Who is the new Physician Assistant at Berman Health and Wellness?
Hello everyone! My name is Mierlyn Toledo, PA-C (my first name is pronounced Merlin - I can thank my parents for that!) I completed my Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida and my Master in Physician Assistant Studies from South University. After passing my boards, I worked at Moffitt Cancer Center in the radiation oncology department. A few years later, I moved to Naples to be closer to family, and worked at a family medicine clinic. My interest in the medical field developed when I was in high school. I spent many years sick as a child with asthma, recurring ear infections, and gastrointestinal problems. All of this drove my parents to move from New York to Florida when I was a toddler to see if the change in climate would help. Over the years, I saw a great deal of medical providers but there was one in particular who ignited my desire to join the medical field. I had the chance to not just be her patient but to also work with her in high school, and it was watching her help people understand their own bodies (including my own!) that drew me in. I continued to pursue medicine as a career because it provided me the unique opportunity to serve others, develop meaningful relationships, use my critical thinking and problem solving skills, and expand my knowledge of the human body. I love what I do and I genuinely could not imagine a more fulfilling career for myself. When I am not in the clinic, you can find me spending time with my husband and two kids (or curling up with a good book!)
Why did you choose to work in functional medicine?
During my time at Moffitt, I was involved in the treatment and evaluation of patients with different types of malignancies. Cancer is a genetic disease, meaning it is caused by a genetic abnormality that you either inherit from your family or develop due to an error when your cells replicate. One of the imaging tests we use to detect and evaluate for cancer is the PET scan, which works by injecting a radioactive form of glucose (sugar) into the vein. If cancer cells take up sugar more than normal cells do, how important of a role does blood sugar play in cancer development and prevention? Could there be a root cause to our DNA damage? Are our genes our destiny? These were questions that I would constantly ask myself at work. It was not until I started working at a family medicine clinic that I learned about functional medicine. I learned that although we cannot change our genes, we can change the expression of our genes (meaning we can turn them “off” or “on” via environmental factors/behaviors). I also learned that chronic inflammation can alter our DNA, and that high blood sugar levels can increase the risk for cancer development. I knew then that I wanted to be more involved in preventative care and finding the root cause of diseases.
What is your health journey?
I have struggled with GI issues for as long as I can remember and have been hospitalized for them in the past. After years of dealing with GI problems, I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist and was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I was told I would have to take medication and probiotics daily for the rest of my life. However, I was not satisfied with that answer because it did not give me an explanation as to why I had IBS in the first place. Additionally, IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning it is a diagnosis given when all other GI disorders (such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, Celiac’s disease) have been ruled out. So I began my own quest to find a cause. You name it, I tried it! However, it was not until I came to Berman Health and Wellness that I learned that food sensitivities and a mineral deficiency were most likely the culprit in my case. After cutting out my food sensitivities and starting magnesium supplementation, I began to notice significant improvement in my GI symptoms. As of today, I can happily say that my symptoms have completely resolved!
How will I be taking care of you?
At our clinic, we primarily focus on weight management, gut health, and hormone imbalances. My job is to identify the root cause of your symptoms and work with you to optimize your health. I do not mask your symptoms with a pill; I find the reason you are experiencing the symptoms in the first place. I order and interpret blood work and food sensitivity testing when appropriate. I also work with our nutritionist, Stacey, to provide individualized meal plans that are tailored to your food sensitivities and health care needs. I work with clients like yourself to heal the body from the inside out by improving metabolism, addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, restoring gut lining, decreasing overall inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar, balancing cortisol (stress hormone) levels, improving sleep, and so much more.
What is your goal for me?
My goal in serving you is not only to find the root cause of your ailments but also to empower you to take charge of your health. I want us to have open communication and I want you to always feel listened to. I care about your needs and I want to provide you with the best quality healthcare because you deserve it! I do not want you to be a passive recipient of your care. After all, this is all about you! I will always do my best to answer all of your questions and develop a plan that is reasonable and attainable for you. I look forward to meeting all of you! Let’s get to work at improving your health!