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Vitamin D – Cancer Fighting Powerhouse

By |2013-10-01T12:49:12-05:00September 27th, 2013|General|

Top 10 Facts About Vitamin D and Cancer:  

1.  Many studies have found solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) vitamin D associated with reduced risk of breast, colon, and rectal cancer.
2.  A randomized controlled trial with 1100 IU/day vitamin D3 plus 1450 mg/day calcium found a 77% reduction in all-cancer incidence.
3.  Geographical studies have found reduced risk in mortality rates for 15-20 types of cancer in regions of higher solar UVB doses.
4.  Observational studies found risk of breast, colon, and rectal cancer falls as vitamin D blood levels rise to over 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L).
5.  Mechanisms have been proposed to explain how vitamin D acts to reduce the risk of cancer from starting, growing, and spreading.
6.  Those who develop non-melanoma skin cancer may have produced enough vitamin D to reduce their risk of internal cancers.
7.  Those with higher vitamin D blood levels at time of cancer diagnosis had nearly twice the survival rate of those with the lowest levels.
8.  African Americans have an increased risk of cancer in part due to lower vitamin D blood levels because of darker skin.
9.  Higher UVB exposure early in life has been associated with reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer.
10.  Those diagnosed with breast, colon, and prostate cancer in summer in Norway had higher survival rates than those diagnosed in winter.


Vitamin D: Nature’s Prozac

By |2014-04-14T16:04:07-05:00June 23rd, 2013|General|

Making sure you’re getting enough sunlight exposure to have healthy Vitamin D levels is a crucial factor in treating depression or keeping it at bay. One previous study found that people with the lowest levels of Vitamin D were 11 times more prone to being depressed than those who had normal levels. Vitamin D deficiency is actually more the norm than the exception, and has previously been implicated in both psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Vitamin D receptors have been identified throughout the human body, and that includes in your brain. Researchers have located metabolic pathways for Vitamin D in the hippocampus and cerebellum of the brain, areas that are involved in planning, processing of information, and the formation of new memories.

Sufficient Vitamin D is also imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation, and other research has discovered that depressed people tend to have higher levels of inflammation in their brains.

Vitamin D is paramount to optimal thyroid function, and depression is a well-known symptom of low thyroid function. Be sure to ask your doctor to check your “25-OH vitamin D” level (NOT “1,25-OH vitamin D” level). Although normal range is 30 to 100, studies have shown that people with levels in the 70-80 range have the lowest incidence of flus/colds, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Levels should be monitored periodically since vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that can reach toxic levels, and of course, you want to make sure you are never deficient in vitamin D. 


The Sun and Vitamin D

By |2013-06-23T09:09:35-05:00June 23rd, 2013|General|

by Mila McManus MD

Now that school is finally out and we will all be spending more time outdoors, I believe the time has come to debunk the sunscreen myth.

Sunlight elevates our mood and exposure to it is crucial for optimal health for a number of reasons, with Vitamin D production being the most important.  Vitamin D is one of the most effective anti-cancer vitamins and can be produced in the skin through exposure to U.V. light. It is essential for a strong immune system that helps protect us from, and ward off, cancer(s). It is also very important for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

Toxicity of Sunscreens

Sunscreen ingredients, such as Zinc Oxide and Oxybenzone are linked to cancer. Absorbing chemicals through the skin can be more dangerous than ingesting them orally. The reason for this is that when chemicals or medications are applied directly on the skin, they are not broken down by the strong acids of the stomach before reaching the bloodstream, and they bypass being metabolized by the liver on initial entry.  Moreover, the aluminum content in these carcinogenic ingredients commonly used in most sunscreens will stay in the body forever, accumulating as a heavy metal toxin.

The survival of the sunscreen industry is reliant upon keeping us ignorant and afraid of the sun.  None of us would ever consider eating sunscreen, yet we follow the advice of the medical “establishment” that reports continually that many of us will suffer from skin cancer without it. “Experts” recommend applying generous amounts of the products every few hours. It has been shown that strict sun protection exacerbates Vitamin D deficiency. Sunscreen creates an actual physical barrier and blocks your skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D by more than 95%.

So, now that we have determined that sunscreen is full of known carcinogens and provides a physical barrier against the production of the amazing cancer fighter Vitamin D, what is the best solution to having optimal Vitamin D levels?

Sun Safety Solutions

The best solution is healthy tanning. This does not mean that we should all go out and get as much sun as we want. Caution must be exercised and the key is avoiding a burn.  This means that we should limit exposure initially until we accumulate some brown pigment, called melanin, which gives the skin brown color and protects it naturally from burning. As the skin becomes well tanned, a person can increase their exposure with little risk of cancer. If burning does occur, apply coconut oil or aloe vera overnight and miss a day or two of sun exposure to allow the skin to recover. In the middle of summer, when the sun is very strong, avoid the midday hours or wear lightweight, light colored clothing that covers the skin and a wide brimmed hat.

Have a Happy and Healthy Summer!

Vitamin D Important During Pregnancy

By |2012-10-03T11:21:39-05:00October 3rd, 2012|Articles|

Research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies indicates that vitamin D is crucial during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association reports that of the estimated 6 million pregnancies per year in the United States, 875,000 women experience one or more pregnancy-related complications. In addition, they state that 467,201 babies are born prematurely, 307,030 babies are born with low birth weight and 154,051 infants are born with birth defects each year.

In this new study, researchers assessed the relationship between high-dose vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and the risk of developing pregnancy-related complications. The subjects included pregnant women between 12 and 16 weeks gestation. The women were supplemented with vitamin D at a dose of 400 IU, 2,000 IU or 4,000 IU per day until delivery. The subjects were evaluated monthly for treatment safety and were given blood tests to measure vitamin D supplementation effectiveness. The women were also followed to determine the rate of pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, preterm labor and preterm birth.

The results showed that serum levels of vitamin D (25(OH)D) were significantly different between the 3 treatment groups. As serum vitamin D levels increased, the risk of infection and preterm labor and birth decreased. The group receiving 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily had the lowest rate of infection and preterm labor and birth. In fact, compared to the group receiving 400 IU vitamin D per day, the group receiving 4,000 IU per day had a 50 percent reduction in risk of these complications.
The researchers concluded, “Vitamin D sufficiency was strongly associated with decreased risk for preterm labor and birth and infection during pregnancy and comorbities of pregnancy, with the greatest effect with 4,000 IU vitamin D/day regimen. Therefore, to attain a minimal 25(OH)D level of 40 ng/mL, we recommend 4,000 IU/day for all pregnant women.”
Reference: Wagner CL, Johnson D, Hulsey TC, Ebeling M, Shary J, Smith PG, Bivens B, Hollis BW. Vitamin D Supplementation during Pregnancy Part 2 NICHD/CTSA Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT): Outcomes. In: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies; 2010 May1-4, Vancouver BC. Abstract 1665.
Article obtained from Complementary Prescriptions

Question: There’s so much information out there about Vitamin D. What are some important things to know about this Vitamin?

By |2012-10-11T10:22:39-05:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question: There's so much information out there about Vitamin D. What are some important things to know about this Vitamin?
Answer: “Vitamin D is paramount to optimal thyroid function, and depression is a well-known symptom of low thyroid function. Be sure to ask your doctor to check your “25-OH vitamin D” level (NOT “1,25-OH vitamin D” level). Although normal range is 30 to 100, studies have shown that people with levels in the 70-80 range have the lowest incidence of flus/colds, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Levels should be monitored periodically since vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that can reach toxic levels, and of course, you want to make sure you’re not deficient in Vitamin D.”

Vitamin A

By |2017-08-26T08:46:36-05:00August 26th, 2017|General|

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is a powerful antioxidant the body uses to help form Vitamin A sourcesand maintain good vision and eye health, a strong immune system as well as soft tissues, mucus membranes, and skin. It is not found in plant food; however, the body can use beta-carotene found in many fruits, vegetables and some fish sources to convert to vitamin A (retinol).  Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is important to avoid taking Vitamin A without the guidance of a medical provider since excess can result in toxicity.  Issues with skin, mucous membranes, and immune function can be an indicator that Vitamin A is deficient.  Vitamin A promotes epidermal differentiation, modulates dermal growth factors, inhibits sebaceous gland activity, suppresses androgen formation, and promotes cell turnover in the skin.  Our medical providers can provide special tapering dosing protocols to meet your specific needs as well as monitor to avoid toxicity. Vitamin A can be a very helpful supplement for addressing skin issues.  Our office carries two forms manufactured by the ProThera Inc. supplement line.



Nutrition for Skin, by Chris Kresser

Multivitamins Support Weight Management

By |2012-10-03T11:15:43-05:00October 3rd, 2012|Articles|

The relationship between dietary multivitamin and multi-mineral intake and the risk of becoming overweight or obese was evaluated in a new study. In the United States, approximately 68 percent of adults are overweight or obese, and over 33 percent qualify as obese. Overweight and obesity are categorized based on body mass index (BMI), which is a calculation based on height and weight. Overweight is defined as a BMI between 25 and 29.9 and obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or greater.
In this new clinical trial, researchers analyzed the effect of supplementing multivitamins in a group of obese women. The subjects in this study included 96 obese Chinese women between 18 and 55 years of age. The women received a multivitamin and multi- mineral supplement daily or a tablet of 162 mg of calcium daily or a placebo for 26 weeks. The women were evaluated for body weight, BMI, waist circumference, fat mass and fat-free mass.
The researchers also evaluated blood pressure; resting energy expenditure, which is the amount of calories required by the body for a 24-hour period during a non-active period; and respiratory quotient(RQ), which is used to calculate basal metabolic rate. Additionally, blood tests, which measured fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol (HDL “good” cholesterol), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides, were performed at the beginning of the study and after 26 weeks.
The results showed that the group receiving the multivitamin had significantly lower body weight, BMI, fat mass, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to the placebo group. Additionally, the multivitamin group had higher resting energy expenditure and HDL cholesterol values. There was also a trend in the multivitamin and multimineral group showing reduced waist circumference and respiratory quotient. The group receiving calcium supplementation alone showed higher HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol compared to the placebo group.
The researchers concluded, “The results suggest that, in obese individuals, multivitamin and mineral supplementation could reduce body weight and fatness and improve serum lipid profiles, possibly through increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation. Supplementation of calcium alone (162 mg per day) only improved lipid profiles.”
Article obtained from complementary prescriptions newsletter


By |2020-02-03T14:58:22-06:00October 3rd, 2012|Articles|

VITAMIN C is a water soluble vitamin that should be taken daily along with other essential vitamins. Vitamin C plays a significant role in a variety of metabolic functions. It is best known for strengthening the immune system and aiding in the synthesis of collagen, which supports a healthy cardiovascular system.
Vitamin C is useful in protecting against infectious diseases like the common cold or flu, and any other infectious disease. Taking a daily dose of at least 1000mg is suggested for prevention. But what happens if you get an infection? You should definitely increase your vitamin C. Below is our recommendation for how to take vitamin C when you have contracted a cold, the flu, or other infection:

• Take, at minimum, 2000mg, 4 times a day. (if you develop loose stools, decrease intake by 1000- 2000mg)
• Take zinc 50mg daily.
• Colloidal Silver- 1 teaspoon twice daily.

Vitamin C has many benefits beyond supporting the immune system. As mentioned earlier, there has been extensive research on the benefits of vitamin C in preventing and even aiding in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C protects against cardiovascular disease in the following ways: It alters triglyceride metabolism, helps to strengthen arterial walls, prevents oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and may reduce blood pressure.
Immune support and cardiovascular support are not the only two benefits of taking Vitamin C. There are many other reasons to take Vitamin C: aids in wound healing, provides antitumor activity, provides relief from skeletal pain in various disorders, protects against periodontal disease, and is especially effective in helping regenerate vitamin E after it has been attacked by oxygen radicals, improves iron absorption from the small intestine, is an effective antioxidant, is a cofactor (helper) in the metabolism of folic acid, some amino acids, and hormones, and protects against cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, colon, and lung, based on epidemiological evidence.
You should consult your physician about the proper dosage depending on your current condition and other medicines you may be taking.

COVID/Flu Protection For the Winter

By |2020-12-09T15:52:23-06:00December 11th, 2020|General|

By Mila McManus, M.D.

COVID and the flu will travel into the new year with us, so I wanted to remind everyone to please support your immune system and overall health to avoid bad outcomes. I recommend a foundational daily minimum of vitamin D3, a multivitamin, and a quality probiotic. Preventing any illness means staying true to an integrative approach that is attentive to all of the key pillars of your health.  Those key pillars include:

  • A whole food diet and good hydration – maintaining balanced blood sugar is key (did you know that sugar immediately suppresses your immune system for up to several hours?)
  • Moderate exercise
  • Keep the gut healthy – easy on the alcohol, sugar, wheat, and pain relievers, while taking your probiotic and drinking bone broth
  • Get quality rest and sleep
  • Avoid toxins and support detoxification – see gut health above and step into the IR sauna too!
  • Manage stress – take time for quiet meditation, practice yoga and/or deep breathing exercises
  • Make use of appropriate supplementation – see below

For most, a healthy diet still cannot provide adequate nutrition for a strong immune system because of poor food quality, daily stressors, and the toxicity of our world.   For those with compromised immune systems, or who are living and working in higher exposure areas, or traveling, a selection from the following supplements would be wise protective additions.

All of these options, along with common sense measures such as thorough hand washing and avoiding crowds, will help to make your holiday season and winter a healthy experience.  If you are unsure about which supplements would be best for you, consult with our medical providers for a customized plan that’s right for you.

Why Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?

By |2020-10-13T06:28:33-05:00October 13th, 2020|Articles, General|

By Mila McManus, M.D.

Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are near identical to the hormones our bodies produce.  This is in contrast to conventional hormone replacement therapy (a.k.a HRT) which uses synthetic hormone-like drugs, such as birth control pills and other synthetic hormones used to treat menopausal symptoms in women.  One might wonder why doctors would prescribe synthetic hormones when ‘real’ hormones are available.  The answer involves understanding patent laws.  Nobody can patent things that already occur naturally, so you can’t patent a palm tree, and drug companies can’t patent the structure of a real hormone.  Since drug companies are in the business of making money, they want to be able to protect their property with patents, so they created synthetic hormones which they could patent.  These are, unfortunately, the only hormones we learn to prescribe in medical school.

Some causes of hormone imbalance include stress, sleep deprivation, vitamin deficiencies, poor dietary habits, toxins, and side effects of various medications.  The list of symptoms of hormonal imbalance is long.  Some symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, depressed moods, decreased mental sharpness, anxiety, PMS, post-partum depression, decreased sex drive, unexplained weight gain and inability to lose weight, low  motivation, headaches, hot flashes, night sweats, and irregular menstruation.

Benefits of balancing and optimizing hormones with bio-identical hormones include improvement or resolution of the above symptoms, improvement in bone density, preservation of brain function, reduced risk for heart disease, and increased overall sense of wellbeing, to name a few.  Risks are minute compared to typical HRT with synthetic hormone-like drugs.  For instance, there is virtually no risk of blood clots with bio-identical progesterone, whereas synthetic progestins are well-known to heighten the risk.  It’s also noteworthy to say that the Women’s Health Initiative Study that revealed an increase in the incidence of breast cancer was based solely on the use of synthetic hormones.  Moreover, keep in mind that cancer is the result of a perfect storm of events, and hormones are a tiny piece of that puzzle.  Other factors that are linked to cancer that people tend to ignore are stress, sleep deprivation, poor dietary habits, vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies, and toxins.

A wonderful thing about bio-identical hormones is the ability to have them compounded into specific doses. For instance, one person may need 5mg twice daily of progesterone, while another may need 37.5mg twice daily.  We can order various doses in various forms, such as creams, pills, lozenges, injections, and pellets.  Doses are fine-tuned based on resolution of symptoms and other factors. This is not possible with most commercially-available options.

As has happened in the past, the FDA is again gearing up to issue a ban on compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy under the disguise of insufficient evidence of safety and effectiveness, when it is just one of the ways the FDA and the government bolster drug monopolies and undermine natural health options. Interestingly, it is the FDA-approved synthetic hormones that are known for common side effects including headaches, breast tenderness, mood swings, fluid retention, weight gain, and loss of libido. They are also associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots to the lungs. And there are numerous and severe side effects of synthetic hormones listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference.  

As a functional medicine physician, I would be very saddened to see compounded bioidentical hormones banned.  So please take 60 seconds to join the fight! Click this LINK to sign the petition.

On a final note, while not optimal or easily customized to patients’ individual needs, if bio-identical hormones are banned in the future, there will be some alternatives! There are a few bio-identical hormones that are commercially available, made possible by the drug companies patenting a delivery mechanism, for instance, such as a patch.

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