Top Seafood Picks

By Mila McManus, MD

There’s trouble with seafood. Our oceans are not as pristine as they used to be. Some of the largest contributors to ocean pollution include:

  • Runoff when heavy rainstorms draw road oils and pollutants from the ground into rivers and oceans.
  • Manufacturing plants in some areas of the world release toxic waste into the water, including mercury.
  • Oil spills from ships.
  • Plastic bags, cups, bottles, and other items thrown out and carried by the wind which fail to decompose.

Another issue is how the seafood is harvested. Because of demand, many species are over-fished. Because of cost, many are harvested in destructive ways which end up harming the ocean ecosystem and threatening fish populations.

With all this in mind, here is a list of seafood with the lowest mercury content, highest Omega 3 content, and least threatened:

  • Shrimp
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Sardines
  • Salmon from New Zealand, California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska
  • Freshwater Trout
  • Pollock
  • Atlantic Mackerel
  • Anchovies
  • Herring
  • Shad
  • Butterfish
  • Crab

There are other great options low in mercury and sustainably harvested, though not as recognized for their Omega 3 content including:

  • Scallops
  • Catfish
  • Clams
  • Crayfish
  • Rockfish from Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington
  • Squid from California
  • Tilapia from Canada, Ecuador, Peru, and US
  • Skipjack Tuna from Pacific waters

If you don’t see your favorite on the list, then it is very high in mercury, and/or unsustainably caught, and/or the species population is threatened.

Eat Well, Be Well.

References:

https://www.texasdisposal.com/blog/ocean-pollution-causes-effects-and-prevention/

SeafoodWatch.org, Consumer Guide to Sustainable Seafood

Center For Science in the Public Interest, Seafood Recommendation Guide for pregnant, breast feeding and young children with lower mercury and increased Omega 3’s. www.cspinet.org

By |2022-06-13T07:20:54-05:00June 15th, 2022|Articles, General|

Is Monkeypox Next?

by Mila McManus, MD

Whether it’s Monkeypox, COVID, or flu and cold season, it is always a good reminder to our patients and friends that we should always be engaged in ensuring our immune function is operating optimally.  

What is Monkeypox and what do we know about it?

  • Unlike COVID, Monkeypox has been well studied and occurred in America in 2003 and is endemic to Western and Central Africa. While the CDC believes we will see more cases popping up in the United States in the coming days and weeks, it is not novel, and there are antiviral treatments for it.
  • This virus is a rare disease closely related to smallpox, and according to the CDC, the small pox vaccine is 85% protective against it. Positive testing for Orthopox, the family of viruses that includes Monekypox and smallpox, is used for diagnosis. Monkeypox is unrelated to Chickenpox.
  • Monkeypox is also not as easily transmitted as COVID, colds, and flu. It is largely transmitted through close, skin-to-skin contact, and is transferred by body fluids, virus sores, and respiratory droplets of people with lesions in their mouths and throats due to infection. Shared bedding and clothing with intimate partners is a possible method of transmission. Most recent cases around the world have been identified within the gay and bisexual communities.
  • There are two strains. One out of Central Africa and another out of West Africa that is less severe. So far, the several confirmed cases in the US have been the less severe strain. Also, the positive diagnoses have been found in individuals who are recently returned from international travel. A pandemic is highly unlikely.
  • Traditional primary care physicians are the best source for diagnosis and treatment.

What are the symptoms for Monkeypox?

  • Starts with flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, headache, and achy muscles.
  • Swollen lymph nodes are also common.
  • After 1-3 days, a rash usually develops on the face, then can spread to the rest of the body.
  • Flat, circular lesions in different parts of the body that eventually turn into bumps filled with a clear fluid develop.
  • These bumps eventually become crusty and fall off.
  • Recovery usually takes 2 to 4 weeks.

Helpful Immune Boosters to Fight off Viral Infections

Daily Maintenance:

  • Multivitamin
  • Vitamin D3
  • Quality Probiotic
  • Vitamin C

Additional Support:

  • Tri-Immune Injections with Glutathione, Zinc, and Vitamin C
  • Viracid
  • WholeMune
  • Quercetin
  • Zinc 25-50mg daily

Finally, a healthy lifestyle including quality rest, stress reduction practices, exercise, avoiding sugar, handwashing, sunshine, and laughter are invaluable ways to support immune function.

For preventative support, we are happy to assist you in putting together an individual protection plan. Schedule an appointment with one of our medical providers to discuss the ideal plan for you.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20220524/what-to-know-monkeypox-us-cases

 

 

By |2022-05-31T16:27:34-05:00June 1st, 2022|Articles, General|

Fermented Food Fakes

By Mila McManus, MD

The Food Industry is quick to pick up on rising trends and then capitalize on them, but not always in honest ways.  That’s why it is so hard to trust package labeling.  The latest one I’ve observed is with the word “Fermented”.

Fermented foods, if properly fermented and packaged, are full of the living bacteria found in your gut. We usually refer to them as probiotics.  That’s why fermented foods are so healthy because they help you to maintain a healthy gut!

Fermented foods are LIVING foods.  The beneficial bacteria are eating and multiplying, and that process should be ongoing when you eat them. Live ferments need to be refrigerated. So if you find something in the store that is non-refrigerated and it says it is fermented, well, its dead now. This means you have lost the key benefit of the food. The ingredient labels should be cabbage (or other vegetable), water, and salt. A spice would be ok too. It should never have preservatives, sugar, or vinegar added, and should never say “pasteurized”. If it’s pasteurized, it’s been heating to extreme which kills the bacteria and defeats the purpose. The most common packaging for living ferments is glass jars or vented pouches found only in a refrigerated section of the store.  If it is in a can or jar on the veggie aisle, it is dead, highly heated, and potentially contaminated by the can itself.  It may be edible but don’t expect it to help your microbiome or be deeply nutritious. 

Did you know these two Fermented Food Fun Facts ?

  • A study has shown that eating fermented foods appears to have lowered COVID mortality rates as much as 35.4% in countries where fermented foods are traditionally consumed.[i]
  • Fermented foods may help to relieve depression and anxiety.[ii]

Here is a link to our Fermented Salsa recipe to enjoy this summer! 

[i] https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200708/Study-links-fermented-vegetable-consumption-to-low-COVID-19-mortality.aspx?fbclid=IwAR0caH0-UyS-dyOeGpeqRyY4y3ELgB6pKUJON8rksxJ86VwJn-v9g-hv23o

[ii] https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/bmjnph/early/2020/06/09/bmjnph-2019-000053.full.pdf

By |2022-05-24T08:46:55-05:00May 25th, 2022|Articles, General|

A Reminder About Artificial Sweeteners

By Mila McManus, MD

All artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k, interfere with the normal and healthy activity of gut bacteria[1].  They also cause DNA damage.

These popular sweeteners are often identified with the pink, blue, and yellow packets found in every store and restaurant nationwide, as well as found in “no sugar” and “sugar-free” foods, candy, and beverages. They are also used in medications, toothpastes, and mouthwashes. Consuming as few as 7 little packets may be enough to have a detrimental effect on your gut biome[2].

In addition to disturbing the gut biome, all of the artificial sweeteners are linked to increased risk for obesity, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Several are known carcinogens.

While the most well-known brand is Splenda, the actual chemical sweetener’s name is SUCRALOSE, the most common name you will find in ingredient labels. Watch for it and make every effort to banish it from your diet.  Also, be sure never to cook with artificial sweeteners because they increase in toxicity with the addition of heat.

Protecting your gut biome is one of the most important aspects of protecting your health! Antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, and NSAIDS, when ingested routinely, will destroy the biome and result in weakened immunity, weakened brain function, and digestive issues.  This, in turn, will create inflammation and disease.  Take your probiotics and avoid destroyers of the gut biome.

To ensure you maintain a healthy gut, talk to our staff nutritionist or your medical provider at The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness.

[1] Harpaz, D.; Yeo, L.P.; Cecchini, F.; Koon, T.H.P.; Kushmaro, A.; Tok, A.I.Y.; Marks, R.S.; Eltzov, E. Measuring Artificial Sweeteners Toxicity Using a Bioluminescent Bacterial Panel. Molecules 201823, 2454. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23102454

[2] Abou-Donia MB, El-Masry EM, Abdel-Rahman AA, McLendon RE, Schiffman SS. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(21):1415-29. doi: 10.1080/15287390802328630. PMID: 18800291.

 

By |2022-05-18T07:21:40-05:00May 19th, 2022|Articles, General|

EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

by Mila McManus, MD

The 2022 Shopper’s Guide for Produce from the Environmental Working Group is out.  This is a wonderful guideline to help you determine which produce you should always buy organic versus those that don’t necessarily need to be purchased organic.  It sure is helpful to know how to avoid the most pesticide-laden produce.

                Many popular produce items remain on the Dirty Dozen list, including strawberries, grapes, apples, and tomatoes. [ https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php] These popular foods are often given to children on a daily basis so, if not purchased organically, you could introduce considerable pesticide toxicity to children’s developing bodies and brains. We recommend that EVERYONE choose organic whenever possible, and especially if any of the items on the dirty list are foods consumed frequently or daily.

                It’s interesting to note that broccoli and eggplant have both fallen off of the Clean 15 list this past year, suggesting that there may have been an increase in pesticide use with these two foods. Although, it could also be a result of less pesticide used on new foods added to the Clean 15, namely sweet potatoes. It’s worth considering purchasing broccoli and eggplant as organic where possible.  For more details regarding the evaluation process, visit EWG.org.

                You should also consider other benefits of organic produce. Organic farming is much more likely to ensure that soil is nutrient rich and ensures that seeds are not genetically modified. As a result, organic offers greater nutritional values such as greater amounts of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and other essential vitamins and minerals without man’s manipulation of seed genetics, than traditionally raised produce.

                We recommend using EWG.org as a resource as well as encourage supporting this consumer oriented resource for promoting quality food and water for good health. You will find many valuable resources on their webpage including information for clean sources of food, water, baby food, personal care products, and more.

By |2022-05-03T16:27:58-05:00May 4th, 2022|Articles, General|

Plant Based Meat is an Oxymoron

By Mila McManus, MD

The Plant Based non-meat “meat” industry is taking off as many proponents of a greener planet argue that eliminating the beef industry will save the planet.  According to an article published in Wise Traditions Winter 2021 issue, called Reading Between the Lines: Fake Meat and Other Fake Foods: Synthetic Biology Wolves in “Sustainable” Sheep’s Clothing, the author Merinda Teller says there is a “lab-grown meat stampede… a full scale agenda to remove the meat industry entirely led by Future Meat Technologies, the FDA and USDA, as well as NASA, various universities, Bill Gates, Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Eat Just, Upside Foods, Tyson Foods, Amazon, and the World Economic Forum among others” (p.49-50). Alternatively, The Westin A. Price Foundation and the Environmental Working Group would argue that we can, and do, produce foods of all kinds, and meat specifically, in clean, green, sustainable ways.

It’s interesting how these fake meat producers are trying to make it look, cook, smell, and taste like meat, and they are using the word “meat” in some context on the label. It’s NOT meat.  Nothing about wheat, soy, or the lab grown mold called mycoprotein is meat. It seems an oxymoronic to call plant-based food “meat”.  It is a fake food in the sense that there is nothing about the end product that occurs organically in nature, the way food is grown or produced traditionally. The product is a result of man concocting a combination of foods, combining man-made chemicals and processed proteins into something mysteriously edible.

Read ingredient labels very carefully and know what you are eating. For example, Gardein’s Plant-based Chick’n Filets contain wheat and wheat gluten, soy protein isolate, textured wheat protein, yeast extract, canola oil, and fructose, to name a few, on the otherwise long list of ingredients. Needless to say, if you are gluten sensitive or celiac, or have allergies or sensitivities to soy, yeast, or MSG, this would raise concerns. In general, we recommend avoiding omega-6 rich inflammatory oils (such as canola, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils) and added sugars (fructose, dextrose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn sugar, tapioca syrup).  Quorn makes their “meatless pieces” with 93% mycoprotein, a mold grown in laboratories. Added to that are yeast extract, egg whites and sugar. IncogMeato is made from water, soy protein concentration, canola oil, dextrose, and yeast extract. Impossible Foods touts their plant-based heme (iron) made from fermentation of genetically engineered yeast, soy, and potato protein. And JUST EGG uses Mung Bean Protein Isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, sugar, and tapioca syrup, tetrasodium pyrophosphate (what?), transglutaminase (huh?), and nisin (say that again?). All of the Impossible Foods meat replacement products contain soy protein which is a common food allergen. Moreover, unless specified certified organic, there’s an extremely high chance it’s genetically modified.  

One of the cleanest and simplest ingredient lists we found was Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Perfect Plant Based Ground for meatballs, tacos, and burgers. While we might not go as far as “perfect”, it is comparably a much better, whole food ingredient list. It is gluten free and vegan with 20 grams of protein. The ingredient list contains only 12 ingredients which are hydrated pea protein blend (water, pea protein), high oleic sunflower oil, beets, natural flavors, sweet potato puree, butternut squash puree, carrot puree, methyl cellulose, fruit, and vegetable juice (for color), oat fiber, sea salt, and onion powder.  Another somewhat “better” ingredient list are the Beyond Meat products, though again, natural flavors, dried yeast, canola oil, and pea protein can each pose problems for some people.

It may be helpful to know that the top 9 food allergens in the United States that must be identified on all foods containing them include corn, soy, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, dairy, and sesame. The first four are often the most altered by man by the way they are genetically modified, laden with pesticides, or in the case of eggs, fed hormones and antibiotics.

All this to say, we are still strong proponents of eating real whole food the way it occurs in nature. We encourage sustainable sources wherever possible.  100% grass fed, grass finished meats, organic farming, minimizing the use of plastics, recycling, avoiding food waste, and supporting local farmers and ranchers – all can support a cleaner, greener, world.

 

By |2022-04-27T16:23:44-05:00April 28th, 2022|Articles, General|

How’s Your Brain Working?

By Mila McManus, M.D.

Dementia, especially Alzheimer’s,  is on the rise. Establishing a baseline of your cognition allows for early detection of trouble to come, and also can alleviate fears of Alzheimer’s.  Many people have cognitive issues such as brain fog, forgetfulness, trouble focusing, and/or a decline in math skills.  Your issues may be related to stress, hormone imbalance, poor nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, vascular disease, food allergies or sensitivities, toxins, insulin resistance, a sleep disorder, or infection in your brain, to name a few.  Cognitive decline CAN be prevented and reversed!  Addressing root causes as early as possible will lead to the best outcomes.  

Memory loss or cognitive decline can be a symptom of other chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, brain tumors, Multiple sclerosis, heart failure, and depression. When a person begins to experience cognitive decline, it is common to experience fear, embarrassment, and anxiety. As a result, it also creates stress and tension with close family members.  At the first signs and symptoms of cognitive decline, it’s important to quickly evaluate the sources and begin appropriate treatment. 

There is a simple and inexpensive test called The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (aka MoCA for short). This highly validated and standardized test allows you to get a baseline assessment of your memory and other aspects of cognition, such as organizing and calculating. The assessment can be repeated periodically to monitor for improvement or worsening of symptoms and disease.

We administer the test at The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness and it takes about 15 to 20 minutes. The initial test is $39 and repeat tests are $29.  Don’t put your head in the sand about your brain health! Call (281) 298-6742 and make your appointment today.

By |2021-06-29T07:05:54-05:00June 30th, 2021|Articles, General|

Berkeley Life Professional: Nitric Oxide Suppport

By Mila McManus, M.D.

A Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery that Nitric Oxide (NO) plays a significant role in the cardiovascular system. NO is naturally made in your body, but as you age you produce less of it. Berkeley Life Professional helps support NO levels for a healthy cardiovascular system by supplementing your diet with dietary nitrates¹.

Berkeley Life Professional’s drug free supplement provides the same dietary nitrates found in plants, as well as key vitamins, to help support NO levels, the cardiovascular system, and overall health and vitality. This supplement is free of allergens including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, gluten, and gelatin¹.

NO is also found in beets, garlic, leafy greens (spinach, arugula, kale, and cabbage) as well as citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit). These are all good sources of nature-made nitrates, which are different than the harmful man-made chemical additives called sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite.

Talk with your healthcare provide to see if Berkeley Life Professional Nitric Oxide Support is right for you and purchase it here at TWIHW.

¹www.berkeleylife.com

 

By |2021-03-22T11:14:48-05:00April 18th, 2021|Articles, General|

COVID and the flu will continue for now.

By Mila McManus, M.D.

COVID and the flu will continue to be with us for now, 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 keep you healthy this year. 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.

By |2021-12-10T08:42:47-06:00March 26th, 2021|Articles, General|

What is NAD+?

by Mila McManus MD

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) is the active form of a coenzyme that is an essential component of chemical reactions that occur in all of our cells. These reactions regulate nearly every bodily process. 

Be careful of other products marketing themselves as NAD.  NAD+, NADH and NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) are not the same. Although NAD+ plays a role in the same pathway as NADH and NR, there are certain NAD+ consuming reactions where only NAD+ can be utilized. In these reactions, NADH and NR are not effective. While NADH and NR are less expensive than NAD+, the positive effects are not nearly as potent as NAD+.

NAD+ is Involved in Two Major Functions:

FIRST: Energy Production. NAD+ helps to turn carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the body into useable energy via the Citric Acid Cycle (Krebs Cycle). This important chemical reaction results in the production of ATP. ATP is the energy currency of life, powering nearly every biological activity such as muscle contraction, protein manufacturing, and cellular communication.

SECOND: Regulating the Body’s “Stress Response”. NAD+ partners with proteins involved in regulating and preserving health. This includes synthesis and repair of DNA, regulation of circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycle), and stem cell production.

As we age, levels of NAD+ decrease in our bodies. Scientists believe that by the time we reach our 40’s, the supply of NAD+ is no longer able to meet the demand for important biological processes. Additionally, sickness and disease, as well as environmental and self-induced stressors can rapidly deplete our body of this vital nutrient.

Additionally, low levels of NAD+ may contribute to fatigue, depression, and anxiety. It hinders our body’s ability to overcome the grip of drug and alcohol addiction. Additionally, low levels of NAD+ may contribute to worsening disease states in vital organs such as the heart, liver, and brain. NAD+ depletion weakens our immune system, which affects our ability to fight infection or slow the progression of cancer.

Reasons to consider incorporating NAD+ into your regimen:

  • The aging process
  • Athletic performance
  • Anxiety, depression and PTSD
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other forms of Dementia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Other neurodegenerative disorders
  • “Chemo Brain”
  • Low energy levels
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Migraine headaches
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Autoinflammatory diseases
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

What is the Course of Treatment for NAD+?

Treatment strategies at TWIHW are tailored to your specific needs.

We currently offer treatments consisting of 4-8 hour IV infusions of NAD+. These treatment durations vary based on treatment protocol and allow for a larger amount of NAD+ to be delivered directly to the body’s tissues, allowing depleted stores to be replenished.

For those just looking for a quick “boost”, we also offer reduced dose IV infusions that take only 2 hours.

 What Can I Expect During the NAD+ Treatment?

A brief assessment will be conducted on the day of treatment. For intravenous NAD+, a small IV will be inserted. The infusion will run for approximately 4-8 hours (or 2 hours for the reduced dose treatment). Patients are able to pass the time in our relaxing environment by watching TV, reading, and listening to music. You will also have access to high-speed internet and can bring your laptop for personal use. Water, tea, and coffee are available upon request. Please plan accordingly for meals as needed if doing a longer infusion. Delivery can be made to the facility but we ask that you refrain from any fast food or pizza.

Call our office at 281-298-6742, or visit www.twihw.com

When NAD+ IV isn’t possible, consider Tru Niagen as an alternative.

By |2021-03-24T07:09:21-05:00March 24th, 2021|Articles, General|
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