The healthcare system needs to focus more on preventing care methods and chronic diseases rather than just acute illnesses. Helping people change their lifestyles or adopt the right diet for them is extremely helpful in avoiding severe and life-threatening diseases.
Join Pamela Wirth as she talks to Physician Assistant and Founder of Healthi with Hannah, Hannah Newman. Discover how she changes the healthcare system when it comes to preventive care through practice. Learn everything about nutrigenomics, hormones, toxin exposure, longevity medicine, gut health, and more in this informative episode.
In this episode, I have Hannah, a physician assistant, and she has a company called Healthi with Hannah. Welcome, Hannah.
Pam, thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here.
I'm happy to have you too. Tell us a little bit about your background and your journey in health and wellness.
I'm a PA, Physician Assistant, like you mentioned. Not to take you too far back, but I always knew I wanted to work in medicine. There's something so cool about science to me and being able to use that to help people. As you're going through PA school, you go through all these different rotations. You're working in emergency medicine, labor and delivery, pediatrics, and primary care. You see where you are meant to provide your skills.
While working in places like the ER can be so exciting. You also see the other end of healthcare. I saw that there was an issue with our healthcare system when I was working in the ER because there are a lot of prescriptions and needed surgeries that are absolutely important for people, but there's not a lot of focus on preventive care and helping people with chronic diseases. It's a lot of the acute sickness focus.
I knew I wanted to work in something that had a little bit more of a preventive care aspect. After graduating, I did a two-year Integrated Medicine Fellowship and fell in love. My eyes were open. I worked with an incredible local female physician. She helped me view medicine differently. Instead of you coming in with the patient and maybe writing them a prescription, you spend a few minutes with them. We really tried to see what else you could do and what aspects of their lifestyle you could change. That is where my company developed based on those foundations. As I moved into some of the longevity aspects as well, I incorporated them all into one. That's how I got to be here.
That's cool. What is the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine? What does that really mean?
For me, it was working one on one. She had a single practice. She was the only provider there. It was me working with her one-on-one all day, being able to see exactly how she treated her clients and interpreting the scans and the lab work in her eye rather than the traditional or conventional view that I had been trained in. It's that intense one-on-one, and being able to learn in that way is what the fellowship was for that amount of time, which was important for my learning.
In terms of Healthi with Hannah, what type of services do you offer?
In addition to what I already said, my husband has a strong family history of cancer, something no one loves to hear. In one of these tests I was running on him, he had a marker that popped up that said his cell division was increased. That can mean an increased risk for tumors and active tumors. We're freaking out. We're wanting to get him an MRI and keep going on this blood test journey and see what was going on, but there was nothing out there. He's saying, "Hannah, can I just go get an MRI?" At the time, I'm like, "No, you can't just go get an MRI. You have to be sick or have symptoms."
We could find a certain test from one specialty and a certain test from another specialist, but it wasn't all in one. That's how I developed my offerings from my experience with him, where now it can be all in one, and I can say, for my own family, this is what I actually think is comprehensive and preventive to feel confident with your health. With services, I mentioned a couple already. I offer MRI services, which we have done. It was a cool experience. They have you watching TV during it now. It's so interesting.
Not the pounding that it used to be.
There's a little pounding, but they give you these huge headphones and a weighted blanket. They have Netflix above your head. It was an easy peasy experience. I'm excited to share that with my clients. Bringing it back to the basics, what most people think about as their annual lab work, I do that on steroids. I'm diving deep into things like cholesterol panels inflammation, which is so important for your aging process, oxidation, and thyroid panels. I go into a little bit of the newer testing, which is exciting.
We have toxin panels to see what your toxic burden is. We have gut health panels. Leaky gut is one of those hot terms now when people have vague gut symptoms. You can actually test for it, so that's impressive. Everyone wants to know their hormone status. It is interesting because it tells us about sleep, sex drive, and all kinds of stress. All kinds of different things can be deduced from your hormone panels. Probably my most popular offering now is the hormone panels. I also do organic acid testing. Are you familiar with that?
Many different things like stress and sex drive can be deduced from your hormone panels.
Organic acid testing is nutrition-based. It's how your body uses and metabolizes what you're giving it. That also gives us a lot of good information on your gut health and maybe inflammation in your brain. It's popular with kids in pediatrics now.
In terms of if someone comes to you, the protocol would be first to run a bunch of blood work. Is that what I'm hearing?
Yes. It's customized for everyone. It's funny to say that because I started out with set panels, and not one person fit into the little boxes I had developed, which is so true. For each person, I start with specific labs to them, whether it's the hormones, the guts, or whether we dive into more of the anti-aging tests. From there, it's a lot of lifestyles. It's using the lab test, but then we're deep diving into their nutrition, exercise, sleep, and how we can get this all synced up into one.
As you're going through this, what do you suggest when it comes to nutrition? Everyone's got opinions on this.
That is such a good point. My biggest and first suggestion to everyone is to eat real food, which sounds so simple, but if you go throughout your week and you're not eating stuff from a bag, eating or drinking sodas or sugary snacks, you will start to improve your health. Eating that way will obviously give you fruits, vegetables, and whole proteins. That becomes an anti-inflammatory diet for most people. Unfortunately, for most Americans, it's not where they're at now. Switching to eating real foods is a big deal for a lot of people.
I can see that, for sure. Is there anything that you're seeing more than others in terms of certain chronic illnesses or something popping up that has been years that you've been doing this for?
There are two things. The first thing that's been pretty prevalent is the 40s and up crowd are being told by their conventional provider to start cholesterol medications. They're a little hesitant now. One trend I'm seeing is people don't want to go straight to the prescription. They want to go out there and do their own research before they take something. I respect that. It's good because that allows our testing. I mentioned the advanced lipid panel going through crazy cholesterol numbers. It lets us pinpoint if they really need it. I haven't had one client actually needs a statin yet. I'm not saying they're never indicated. They are, in some people, but that's a trend I'm seeing.
You're finding that those folks, through nutrition, can lower those numbers.
Yes. It can even be as little as losing 5 to 10 pounds. You start walking during the day. Maybe you need a little supplement support, but it's an all-natural supplement. Those are the things that people want and what I'm seeing a lot more.
In terms of a natural supplement for someone that's concerned about cholesterol, what would that look like?
It's good to look at your levels, but a good one is always red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is chemically similar to a statin medication. It works for almost everyone to lower their levels, and your dose is going to depend on what your levels are. It's red yeast rice and also niacin. That's another natural supplement. Those work pretty well for cholesterol levels.
Do you have any go-tos that you love for supplementation in general, like a handful of things that are a no-brainer?
I used to be the one who said, "I don't take anything." As I learn, no one's diet is perfect. I take three things now. I take vitamin D. Almost everyone is deficient in vitamin D. A lot of people need to take it with K2 as well. I live in Florida. The physician I work with said, "Even if you're outside with no sunscreen, during the hottest part of the day, you're still not going to get enough vitamin D." I take vitamin D and take a multivitamin from Thorne. The third thing I take is beef liver. It is one of the best in the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It's really good for anti-aging.
Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It is really good for anti-aging.
For folks thinking, "I probably should start watching anti-aging," what does that mean in terms of lifestyle, blood work, or certain things? Is there a certain time in their lives that they should start to think about anti-aging? Is it more anti-inflammatory, and the sooner the better? What does that mean for you?
Asking me, I would say the sooner, the better. I am testing my levels now to see how fast I'm aging and my biological age. It's because the more time, the better you have to adjust things. Around 40 is a great time to dive into the level-up interventions. The basic level is healthy eating and sleeping well. That's so important. There's also stress management and even meditation. Quiet sitting for five minutes a day can make a huge difference to your DNA.
That level up I was talking about, those are things like getting a NAD drip, maybe looking at some supplements that help regulate your blood sugar, and hormone replacement therapy with a good provider who does bioidentical hormones, who is well-versed there and knows what they're doing. Even diving into the stem cell, I see some of my longevity-type clients are interested in that side. There are a lot more accessible things that everyone can do, and the sooner the better.
It's interesting. There's a clinic here that does things like hyperbaric chamber and red light therapy. Do you prescribe any of that type of behavior in addition to what you're doing?
I love it. This is why there's so much info out there. It's really confusing for people to decipher it on their own. I make sure I'm aligned with prestigious medical societies that give good information there. One of those is A4M, which is the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. I do a lot of training through them, and they do hyperbaric training often.
I took this, and it was incredible, like the knowledge you gained. I prescribe to that. We're putting one in our clinic here. NAD drips are important as well. We have an infrared sauna in our house and a cold plunge as well. You don't need all that. You can hit a hot yoga session once a week and get a lot of that detox benefits. You can hop into the cold bath at your home. Those things help restart the mitochondria in your cells, your powerhouses, and help clear the junk.
Detox is a huge thing, especially in children. Do you have any suggestions? Do you work with kids, too, to help them detox? They're coming into contact with so much junk, and it's impacting their expression of mood and everything else.
That is so true. I don't work in my clinic with kids. Having a kid, he has eczema, which is what they call little allergy baby. It's a personal experience there. In my training through grad school there, it's important what you're feeding them at home. In a lot of these, kids who are diagnosed with a learning disability or overactive activity could benefit from some tweaks in their nutrition, some of them. I'm not saying it's a cure-all for everyone, but that's always what I encourage parents to do. Make sure, when possible, they're eating real foods. Cut the sugars a little bit when you can. It's also important to have a good multivitamin for them because their diet's not going to be perfect either, and probiotics for the little ones because that will protect their gut, in turn protecting the rest of them.
You mentioned something about epigenetics. What does that mean?
Epigenetics is my favorite topic. Epigenetics is how your lifestyle impacts your DNA. There are now these tests that are measuring this. One of the most famous and most popular is Cologuard. It's the very main mainstream colon cancer prevention test. They use methylation markers on a few different genes there. That's epigenetic testing. It's where you're able to see if your diet and lifestyle are covering up good genes or bad genes. You test and see where you're at with that. It's your methylation status. The coolest part is two things. One is this is all lifestyle modified. The way you turn back the clock is through food, meditation, and stress management. You don't have to go taking crazy prescriptions to do so.
Talk to me a little bit about methylated vitamins. When you're buying supplements and vitamins, you can see on the back of it whether it's methylated or not. It's my understanding that's generally good for about everybody. Non-methylated is bad for about half the population. Talk to me a little bit about that.
You're familiar with MTHFR genes and testing. That was a test we ran in our practice, but I had never even heard of it before. I don't think it's a conventional thing. Once we know that someone or can suspect that someone might have an issue with that methylation or anywhere in their methylation cycle, then they would benefit from methylated vitamins like you were talking about. Those methylated vitamins are common with B supplements, like B12 and folate.
Taking that helps because when B vitamins are broken down, part of that can be broken down into a chemical that is bad and toxic for our system when they're not methylated. That's the importance of methylated vitamins. It would be great if you could check. If you're taking supplements, they're not doing it for you. It wouldn't hurt you to try a methylated version even if you can't get that specific test done. That was a good question.
When B vitamins are broken down, a part of it can become a chemical that is toxic to your system if not methylated.
The thing that boggled my mind, too, is all the folic acid they pump in you when you're pregnant. I'm not necessarily sure that that is a great idea for folks with the gene. Hopefully, that becomes a little bit more commonplace to test for that when folks are pregnant are trying to get pregnant.
That's an important concept, too, because a lot of these vitamins are a U-shaped curve. When it's too low or too high, it's not good for you. Even the same with vitamin D, they've found in studies that when it's too high, you're not getting more benefit from it. It is a delicate balance. That's why people need to be cautious when just taking supplements from the internet without a practitioner.
That's super. If folks want to work with you, how do they find you?
It's where I find most of my clients, funny enough. It goes back to people looking for those answers that they're not getting. Email always works for me. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, I'm on all the things. I would love to chat with you. I always talk to people at no charge just to get where they're at and make sure we're a good fit and explain what it is I do. Being on platforms like this is so helpful because it's a lot to explain, and it can't all be done in a couple of sentences.
Do you work with folks that are not just in Florida? Can you work with people remotely as well?
Yes. A lot of my clients are remote, and most of the testing options that I've been able to find are at-home kits, which makes it so easy for people. I can ship the kit to your house. It's usually a quick self-collection. Maybe it's a hair sample, a urine sample, or a little finger prick. It's been a convenient process for my clients.
That's great. Thank you so much, Hannah. We really appreciate having you on.
Thank you. I'm so excited. Have a good day.
I am a mom, wife, sister & friend. I am a board certified Physician Assistant, specializing in functional and anti-aging medicine. I have advanced training certifications through the Institute of Functional Medicine and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine on nutrigenomics, hormones, toxin exposure, longevity medicine, positive psychology, sleep science, gut health, and more. Additionally, I am an active member in YPO, which is an exclusive global leadership community of chief executives who are connected by the shared belief that the world needs better leaders. Through this organization I have exclusive insight into a wealth of information from the global leaders in preventive medicine and I am so thrilled to be able to share that health knowledge with you. My goal is to help you reach your health goals through advanced testing and holistic care.