid health and function. For most people, these tests come back normal. That’s good news. It’s usually a sign that the thyroid is doing its job properly.

When everything is working well, the thyroid helps to regulate body functions. These functions include metabolism, which is the process of converting food into energy. Too little thyroid hormone causes weight gain; excessive thyroid hormone causes weight loss.

Heart rate and blood pressure also rely on proper functioning of the thyroid. A lack of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) can cause fatigue, depression, brain fog, muscle cramps, cold intolerance, weight gain, or dry skin. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) can result in rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, nervousness/agitation, anxiety, weight loss, restless sleep, headaches, or chronic fatigue.

A Challenging Diagnosis

More than half the people with normal thyroid function will display some of the symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction, and this can make it difficult to accurately diagnose the problem. What’s required is a closer look at blood tests, symptoms, medical and family history, and any previous diagnoses and treatments.

Some form of thyroid disease is apparent in about 6 percent of the population, with the majority of those cases showing low levels of the thyroid hormone (hypothyroid).

At BioDesign Wellness Clinic, a Tampa functional medicine clinic, I often see patients who are looking for a Continue reading…

ISEAI Profiles Dr. Matt Lewis

Among the complex health conditions that I study, diagnose, treat, and write about, Environmentally Acquired Illness (EAI) continues to reveal itself as an pervasive underlying factor. If you’re unfamiliar with EAI, it covers a category of illnesses caused by mold and biotoxin exposure; Lyme disease and other persistent infections; toxic chemicals such as pesticides, heavy metals, air pollution/smog, and dust; and other irritants found in our natural environment.

EAI is so pervasive that there’s even an international medical society dedicated to raising awareness of the environmental causes of inflammatory illnesses and to support the recovery of patients affected by these illnesses through the integration of clinical practice, education, and research. That organization — the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI) — recently interviewed me about my healthcare practice and approach to patient care.

Below is an except for that interview, along with a link to read the entire write-up on ISEAI’s website:

Member Spotlight: Matt Lewis, DC, CFMP, DACBN

Dr. Matt Lewis, DC, CFMP, DACBN, is a doctor and Functional Medicine Practitioner who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic health conditions. His passion is seeing his patients put their chronic conditions in the rear-view mirror and enjoy their lives again. He is an active member of the International Society of Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI).

What is the name of your practice, where are you located, and do you offer remote help?

BioDesign Wellness Center is located in Tampa, Florida, where we offer on-site appointments for our patients as well as virtual healthcare appointments online. In-person visits take place at our offices at 4111 West Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. For an appointment, patients may call (813) 445-7770. For virtual appointments, visit doctormattintampa.com. Our email address is .

What are your specialties and unique perspectives on environmental health?

I have been practicing clinical nutrition and functional medicine for…. click here to continue reading

Thank you to the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness for choosing to shine a spotlight on me and the work I do at BioDesign Wellness in Tampa, Florida. If you’d like to read the interview in its entirety, please click on the image below:

Battling Burnout and Building Resistance to It

By |2021-11-08T20:27:04-05:00November 8th, 2021|Categories: Mental Health|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

I enjoy writing about what I commonly treat in my Tampa Functional medicine practice, and one of the most common conditions I treat is burnout.

Few people would consider burnout to be a medical condition, but it is, by far, the root cause of millions of annual doctor visits. Think about it. When your energy stores are totally depleted; you’re feeling overwhelmed by life’s burdens and demands; and you don’t have the time, money, and other resources to give yourself a break; your body becomes more susceptible to all forms of illness.

My grandmother provides the perfect case study in how burnout can impact health and how it can be treated successfully. Her second child, my uncle, was born prematurely and received excess oxygen, which resulted in blindness. My grandmother did a great job caring for him and ensuring that he would have a normal life. At the same time, she was caring for her first child, maintaining the household, and helping my grandfather run their family business.

(Photo ©2018 Daniel Garcia – sourced from Unsplash)

After several years, she started to feel overwhelmed and began experiencing numerous health issues related to her hormones. She eventually developed ovarian cancer. Thankfully, it was detected and treated early and successfully.

Following surgery, she continued to feel overwhelmed, additionally burdened with worries over her health. While she survived the cancer, she still had to care for her children, maintain the household, and assist in the business. She met with her primary care doctor who noticed she was visibly anxious. Back then, prescribing an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax or Valium wasn’t as common as it is now. Instead, the doctor suggested she board a train and go somewhere nice for a few weeks.

Now this may sound like strange advice, it may even strike you as dismissive, but it was — for that day and age — the ideal prescription for treating the root cause of my grandmother’s medical condition. Based on her doctor’s orders, she carved out the time and headed from New York to California to visit some old friends for a few weeks. She returned refreshed, healthy, and relaxed, and from that point on, she experienced no major health issues. She died at the age of 92 and wasn’t taking a single prescription medication.

I tell this story to remind people that life isn’t just about work and responsibilities — and that healthcare isn’t merely about treating illness. With the right approach, we can alleviate and manage stress, replenish our energy reserves, and make our minds and bodies more resilient. I realize not all of us have the time and resources to hop on a train, travel cross-country, and visit friends for weeks at a time. But we all have the power to Continue reading…

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