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

What’s Making Your Immune System Go Haywire?

As a doctor trained in the functional medicine approach to healthcare, I spend much of my time discovering and treating chronic illnesses, including those encompassing chronic inflammation, which can often be traced to immune system dysfunction. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates daily how an infection can trigger a powerful immune response resulting in inflammation.

With COVID-19, the inflammation primarily impacts the lungs, but it can affect other organs and tissues, as well. Deaths from COVID-19 are typically a result of excessive inflammation caused by the body’s over-the-top immune response.

Inflammation isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s part of the mechanism responsible for enabling the body to fight disease, recover from injury, and repair damaged tissue. Any trauma to the body’s cells triggers an inflammatory response. The immune system releases inflammatory chemicals, which expand blood vessels and cause them to leak, thereby delivering healing cells and substances to the site that’s injured or under attack. The expansion and leaking of blood vessels are what cause the inflammation.

Unfortunately, the immune system can become the body’s own worst enemy, identifying healthy cells as threats and attacking those cells — a condition referred to as autoimmunity. Various autoimmune diseases can develop as a result, depending on the cause and the organs or tissues being damaged. With type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks pancreatic cells, impairing the body’s ability to produce insulin; with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system attacks the thyroid; with rheumatoid arthritis, it primarily attacks the joints; with multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré syndrome, it attacks nerve cells; with myocarditis, it attacks the heart; and so on.

The exact mechanism that gives rise to an autoimmune disease remains a mystery. However, evidence suggests that the cause may be traced to a genetic susceptibility triggered by one or more environmental factors, which may include chronic stress, poor diet, gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of microorganisms in the intestines), infections, environmental toxins, as well as other stressors.

Recent research points to viral and bacterial infections as being major triggers for several autoimmune diseases, including the following: Continue reading…

Mold, It’s Usually NOT Allergy – It’s A Biotoxin Illness Named CIRS

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  Continue reading…

The Difference between Traditional Doctoring and Functional Healthcare

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…

Why Is a Tampa Chiropractor Blogging About Functional and Integrative Medicine?

By |2017-07-06T16:02:19-04:00July 6th, 2017|Categories: Dr. Matt Lewis|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Chiropractors crack backs, right? Their focus is on correcting misalignments of the musculoskeletal system to improve bone and muscle structure, thus alleviating stress and strain, especially on nerves. So why am I — Tampa Chiropractor, Matt Lewis, Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) — blogging about functional and integrative medicine?

The reason is that the true focus of chiropractic manipulation is holistic (whole body) health. The concept on which chiropractic is based, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH), is that the body’s structure, primarily the spine, influences its function. Realigning the musculoskeletal system restores health and function.

The world’s longest continuous sidewalk — Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida.

But it’s not that simple. Numerous factors play a role in human health, and these factors fall into two categories: genetics (nature) and environment (nurture), which includes diet and nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle choices, environmental toxins, and even relationships. To achieve the goal of chiropractic (whole health), some chiropractors, including me — Dr. Lewis — are branching out into other areas, including functional medicine and, when necessary, allopathic medicine (traditional medicine that relies primarily on pharmaceuticals along with surgery and other medical procedures).

This integrative healthcare approach equips doctors like me with a complete toolbox of Continue reading…

Dr. Matt Lewis is Blogging in Tampa

By |2017-07-06T16:03:38-04:00June 29th, 2017|Categories: Dr. Matt Lewis|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Over the course of my many years in practice as a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.), Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (CFMP®), and supporting people using clinical nutrition, I have discovered that a key component to achieving optimal health is education. What you don’t know can, literally, kill you.

A large part of my job in diagnosing health conditions and identifying and treating the root cause(s) of such conditions involves educating my patients on nutrition and lifestyle and their impact on health. Unlike conventional medicine, which treats patients as passive recipients of pharmaceuticals and often invasive medical treatments, my practice involves you — the patient — as an integral part of the treatment team. To be an effective member of that team, you need to know what to do, how to do it, why it’s important, and how it works. Otherwise, patients like you either can’t or won’t do what’s required to overcome illness and achieve optimal health and function.

Education is key, and that’s why I’ve decided to start blogging about functional medicine in Tampa. My belief is that through my blog posts and discussions, you will learn a thing or two about your own body and about how your environment, diet and lifestyle choices impact your health. The proper knowledge and insight place you in the driver’s seat; your choices either promote or undermine your quality of life — the way you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally; what you’re able to do; and your performance level.

Over the course of coming weeks, months, and years, I will be blogging about a wide range of topics related to health and fitness in Tampa, including the following:

  • Nutrition, including insight on how to use food as medicine to avoid and support various illnesses and promote optimal health and performance
  • Digestive health, including insight on how to restore the delicate balance of bacteria and other microorganisms that reside in the gut and that play a significant role in immune system function and dysfunction, along with a host of illnesses related to chronic inflammation
  • Autoimmunity, and how it can be approached more specifically with nutrition, holistic treatment, and adjustments in lifestyle to avoid progression of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Colitis, Lupus and more
  • Leaky gut, food allergies and sensitivities, along with guidance on how to obtain an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment
  • Weight-loss resistance (inability to lose weight when trying to do so) and how to overcome it through nutrition and exercise and without having to starve yourself
  • Genetics, both human genes and the genetic makeup (the microbiome) of the various microorganisms (microbiota) that reside in and on the human body and that either promote or impair health
  • Neurological health — not only brain function in terms of clear thinking and emotional stability, but also in terms of the brain’s central control of other bodily functions and organs
  • Endocrine health — the endocrine glands (pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands) that regulate the body’s internal environment through the circulatory system
  • External environmental factors, including mold toxicity, Lyme disease, and sick building syndrome, that often produce debilitating and autoimmune symptoms that conventional medicine struggles to diagnose and treat

Yes, you can take control of your own health, but you need the knowledge and understanding to do so. Please join me in learning more about your health and your body. The time and effort required will be the best investment you ever made, paying dividends by making you feel and function your very best.

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About the Author: Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C., 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 CFMP® from the 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 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 and others interested in whole health.

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