About Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 has been making its appearance into the health and wellness community more and more over the past few years, and for very good reason. This form of vitamin K is proving in the scientific literature to have a wide array of health benefits. Some of the more famous studies have shown that vitamin K2 has a profound effect on bone health and proper calcium placement—meaning calcium doesn’t get deposited into places like arteries, kidney stones, etc. There is even a study that has proposed that vitamin K2 has the potential to remove calcium that has already been deposited in the arteries, thus allowing youthful elasticity to return them, which has profound implications on cardiovascular health.

More recently there have been additional studies showing that this vitamin actually plays a role in hormone levels as well. One of the proposed mechanisms of this is that it activates a series of enzymes in the bone, which go on to have a specific effect in the adrenal glands and sex organs. This series of enzymes is then able to take cholesterol and allow it to be transformed into other metabolites, like testosterone, thus increasing their production. Further studies involving mice have shown that induced deficiencies in vitamin K2 are associated with lower testosterone levels than the control group.

Now that we have talked briefly about the benefits of vitamin K2, let’s delve into how and where we can get it! In a perfect world, food would be the ideal source for all of our vitamins and minerals. However, due to the methods and effects of farming and raising livestock, much of our foods don’t have nearly the levels of vitamins and minerals that were present in them even 100 years ago. Nonetheless, some of the foods that have the highest concentration of vitamin K2 are the following:

  • Cheeses — specifically gouda and brie
  • Natto — a type of Japanese fermented soy bean
  • Fermented foods — like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.
  • Offal — organ meat from grass-fed animals, like liver and heart

If those options don’t sound particularly palatable for daily consumption, supplementation can also be used. There are 2 different forms of vitamin K2: menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7). MK-7 seems to be the better form of supplementation, according to research studies, primarily because it has a longer half-life, meaning it stays available in the bloodstream longer. So, how much should you take? A toxic dose of vitamin K2 has yet to be found, but the recommended dose is likely to be different depending on the desired effect. Doses of up to 45mg per day have been administered safely, but doses much smaller than that have been associated with clinical benefit. Generally, I recommend 200mcg of MK-7 per day, but you should always talk to your doctor to make sure that Internet advice is safe for you specifically.

-Dr. Gliniecki

On Vitamin D

What is vitamin D?
The majority of people correlate vitamin D with cow’s milk or the sun, but many don’t know exactly what it does. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be obtained from either food or supplementation, and is synthesized in the skin when one is exposed to the sun. Technically, its classification is a vitamin, but acts more like a hormone in the body.

What Does Vitamin D Do?
Vitamin D is responsible for helping maintain many cellular and metabolic processes in the body. It helps regulate our sex hormones and is important for bone health and helping maintain correct levels of certain minerals in the body. It helps with immune function, cellular production, and helps with therapy of chronic illness, autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease.

What Conditions are Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency?
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to osteoporosis, bone fractures, hypertension, hypothyroidism, diabetes, hormone deficiencies such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, joint pain, muscle aches, and depression. Deficiencies in this crucial vitamin are linked to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Childhood disorders like rickets, also known as osteomalacia is a direct result of vitamin D deficiency.

How Can Vitamin D Supplementation Benefit Me?
Studies have shown that vitamin D3 supplementation has beneficial effects on bone mineral density, fractures and falls without evidence of harm. It can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, colon, ovarian and pancreatic cancer. It protects brain cells through detoxification, and helps the synthesis of proteins that help aging brain cells survive and fight neurological degeneration. It can help increase testosterone levels in men and regulate estrogen and progesterone levels in women. It also may lower blood pressure, improve blood pressure control, and regress heart enlargement. Studies have shown that it can reduce inflammation in certain GI disorders, like Celiac and IBD.

How Do I Test My Vitamin D Levels?
Vitamin D levels can be evaluated through a simple blood test done by your physician. Your physician can test your 25 (OH)D levels, which can determine if you are deficient. Optimum vitamin D levels are 50-80 ng/mL, and need to be monitored regularly with supplementation, as vitamin D overdosing and toxicity can be very harmful to the body and organs.







-Dr. Warren

Reviewing Dr. McCarthy & Celeste’s Ketosis Progress

We take health seriously at Protea, and we believe the holistic and natural approach to health is best. When we make recommendations, we make them because we believe they are the best courses of action — and they are the courses of action we follow ourselves.

One powerful and recent example of this is when Dr. McCarthy and Celeste went on a 4-day ketogenic diet and insulin flush protocol. This lasted from June 19th through June 22nd, 2017. Dr. McCarthy and Celeste demonstrate how careful and precise you need to be when experimenting with this diet. Their journey also speaks to the challenges that the ketogenic diet may present. But, you will see by the end of these videos that the rewards were well worth the effort.

So take a seat, grab a snack (keto of course, maybe some olives, some almonds, an avocado?), and follow Dr. McCarthy and Celeste on their 4-day journey with the ketogenic diet.

Ketosis for Weight Loss

Day 2: Insulin Flush/Ketosis Side Effects

Day 2 getting into Ketosis

End of Day 2 and the Challenge of Taco Tuesday 

Day 3 of Ketosis and Insulin Flush the Benefits Begin

Finding a Ketosis-Friendly Lunch at Wholefoods

Day 4 in Ketosis

Final Ketosis Weight-Check-In to See the Results

Celeste’s Day 5 Final Check-in

The Protea Ketosis Challenge

That’s right: The Protea Ketosis Challenge is on! This challenge runs from November 1st through November 21st. Call (480) 557-9095 for more details and to sign up for the challenge!

The ketogenic diet has loads of benefits. For example, a ketogenic diet can help with weight loss, mood stabilization, glucose control for diabetics, and it also has neuroprotective properties for patients who suffer from issues like epilepsy.

But executing a ketogenic diet safely takes effort and focus. This is why our challenge has three unique levels of difficulty based on your experience.

So let’s take a look at what this challenge is all about!

There are three categories, and prizes will be awarded in each category for women and men. Our categories are:

  • Category 1: Experienced with the ketosis diet, needs no medical supervision.
  • Category 2: Some experience with a ketosis diet, requires some medical supervision.
  • Category 3: New to ketosis diet, needs detailed diet plans and medical supervision.
  • Winners will be announced December 1st!

You can call (480) 557-9095 for more details and to sign up for the challenge!

And, of course, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have about this challenge, the ketogenic diet, and any other questions you may have regarding your health.

You can always reach us at: info@protealife.com

Empowerment and Your Health

I focus on empowerment every day with my patients, but it struck me this Fall just how critical personal empowerment can be in our healthcare journeys. Everything we learn, how we make changes for life, how we create new patterns for success in weight loss and healthy habits: all this comes from a sense of owning knowledge about our bodies.

A few months ago, I started to have a nagging sensation that something beyond the ordinary was off. I had changed up my schedule in April, having been hired on at Lifetime Fitness to take over a Tuesday and Thursday 5:30 am yoga class. I started setting my alarm clock for 4:30 Tuesday and Thursday to attend the class for a few weeks before making the shift to teaching it in early May.

Now, for the past few years I have been getting up to run at 5:30 or sometimes 5:15 a few times a week with my neighborhood friends. My alarm’s been set to 6:00 for years to get kids ready for school and the bus. But these activities don’t require driving. Or using much brain power. Or being “on” for other people.

I have never been a “go to bed at 9 am” type of person. Our household gets up early, but my hubby and I are night owls. We like to hang out after the kids go to be: read, watch our shows, catch up. We can stay up to 2 am and sleep in until 11 in a perfect world. Teaching at sunrise went against the grain of my whole life pattern, and I underestimated just how much it would drain me.

I tried going to bed early. But 10 pm shut-eye with a 4 am wake up call is still not enough sleep for someone who also helps manages a business, sees clients, teaches yoga, takes care of kids, and runs a household.

I loved the challenge of my early bird classes, establishing rapport with students, sequencing classes and making playlists. But after a few months, I started to notice bags under and wrinkles around my eyes. I would be irritable with kids in the afternoon, with weird surges of energy when I should be winding down.

I would jump up and go teach on those early mornings, putting my all into it, then push through the day at work and at home. I noticed how tired I was, but figured I would catch up on weekends as I got used to this new routine.

But I didn’t catch up on sleep over the weekends.

Gradually, my tiredness started to hit me like a tidal wave. After work, driving home to get the kids or stop for errands, I would feel a fog of fatigue. I remembered back to when we first diagnosed me with low testosterone and progesterone 8 years ago: a total vitality zap. This felt somewhat different but similar to that feeling of losing myself.

I knew a few friends who had been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and started to recall conversations about how they recovered. “Could that be me?” I wondered. Could my adrenals be that shot from stress and sleep deprivation, which then made my neurotransmitters out of whack?

With a vitality zap this severe, depression comes in. You start to feel bad about yourself because you can’t shake the malaise or be awake for those you love. You don’t feel like yourself, which makes you irritable and frankly not fun to be around.

We had recently drawn my labs; thyroid and sex hormones were in range. So it wasn’t that. I started to notice my craving for salty foods: another hallmark symptom of adrenal fatigue. The full realization of my intuition screaming ‘your adrenals are a mess!” hit me at the end of August. I stopped by Safeway to grab a coffee and dog food at 2:41, preparing to be home at 3:15 for the school bus.

But I couldn’t get out of the car. I literally sat in the parking lot with the A/C blasting, my head to my chest and arms loose as I gripped the steering wheel, willing myself to get it together. I sat there for five minutes trying to muster up enough energy to open the car door. Take one step and then the other towards the entrance, and walk into the store.

That night, Dr. B told me to grab an adrenal saliva test kit from our office. To stop wondering and researching and take the diagnostic step to test my hunch.

When my results came back, he texted me this comment: “You were right.”

My first reaction? Empowerment. I was experiencing what I counseled my patients to discover, what our doctors tell patients to tune into about their own wellness when something feels wrong. I felt empowered that I listened to my gut instinct and had an answer to the “why” I felt so bad.

My second response? How can I fix this, how long will it take, and when can I start.

Here is a picture of my cortisol panel test, which looked at my 8 amnoon4 pm and bedtime saliva collection to track how my cortisol leveled out throughout the day.

No wonder I felt so bad every morning. My cortisol tracked way below the range at 8 am, and barely in the bottom range at noon. It picked up later in the day and evening, which explained jittery bursts of energy in the evening as my body tried to regulate.


Cortisol, a hormone created in the adrenal cortex, is designed to start high in the morning to get us moving. It keeps firing up and then gradually declines as our systems prepare for rest and sleep with sunset and bedtime.


As Dr. B explained to me, adrenal fatigue can correct on its own by catching up on sleep, managing stress better, and the healing nature of time. But I had on this downward spiral for so long, I wanted to feel better fast. My busy life was not slowing down, and I owed it to myself, my family, my clients and my yoga students to work at my optimal level. I am normally a happy, high energy person, and I wanted her back.

So Dr. B prescribed 5 mgs of hydrocortisone in addition to vitamins and supplements I am already on. Almost immediately, taking it in the morning with my thyroid, I noticed a difference. I felt less fatigued and more motivated to jumpstart my days, with less of a crash later. It was still there, but it didn’t feel as elevated.

I don’t want to be on medication forever. I have set some boundaries with my time and am sleeping more. I gave up one of my 5:30 am classes and took on a later morning one instead, which works better with my normal output of energy.

Knowing the “why” to my symptoms decreased my stress tenfold. For me, and for most people I talk to, not knowing why, wondering if you’ll ever feel right again, or if you’ll even get to the bottom of whatever it is that ails you, creates an invasive level of stress.

Stress that you feel when you eat a meal and can’t figure out what you ate that gave you indigestion. Stress of having a nagging feeling that you have an allergy but don’t know how to decipher it. Stress of feeling that something is “off’ – hormones, mood, energy, your clothes not fitting well – but you are unsure where to turn.

Empowerment is the cornerstone of the medicine we practice at Protea. It puts the role of advocate, healer, and educator back in your own hands once you ask the questions, get the answers, and start to fill in the blanks.

Nothing feels as good as knowledge, especially when it comes to understanding your body and learning how to listen to signals. Lab work can verify your hunches as you begin to own your “why” and make choices based on your gut instead of relying solely on what someone else tells you.

As I discovered this Fall, once we start to tune in, we realize that we are smarter and wiser than we think. Our bodies want to restore to balance. From here, we use lab work and all the tools in our medicinal arsenal to fix the problem.

Wellness creates empowerment and empowerment creates wellness. We still need patience, as I am discovering in my recovery from adrenal fatigue. I wanted to restore my adrenals as soon as I saw my results, knowing full well that that would be impossible. I know the healing process will happen in time.

But I now have the answers necessary to recommit to my best health with my own instincts, empowerment, and knowledge at the forefront.

And that is the greatest wellness gift of all.

New IV Bag Nutrition Solutions at Protea Chandler

We’re always looking for innovative and exciting ways of improving your health. We heavily vet and assess cutting edge services before implementing them in our practice, that’s part of the Protea promise. We have been offering Intra-Muscular Nutritional Shots at our Chandler and Glendale locations for a while now. And we can tell you all love them, which is why we are supplementing that service.

We are proud to announce that we are officially offering new IV Bag Nutrition Solutions at Protea Chandler. This is perfect for patients who want a boost of energy and a boost of wellness. Most IV bags are tailored to trends and target low-hanging fruit. What we mean by that is: most other places that offer IV bags do so to treat hangovers or provide “detox.” Our target is a little higher than that…

We want to enhance your metabolism. We want to enhance your wellness. We want to enhance your vitality. We’re tackling issues from chronic migraines to weight loss with these IV bags. While customization is always an option and a priority, you can also look for five standard IV Bags to be offered:

  1. A standard Myers’ Cocktail, a solution designed to enhance the immune system, reduce fatigue, help with seasonal allergies, and reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia and asthma.
  2. A more focused immune boosting bag.
  3. An energizing bag designed to support adrenal function and help fatigue.
  4. A bag for neural health, this bag will aid people with migraines and other similar issues.
  5. An athletic performance bag.

These bags are already available at Protea Chandler! So come on by, try them out, and let us know how you feel. We are committed to your wellbeing, and we are happy to help you live a healthier life.




Further Understanding The Intersection of Weight Management and Anxiety & Depression

The body is complex, and it is also complicated. What do we mean by that? We mean that inside your body is a living ecosystem of countless interconnected elements that work together to make you who you are — and figuring out how to fix a “problem area” without disrupting other aspects of your ecosystem can be complicated.

This is why we make the Protea Promise that we will never just throw prescriptions at your surface level symptoms. No, we dig deeper than that. We get to the root of your issues — the cause of your symptoms, and we address those causes.

One example of this is the relationship between stress, anxiety and depression, and healthy weight management. We discussed the connection between stress levels, cortisol production, and weight gain in our blog post: Food Allergies & Weight Gain. To sum it up: Cortisol is a stress hormone which makes your body want to store fat. Cortisol is also found in dairy products, and if you’re sensitive to it, it can exacerbate weight gain. And that exacerbated weight gain will, most likely, be causing you more stress — thus raising your cortisol levels even more.

Let’s now look at another chemical related to weight loss and mental anguish.

In our last blog entry, Spotlight: The Patented Protea SlimShot!, we discussed a chemical compound called inositol. Inositol naturally occurs in cantaloupe and oranges. It can also be found in our Protea SlimShot. We use inositol in our SlimShot because it helps the breakdown of fat. That’s right, it aids weight loss, but it also does something else quite cool.

Inositol is a known mitigator of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. In fact, a recent scientific study (Mukai, T., Kishi, T., Matsuda, Y. and Iwata, N. (2014), A meta-analysis of inositol for depression and anxiety disorders. Hum. Psychopharmacol Clin Exp, 29: 55–63. doi:10.1002/hup.2369) found that inositol is especially effective for women suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

This makes inositol a very valuable chemical compound for our purposes. Stress levels and weight management are inextricably linked. Understanding that is crucial to a holistic approach to your health. We hope this sheds some light on why we designed our Protea SlimShot the way we did. We want to attack the causes of weight gain on all the levels we can.

We will continue to analyze the intersection of healthy weight management and your mood. Remember: you are a biological and scientific creature made up of a complex web of interconnected elements that make you who you are. We’ll see you next time.

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

With love,


Spotlight: The Patented Protea SlimShot!

We believe in holistic and natural approaches to helping our patients. The Protea path is one paved with in-depth insights gleaned from ongoing and thorough testing. We dig deeper, we go beyond your complex web of symptoms. We dig to the root cause.

We’ve developed a variety of proprietary Protea Intra Muscular Shots to aid us in this process. One of our key shots is our Protea SlimShot, and we’re going to go a little deeper into what makes it so amazing. Click here to see our full menu of Protea Intra Muscular Shots!

Our $20 2cc SlimShot contains lipotropin compounds which catalyze the breakdown of fat during metabolism. We combine B12, inositol and choline to make packed and powerful weight loss aid. Choline is the most common and important lipotrope found in mammals. Choline is essential for fat metabolism and supports healthy liver function as well. Inositol not only helps the breakdown of fat, but it also helps relieve the trauma of depression and panic attacks. More on that in a soon-to-come blog!

We often find that our patients have past experiences that are less than positive. We don’t rush. We take our time. We get to know our patients, and we isolate their needs. This dedication to custom-created plans for our patients manifests in a variety of ways. This means you have the power to custom-create your tailored-to-you Intra Muscular Shot. Maybe the SlimShot addresses just one of your needs, and maybe you have needs that our current menu doesn’t meet. That’s why we put the power in your hands.

Whether you are in Chandler or Glendale, come by your local Protea Medical Center to learn how our patented Protea Intra Muscular Shots can help you. And remember: every day from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm we have our $5 off Happy Hour at both Protea Chandler and Glendale!

Sneak Peek of Dr. Brendan McCarthy’s New Book: Chapter 8

We gave you all a very special sneak peek of chapter 2 from Dr. McCarthy’s soon to be completed debut book! And now we’re back with a very exclusive preview of chapter 8 from Dr. McCarthy’s book.

Chapter 8 is a callback to Julie and her story from chapter 2. In chapter 8 we see an alternate reality for Julie, one that sees her take control of her health. Chapter 8 shows us how empowering it is to become educated about your own body, and in a way that most doctors won’t help you achieve.

Dr. McCarthy details the steps a woman can take to become better acquainted with her own body. Let’s look at a bit of chapter 8 and see what we can learn from this version of Julie, who is in control of her health.

Chapter 8

Julie’s New Story 

Do you remember the story of Julie that I shared with you in chapter 2? Julie was lost and struggling after a lifetime of feeling ignored and dismissed by her doctor.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. After Julie learns the same information you have just learned, and understands her body and her mind, she has a new story. And the earlier she learns it, the faster her new story begins.

At age thirteen, Julie experiences irregular periods complicated by severe cramping. Julie’s mother and father—her healthcare advocates while she is a minor—seek out a physician experienced in treating young women her age. They find one who first works to discover the cause of hormone problems before prescribing birth control. Her doctor tells Julie that she was right to come in—this is not normal. He also informs her that it can be common to have symptoms like this if you have low progesterone, which is also common at her age.

Julie’s doctor runs a battery of labs to make sure that nothing more complicated is happening. When the labs confirm his suspicions, her doctor prescribes a course of low-dose natural progesterone. He re-tests her each month and keeps Julie on this therapy for a few months, until she begins to naturally generate her own progesterone. Then she is able to stop taking it because she no longer needs to—her body makes enough on its own.

When Julie enters college, she does so with a normal level of testosterone because she never took oral contraceptives. She finds that she doesn’t have the same weight gain that her classmates experience. With normal testosterone levels, Julie’s body responds to exercise with healthy muscle development and healthy fat metabolism.

When she has her children, Julie doesn’t suffer from post-partum depression. She knows that low progesterone can cause depression, and she is aware of how common it is for a woman to have lowered levels after birth. Her obstetrician follows her case, periodically testing her labs. When she does notice a deficiency, the doctor prescribes natural progesterone to maintain Julie’s neurological health.

Julie never needs to take an anti-depressant.

After her three children are born and before she goes back to work full-time, Julie consults her doctor regarding work-life balance. She and her husband create a healthy schedule that equally distributes the housework as well as the responsibility of parenting. With this balance, she is able to advance her career and feel fulfilled in her home life.

In her mid-thirties, Julie begins to feel some anxiety. Her physician affirms that this is possibly due to diminishing levels of progesterone, common for a woman in her age group. She is premenopausal, and her body is losing its ability to generate progesterone naturally. Once the level is confirmed, Julie is given a long-term protocol including prescribed progesterone and regular lab work. Her anxiety disappears.

Julie notices some weight gain when she is in her forties. Her physician runs a thorough exam of her thyroid and discovers she has a diminished amount of the active hormone T3. Julie is told this is a normal aspect of aging. Her physician prescribes her a very low dose of natural thyroid. Her weight normalizes within a few months. Julie sleeps well, has a healthy libido, and feels good. More importantly, her body feels right.

Now Julie is empowered to change her narrative.

She is ready to take her health into her own hands.


Visit Protea Glendale for Our Patented Nutritional Injection-Shot Bar

To all Protea patients — old, new and those who will join us soon — we invite you to come by our Glendale location to try out our intramuscular shot bar.

We have a slew of custom-created nutritional injections we developed specifically for our patients. We spent hours, days and weeks carefully crafting blends of vitamins and nutrients to address a variety of needs we regularly see in our patients.

At our Shot Bar, we offer nutritional injections that help aid weight-loss, enhance endurance and lower cholesterol. We also provide injections designed with women in mind. For example, our “Femshot” combines B-6, MIC and Methyl b-12 to enhance the healthy metabolism of estrogen in a woman’s body.

We also let our patients design their own shots to suit their needs. We’ll meet with you, speak with you and help you craft your very own nutritional injection based on your individual body.

Come by Protea Glendale, and pay our shot bar a visit. We are happy to help you live your healthiest life!