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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.



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



By |2015-12-02T16:26:26-05:00November 30th, 2015|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|


By Dyvette Warren, PA-C

Edited by Mila McManus MD


Beginning in the womb, and throughout your life, your personal health and happiness, mental capabilities, and propensity for disease are heavily influenced by genetic as well as non-genetic factors, including DNA mutations, nutrition, exposure to microorganisms and toxins, stress, and other environmental conditions.

If you suffer with, or have a history of, migraines, depression, insomnia, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, chemical sensitivities, arthritis, pain, IBS(irritable bowel syndrome), heart disease, stroke, DVT(deep venous thrombosis, ie: blood clot), pulmonary embolism(blood clot in the lungs), side effects with hormones (e.g., birth control pills), miscarriages, autism, birth defects, failure to thrive, anemia, epilepsy, psychosis, ADD/ADHD, seizures, or take prescription medication, particularly those for cancer and autoimmune disorders, we highly recommend that you get tested for an MTHFR gene mutation. This is a piece of the healthcare puzzle that can be treated.

What does the MTHFR gene do?

MTHFR gene provides instruction for making an enzyme called methyl tetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme helps amino acids form proteins and influences detoxification efficiency and production of neurotransmitters. A mutated MTHFR gene produces defective enzymes that may perform only 20% – 70% as well as the non-mutated version, depending on the type of mutation.

You ability to effectively break down toxins and eliminate heavy metals, including copper, will be limited. High copper levels deplete zinc levels which can be related to ADHD, depression, headaches, acne, frequent colds, worsening thyroid function, sensitive skin, easy bruising, adrenal stress and more. High copper levels also make it difficult to raise iron levels. Supplementing with Vitamin C and Zinc can help to detoxify and reduce copper levels. Consult with your functional medicine specialist before starting supplements.

A high homocysteine level may develop with an MTHFR mutation, thereby increasing your risk for heart disease, blood clots, stroke, elevated blood pressure, dementia, psychosis, and seizures. A thorough history, along with MTHFR testing, is recommended if you have a high homocysteine level or a history of any of the above listed diseases.

With MTHFR mutation, homocysteine has a difficult time converting to glutathione, the body’s main detoxifier and antioxidant. This contributes to a buildup of toxins and heavy metals in the body.

Also with MTHFR mutation, your body will have reduced capability of converting the inactive forms of folate (folic acid) and B12(cobalamin) into active forms called methyl-folate and methyl-cobalamin.

The Journal of Molecular Psychiatry states that, “Schizophrenia-like syndromes, Bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia have all been associated with one or more of the mutations of the MTHFR gene”.

It is likely that MTHFR DNA variation may affect the response to many different medications that affect brain function. Long term use of methotrexate, for example, is associated with elevated homocysteine levels and methotrexate toxicity in patients with MTHFR mutation. We recommend knowing your MTHFR status prior to starting any type of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy neurotoxicity is highly associated with MTHFR mutation. Proper supplementation and future treatment options will need to be discussed with your functional medicine specialist and oncologist once your MTHFR status is known.


Although you can’t change this defective gene, you can help it do its job more effectively.

Repairing your digestive system, including optimizing your gut flora (ie blend of microbes in your gut), should be the first step in improving your health.

Methyl-cobalamin and methyl-folate are additional treatment which will be used by your body for detoxing. You may need to start with a low dose to avoid detox effects such as fatigue, muscle pain, headache, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, achiness, etc. Always consult with a functional medicine specialist prior to starting therapy. Click here to read about Active B-Complex by Prothera.

Avoid toxins, including those absorbed through the skin. Look at household cleaning supplies and wear gloves when using chemicals for cleaning. Check your lotions, soaps and deodorants. Use aluminum free deodorants, and use soaps and lotions with the fewest ingredients. We are now offering Pure & Simple Bar soap at our TWIHW facility and it’s just that! You can also visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ which is a database where you can discover what toxic chemicals are in your cosmetics, lotions, and sunscreen products.

Eat healthfully and organic when possible, avoid processed food, don’t smoke, and limit alcohol intake. These measures will help to decrease toxins in the body and will leave the methylation cycle free for other important functions.

There are more than 40 different MTHFR mutations that can be passed down from your mother and/or father. Only two of these are known to be particularly problematic: C677T and A1298C. You might also hear the words homozygous and heterozygous when discussing MTHFR mutations. Homozygous means that you inherited a mutation from your mother AND your father and, therefore, have both copies of the defective gene. Heterozygous means that you inherited the mutation from either your mother or your father and, therefore, have only one copy of the defective gene. If you already know that you have an MTHFR gene mutation, consider having your children’s status tested.

MTHFR testing is offered several ways at our facility (prices are subject to change):

  • Saliva test kit that you do yourself at home and mail into the lab. This test is $125 and tests for C677T and the A1298C mutations as well as for another mutation called COMT which is also associated with mood disorders and dementia.
  • Add-on test at Spectracell Laboratories when ordering a nutrient analysis. The add-on price is $40 and tests for C677T and A1298C.
  • MTHFR can also be ordered through Quest lab who will attempt to bill your insurance; however, we’ve found that many insurance companies will not cover the test and this would result in Quest billing you, the patient, ~$400.


BMS Neurology, Effect of MTHFR
US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health
Genetics Home Reference, Your Guide to Understanding Genetic Conditions
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
American Heart Association
Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
New England Journal of Medicine
Journal of Human Genetics
By |2017-03-01T17:36:12-05:00November 4th, 2015|Articles, General|

Defending the Borders, Part I

GI lining

GI lining

This month we are initiating a three-part series of newsletters dedicated to the overall defense strategy for Your Body Nation.  What do we mean by Your Body Nation?  Well, the human body can be compared to a nation in many ways.  A nation, according to the dictionary is a group of people in a land area under a single government.  Here in the nation called the United States, we all live and work within the same defined physical perimeters and we work together with the goal of prosperity, unity and happiness within our borders.  Our government’s duty, in good part, is to secure the borders and protect our people from harm.  Similarly, Your Body Nation is a large group of microbes and cells that live and work within the same borders.  It is safe to say your thoughts and plans emanating from your brain are the government.  So like a nation that builds a military force, then protects it from destruction and invasion, and maintains it when some of the force is lost or more force is needed, so too you must have a military/protective strategy for Your Body Nation for the long term so that you will be safe, healthy and functioning optimally. So do you have a clear defense strategy in place for Your Body Nation?  Our goal over the summer months is to help you develop a well-balanced and intentional strategy so that you can defend your borders well.

This month we will focus on how to build your own internal military force. What can you do to create a strong, formidable military force to protect Your Body Nation?   In July we will focus on ways to protect Your Body Nation from everything trying to cross your borders illegally and inflict damage on your military force. Finally in August, we will tie everything together with protective, proactive ways to maintain your health and be prepared for all the unknowns that life can bring. 

Defending The Borders (Part I)

Building A Strong Defense for Your Body Nation

Our regular readers and patients have heard this before, but it ALWAYS bears repeating that 80% of your total immune system is made up of a very large population of microflora in the gut which includes your small and large intestines and your colon.  The other 20% of your immune system is composed of white blood cells, many of which also reside in the gut as well as other mucosal linings throughout the body.  So it stands to reason that to build a strong fighting machine, you will need to start in the gut.   Your gut is the superhighway that carries all necessary resources into the body for delivery into the smaller artery and vein roadways that disperse nutrients all over the body. But what if the superhighway is not well maintained?  What if it is full of potholes, sinkholes and weeds overgrowing the asphalt?  What if your superhighway has been taken over by bad forces that are preventing valuable resources from even getting into Your Body Nation?

Optimizing gut health is fundamental to optimizing overall health.  Open to the outside world from the top of it (your mouth) and again at the bottom (your bottom!), this long tube is a perfect entrance for harmful things.  We certainly eat and drink plenty of microorganisms, chemicals and toxins everyday.  Your gut microflora provides the natural physical barrier of protection from harmful things.  This protective barrier secretes substances that kill harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses, as well as creates just enough acid to discourage the growth and prosperity of pathogenic microbes.  This beneficial microflora is also responsible for neutralizing toxic substances, chelating heavy metals and other poisons as well as inactivating carcinogenic substances.  And lastly, but also very important, our gut microflora digest some of our food and in turn feed the cells which make up the gut lining, keeping it healthy and able to complete the digestion of our food.

Without our gut microflora we are fully open to invasion from incoming harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses, carcinogens, toxins, poisons and heavy metals.  We are also unable to protect our gut lining from damage nor can we properly nourish our gut lining which then becomes inflamed thus leading to not only digestive issues but almost without fail, nutritional bankruptcy, health issues and disease.

Our first step in building a strong Body Nation is to build your military force. Starting with the digestive tract, the goal is to heal, restore and build a big, strong, well prepared military force.  This is best done using a formal, therapeutic diet with a three pronged approach: 1) destroy bad microbes 2) starve them by choosing foods that do not feed them and 3) replace favorable microflora.  With rare exception, everyone can benefit by a focused, gut restoration program because no matter how you feel, most of us are not at 100% in terms of our healthy microflora.  Because of stress, antibiotic use, steroid use, Splenda (aka sucralose), sugary and high carbohydrate diets and exposure to a toxic and electrical world, it is very difficult to maintain a healthy quantity of gut microflora unless you are fully aware of how to do it and you are intentional and organized about your strategy.

The second step in building a strong Body Nation is to provide the best tools and resources to the Body Nation to get the job done.  In this day and age, we know better than to send our military men and women to the battle front with clubs, bows and arrows.  The same is true for your Body Nation.  White blood cells, as well as all of the cells that make up your Body Nation, require very specific macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates) to be made and maintained as well as very specific micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients) to function optimally.  Good health cannot be achieved without a whole real food diet.  By eating food the way Nature provides it to us in an undamaged, unprocessed, un -“man”ufactured state, our Body Nation is able to find all of the necessary tools and resources to make, feed and maintain healthy cells which, in turn, do their assigned jobs well, whether that is to be a heart cell, a blood cell, a brain cell or a white blood cell.

Trying to get healthy?  Wanting to feel good? Trying to figure out where to start?  All disease begins in the gut.  Cleaning up the gut and the diet are the first two steps in defending the borders of Your Body Nation.


Click here to test yourself (questionnaire) for abnormal microflora.

Next month we will talk about how you can actively work to protect Your Body Nation from external forces and destruction of your newly established military force.

By |2014-05-31T10:34:09-05:00May 31st, 2014|Articles, General|