Dr. Conan Shaw Functional Medicine, Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Dr. Conan Shaw Functional Medicine, Certified Clinical Nutritionist


Remember that fresh water fish is rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids that lower the risk of heart disease. Farm-raised salmon still has essential fats in it but has forty times more PCBs than any other food on the market.

PCB's (Polychlorinated biphenyls) are highly carcinogenic chemical compounds, formerly used in industrial and consumer products. It is worth the extra money to eat fresh water fish!
In 2014 prescription drugs were the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States and Europe. Around half of those who died had taken their drugs correctly; the other half die because of errors, such as too high a dose or use of a drug despite contraindications.

The statistics jostle around from year to year but the question I always ask remains the same; Wouldn't it be better to start with diet modification and nutritional intervention prior to taking a higher risk? Sometimes we forget that prescription medications can be toxins too. 🧐
Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in America. We all know that high blood pressure is one risk factor for having a stroke. The medical delivery team is very well focused on assessment and management of hypertension as it is a standard screening procedure in nearly every medical visit.

Another stroke risk factor is when your platelets become sticky. There is a blood test for this that is not so standard. The immune system produces abnormal blood proteins called antiphospholipid antibodies, which cause blood platelets to clump together. You can get a test for antibodies for these risk factors.

A great preventative tool for stroke can be following a whole foods diet rich in healthy fats. The most researched diet for this is the mediterranean diet.

Other than taking aspirin, There are vitamins with natural blood thinning properties; Omega-3 oils, Coenzyme Q10, Curcumin, Vitamin E, Nattokinase, ginger, garlic, gingko biloba and cayenne. These can cause too much thinning of the blood if taken with prescription blood thinners so caution is warranted. Stay Informed!
Trying to loose some weight? Remember that loosing fat is the healthy type of weight loss. Especially if you have belly fat known as visceral adipose tissue. The number one hormone in control of Storing Visceral Fat? Insulin.

Did you know that insulin levels will start to become elevated in the blood work 3-4 years before your sugar levels start to rise? Elevated sugar tips your P*P off that there is a sugar problem. Why wait 4 years to catch a high sugar level when you could get tipped off 4 years earlier though?

I always wondered why Fasting Insulin blood levels were not on a standard blood panel?? I guess preventative care is a catch phrase that sounds good on advertising but it has not actually made it into the mainstream yet. You can simply ask your P*P to run a fasting insulin for you the next time you get a blood draw.
5 years ago Harvard published a study in the medical journal of American Academy of Neurology with results providing evidence of a modest increased risk of Parkinson’s with greater consumption of low-fat dairy products. The study showed an increase risk with low fat dairy consumption compared to no increased risk with full fat. Got Milk?
Do I apologize for this or plow forth in the pursuit of sharing health knowledge?

A liter of cows milk can have up to 400,000,000 Pus Cells before it is considered unfit for people to drink. Yes there is a Pus Count.

Recumbent Bovine Growth Hormone Injections increase milk production but also increases Pus Secretions. 🤢
In case you forgot there are around 9 teaspoons of sugar in a can of coke. I mean the Phosphoric acid that gives this sour taste promotes kidney stones but the sugar OMG....Do these beverages come with tooth brushes???
Just a quick reminder; in general, excluding certain rare forms of cancer, genetic family history of cancers only poses a 5-10% risk factor to you. It is not a black flag waving over your head.

Just remember genetics load the gun but environment pulls the trigger. You are in control of over 90% of those risk factors.
Most of you know this but it is always worth a quick reminder.
Strawberries are great for you!!! However, year after year they are placed on top of the EWG list of foods most highly exposed to pesticides so this is one fruit worth spending the extra money on organic!

I blend two strawberries into my chocolate coconut shake in the mornings sometimes and it always gives a little extra YUM :-)
How do you avoid getting sick this coming summer? OH you know what I'm going to say!!!!
1) Avoid over consuming sugar.
2) Don't skip too much sleep.
3) Maintain physical activity.
4) Enjoy alcohol in moderation.
5)Stay Hydrated.
6) AVOID ALL SOCIAL GATHERINGS!!!! -- hahaha that was disproven skip that one LOL
Anyone up for some Summer Love? Give this a shot for a month; Make a list of 10 things that you like about yourself. Read it every morning when you wake up. Skip sugar, increase hydration, maintain moderate exercise and don't skip too much sleep. Walk in the starry night and imagine what you thought of as a child gazing at the stars. Laugh as often as possible, decide to look on the brighter side of things and fall back in love with YOURSELF!!!! Now that's some good medicine!
With summer on the way and more fresh fruit available, don't forget that you can make it fun, and creative!! If your family likes dessert, get fancy with fruit!
Did you know that green tea has properties that can help balance estrogen dominance? Yes, green tea is an aromatase inhibitor. All other hormones convert to estrogen through the activation of the aromatase enzyme. Too much estrogen can cause PMS, Bloating, Headaches, Mood Swings, Irritability, Uterine Fibroids, Endometriosis, Chocolate Cravings and more....
Green Tea can make a delightful iced tea as well!
Are we still rushing to suppress fevers? Just remember if you have an offensive organism that can live at 101 degrees your innate intelligence will raise the temperature to 102 degrees to protect you. Of course 104.5 is a great time to step in and suppress or call your P.C.P. but not all fevers are bad things.

Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner working with in A.D.D.

Common Symptoms & Conditions We Correct

Patients come to Pittsburgh Nutritionist Dr. Conan Shaw for a variety of reasons (ie. women's health, heart disease, pediatric nutrition counseling). Below are some of the symptoms that patients often look to have corrected. If you do not see your symptom listed, please contact Dr. Shaw to inquire about your area of concern. Adrenal Burnout

Operating as usual


There are many reasons for women to lose hair more often and in higher amounts than they should. Anemia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, thyroid issues, too much stress, rapid weight loss or weight gain, auto immune inflammatory triggers, side effects of medications... But one of the most common causes is an elevation of the hormone DHT.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an offshoot of testosterone that carries out many functions (not all bad). But when these levels elevate, hair loss is a very common side effect.

Can you guess what the primary driver is that turns testosterone into DHT?
Yup... Insulin. A high sugar diet. When I use vitamins to support blocking DHT, I will always be suggesting a lower carb diet to facilitate a more rapid recovery.


Most of us are familiar with nerve pain. Neuropathy, or damage to the nerves in your body can interfere with quality of life very easily due to the shooting and searing style of pain that nerves cause.

The 3 most common causes for neuropathy in adults are:
--Insulin Resistance or Diabetes
--Extensive alcohol consumption
--Toxic Metals accumulated in the body (Lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic)


It is a very common question in my office, "Why do you suggest organic foods and purified water when weight loss is the goal"?

If you do some reading on obesagens: these are toxic chemicals that actually promote weight gain through inflammation in the body. The goal in eating clean food, drinking clean water and breathing clean air is to minimize the exposure to such toxins and facilitate the detoxification of these poisons by the healthy potentials created by the phytonutrient rich foods.

Obesagens include;
BPA (found in plastics, cash register receipts, laundry sheets, makeup more..)
Phthalates (found in makeups, shampoos, shower gels hair sprays)
Atrazine (found in herbicides, w**d killers, including on sugarcane crops)
Air Pollutants (toxic byproducts of industrial waste that we inhale)
High Fructose Corn Syrup,( Found everywhere the government approves food)


Just a quick reminder that according to the environmental working group, women put 150 NON REGULATED CHEMICALS on their face daily. These chemicals are found in the broad spectrum of products used for cleansing and makeup.

When you google non-toxic makeup, you will find products free of parabens, phthalates, Polyacrylamides, petroleum, formaldehyde, BHA, BHT and BPA.


Interesting statistic that 71% of men with low testosterone have a metabolic disease that is co-morbid with it. For example 50% of men with type 2 diabetes have Testosterone deficiency. In this case lowering body fat, modifying the diet and lowering the blood sugar levels will allow testosterone to rebound naturally.


With Spring Season comes an increase in Lyme Risk.
One of the best tools for combatting this issue is prevention.
Wearing light colored clothes can make it easier to spot a tick,
Using essential oil sprays designed to deter ticks from attaching and
Using insect shield socks in wooded areas are all great tools.

But this post is about something that hits closer to the home...actually in your home. If you have pets who go outdoors and then come in doors, this is one of the most common ways to be exposed to a tick. I have 2 Weimaraner's who run outside and chase things. I would always perform a tick check on them when they come in but often the ticks will surface later. Yes my dogs cuddle in bed with me so you can see the issue.

I have found that using collars to prevent ticks does not do much. This is supposed to kill the tick when it bites your pet but still does not stop a tick from coming into the home on a free ride.

Due to this, every year I use a service called Boo's Bug Stoppers. Most of you know thatI am not big on suggesting services unless I have personal experience. I get my yard sprayed once in the spring. I have only seen 2 deer ticks on my dogs in the 5 years I have been using the service. Their sprays are designed to be used around your home with kids and pets in mind, yes "less toxic". I endorse this fully.
Boo's contact is;
(724) 601-3223


Some people think that stopping diabetes is as easy as stopping the consumption of refined sugars and too many carbs. Sometimes this is the case but there are often other hidden factors behind the scenes that can drive this reversible disease process. From this list it will be obvious to see the role of Functional Medicine in Diabetes reversal and management.

-Hormone imbalances like low testosterone in men and high estrogen in women are co-morbid with diabetes.
-Chronic Stress with elevated or suppressed cortisol can be a strong driver for a diabetic tendency.
-Genetic pre-disposition can be a major factor in your body's ability to properly metabolize carbohydrates.
-Auto immune diseases that are inflammatory will drive up insulin levels.
-Slow thyroid function can change how your body manages sugar and increase diabetic risk.
-Sedentary lifestyle is a known risk factor for predisposing individuals to diabetes.
-Certain vitamin deficiencies change cellular metabolic potential and can make managing blood sugar issues more complicated.
-Food sensitivities can promote an inflammatory process that will elevate your blood sugar levels. When consumed daily will limit the ability to manage blood sugar.


The progression of anti-aging medicine is evolving at a rapid and efficient pace. As a longevity minded practitioner, I am constantly evaluating the systems of my patients to determine where the weak links are and implement strategic support.

One of the top indicators that is known to be important for promoting longevity in an individual is VO2 Max. Vo2 Max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise.

VO2 Max is rated accordingly Low, Below Average, Above Average, High, Elite.
This will wake you up to the importance of cardio-fitness:

**Going from just being low to being below average is a 50% reduction in mortality over a decade
**If you then go from low to above average, it’s about a 60% or 70% reduction in mortality.

To measure VO2 max, you wear a mask and heart rate monitor hooked up to a treadmill or stationary bike. The mask is connected to a machine that collects and measures the volume of oxygen you inhale, and the amount of air you exhale.

A simple step in the right direction is to start moving more than you currently do and slowly increase your pace and length of time of cardio type activity. Just move the dial in the right direction!!


Are apples good for you? You bet they are, BUT....
remember if you suffer from birch tree allergy in the coming Spring Season this food cross reacts with the environmental allergies that you experience and should be avoided till around summer time.


There are food allergy test results that many patients bring to my office.
"I already removed my food allergies but still suffer from regular GI pain".

Let's be reminded that food allergies (IGE) are only one of the many possibilities for GI issues. If food is the issue, it is much more common that a sensitivity (IGA, IGG) is behind the scenes.

The tricky part is that a food sensitivity can cause stomach pain even 2 or 3 days after you consume it which makes tracking what you are suffering from a bit more complicated. Food elimination for 3 weeks, then strategic reintroduction is the way to get to the bottom of this mystery.


Are there any easy to identify early symptoms of heart disease?
It can be tricky as these symptoms can mirror some classic signs of aging but it is worth a quick evaluation if you find these popping up more than expected:

-Fatigue more than classically expected.
-Shortness of breath with normal activity of daily living (ex. walking up stairs).
-Coughing / wheezing from fluid build up in the lungs.
-Swelling in the ankles.
-Limitations of your normal activities due to feeling drained.

More progressive symptoms would include:
-chest pain or angina with exertion.
-Tightness or squeezing in the chest.
-Cold and Clammy Feeling.
-Sense that something is Terribly Wrong.

Functional Medicine loves to work behind the scenes to prevent and promote cardiovascular health but emergency medical evaluation is 100% warranted with the more progressive symptoms listed.


Why is it easier to gain weight around the mid section with menopause? Let's start with the photo of a woman walking INTO THE LIGHT, menopause is not a tragedy, it is a normal healthy hormone pattern. Guys start andropause (normal lowering of testosterone) when we are in our late 20's, the shift takes 30 years so it is more gradual.

First, I do not find menopause to be an interfering factor for achieving weight loss in over 95% of my menopausal practice. Do we have to be a bit more diligent? Yes, but that is as simple as choice.

Second, when a woman stops menstruating she stops releasing estradiol from her ovaries and starts making estrone from her body fat. Estrone is a much weaker form of estrogen and this can lead to menopausal belly weight gain. We can accept that there is a hormonal component involved that makes weight loss more of a challenge.

Third, as hormone levels shift it is normal for everyone to see a decrease in the ability to sustain muscle mass leading to a "more flabby" feeling in the skin.

Fourth, lets discuss some clinical observations, decreased physical activity, increased wine or alcohol consumption and more carbs creeping into the diet are still the primary drivers for storing belly fat.

So what do we do? We make a decision. We can modify hormone levels with plant based estrogens or compounded bio identical hormones. We can decide to be more dietarily aware, increase or sustain physical activity levels, maintain balanced sleep, modify our carbs/alcohol and lose the weight. Or we can continue on the path of least resistance and gain the average 5-8% body weight that is considered "normal" for menopause.

Lastly, This is a very short FB post that could be a 17 page article, as you can imagine there are dozens of individual combinations and reasons for hormonal related weight gain that cannot be addressed on this platform.


The question of the week in my office was "what should we do about the toxic exposures from the chemicals released into the air from the train derailment?"

When there is an exposure to toxic chemicals, the first line of defense is to move to protect the mitochondria from oxidative stress and damage. The best tool for this is glutathione. Because glutathione requires access to the cell and environmental toxins can complicate this access a liposomal form of glutathione is best. Here is what I use (1 capsule 2x day for 100-200 lb individual. https://drcshaw.com/product/glutathione/

The second line of defense is to facilitate phase 1 and phase 2 liver clearance of the chemicals. Glutathione will aid in this process and adding choline, inositol and DIM for phase 1 support, coupled with milk thistle, NAC and Glycine for phase 2 clearance will get the job done. This combination is all found in my liver mend supplement. (1 capsule 2x day for 100-200 lb individual).

if you are taking Rx. medications or chemotherapy, these vitamins can be contraindicated so please do not proceed without contacting your Functional Medicine Dr. or pharmacist.


There is a lot of information coming at us from multiple directions these days. Forgetfulness is a common complaint in my office. Many patients will present me with a list of health concerns and then "OH I ALMOST FORGOT" I have been more forgetful recently. 🧐

Interestingly enough, there is a gene (PEMT) that is in charge of helping sustain certain levels of neurological-chemicals that allow us to remember details.
If both of your parents shared a slower version of this gene with you, it is possible that you are a bit more forgetful, more often that you are comfortable with. (Where did I leave my car keys or park my car when I came into target)??

Gene testing is not super expensive, $240 for a panel that will cover around 25 clinically relevant genes, but you can always run a small test on your own. You can take the neurotransmitters in a pill form. There are highs and lows in the price range of these supplements but a simple trial of Phos-Choline and Phos Serine (1 capsule 2x day) could clean things up and make your brain a sharper version. If so, you cold always take this support at times of more memory requirements, like when there is a deadline or you are in the process of learning new information.

Here's the one that I use frequently in practice:


It is winter and there are a lot of believers in taking vitamin C for immune support and prevention of illness. I have been on the vitamin C wagon for the 24 years that I have been in clinical practice.

Just a quick reminder for all of the "Sugar Gummy Vitamin Lovers" out there;🧐
For Sugar or vitamin C to enter the cells, they dock onto receptors that allow them into the cell.

Sadly, sugar and vitamin C are similar in chemical structure so they use the same receptors and end up competing with one another. Yup, the sugar in your vitamins can stop you from benefiting from the vitamin part.


As the exploration of the microbiome continues, the connection between the types and ratios of healthy bacteria in our gut and nearly every system of our bodies is being observed.

This post is a vote for a clean Mediterranean style diet that has been proven to be supportive of a healthy and diverse microbiome. Recent studies (2022) have shown positive outcomes between supporting the microbiome and:

-Immune System Stability
-Parkinsons Disease
-General Cognitive Function
-Depression and Anxiety
-Stress Response


Celebrate Love! Nothing wrong with it. You all know I would suggest sending poems and flowers in stead of cookies and candies. Still the science of love has chemical merit; When you are attracted to another person, your brain releases dopamine, your serotonin levels increase, and oxytocin is produced. This causes you to feel a surge of positive emotion.

Remember you can revisit moments of true love in your memories, sit with these feelings for a few moments and you will release more mood positive hormones.
Celebrate Love! Happy Valentines Day !🥰


Does anyone actually have time for boredom these days?
Of the triggers for "hunger mechanisms" boredom is a curious one.

Stress, angry, hungry, lonely, bored, tired and social eaters.... you know I list these triggers often. If your hunger trigger is boredom here's a list of a few healthy distractions to keep you from munching on the chips that your family has left out on the counter top for you to see;

-Guided Meditation
-Shopping + (Mall Walking)
-Arts/ Crafts
-Pottery Classes
-Yoga Classes (simple even on YouTube)
-Go hiking
-Jiggsaw Puzzle
-Crossword Puzzles
- A DIY Project
-Clean out and organize a drawer (love this one)
-Challenge yourself to write a poem






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