Protect, Prevent, Prevail

By Mila McManus, MD

One of the most interesting questions that medical personnel are asking during this viral event is “Why do some people get the infection and never have symptoms while others get critically ill or die from it?”  One clear pattern continues to surface: those with compromised immune health and multiple health issues have been at greatest risk for poor outcomes.

Now, more than ever before, we see the value of taking care of our health so that we are able to mount a protective response to external threats such as viruses, parasites, bacteria, and toxicants.  Reflected in the reports regarding fatalities from the Coronavirus is the clear message that those who were, and continue to be at greatest risk, are those who suffer from chronic disease, such as obesity, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, cardio-vascular disease, and otherwise compromised immune systems. Overall health matters more than ever in these uncertain times. While we cannot control what’s in the environment, we have at least some control over our body’s ability to cope with environmental assaults.

Protect: First line minimum considerations for good health include a number of foundational lifestyle choices.  Because our food, even at its best, does not offer all of the nutrition we need, supplementing with a multi vitamin and a probiotic is first line for everyone. A healthy diet is important, and first and foremost, eliminating sugar is critical, as sugar suppresses immune function.  Stress also suppresses immune function. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and removing unnecessary stressors are important for good immune and overall health. Quality and quantity of sleep is also foundational since it’s when we sleep that the body performs major maintenance, healing, detoxification, and resetting. And finally, washing hands frequently, and keeping them off your face, remains tried and true.

Prevent and Prevail: The minimum, however, may not be quite enough.  Especially if you are already compromised, have more exposures (healthcare workers, teachers, frequent travelers)  and/or simply want to be more vigilant (and we recommend that!), there is more you can do.  Combinations of the following are also excellent protections to build immunity and prevent infection.

  • Choose to regularly visit a wellness physician (aka functional medicine specialist) to prevent illness and address issues at the root cause. (We appreciate your referrals to The Woodlands Institute for Health & Wellness!)
  • Improve nutrition, sticking to whole, real food that stabilizes blood sugar.
  • Take care of your mental health, manage stress and deal with emotional baggage.
  • ONDAMED Energy Therapy and InfraRed Saunas are excellent immune defense therapies.
  • Essential OilsOnGuard, Tea Tree (Melaleuca), and Eucalyptus are just three good air and hand sanitizers, can be diffused, used on dryer balls and in cleaning solutions.
  • Additional Supplements
    • Immune Strengthening: Wholemune, Viracid, Transfer Factor Multi-Immune
    • Vitamin C – oral and Mega Dose IV therapy
    • Zinc – 25mg daily (twice daily for 2 weeks with acute exposure or if ill)
    • Vitamin D – at least 2000iu daily. If potential viral exposure, then 25,000iu daily for 3 days.
    • Silver Biotic – oral liquid and topical gel. Excellent hand sanitizer and a natural anti-microbial.
    • L-lysine – 1000mg twice a day
    • Quercetin Bromelain Forte -Combination of quercetin, bromelain and vitamin C. Immune boosting and antiviral properties, as well as antihistamine properties. 
    • Protease – work up to 1 capsule 3 X a day between meals (2 hours away from food). This can cause upset stomach or diarrhea, so start with 1 capsule and increase daily as tolerated.  If you take any blood thinners, consult with your doctor, or pick other options listed here.

If you or someone you know needs help getting well and staying well, visit The Woodlands Institute for Health & Wellness so that next time a virus floats through town (and it will), you will be ready to protect, prevent and prevail!

By |2020-05-01T06:13:41-05:00May 1st, 2020|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General|

Keys to Successful Weight Loss

By Mila McManus M.D.

The three most common excuses given for the inability to lose weight are thyroid malfunction, eating too many calories, and inadequate exercise. Everyone knows that.  Right? Not so fast.  In fact, we wish we had a nickel for every time someone has said, “No matter what I do, what I eat, how much I exercise, I can’t lose weight!”.  Truth be told, there are many variables that can prevent weight loss even when it seems like the diet and exercise are more than adequate. Our stressful and toxic world contributes more than you might realize, along with important lifestyle habits. There may also be other physiological reasons. For most people, there are several variables at play. Here is a list of considerations when you are at your weight loss wit’s end.

 

  • Inflammation affects metabolism. Inflammation stems from various factors, but one, in particular, is a food sensitivity.  You may not realize, for instance, the eggs, almonds, or wheat in your diet are sabotaging your efforts because of an underlying food sensitivity.  Another source of inflammation is alcohol. (Of course, the calories from alcohol don’t help either.)

 

  • Poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation cause an increase in ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, as well as cause a decrease in leptin, a hormone that tells you when to stop eating.

 

  • Thyroid function may be low despite normal lab results.  Test yourself here for low thyroid symptoms. Your thyroid ratios may be suboptimal because your body can’t adequately convert inactive thyroid (T4) to active thyroid (T3) due to vitamin deficiencies, stress, poor gut health, or heavy metals. In addition, infection and inflammation increase Reverse T3 (RT3) which blocks thyroid function at the cellular level.

 

  • Guessing at caloric needs and exercise needs without knowing your own biological, physiological needs can sabotage your efforts. Consider having a metabolic test to determine your accurate resting metabolic rate, caloric needs for weight loss and for weight maintenance. It is easy and affordable. Ask for a Metacheck appointment.

 

  • Trying to exercise your way to weight loss is pretty fruitless when not examining your diet. Dietary adjustments will be a much faster route to weight loss compared to trying to overcompensate with exercise.

 

  • Doing the wrong types of exercise is a recipe for long term disaster. Muscle mass contributes greatly to your metabolic rate.  If you are trying to jog off your behind and belly fat, you may find that strength training to increase muscle mass is more effective at burning calories, toning every area of the body, and getting faster results.

 

  • Hormonal Imbalances for both men and women can greatly impact the ability to lose weight. For example, imbalances of sex hormones (e.g., testosterone, estrogen, progesterone) can impact thyroid function which, in turn, affects metabolism. Have you heard of estrogen dominance?  Men can struggle with this as well if testosterone is declining while exposure to estrogenic plastics, chemicals, or soy causes increased estrogen levels.

 

  • Poor gut health (even with absence of any obvious gastrointestinal symptoms) caused by medications, poor diet, antibiotics, and artificial sweeteners, to name a few, will often affect weight.  Good gut health is mission-critical for weight loss.

 

  •  Lectins, which are in many healthy foods, can cause weight gain and inhibit weight loss. Read about lectins here, and read about which foods contain the most lectins here.

 

  • Nutritional deficiencies affect metabolism. Are you deficient in iodine, selenium, vitamin D, or iron perhaps? Deficiencies here will affect your thyroid function.

 

  • Medications can affect your metabolism, including birth control pills, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. Even Zyrtec and Allegra, common allergy medications, can cause weight gain.

 

  • Toxins may be sabotaging your efforts, too. Today, our toxin exposure is significantly higher than it was just fifty years ago.  Additionally, some of us don’t eliminate toxins as well as others do.   A good detox program may be helpful!  Read our article on toxin testing and search our site for detox recipes that will help you get rid of harmful toxins.  PEMF Therapy and IR Sauna are two additional detoxifying options available at our office.

 

  • Inadequate hydration can slow your metabolism.

 

  • Unaddressed emotional trauma can affect eating habits and have neurohormonal effects that contribute to weight gain.

 

  • Emotional eating habits are a common problem, such as binge eating chips or cookies when sad or stressed, or celebrating good times with cake and champagne.

 

  • Not eating enough calories can be disastrous on your metabolism.  Starving yourself, or eating a normal number of calories, and then following with excessive exercise or exertion, can cause reduced muscle mass and, therefore, slowing of metabolic rate.

 

  • Eating too late at night can affect weight, mainly because studies show that late eaters tend to make poorer food choices and eat more calories.

 

  • Eating too quickly will tend to cause you to eat more calories because you’re shoveling in more food during the interval between intake of food and getting the signal from your brain that you are full.

 

  • Excessive fruit intake can affect weight because the sugar in fruit, fructose, more easily stores as fat than other types of carbs.

 

  • Stress-yes, stress. Its effects are evil in every way.

 

Ready to do something about it?  Here are ways to get started:

  1. Read Highway to Health, A Nutritional Roadmap, by Mila McManus MD, available in our office and on Amazon. This book includes everything you need to know about nutrition and lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight. The 2nd edition was published in December 2019.
  2. Call 281-298-6742 to learn how we can help you start losing weight today!
  3. Use our website to find healthy recipes that are sure to spice up your taste buds and make you feel better.
  4. Follow the links in this article to test yourself and learn more.
  5. Join us on March 19 at 5:30 pm for Wellness Night Out where Dr. McManus will discuss the challenges of weight loss. Healthy snacks will be served. 

References:

The Plant Paradox by Dr Gundry

medicalnewstoday.com

epocrates.com

Why Isn’t my Brain Working? by Dr. Kharrazian

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James Wilson

By |2020-03-03T12:24:23-06:00March 5th, 2020|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General, Recommended Reading|

Toxin Blocks and Tackles

It is football season, so as I watch the players on the field blocking and tackling I cannot help but think about how that should be our attitude toward our toxic world. We need to block our exposure to as many toxins as possible and then tackle those that have already gained entrance to our body.

Fortunately, our body does have natural detoxification pathways which, when supported nutritionally and with supplements, are designed to detoxify routinely. In fact, every time you exhale, every time you sweat or use the bathroom or blow your nose, you are witnessing your body busy at the work with waste elimination. Yeah, I know, cleaning is never a pretty topic! Some chemicals have a very short half-life and are out of the body within 24 hours, while others hang around in your body for several decades!

So what are specifics? Where should you start? Well, let’s get the game started, kick off with some ways to Block, and then some ways to Tackle!

Block – Avoiding Toxins 

Buy Organic – A USDA certification ensures that produce or any ingredient has been grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.¹ While it would be optimal to eat organic 100% of the time, this may not be realistic for most or affordable for many, but any effort you can make to increase organic choices and avoid the most toxic (e.g., an apple) is a good step toward blocking incoming toxins and supporting the body’s natural detoxification process. A good resource is www.ewg.org to determine, for example, which fruits and vegetables are most commonly genetically modified and heavily covered in pesticides and which are not so you can make wise choices.

Avoid Plastics – avoid foods and beverages packaged in plastic, especially if you plan to heat them in the package. This especially applies to drinks, including water packaged in plastic as well as plastic storage and lunch type containers used to reheat food.  Most plastics made in America are made from natural gas²and are a source of many chemicals known as endocrine disrupters, substances which when taken into our body alter normal hormonal function. Every time these plastics are heated, whether in a hot car or in a microwave, they release more of the toxic chemicals. Better options include glass, ceramic dishware with lead-free glaze, stainless steel, cast iron, and food-grade silicone, all of which do not leach chemicals into your food. ³

Choose Body and Household products carefully –from toothpaste to deodorant, and household cleaners to laundry detergent, make every effort to choose clean products free of parabens, phthalates, perchloroethylene (PERC), triclosan, quarternary ammonium compounds (Quats), 2-Butoxyethanol, ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, triclocarban, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid, retinol, retinyl palmitate, aerosol sprays, SPF above 50, Oxybenzone, added insect repellant, permanent hair dyes, formaldehyde, formalin toluene, dibutyl phthalate, petroleum distillates, fragrance, BHA, boric acid, sodium borate, PEG’s, polyethylene compounds, diethyl phthalate, coal tar, hydroquinone, lead, and toluene⁴,⁵. For a more complete list, see www.ewg.orgor shop in a health food store, or online with a reputable health oriented site. Our staff would be happy to offer name brands, stores, and website suggestions.

Filter Water – unfortunately, every year a surprising number of contaminants are found in our water supply. Many bottled and alkalized waters are tap water. There can be toxic chemical disinfection byproducts from the chlorine in water, as well as many pesticides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals found in the water supply. It is very important to choose a quality filtering system for the water you drink and if possible for the entire household for cleaning and bathing. Two good sources for information to consider when choosing filters can be found at www.mercola.com, or www.greenamerica.org.

Tackle – Helping Your Body Detoxify

Eat Real Whole Food, especially your Vegetables! -While the fats and proteins we eat help to create our cellular structure and build and repair the human body, carbohydrates, namely our plant foods are purposed to clean and detoxify the human body. Green vegetables (wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, chlorella, chard, arugula etc.), green teas, herbs, seaweed, fruits in general, lemons, oranges and limes, garlic, broccoli sprouts, mung beans, seeds, nuts and omega 3 oils from hemp, avocado, and olive oil all serve as natural detoxifiers, helping to provide antioxidants and water as well as stimulating production of enzymatic activity in the digestive tract. We are designed and wired for plant and animal food, not chemically laden, preserved and processed food product.

A Note on Two Specific Foods from Dr. McManus:

SALMON: It’s very important to distinguish the different species of salmon because Pacific (Alaskan) salmon is acceptable, whereas Atlantic (farmed) salmon is ONE OF THE MOST TOXIC FOODS YOU CAN EAT! Atlantic salmon is hearty and, therefore, easily farmed. Pacific salmon, however, is a different genus with 3 different species known as king salmon (aka Chinook), silver salmon (aka coho), and red salmon (aka sock-eye). The great majority of salmon at markets and restaurants is farmed Atlantic salmon. This is HIGHLY toxic due to the salmon being fed pesticide-laden grains. Don’t be fooled by fancy names.   “Scottish Salmon” may be Atlantic salmon farmed in Scotland. “Norwegian Salmon” may be Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway.

BUTTER: Butter is ubiquitous in the diet, so I felt that this is another food to be addressed. Toxins are stored in fat cells. Butter is cow fat extracted from the cows’ milk. When you eat butter, you are eating a heavy load of toxins (e.g. pesticides sprayed on the grains they are fed). The only butter that’s fit for human consumption, in my opinion, is butter, preferably organic, that’s made from grass fed cattle. You can find this at most grocery stores. A decent brand is KerryGold. Other available brands in this area (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s) or online include Organic Valley Pastured Butter, Kalona Super Natural Organic Butter, Anchor Pure New Zealand Butter, or Purity Farms Organic Ghee.

Promote and Support your Detoxification Pathways- using exercise, massage, and infra-red sauna, as well as proper hydration serves to promote sweating, elimination and mucus formation. It is important that whatever detoxification efforts are made, it is best to start with cleaning up the diet, water, living environment and avoiding toxins. When you are ill is not the best time to try a detoxification program.

For more assistance with choosing cleansing foods, juicing, and detoxification programs, call or office to schedule an appointment to design a clean diet and program that is right for you. Also see our Supplement of the Month (PaleoCleanse) for some specific detoxification programs designed to meet your needs.

¹www.organic.org/home/faq

²http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=34&t=6

³ http://mightynest.com/learn/getting-started/healthy-living-guides/12-ways-to-avoid-toxins-in-the-kitchen

https://experiencelife.com/article/8-hidden-toxins-whats-lurking-in-your-cleaning-products/

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/top-tips-for-safer-products/

By |2015-12-02T16:26:26-06:00November 30th, 2015|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “I can’t lose weight despite diet and extreme exercise,” I would be a gazillionnaire. Issues with weight gain can be quite complex and everyone has a different opinion about what a healthy diet looks like.  There are many reasons why you potentially can’t lose weight despite exercise.  You may understand the concept of portion control and benefits of exercise, but did you know this:

  • Inflammation affects metabolism. Inflammation stems from various factors, but one in particular is a food sensitivity. You may not realize that, for instance, the eggs or wheat in your diet is sabotaging you because of an underlying food sensitivity. Another source of inflammation is alcohol. (Of course, the calories from alcohol don’t help either).
  • Nutritional deficiencies affect metabolism. Are you deficient in iodine, selenium, omega 3s or iron perhaps?
  • Muscle mass helps to dictate metabolism. Are you working on increasing muscle mass and not simply trying to jog off your behind and belly fat?
  • Results will be much quicker by working on your diet, rather than trying to overcompensate with exercise.
  • Your thyroid function may be low despite normal lab results. Test yourself for low thyroid symptoms.
  • Hormonal imbalances indirectly affect thyroid function, which in turn affects metabolism. Have you heard of estrogen dominance?
  • Medications can affect your metabolism such as birth control pills, antidepressants and beta blockers.
  • Toxins may be sabotaging your efforts. We are all constantly exposed, but some more than others. Plus, some of us don’t eliminate toxins as quickly. A good detox may be helpful! Read our article on how to detox your body and search our site for detox recipes that will help you get rid of harmful toxins.

Call 281-298-6742 today to learn how we can help you start losing weight today! We also invite you to try our healthy diet recipes that are sure to spice up your taste buds AND help you feel better. The Woodlands Institute also offers an amazing nutrition program under the leadership of amazing nutrition consultants.

 

 

 

By |2018-05-21T13:52:06-05:00June 3rd, 2014|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General|

Overcoming Depression Testimonial

Overcoming Depression Testimonial

by Mila McManus MD

As I was my first wellness patient, and depression was one of my many issues, I thought it would be appropriate to share my story this month since this newsletter focuses on depression.

I remember feeling depressed when I was in high school, but seemed mostly situational. College years were good, but developed anxiety. Two yrs into medical school, life was rough. I was exhausted and emotional and anxious all the time. I started on antidepressants and boy did it help a lot.  I went from a lot of emotion to NO emotion. It helped anxiety as well.  I craved carbs terribly and continued to have issues with insomnia which I first noticed in my early teens.  I also had issues with terrible allergies, constipation, headaches, PMS, reflux, high blood pressure, unexplained 80 lb weight gain over a 5 year period, and eczema, just to name a few.

OK, so in retrospect, I had severe adrenal fatigue, low thyroid function, I was riddled with yeast, and was nutritionally bankrupt.  Keep in mind that my labs were ALWAYS perfectly normal (so it had to be all in my head, right?). Over the years I tried several times to wean my antidepressant to no avail.  Of course now I know that it’s because I wasn’t addressing the underlying causes of my depression and anxiety in the first place.  Skip ahead to my first year in private practice as a family physician.  I’ve now accumulated 12 prescription medications and I’m 30 years old, going on 90. I lived on diet soda and fast food. Nobody taught me in medical school that it wasn’t healthy to eat that way.  Seriously!

Thank Goodness I found wellness, which is everything we doctors don’t learn in medical school.  I was able to discover that the underlying causes of my depression and anxiety were due to nutritional deficiencies, abnormal gut flora, hormonal imbalance, and having toxic overload. Within 2 weeks of starting bio-identical hormones, changing my diet, and taking a handful of vitamins, I was well on my way to shedding all 12 of my medications.  It did take about 6 months, but my antidepressant was the first to go.

I often wonder where I would be today, almost 11 years later, if I had not found wellness.  My story is unfortunately a very common one, and I hope reading this story gives you hope.  I feel so blessed every day that I get to pay it forward by helping other people overcome what ails them!

By |2014-10-20T12:50:10-05:00May 2nd, 2014|Ask Dr McManus, General, Testimonials|

Elimination Diet

by Mila McManus MD

Hit your factory reset button with the elimination diet!  Dr. Mark Hyman was interviewed on the Today show this morning discussing this very thing.  We’ve been recommending the elimination diet to our patients for over 10 years now. It’s comical how behind the times the media can be regarding health issues.  An elimination diet is simply taking certain foods out of your diet to see if particular health issues improve.  Perhaps you have “FLC” disorder, quoted by Dr. Mark Hyman this morning, which stands for “feel like crap”.  Or perhaps you have an autoimmune disease or a skin disorder or joint pain or brain fog or depression or anxiety, all of which may improve with eliminating certain foods from your diet.  The most common culinary culprits causing your symptoms include gluten (wheat products), dairy, eggs, soy, and sugar.  I know this sounds scary, but you really can be very satisfied with what you still have to work with, such as fruit, vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and so on.  Call 281-298-6742281-298-6742 today to get help with whatever ails you.

 

 

 

 

By |2014-04-18T08:42:34-05:00April 18th, 2014|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General|

QUESTION: How do you know if you are toxic?

QUESTION: How do you know if you are toxic?


Answer: If you eat or breathe, you are exposed to toxins. The key is avoidance (see article in this newsletter) and finding ways to continually detoxify, such as with infrared saunas, supplements that support the detoxification pathways of the liver (e.g. lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, milk thistle), drinking green tea, and eating plenty of organic green vegetables.

By |2012-12-11T16:12:13-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question: When on birth control pills, my period is nonstop for 3-4 months, with 2 weeks in between. Does this mean I won’t be able to conceive?

Question: When on birth control pills, my period is nonstop for 3-4 months, with 2 weeks in between. Does this mean I won't be able to conceive?


Answer:You should not be bleeding while on birth control pills. You should see your doctor for a change in medications, blood work (e.g. to make sure you aren’t anemic, check thyroid levels, etc). , and possibly an ultrasound to see if there’s another reason you are bleeding (e.g. uterine fibroid). When ready, if periods are normal once off the pills, you should be able to conceive. Having said that, I am not a fan of birth control pills because they are synthetic hormones with many side effects, and they cause imbalance of other hormones.

By |2012-10-11T09:57:13-05:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question : How do I know if I have an allergy to wheat?

Question : How do I know if I have an allergy to wheat?


ANSWER:There are different ways to test for food allergies. A true food allergy is an IgE response which is done by skin testing or blood (blood tests for IgE reactions aren’t very accurate in my opinion). There are also IgG tests that are blood tests which can be very revealing. These reactions are considered food sensitivities or intolerances rather than true allergy.Food sensitivities can cause a myriad of different symptoms ranging from mood disorders to skin rashes to joint pain, migraines, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal symptoms (just to name a few!). An easy test would be to eliminate it from your diet for a few weeks and take note of improvement in any symptoms you may be experiencing. Feel free to call our office and speak to a wellness consultant for more information.

By |2012-11-05T07:14:00-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question : I have insufficient bowel movements. Help!

Question : I have insufficient bowel movements. Help!


Answer: Constipation can be caused from poor dietary habits, an undiagnosed or poorly treated thyroid problem, side effects from prescription meds (e.g. pain killers, calcium channel blockers), and/or from food allergy/sensitivity (e.g. wheat/gluten), just to name a few. You can try taking fiber and drinking more fluids, but treating the underlying cause of the problem is better, such as addressing the above mentioned. Magnesium is a great natural laxative, but should be taken under the care of a health care provider, especially if you have kidney disease.

By |2012-11-05T07:14:11-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|
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