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In Focus: Dr. Matt Lewis

Editor’s Note: Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C, CFMP®, specializes in diagnosing and treating chronic and unexplained illnesses through proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, chiropractic, and other natural approaches to whole-health healing.

Dr. Lewis (left) and friends at high school graduation (1991 – Bayside High School, NY)

A Tampa, Fla.-based medical practitioner, Dr. Lewis began his career in medicine after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.; his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Life University in Marietta, Ga.; his CFMP® from Functional Medicine University in Greer, SC; and a certificate as a Digestive Health Specialist (DHS) through the Food Enzyme Institute in Madison, Wi.

We asked Dr. Lewis to fill us in on his career in healthcare thus far and to relate a little about his personal life.

Here’s what he had to say:

What was it that sparked your passion for resolving health issues and promoting wellness?

Dr. Lewis: My immediate family has a history of autoimmune conditions and diabetes, and my own lab tests demonstrated a genetic susceptibility to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid). With much study, I learned how to restore my own health and vigor to prevent the onset of these and other illnesses. Today I live an incredibly active life and have acquired a deeper understanding of health and wellness, which I offer my patients in Tampa.

When did you decide the traditional route for treating patients was not how you wanted to practice medicine?

Dr. Lewis: After graduating from Shenandoah University where I studied pre-med and biology, I spent the next two years working as an advanced behavioral therapist in NYC with children on the autism spectrum. During that time, I gained a good deal of insight into how the environment, diet, heavy metals, and overuse of childhood vaccinations were influencing the rise in autism spectrum disorders. This was one of the main reasons I chose a holistic route, even though I did not continue to treat autistic children for very long.

At what point did you acquire an interest in pursuing functional medicine as a specialty?

Dr. Lewis: As a Certified Digestive Health Specialist (CFMP®), I practiced Continue reading…

Seeing Through the Coconut Oil Smokescreen

Is coconut oil a silent killer? Is it a superfood? A cursory Internet search only reveals how entrenched the factions are on either side of this heated debate and serves as a smokescreen to cloud what we really know about the connection between nutrition and good health. So, is coconut oil a silent killer or a superfood? Maybe it is neither or both.

Challenging the Coconut Critics

As the critics of coconut oil point out, it certainly contains a lot of saturated fat. However, saturated fat is not necessarily bad for you. The anti-saturated-fat faction, such as the American Health Association, bases its argument on the premise that low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the blood and high levels of LDL (considered bad cholesterol) is a good predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, HDL and LDL are broad categories, each of which contains numerous subtypes, and those subtypes matter a great deal.

For example, LDL can be divided into two categories:

  • Small, high-density LDL particles, which really are bad, can get lodged in compromised arterial walls and cause blood clots. These small LDL particles are even more of a concern when the blood contains high levels of Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a), which inflames the blood and makes it sticky.
  • Large, low-density LDL particles are less likely to get lodged in the arterial walls, so they do not carry the same risk.

Likewise, HDL has different subtypes, some of which, such as HDL2, remove excess lipids more efficiently than others. What you want is high concentrations of HDL2 and low concentrations of small, high-density LDL particles.

So, yes, saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, but it raises it in a good way — increasing HDL and decreasing high-density LDL particles. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, have them tested, but make sure the tests are ones that break down the HDL and LDL into subtypes. HDL and LDL levels alone tell you very little.

The focus on saturated fat is a smokescreen that hides the real culprit — Continue reading…