Gut Health and Immunity

You may think of your GUT as where your food goes when you ingest it. And that’s it. But it is so much more than that. Your “GUT” or gastrointestinal tract, is comprised of your mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon and rectum.

Did you know that your GUT is your Second Brain? You might know your that the central nervous system (CNS) brain and spinal cord, is one part, and the counter part is the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which contains the parasympathetic, sympathetic and ENTERIC (gut) divisions and controls involuntary actions such as breathing, sleeping , healing, digesting, etc. What you may not realize is that your amazing digestive system houses 70-80% of your immune system, depending on where you look. It also uses the same neurotransmitters as the brain. For example, 95% of the serotonin (the “happiness chemical”) is made in your gut. If you have digestive problems, it makes sense that you may also have depression, irregular sleep, mood swings, anxiety, or lack of well-being.

Now, how is your immune system linked to your digestive system? Through GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue). The gut immune cells line the small intestine and large intestine and include the largest concentration of immune cells found in your body. This huge immune organ is dependent on a delicate balance of bacteria that colonizes the gut (called your microbiome). How can this be compromised? With antibiotic use, exposure to toxic chemicals, undigested proteins, stress, too little sleep, consumption of highly processed and high- sugar foods, alcohol, and pesticides.

The effects of compromised gut health are autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, rhumatoid arthritis, Hashimotos thyroiditis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn and bloating, sugar cravings, skin conditions, allergies, sluggishness, insomia, and much more.

As you can see , your gut plays a major role, not only in gastrointestinal health, but in the health and well-being of the entire body. How can you support a healthy gut and therefore support your IMMUNE SYSTEM?

  • eat fresh, local and seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • eat healthy fats (see for recipes)
  • manage your stress with relaxation techniques that work for you
  • go to bed before 11:00 PM
  • eat slowly, and be conscientious about it (no standing or eating in the car)
  • avoid additives and chemicals in food (read labels – if you cannot understand them, don’t eat it)
  • drink lots of purified water
  • don’t drink more than 4 oz. of water with food as you will dilute your enzymes needed to break down your food
  • don’t mask symptoms with over the counter medications such as Zantac, Tums, etc.
  • avoid plastics such as water bottles and food storage containers
  • stop using artificial chemicals for cleaning , teflon pans and air fresheners
  • avoid stomach damaging products such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), aspirin and tylenol
  • FIND WAYS TO BE HAPPY – smile, laugh, hug, go outside in nature, get a pet!
  • Get PROBIOTICS into your diet :

For more information , please contact our website at http://facebook,com/achievewellness


Dr. MaryAnn


Formula for Health – Dr. MaryAnn’s Health Hacks

Where does health come from? I can tell you right away it does NOT come from your doctor, medication or your insurance company. Being healthy does not require more lab tests, diagnostic tests or more supplements. I spend lots of time in my practice educating my patients (doctor means “teacher”). Here is my message to you: Your HEALTH is YOUR responsibility. Many Americans are conditioned to taking a pill to remedy a symptom, an illness, a disease or condition. If you are already in poor health or require emergency care, it certainly IS a good thing to have an option and solutions at hand. A drug or surgery can certainly help save your life. But keep in mind that pharmaceutical companies and the diet and food industries are not in the market to equip you to be healthy….they are in the market to make a profit. The health care industry is not based on health at all: it is based on SICK CARE.

To be healthy, you must take control of your own health. It begins with understanding that your body was designed to heal, given the right conditions. Then you must create new habits, stay focused and be consistent. What are the basics to human health?

  1. Pure Water : Filter municipal water sources for fluoride, chlorine , pharmaceuticals, and other chemicals. Well water should be assessed for pathogens and agricultural waste.
  2. Pure Air: Check your air filters and have your ducts cleaned. Avoid second hand smoke, car exhaust, mold exposure, air fresheners, aerosols of any kind. Be outdoors to breathe in fresh air for more than half hour a day.
  3. Pure Food: Are you consuming REAL food? Avoid overly- processed foods with low nutritional value. Choose FRESH, LOCAL, and SEASONAL produce. Not all produce has to be organic. (Look up Environmental Working Group’s website for the dirty dozen and clean fifteen). Purchase non-GMO foods when possible. Eat meats from sources you trust without added hormones and antibiotics.
  4. Make your own cleaning products- you can find formulas online.
  5. Avoid cooking with Teflon-coated pans. I recommend ceramic, stainless steel or cast iron.
  6. Avoid plastic containers for storing or heating foods, drinking beverages.
  7. Avoid underwire bras.
  8. Avoid over- the- counter medications, or prolonged medication use for pain conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders. Medications treat symptoms and do not cure you.
  9. Avoid commercial oils such as vegetable oils which are presumed to be “healthy”. Use these healthy oils and fats instead: avocado, coconut, lard (yes), butter, ghee, olive oils. Some nut oils are OK but they should be refrigerated because they easily become rancid.
  10. Do not eat on the run or in a hurry- You will overeat and take in more air with each bite which can lead to indigestion.
  11. Find a way to de-stress and make it a habit to avoid people and circumstances which drain your energy.
  12. Focus on getting good quality sleep: (20 % delta waves). I like the OURA ring to monitor sleep.
  13. Avoid excessive Electromagnetic Frequency Radiation exposure such as cell phone use (put on airplane mode when sleeping or not using), computers, wi-fi, etc.

For more information or to determine the ROOT CAUSE of your illness, consider an evaluation using Nutrition Response Testing.

May you be well,

Dr. MaryAnn

Stress, Anxiety and The Inflammation Connection

      Can we all agree we have experienced some degree of stress, anxiety, even depression in the last 6 months? Stress and anxiety can present in many ways. Anxiety can even present as excessive fear and can result in functional disturbances in the body. One of these manifestations is INFLAMMATION. It can present as joint pain, fatigue, brain fog or digestive upset. When you are in a continual stressed or anxious state of mind , the response in the body is to become sympathetic dominant. What that means is that you are in a constant fight or flight response and unable to relax because the body thinks it is in some kind of danger. Many people find sleep is profoundly affected as well as mood, eating habits and eventually overall health. The worst thing about losing sleep on a regular basis is that it keeps your body from healing like it should. You then become unproductive and the cycle continues.

       Chronic stress leads to CORTISOL surges. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, produced in the adrenal glands and regulates many bodily functions, including blood sugar metabolism,  your brain’s use of glucose for energy and increasing the availability of substances that repair tissues. When cortisol remains high, however, because of a chronic stress response, here’s what happens:

Androgen (male sex hormones) reduction, increase in cardio-metabolic risk factors (such as heart attack or stroke), joint pain, sleep deprivation, emotional eating, irritability, weight-loss resistance,  and among other things, disruption in gut health which we know leads to over-activity of the immune system, contributing to autoimmune disease, more inflammation and leaky gut. Then the immune system is eventually suppressed. This leaves you open to overgrowth of yeast or bacteria, which can lead to candida overgrowth or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) which causes more leaky gut, more inflammation and you see this vicious cycle evolving.

This cascade contributes to chronic disease and ill health. In order to properly  address any of these effects, it’s important to assess your state of health. Some of the ways we recommend are with a simple saliva test called the Adrenal Salivary Index (ASI) or lab tests for inflammatory markers such as Ferritin, hsCRP and Homocysteine.

Here are some of the best (safe and effective) ways to handle stress:

  1. Exercise – it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you love it and do it consistently
  2. Deep Breathing – there are many different techniques available to you online
  3. Yoga or Meditation
  4. Essential oils such as Lavender, Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Jasmine, Bergamot, Melissa can be diffused in water or added to a carrier oil and applied to your skin
  5. Reach out to a friend
  6. Keep a Journal
  7. Enjoy your pet
  8. Avoid sugary and fried foods- even though they may seem to comfort you temporarily, they will eventually make you feel sick

If you need help in your quest for health, especially during these difficult times, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us though our website:

Be Well!

Dr. MaryAnn Ley

Joint Pain: Myths and Truths

If you are over 50, chances are you may be suffering from some type of joint pain. In fact, 50 million American adults have inflammatory arthritis, a degenerative joint condition leading to joint stiffness in the morning, pain with exercise,  loss of range of motion,  and inability to perform activities of daily living –  getting dressed , brushing hair, etc. without discomfort.  Or you may find you have a difficult time getting on the floor to play with your kids or grand-kids, to garden or do simple chores.

You may have been told that it’s due to OLD AGE, and that’s how it goes. But why is it that some people enjoy exercising and other activities well into their senior years without PAIN? A very small percent has to do with genetics, but what is really true is that your LIFESTYLE dictates how you age, in that what you do throughout your life does matter. People can live well into their 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s enjoying physical activity and strength – sometimes even more than some in their 40’s.

As you age, your body produces less Collagen, Hyaluronic acid and Hydrochloric acid.  How do these affect your joints? Collagen is an abundant animal protein essential to promoting adequate hair, skin, nails, cartilage and bone growth.  Hyaluronic acid is lubricating fluid made by the body and is found in highest concentration in eyes and joints.  Hydrochloric (HCL) acid is made by the parietal cells in the stomach and helps with proper digestion and breakdown of proteins. If you don’t have enough of each of these, your health will deteriorate.

People with inflammatory arthritis have higher rates of abdominal pain, trouble swallowing and nausea.  The connection between digestion and joint pain is inflammation triggered by changes in stomach acid.  How do you  promote healthy gut function so you can reduce joint pain? Diet. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as  GMO- grains, commercial vegetable oils, fried foods, pesticides, excess alcohol, artificial sweeteners, sugary foods.

Other lifestyle changes that can affect your joints and help reduce pain are:

  • STOP smoking
  • maintain a decent WEIGHT as obesity adds undo stress to joints
  • avoid NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) and steroids as these medications reduce compounds called prostaglandins, which protect the lining of the stomach. When the lining of the stomach is exposed to stomach acid, irritation or ulcers can develop. The answer is NOT taking an antacid medication.
  • Move more- this may seem antithetical but in fact, joints need movement to get blood flow to them
  • Watch your POSTURE- avoid the wallet in the back pocket, sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees, don’t slouch
  • Take vitamin D3 and calcium -rich foods such as leafy and dark green vegetables and organic, grass-fed whole dairy products
  • Use natural “rubs’ and topical analgesics with Arnica, CBD oil, Camphor, Peppermint essential oil
  • Take Digestive Enzymes
  • Do exercises that engage your lower abs, posterior chain muscles (back)
  • Visit  your chiropractor for evaluation and hip/low back and spine supportive care




Supporting your Immune System – THIS is how you prevent CORONAVIRUS and ANY other Disease

“All Disease Begins in the GUT” – Hippocrates, father or modern Medicine

Social Distancing, Stay Home, Wash Hands, Be Safe, Wear Masks, Wear Gloves, 6 Feet, Lockdown,  is what we’ve been inundated with from the News Media over the past 30 days. Leading to Hysteria and FEAR! 

I am frustrated by what I am NOT hearing from the mainstream media – That your susceptibility to getting this CoViD-19 is all about your IMMUNE HEALTH, or lack thereof. The virus is a strange one, yes, and regardless of where it came from, your defense is your immune system. Listen- viruses, yeasts, parasites, bacteria all live among us. Viruses don’t attack us and kill us – your OVERACTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM does. Your body is constantly trying to be in HOMEOSTASIS, or balance. Our immune system is a complex system which includes natural immunity, adaptive immunity, virome, lung and gut microbiome, and some genetics. You are exposed to microbes ALL the time. So what actually happens when you get sick with Coronavirus, or any other disease? Your compromised system goes into overdrive and signals for help from natural defense mechanisms like T helper cells and macrophages and starts a cytokine storm which then renders you compromised. This is a severe inflammatory response.

If you have arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Lupus, etc, you already have a breakdown  of your immune system because it is overloaded. It can’t do it’s job. It is a lifestyle-driven problem. Sure, I believe many folks do the right thing, and still have problems. But this doesn’t happen overnight. The Standard American diet contributes, of course, but so do some other mechanisms we must FIGHT to eliminate from our environment such as dioxins, GMO-foods, Aluminum and Mercury (two of the most toxic elements in nature), excessive Radiofrequencies….

What contributes to a compromised immune system ? Remember – ALL DISEASE STARTS IN THE GUT – according to Alessio Fassano, MD, it’s the “LEAKY” GUT. This is gut permeability or dysbiosis, and involves the gut- brain barrier, lung tissue, oral mucosa, lymphoid tissue in the lining of your gut which is where up to 80% of your IMMUNE SYSTEM lies. Does it make sense to to try to maintain a healthy gut? Absolutely! It’s a bit late if you already have the virus – by the way, 90% of us are healthy enough to fight this off.

What makes you unhealthy and compromises your gut?

Antibiotic use, processed food, medications including antacids, polyunsaturated genetically modified commercial vegetable oils, smoking, artificial sweeteners, SUGARS (including simple carbohydrates), low-fat commercially- processed dairy, environmental toxins, heavy metals from vaccines, pesticide use, GLYPHOSATE on our crops, which destroys our gut microbiome, fluoridation in water, Electromagnetic/Radio frequencies, stress, and more.

Being healthy so your body works for you is about PREVENTION! How do you get health and stay healthy?

Sleep well, reduce STRESS, drink pure water (no, bottled water isn’t better), breathe clean air, eat REAL FOOD, including full fat clean dairy, meat from grass-fed animals, organic produce. Supplement with:

  1. Vitamin D3 with K2 healthy fat. (most people in Northern Hemisphere are deficient). According to Dr Shiva Ayudarai , take 10,000 iu for a few days or weeks and then cut back to 5,000iu/day. Vitamin D is a powerful immune modulator and very protective . It’s a pre-hormone activated by exposure to sun. SO get some SUN – 20 minutes every day, most of your body, without sunscreen. Avoid burning.  Get your levels checked with a simple blood test. I can tell you more- ask your doctor, nutritionist or order online. It works synergistically with Vitamin A.

2. Vitamin A- it is cell-protective and forms a barrier against viruses, especially in lung tissue.  It has a broad range of biological effects by affecting gene expression.  Deficiency leads to insulin resistance, reduced energy production,  faulty lipid metabolism and is considered one of the most common nutritional disorder IN THE WORLD (World Health Organization) . Take 10,000 iu’s a day of palmitate. (Dr, Shiva Ayyadurai). Consume lots of colorful vegetable and fruits (but these are not the best source of vitamin A as your body must convert the carotenes to a bioavailable form) , egg yolks, butter, cream, fish liver oils, liver (once a week will provide the adequate dose).

3.  Zinc -about 40-50 mg/day  helps protect against respiratory tract infections and studies show 30% of adults are deficient in this mineral, leading to increased risk of infections, including pneumonia.

4. Vitamin C- 500-2000 mg/day has shown to be protective against colds and other infections, especially viral infections, acute respiratory infections (SARS), protective against free radical oxidative damage.

5. Medicinal Mushrooms – Reishi, Lion’s Mane, Turkey tail, Maitaki – all enhance immune system, and reduce symptoms associated with asthma and lung infections.

6. Bone Broth – immune booster and detoxifier. Make from grass-fed meat bones.

7. Coconut Oil- Cold pressed and organic is antimocrobial – take 1 Tbs/day

8. Good quality saturated FATS!

9. CBD oil (I use Max and Steven’s)

Please don’t buy into the hype- and avoid FEAR. Have FAITH- in your self, your innate ability to heal, your fellow humans and your GOD!