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It’s a Trifecta – of COVID, flu, and RSV

So Be Prepared, Not Surprised

By Mila McManus, MD

Public Health experts are already seeing significant COVID, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) kicking up.

As we move into the cold and flu season, take precautions now to protect yourself and your family from infections.  Public Health experts from the American Medical Association are already seeing significant COVID, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) kicking up and going around. 

Be proactive! That means focusing on all of the key pillars of your health:

  • A whole food diet and good hydration – maintaining balanced blood sugar is important
  • Exercise
  • Keep your gut healthy – easy on the alcohol, sugar, wheat, and pain relievers, while taking your probiotic and drinking some 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 and/or deep breathing
  • 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.  Especially in light of COVID, flu, and RSV season converging, I recommend a daily minimum of vitamin D3, a multivitamin, and a quality probiotic. 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 additions:  

  • Quercetin
  • Melatonin
  • Viracid™
  • Wholemune™
  • Vitamin C
  • Nebulizer Treatments with Vitamin C/DSMO/Magnesium or Glutathione (and other options to discuss with one of our healthcare providers)
  • Tri-Immune Vitamin Injections (available at our office).  These contain vitamin C, zinc, and glutathione
  • Immune Booster IV
  • Zinc
  • Silverbiotics Silver Sol™

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, do not hesitate to consult with our medical providers for a customized plan that’s right for you.

Please also remember that we offer phone and Zoom routine appointments as well as urgent care appointments. 

Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

References:

https://woodlandswellnessmd.com/silver-biotics-2.html/

MorningRounds@ama.custombriefings.com, October 24, 2022.

By |2022-11-10T07:56:30-06:00November 10th, 2022|General|

Wagyu, Kobe and more: Food Scam Alert

by Nancy Mehlert, MS

Wagyu

Last week, I drove by an Arby’s fast food chain where the sign read “Try Arby’s New Wagyu Burger”.  It made me laugh because of a book I read by Larry Olmsted[1] called  Real Food, Fake Food (2017). The chance that Arby’s would be selling a truly Wagyu burger is zero. But I’m sure many people are attracted to the fancy reputation of Wagyu. They fall for it. Pay the higher price, unaware that the beef is really no better or different than the standard Arby’s sandwich.

Kobe and Wagyu are names for Japanese beef. Wagyu means “Japanese cattle” and refers to four main  Japanese breeds, one of which is Kobe.  Either way, true Kobe beef requires a pure lineage of Tajima-gyu breed cattle that must be born in Hyogo, Japan, raised only on the local Hyogo grasses, water, and terrain. There are only about 3000 head of certified Kobe beef cattle in the world, and they live in Japan. That’s nowhere near enough cattle to serve the Arby’s food chain much less other restaurants around the world. This is a very exclusive, very limited supply beef.  With rare exception, Kobe, or Wagyu on the menu in America is a scam used to charge you more because you expect to pay for its reputation. At its best, it is a very successful marketing ploy, and at its worst, a pure scam.

Our government allows vendors to use these types of labels and names without proof of authenticity. The vendor steels the reputation of these unique Japanese cattle, and puts the name on their often very ordinary, or even cheap beef.

So be aware. Most labeling is oriented toward charging you more and/or getting you to purchase by using key words you believe are good, i.e. that it is somehow better or healthier.  The primary goal is profitability through volume sales and repeat business. However, what a label says may not be true at all. Words such as natural, cold pressed, fermented, aged, healthy, local, grass fed, and farm fresh are popular right now, but you should take no assurance that they mean what you think they do! All of them can be used on anything. There are no regulations which validate or verify their truthfulness.

Honestly, it is often hard to know the truth when it comes to food and personal care products. I find it often  revealing and helpful to check webpages, read mission statements, see who the leaders are, and see if they explain their processes and ingredients. Who owns the company and who are the shareholders? Sometimes I will submit a question or call to see if anyone will communicate or talk to me personally about their product. People with nothing to hide who have pride in their product are happy to communicate! It is also noteworthy that many small, honest companies who are successful are often bought out by larger companies. These companies then reduce the quality for greater profits.  That’s worth paying attention to as well.

Here’s one of Larry Olmstead’s articles about how this stuff works if you are interested in learning more.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2012/04/13/foods-biggest-scam-part-2-domestic-kobe-and-wagyu-beef

Be wise, Not fooled, Eat Well

[1] Mr. Olmsted is a Senior Contributor at Forbes magazine. He specializes in Travel, Food, and Leisure. Because of his investigative nature, he began to suspect some false statements made about foods on American restaurant menus. So he began investigating laws, traveling to the source of many foods such as true Japanese beef, and learning about the true meaning of brands and names.  What he found were a myriad lies, scams, twists, and misleading uses, especially here in America. You can read more about his findings about seafood, olive oil, cheese, beef, and more in his engaging read, Real Food, Fake Food.

 

By |2022-10-28T07:44:31-06:00November 2nd, 2022|General|

Rapamycin: A True Anti-Aging Drug

by Mila McManus, MD

Rapamycin, also known as Sirolimus A True Anti-Aging Drug

Rapamycin, also known as Sirolimus, is a prescription drug derived from a bacteria found in the ground decades ago in the Easter Islands. Though a drug, it is a natural product with a 30 year history and a very high safety record. There are over 50,000 PubMed journal articles about rapamycin published since 1975.

Originally Rapamycin was used at high doses to prevent kidney transplant rejection by suppressing the immune system. It is also recognized to have antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in both oncology and cardiology.  Oncologist have found Rapamycin to slow solid tumor growth and also effective for a type of lymphoma. Cardiologists use Rapamycin in stints to open up arteries in the heart, thus cutting down on inflammation.

This is the kind of prescription drug profile that interests functional medicine professionals. A long history with very high safety standards, this natural product is not only helpful with transplants, cancer, and cardiovascular concerns, but at low doses, is also proving to be an effective anti-aging drug.

Here’s how Rapamycin works:

The human body has an enzyme that is in our cells known as mTOR. It is the key to our cellular activity and our aging process.  The mTOR enzyme drives the growth and aging in our cells. When we eat, we stimulate the mTOR pathway which is great for a 5 year old but as adults we do not need the same high level of mTOR activity. An active mTOR pathway drives the aging process and when always active, it also increases the inflammatory pathways which leads to diseases like cardiovascular, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few.

Alternatively, when the mTOR is modulated, and slowed down, the process of autophagy occurs. The human body needs both mTOR and autophagy processes and they happen alternately, i.e., when one is stimulated the other is modulated or halted.  Autophagy is an important cleansing process needed in the body where we recycle things and clean out debris that is clogging things up. In the standard American diet and culture, we tend to eat too much and/or too frequently, thus driving a chronic, overactive mTOR pathway driving growth and cellular activity toward aging.  The good news is, Rapamycin, binds to the mTOR enzyme, slowing down its activity, and inducing autophagy. Autophagy is a repair process and needs to occur to restore youthfulness, detoxification, and healing.

Autophagy is stimulated by intermittent fasting, Rapamycin imitates fasting.   

Other Benefits of Autophagy:Rapamycin and Fasting

  • Enhance and modulate  immune function
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Clean up debris and remove it from the body
  • Enhance cellular repair and healing
  • Increase longevity and lifespan.
  • Protect against tumor growth

Patients who have used Rapamycin for anti-aging report increased energy levels, a more positive outlook, and reduced need for pain medication due to fewer aches and pains.

 If you are over 50, you may want to discuss Rapamycin with your medical provider to see if it is right for you.

Resources: 

https://www.hotzehwc.com/blog/dr-donald-ellsworth-on-the-benefits-of-rapamycin-aka-sirolimus/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41419-019-1822-8

By |2022-10-20T10:02:57-06:00October 20th, 2022|Articles, General|

Vitamin D

Why It Should Be Dosed By Your Healthcare Provider Only (not by you)

by Mila McManus, MD

Vitamin D is essential for good health. It has anti-depressant effects, enhances immune function, has anti-cancer effects,

Vitamin D is essential for good health. This fat soluble vitamin has anti-depressant effects, increases calcium absorption in the GI tract, enhances immune function, has anti-cancer effects, and is anti-inflammatory.

There are very few rich dietary sources which are egg yolks, fatty fish, and fortified milk. The best and cheapest source is sunlight on arms, face, and legs several days a week for 5 to 15 minutes and without wearing sunscreen.

While deficiency is common, many people are taking far too much. Fat soluble vitamins, such as D, store up in the body, unlike most vitamins that are cleared from the body quickly if unneeded. As a result, Vitamin D should be monitored regularly by your medical provider to ensure the correct dose for you. The optimal dose may vary by age, season, health status, weight, and other variables. Vitamin D can also have some drug interactions and contraindications with certain diseases, another reason why working with your medical provider to maintain appropriate levels is important.

Symptoms[1] of excess Vitamin D include excess calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia) which can cause nausea, vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination.  This toxicity can progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium kidney stones.

It is also essential that there be synchronization of Vitamin D with other vitamins such as calcium and vitamin K to ensure proper balance and absorption. For example, vitamin D, K, and calcium are a triad that work together synergistically and need to be balanced properly for optimal bone health and osteoporosis prevention. Excess calcium can lead to arterial and cardiovascular issues.

A common mistake people make is taking extra calcium or vitamin D without accounting for the amounts already in other vitamin supplements such as multi-vitamins and vitamin packed protein drinks.

We emphasize that everyone is different when it comes to vitamin D supplementation. Lifestyle, diet, age, health status, and one’s supplementation regimen must all be considered in order to properly  manage vitamin D levels. This needs to be routinely checked once or twice a year for most people.  Those who spend time outdoors may not need much supplementation, while an elderly individual who rarely gets out and has poorer absorption from the gut would have different requirements.  Very dark skinned individuals are less able to get vitamin D from the sun. 

While a normal reference range for blood levels of vitamin D is between 30-100, we broadly aim for 70-80, however this may not be right for everyone and could cause ill effects for some individuals. It can be dosed in a variety of forms including oral pills and liquids, injections, and can be dosed daily versus weekly. Your medical provider can also be helpful with determining which protocol is right for you.

With Vitamin D, it is wisest not to guess or be your own doctor. Consult with your medical provider for the best approach for you.

Reference:

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-d-toxicity/faq-20058108#:~:text=The%20main%20consequence%20of%20vitamin,the%20formation%20of%20calcium%20stones.

 

By |2022-11-01T10:00:16-06:00October 12th, 2022|Articles, General|

Science and Research

by Mila McManus, MD

         We can search for anything on the world wide web these days. We can access thousands of people on Facebook and blogs who have an opinion. Information is abundant. The question is, are you gullible enough to believe it is all true?  Do you consider the source? Do you question its accuracy?

         Our patients often learn of supplements, energy and health products, therapies, and other modalities for health and healing from a favorite blog spot, a friend, or just from an internet search.  Moreover, it’s common for people to believe that phrases such as “research suggests” or “this study suggests” mean the information presented must be true.

          Reasonable science must take into account several factors and questions. Unless you are part of the lab carrying out the experiment and have direct access to the primary data, everything you believe scientifically is based on someone else’s testimony or authority.  In other words, you’re trusting that someone else did the work correctly and honestly and presented it as hard-enough science.  Hard science comes about by repeatability; if many other scientists, paid by different and neutral funding sources, can repeat the research with the same result, then the science firms up to be more trustworthy. Think of all the claims that are made that we just believe because a scientist or manufacturer said it. Sadly, it is extremely common for research to be funded by an organization which already knows the result it wants, and that is the result the scientist will generate in the final report. If the research had an unexpected bad outcome, it’ll be swept under the rug, and new research will be done until the wanted answer is found.  Many manufacturers use popular and trending words to convince you of their promise when no research has been done at all!  Both of these points have certainly been proven true!

           We must ask good questions and seek more information than one scientist or study offers. We cannot believe everything we read and see.  It is also critically important to know funding sources as well as the interests of the scientists themselves. We need to look for hard science that has proven itself true through repeatability, diverse funding, tried and true evaluation, and some degree of historical experience. Also noteworthy is that funding is hard to come by when what’s being studied cannot be trademarked, patented, or protected.  Anything that occurs in nature cannot be patented. This means that vitamins and naturally occurring components of plants, e.g., don’t draw much funding.  We must, therefore, somewhat rely on our own experiences and the historical experiences of many others, or hopeful funding by consumer interest groups or organizations whose aim it is to protect us from large corporate shams. (e.g., EWG.org, cleanlabelproject.org).

          At The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness, we work hard to ensure that our procedures, therapies, supplements, and food recommendations are proven, tried and true solutions. We come to the table with deep experience with these understandings and ask questions, research carefully, sift through the data, and work hard to carry out responsible science for you. We also know that every individual is unique, and what is effective for one individual may be ineffective for another.   

          You should feel confident that our medical team with over 70+ combined years of medical experience can protect you from an inadequate study or google search conclusion.  We hope you will yield to that knowledge and trust it – far more than blogs, social media, or google searches.

               

               

By |2022-10-04T12:53:02-06:00October 5th, 2022|Articles, General|

Witch Hazel:

A Good Staple for Everyone’s Medicine Cabinet

by Mila McManus, MD

Witch Hazel is a native North American shrub that has powerful medicinal properties and a wide variety of uses.

Witch Hazel is a native North American shrub that has powerful medicinal properties and a wide variety of uses. The leaves and bark are used to make teas, ointments, and astringent.

It is widely known for its ability to ease inflammation, soothe sensitive skin, and gently cleanse without removing essential moisture. It contains gallic acid and tannins, both of which are anti-inflammatory compounds. It also contains antioxidants which neutralize free radicals and is believed to have anti-viral effects. Safe for the sensitive, it is hypo-allergenic and gentle to the skin.

Some Benefits and Uses of Witch Hazel include:

  • Topical application to sensitive, inflamed, irritated, or broken skin helps to reduce redness and inflammation.
  • A natural remedy to provide relief from the discomfort and pain of hemorrhoids.
  • Fights acne by reducing inflammation, cleansing, and closing pores. It may prevent acne-causing bacteria from infecting the skin.
  • For those with irritations in the scalp, it can be applied to the scalp before shampooing, to relieve the symptoms caused by dandruff, dryness, psoriasis, eczema, and general tenderness or itching.

Sources:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-witch-hazel-90061

https://healthline.com/nutrition/witch-hazel-benefits-uses#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

 

By |2022-11-01T09:56:38-06:00September 28th, 2022|Articles, General|

Rainwater: The World Water Problem

By Mila McManus, MD

One might expect that in the most remote places in the world, the rainwater would be pure and safe to drink. But according to Ian Cousins, professor at the Department of Environmental Science at Stockholm University, rainwater everywhere around the world is unsafe to drink! According to his team’s research, PFAS are ubiquitous and continually cycle back through the atmosphere[1]. In other words, PFAS do not biodegrade. These toxic industrial waste pollutants released into our environment decades ago, now persist today all over the world because they continue to be cycled back to the atmosphere from the surface environment.  

PFAS is the acronym for perfluorinated and  polyfluorinated alkyl substances that have similar chemical structures that have earned the nickname “forever chemicals.”  Some levels of harmful PFAS in the atmosphere are not declining notably despite their phase out by the major manufacturer, 3M, already two decades ago. Cousin’s team found them even in such remote locations as Antarctica and on the Tibetan plateau.

Scientific evidence continues to mount, demonstrating that the widespread occurrence of PFAS in the environment correlates with adverse effects on human health and ecology[2]. They have been associated with a wide range of health issues including cancer, learning and behavior problems in children, infertility and pregnancy complications, elevated cholesterol levels, and immune malfunction. They have also been found in animals, plant life, bodies of water, the air, and in human blood.

The study concludes that, due to the global spread of PFAS, the environmental quality guidelines to protect human health have been far exceeded. The planetary boundary has already been exceeded.

Studies such as these remind us of the importance of controlling as many health variables as we can, since there are many, such as PFAS, which contaminate our world and cannot be escaped.

[1] Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 16, 11172–11179, Publication Date:August 2, 2022.

https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.2c02765

 

[2] Kurwadkar S, Dane J, Kanel SR, Nadagouda MN, Cawdrey RW, Ambade B, Struckhoff GC, Wilkin R. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in water and wastewater: A critical review of their global occurrence and distribution. Sci Total Environ. 2022 Feb 25;809:151003. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151003. Epub 2021 Oct 22. PMID: 34695467.

 

By |2022-09-21T13:07:23-06:00September 22nd, 2022|General|

Iron 301 – Treatment of Iron Deficiency or Overload

(Third in a three-part series)  

by Mila McManus, MD

*** If you missed the previous articles, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

In Functional Medicine we take an individual and multi-faceted approach to resolving iron deficiency. First, we search for the root causes of the deficiency which may include examining the diet, current female status regarding pregnancy, breast feeding, and menstrual cycle, medical history, possible lab work, and determination of whether there may be internal sources of bleeding.

Iron deficiency treatment includes some combination of supplemental or IV iron, dietary and lifestyle adjustments, and addressing gut health issues that may be affecting absorption of dietary iron. Mitigating and correcting other medical issues regarding menstrual cycles, liver or kidney function may also be included.

Supplemental iron is not ideal for everyone. Iron supplements can cause nausea, constipation, stomach aches, and/or diarrhea. Additionally, supplement quality is an important factor to consider.  Supplements are NOT all created equal. An iron IV is a possible solution with much fewer side effects, and they are offered here at The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness. Click on: Iron Sources and Ideas for a guide to dietary tips to maximize iron absorption. 

Something else to consider is that a copper or vitamin A (Retinol) deficiency may contribute to iron deficiency, and supplementing with these correctly, could be the treatment of choice!

Hemochromatosis, both primary and secondary, where there is too much iron in the blood, is normally handled by removing blood from the body through a process called phlebotomy, or bloodletting.  Another possible avenue is chelation therapy using an iron binding medication so that extra iron can be carried out of the body through the bowels and urine.

 

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

[1] Winters, N. & Kelley, J. (2017). The metabolic approach to cancer: Integrating deep nutrition, the Ketogenic diet, and nontoxic bio-individualized therapies. Chelsea Green.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemochromatosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351443

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

[1] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22824-iron-deficiency-anemia

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

[1] mercola.com September 2022 article on iron

 

By |2022-09-12T15:06:59-06:00September 14th, 2022|General|

Iron Part Two – Causes of Too Little or Too Much

(Second in a three-part series)

by Mila McManus, MD

***If you missed Part One, click here.

Iron deficiency is quite common and can be caused by many factors[i]. Common causes include gastrointestinal bleeding (e.g., due to long-term use of NSAIDS or aspirin, ulcers, polyps, and colon cancer), urinary tract bleeding, blood loss from injury or surgery, heavy menstrual periods, and frequent blood donation or blood tests. Deficiency can also be caused by both inadequate supplies in the diet as well as conditions that limit the amount of iron absorbed by the body.

Almost anyone can develop an iron deficiency, though it is most common in menstruating women, pregnant and breast feeding women, and infants and children ages 6 months to 2 years who don’t get adequate dietary iron from mother’s breast milk or cow’s milk.  Vegans or vegetarians can easily become iron deficient as well. Teenage growth spurts are another potential risk factor for iron deficiency.

As we mentioned in Part One of this three part series on iron, excess iron levels, though rare, are usually caused by a hereditary disease called hemochromatosis.  Too much iron is absorbed by the body and stored in organs, most often the liver, heart, or pancreas, and capable of causing life-threatening conditions such as liver disease, heart problems, and diabetes. As you may recall from part one, once iron is in the blood stream, the body does not have the ability to excrete it.

There are, however, causes of excess iron that are not genetic[ii] and these are called secondary hemochromatosis. Chronic liver disease such as hepatitis C infection, or alcohol related liver disease could cause excess iron storage as could blood transfusions, taking oral iron pills, having iron infusions, or long-term kidney dialysis.

Next week we will conclude this three part series on iron by providing solutions for addressing too little or too much iron.

 

[i] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22824-iron-deficiency-anemia

[ii] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

By |2022-09-06T08:26:24-06:00September 7th, 2022|General|

Iron 101  – Too Little or Too Much

(First in a three part series)

by Mila McManus, MD

Our body requires iron to make blood.

Our body requires iron to make blood. About 70% of the iron in our body is located in red blood cells where it forms hemoglobin. We must have sufficient stores of it in order to make new red blood cells, and also replicate DNA for cellular repair. The intestinal tract is designed to take in needed iron supplies from the food we eat, and to block absorption when supplies are adequate. The body is not able to excrete excess iron once it is absorbed into the bloodstream[i].

Iron deficiency is quite common and can cause fatigue, anemia, shortness of breath, hair loss, and light-headedness.  When these levels are low, oxygen delivery to cells and tissues is compromised. In regard to cancer, iron deficiency can increase the invasiveness and metastatic potential for growth rather than apoptosis, or death[ii].

While uncommon, some individuals have excess iron, a hereditary condition called hemochromatosis[iii]. There are, however, causes of excess iron that are not genetic[iv] and these are called secondary hemochromatosis. Detection of excess iron can be difficult, and symptoms usually develop over time. Most patients will have no symptoms.  As overload progresses, symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, bronze skin color, weakness, weight loss, low sex drive, and will eventually affect the liver, pancreas, thyroid, and/or heart.

It is important to have your levels checked periodically, and have abnormalities addressed when applicable. Call our office  at 281-298-6742 to schedule an appointment.

Next week we will take a look at what causes these levels to be too low or too high.

And the following week, for Part 3, we’ll discuss treatment options for overload and deficiency.

[i] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

[ii] Winters, N. & Kelley, J. (2017). The metabolic approach to cancer: Integrating deep nutrition, the Ketogenic diet, and nontoxic bio-individualized therapies. Chelsea Green.

[iii] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemochromatosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351443

[iv] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

By |2022-11-01T10:08:53-06:00August 31st, 2022|General|