P: 281-298-6742 | F: 281-419-1373|info@TWIHW.com

Will the Fake Meat Empire Collapse?

By Mila McManus, MD

We shared our concerns about making “food” using cultured animal cells. Fake meat, like the Impossible Burger, is one good example. 

In mid-February, we shared our concerns about making “food” using cultured animal cells. And April 2022 we wrote about plant-based “meats”.  Thankfully, it appears there are signs we are not the only ones concerned.  This may be more of a fad, along with a power grab attempt, than a permanent change in the way Americans eat.  Here are some reasons to hold out hope:

  • Many consider it conspicuous that Bill Gates has become one of the largest owners of American farmland as of May 2022. He is also a proponent of proliferating fake meat products made from GMO Soy and other controversial ingredients. Is fake meat a profit pushing gig at the expense of human and environmental health?
  • Shares for Impossible Foods have dropped dramatically, and Bloomberg reports the company recently laid off 20% of its workforce.
  • One compound, soy leghemoglobin (SLH) used to make fake meat look raw and bleeding, is derived from genetically -modified yeast, and has been shown in animal models to be associated with anemia, kidney disease, and weight gain. The European Patent Office has revoked Impossible Foods’ European Union patent due to this concern as well as other flavor precursor molecules. The FDA also has questioned if arguments presented in favor of allowing Impossible Food’s products to be considered GRAS (“Generally Recognized As Safe”) establish such safety.

We continue to hold firmly to the belief that cultured animal cells and GMO soy mixed with other flavor enhancers is not real food but a highly MAN-ufactured food.  Be real. Eat real.







By |2023-03-20T10:43:55-06:00March 22nd, 2023|Articles, General|

Erythritol In the News – What it means

By Mila McManus MD and Nancy Mehlert MS

Erythritol, the zero-calorie sweetener, being found in a study to be “linked to increased cardiovascular risk”.

You may have seen several news stories recently about Erythritol, the zero-calorie sweetener, being found in a study to be “linked to increased cardiovascular risk”. The study, published by Nature Medicine, on the surface sounds concerning.  The researchers measured levels of erythritol in the blood and found that those with higher serum erythritol levels had an increased risk of stroke, heart  attack, and death. The research has been ongoing for over ten years.

When hearing news stories such as these, it is wise to take a closer look at what really occurred in the study. In fact, more often than not, the media outlet has not shared the whole story. There are at least three flaws to examine more closely in this study before we toss out the erythritol.

First, this study was not based on the intake or consumption of erythritol[1].  In fact, this study began before erythritol was approved as a sweetener, nor was it widely used as the study progressed. Serum samples from participants, therefore, reflected erythritol levels from another source. A 2017 study[2] found that humans produce erythritol endogenously ( i.e., produced inside the body) in response to the consumption of both glucose and fructose via the pentose phosphate pathway, or PPP.

Second, endogenous erythritol is a marker for a poor diet and metabolic dysfunction. Unlike erythritol, glucose and fructose are widely consumed in enormous amounts in both the U.S. and Europe, explaining why the study participants may have had high serum erythritol. This endogenous production of erythritol is correlated with cardiometabolic disease. For example, the PPP pathway is shown to modulate insulin sensitivity and obesity-induced inflammation and becomes dysregulated in people with obesity and metabolic disease. It seems likely that insulin resistance and high blood sugar are underlying causes of elevated endogenous erythritol levels.

Third, it is still unknown if high serum erythritol caused cardiovascular risk or was just associated with it. (It requires more than a suspect being at the scene of the crime to conclude that s/he was the culprit!) Nature Medicine did conduct a small experiment at the end of their study with eight human participants who were fed 30 grams of erythritol for seven days.  Their serum levels of erythritol increased significantly, but the researchers did not gather markers for blood clotting or note any adverse effects. So, we do know that high serum erythritol levels are associated with a higher risk of cardiac events and death, but again, correlation is not causation. Moreover, a study with only 8 participants, a good study, it does not make.  Sample size matters.

Studies in the past where animals were fed erythritol, the serum erythritol levels increased but no adverse effects were noted. In one study, rats were given a diet made up of 10% erythritol for two years and researchers observed positive effects on body weight with no adverse changes on numerous biomarkers related to metabolic health[3].

Chris Kresser summarized the results by saying “The study does not tell us that high serum erythritol causes cardiac events or deaths. Nor does it suggest that consuming erythritol in the diet increases the risk of cardiac events or death. In fact, given prior research, there is reason to believe that serum erythritol is simply a marker for sugar intake and or underlying metabolic dysfunction.”

We cannot be sure of either until more research is done.  In the meantime, we can offer some recommendations/reminders:

First, if you are consuming primarily packaged food bars, waters, protein powders, gummy candies, baked keto goods, and sweetening drinks with erythritol numerous times every day, err on the safe side and cut back on the excessive erythritol. 

Second, no matter what sweetener you use, be it sugar, artificial sweeteners, or more natural sweeteners like erythritol, xylitol, monk fruit, and stevia, constant use overstimulates your sweet taste buds and your pleasure centers of the brain.  This keeps you addicted to sweets, and possibly leads to overeating, or craving constantly. Moreover, this may mean that you fail to eat the meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and natural fruit for which humans are best suited.  So work toward less and less sweet drinks and foods, especially those that are “man”ufactured, and stick with the whole real foods and water our bodies are wired for and thrive on.  Fruit is the ideal sweet treat and, even so, should be consumed in moderation. Aim to make 80-90% or more of everything you eat real, whole, nature-made food.

[1] https://chriskresser.com/does-erythritol-increase-the-risk-of-heart-attack-and-early-death/, March 3, 2023

[2] Hootman KC, Trezzi JP, Kraemer L, Burwell LS, Dong X, Guertin KA, Jaeger C, Stover PJ, Hiller K, Cassano PA. Erythritol is a pentose-phosphate pathway metabolite and associated with adiposity gain in young adults. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 May 23;114(21):E4233-E4240. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620079114. Epub 2017 May 8. PMID: 28484010; PMCID: PMC5448202.

[3] Lina BA, Bos-Kuijpers MH, Til HP, Bär A. Chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity study of erythritol in rats. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1996 Oct;24(2 Pt 2):S264-79. doi: 10.1006/rtph.1996.0108. PMID: 8933643.

By |2023-03-16T09:10:19-06:00March 16th, 2023|Articles, General|

Before you flush……

by Mila McManus, MD

 the otherwise invisible spray that is sent into the air by flushing a toilet with the lid up... pathogens from human waste spread up into the air,

A group of engineers from the University of Colorado Boulder used laser lights to expose the otherwise invisible spray that is sent into the air by flushing a toilet with the lid up. It became visibly evident that pathogens from human waste spread up into the air, potentially exposing people to contagious disease.

The research was done using a typical commercial toilet, showing how the flush generates a strong upward jet of air that can rapidly carry particles up to 5 feet above the bowl within a few seconds of the start of the flush.

Respiratory diseases such as influenza are smaller particles that remain longer in the air and can be easily contracted through inhalation. Larger particles that settle faster on surfaces can spread intestinal diseases by contact with hands and mouth.

While toilet bowls generally have concentrations of pathogens even after dozens of flushes, the risk of disease transmission from toilet aerosol plumes is still unclear.

In any case, it never hurts to put the lid down before flushing :-/


*Closing the Toilet Lid Before Flushing Is Important – Medscape- Feb 14, 2023.

*Toilets spew in invisible aerosol plumes with every flush – here’s the proof, captured by high powered lasers,” published in The Conversation on December 16, 2022, theconversation.com.

By |2023-03-07T13:06:22-06:00March 8th, 2023|Articles, General|

Methylene Blue: A Magic Bullet for Your Cells?

Provided by: Physicians Preference Pharmacy

Methylene blue is currently used in Emergency departments to reverse the blood condition known as methemoglobinemia, it has also been used for its anti-malarial benefits.

While many dyes are known to have negative effects (i.e. Red #3 & 40, Yellow #5 & 6), many are also known to be beneficial. One of those is methylene blue. Currently used in Emergency departments to reverse the blood condition known as methemoglobinemia, it has also been used for its anti-malarial benefits.  Originally, it was used in the textile industry. Methylene blue was originally coined with the term “magic bullet”.

What makes methylene blue a “magic bullet”? It supports the functions of the electron transport chain to maximize mitochondrial respiration as well as ATP cellular energy production. You may recall the mitochondria are the workhorse energy producers for every cell in your body.  When your mitochondria are fully energized and functioning well, then you have energy and are functioning much better too. Methylene blue selectively reduces the effects of nitric oxide toxicity and deficits in mitochondrial function, providing antioxidant benefits for the brain and body. It may be used to correct conditions characterized by excess nitric oxide levels and inadequate mitochondrial function, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Cancer
  • Viruses, bacteria, fungi infectivity
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Pain

Compounded as methylene blue, it is dosed as an oral capsule in 15mg, 25mg, 35mg, and 50mg dosages depending on the patient needs. It is now available for our providers to prescribe to patients who may benefit. Ask your provider if Methylene Blue is right for you.

This article has been provided by Physicians Preference Pharmacy.


By |2023-03-01T09:45:01-06:00March 2nd, 2023|Articles, General|

Coffee Talk

by Mila McManus, MD

Coffee is the NUMBER ONE pesticided crop in the world. Purchase certified organic coffee and use pure filtered water.

Coffee lovers and connoisseurs abound thanks to Starbucks and other similar West coast chains making coffee a work of art.  In America, at least 6 out of 10 people start their day with a cup or two. There is research which suggests health benefits such as protection from type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, liver, and Parkinson’s disease – that is, if your coffee is not toxic.

Here’s what you need to know to make good choices:

  • There are no maximum pesticide residue limits set by governments despite the fact that coffee is the NUMBER ONE pesticide-sprayed crop in the world. It is estimated that there are at least 40 different pesticides and chemicals used on coffee crops around the world with little or no regulation to limit their use.
  • Mycotoxins are another common problem. These toxic compounds are produced by mold or fungus, and are formed on the beans before or after harvest, during storage, and during transport where there are damp, warm, humid conditions. Mycotoxins are a cause of many health issues. Some are known carcinogens (Aflatoxin B1 for example) while others cause kidney, liver, and brain damage.  In one sample of 66 different coffees, 33% of them had at least one mycotoxin on them.
  • Acrylamide is a potentially harmful chemical that is formed when the beans are roasted. There is no way to avoid them all together, however avoiding lighter roasts and instant coffee eliminate the highest levels.
  • Decaf is not necessarily any better and can be worse.  Chemicals are used to remove caffeine.  If you do choose decaf, make sure a cold or Swiss water process is used to remove the caffeine.

Here’s how to reduce exposure to the harmful toxins and chemicals in your coffee:

  • To reduce Acrylamide, choose dark roasted coffee.
  • Purchase certified organic coffee where pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals cannot be used.
  • Seek out coffees that are stored in temperature-controlled areas and packaging to avoid humidity where mold and fungus can grow on the beans. Natural Force and Bulletproof coffees pride themselves in preventing mold growth on their beans. Avoid purchasing coffee beans from bulk containers.
  • You might want to consider reducing your coffee intake to lower you exposure to harmful molds and chemicals.
  • Other ways to improve the quality and healthfulness is to use filtered water and a pour over or unbleached paper filter rather than plastic pods which add plastics and vinyl to your coffee. These are known hormone disrupters that can lead to hormone imbalances, weight gain, and fertility issues, to name a few. 
  • Support organizations like the Environmental Working Group who work for you, the consumer, to ban the use of harmful chemicals in our food, soil, air, and water.

Enjoy a good cup of coffee by starting with the cleanest resources, organic coffee and pure filtered water.





By |2023-02-21T12:36:28-06:00February 22nd, 2023|Articles, General|

Uric Acid –A Common Denominator for Dementia, High Blood Pressure, High Blood Sugar, and Weight Gain

by Mila McManus, MD

Did you know that high uric acid levels play a central role in increasing our blood sugar, blood pressure, and body fat?

It is fairly common knowledge that high levels of uric acid in the human body can cause Gout, a sudden arthritis which attacks joints causing significant pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in joints.  It usually affects one joint at a time, typically a big toe or knee. Did you know that high uric acid levels play a central role in increasing blood sugar, blood pressure, and body fat?  In fact, elevated uric acid levels are now being considered as a diagnostic criterion for metabolic syndrome. It’s possible to have high uric acid levels without any obvious symptoms…until the wheels fall off the cart!

Elevated uric acid levels lead to endothelial dysfunction (think of tight/stiff arteries rather than relaxed and dilated blood vessels), increased oxidative stress, microvascular damage, reduction in nitric oxide bioavailability in the endothelial lining, and contributes to cognitive decline as it directly and indirectly damages blood vessels of the brain. Endothelial cells are the main type of cell in the lining of blood vessels, lymph vessels, and the heart. Consequently, elevated uric acid levels negatively impact health in the cardiovascular, blood circulatory, metabolic, and lymphatic systems, as well as joints.

From a dietary standpoint, the best way to prevent elevated uric acid is to eat and drink a clean, whole food diet while maintaining stable blood sugar. Most importantly is to avoid excessive fructose from fruits, all high fructose corn sugar/syrup, as well as other high fructose sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. High fructose corn sugar is found in fast food, breakfast cereal, bread, and baked goods, sweetened dairy products, candy, canned fruit and soups, and soft drinks as well as salad dressings, ketchup, and energy drinks. Grapes, watermelon, and dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, apricots, and apples are also intensified forms of fructose.

To have your uric acid levels checked, discuss dietary adjustments, or explore ways to manage gout and other health issues related to high uric acid levels, schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare practitioners or nutritionist on staff.

If you want to take a deeper dive into learning about uric acid, I recommend reading Dr. Perlmutter’s book called Drop Acid (also available on Audible).

Reference: OrthoMolecular – Uric Acid, practitioner informational sheet/UAX-Pro. Permission granted 1/16/2023, NH.

By |2023-02-01T09:04:40-06:00February 1st, 2023|Articles, General|

Sitting is the New Smoking!

by Mila McManus, MD

The combination of both sitting more than six hours a day and being less physically active was associated with a 94 percent increase in all causes of premature death rates in women.

 You may be old enough to remember when it was common to have smoking sections on planes and in restaurants, and when smoking was allowed just about everywhere. Once the physical dangers were recognized, our nation finally launched a huge campaign against smoking and this was successful with greatly reducing the number of smokers today.  Now there is a new health problem that has taken it’s place. 

The combination of both sitting more than six hours a day and being less physically active was associated with a 94 percent increase in all causes of premature death rates in women and a 48 percent increase in men, compared with those who reported sitting less than three hours a day and being most active.”  Tony Robbins

Exercise and movement continue to be a key pillar for good health and disease prevention. Walk more than you stand, stand more than you sit, sit more than you recline.  Every step counts. Consider a standing work station. Set a timer when sitting to remind yourself to get up and move every 45 minutes to an hour. Monitor your steps with an app on your cell phone.  Keep moving!


Robbins, T. (2022) Life Force. New York: Simon & Schuster,326.

By |2023-01-16T11:27:15-06:00January 18th, 2023|Articles, 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.




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.


[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|