At MD 2.0, we provide patients with superior primary care. We want to be the first to know about any health concerns that may arise. Primary care is performed and managed by your personal physician, Dr. Poncy or Dr. Lubarsky who are available to you 24/7.
Drs. Lubarsky and Poncy believe in more than just treating you when you are sick. Our preventative medicine doctors want to ensure you are healthy year round by promoting a healthy lifestyle, yearly executive level physical exams, and helping to prevent disease.
At MD 2.0, our concierge physician practice focuses on providing high quality care and individualized attention to each patient. Our model allows us to spend more time with each patient, allowing us to work closely with you on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and complex illnesses.
Board Certified Internist in Jupiter, FLDr. Amir Lubarsky's love of medicine allows him to listen compassionately and intently to his patients in order to provide the best outcomes.
Board Certified Internal Medicine Doctor in Jupiter, FLDr. Morgan Poncy is a board certified internist who was raised in the Jupiter area.
It sounds so easy: Pop a pill (or pills) every day and enjoy radiant health. Unfortunately, our concierge doctors have to caution you that it may not be not that simple. And, according to a new study, the claimed benefits of taking supplements might not even be true.
The study, published this month in the journal BMJ, suggests that the perceived benefits of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin and mineral supplements may largely be due to the power of the mind.
“The effect of positive expectations in those who take multivitamin or mineral supplements is made even stronger when one considers that the majority of them are sold to the so-called worried well,” lead study author Dr. Manish Paranjpe said in a statement. "The multibillion-dollar nature of the nutritional supplement industry means that understanding the determinants of widespread multivitamin or mineral use has significant medical and financial consequences,” he added.
The financial aspect is obvious. Dietary supplements are a $40-billion-a-year business in this country. And if the products don’t work as expected, that’s a huge waste of money.
The medical impact is less well known. Between 2007 and 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of more than 6,300 reports of serious adverse events linked to dietary supplements. These included 115 deaths and more than 2,100 hospitalizations.
What’s the harm in taking supplements?
This may surprise people who think that because these substances are sold over the counter they can’t do you harm. Others believe that the government wouldn’t allow their sale unless they were safe and effective. However, a 1994 law, the Dietary Health and Education Supplement Act, actually prevents the FDA from regulating dietary supplements or removing them from sale unless it can prove a supplement is unsafe.
But indiscriminate use of supplements can produce serious side effects. For example, Vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements can actually increase the chances of developing lung cancer in smokers.
St. John’s Wort is sold over the counter for mild depression. Some of its potential side effects include dizziness, sun sensitivity, insomnia, anxiety and headaches. It can also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills and some heart medications.
Fish oil can cause nausea and diarrhea and increase the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. It can also increase the risk of bleeding. Some people have suffered such severe liver damage with green tea extract that they required a liver transplant.
Niacin, another popular supplement, has been shown to slightly increase the risk of death from any cause. So have calcium supplements, which one study suggested increased the risk of death from cancer when taken in amounts greater than 1,000 milligrams per day.
Little evidence for real benefits
Then there’s the question of whether these products are effective for the reasons we take them. Various studies have been performed on the efficacy of supplements in the prevention of many diseases. All have shown little-to-no benefits of dietary supplements and vitamins.
Those marketed for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) have, for example, been studied extensively. In 1996, the Physicians Health Study assigned 22,071 men to take either beta-carotene or a placebo for 12 years. They assessed the effect of the vitamin on the prevention or progression of the disease. The results showed no difference in either CVD occurrence or overall mortality.
A Women’s Health Study found a similar result when it looked at the effect of beta-carotene on 40,000 women. It found no differences in the incidence of heart disease between those taking the vitamin and those receiving the placebo.
Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that examined multivitamins, calcium supplements, and vitamins C and D, found no measurable advantage in terms of preventing CVD, heart attack, stroke, or early death. A similar study found no CVD-associated benefits for vitamin D.
Yet the belief persists
Despite these findings, many people still swear they notice a difference in their health after taking supplements. The study this month attributes this to the power of belief. Consumers also point to studies that support their faith in these substances.
An article in Harvard Women’s Health Watch, however, explained that the benefits of supplements that often appear in some studies are based on observational research vs. clinical trials. That is, researchers ask study participants to self-report on their daily habits, vs. performing randomized controlled trials. Because observational studies don’t control for diet, exercise, and other variables, they can only suggest an association with better health benefits from particular supplements.
“People who take supplements tend to be more health conscious, exercise more, eat healthier diets, and have a whole host of lifestyle factors that can be difficult to control for fully in the statistical models,” Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the journal.
So whether you’re trying to improve your health or ward off illness, your best bet is to follow the time-honored advice: Consume a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, get plenty of exercise, don’t smoke, use alcohol in moderation, and avoid recreational drugs. It really is that simple.
The annual Great American Smokeout is set for this week, November 19. So our concierge doctors thought this would be a good time to look into what we know about the combined effects of smoking and COVID-19.
This is especially important because there has been some confusing information on the effects of cigarette smoking on the disease, with some early reports even suggesting that cigarette smokers who contract COVID-19 actually fare better than non-smokers. Subsequent studies have found the opposite: that smoking increases the risk that the virus causes more damage in smokers.
Tobacco’s extensive effects
One study, reported in The Guardian, analyzed more than 11,000 COVID-19 patients. It found that about 30 percent of those with a history of smoking saw their conditions progress to a more severe or critical state, versus 17.6 percent of non-smokers. Researchers concluded that “smoking is a risk factor for progression of COVID-19,” with smokers nearly twice as likely to develop severe symptoms.
In addition to the well-known damage to the lungs and cardiovascular system—both of which are compromised by COVID-19—smoking has also been shown to suppress the immune system’s ability to fight infection in the body.
“Tobacco products cause inflammation in the airways and affect lung immunity, which makes people more susceptible to infection in general,” Dr. David Christiani, a professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told the paper.
In a scientific brief released this summer, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) concluded that “the available evidence suggests that smoking is associated with increased severity of disease and death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.”
The brief also reiterated that, in addition to the findings on the coronavirus, “Tobacco causes eight million deaths every year from cardiovascular diseases, lung disorders, cancers, diabetes, and hypertension.”
We believe it’s safe to add COVID-19 complications to that list.
Benefits of quitting
If you smoke, you’re not alone. More than 32.4 million people in the U.S. still smoke cigarettes, according the American Cancer Society (ACS). Unfortunately, as a result more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
But it’s never to late to quit.
Here’s a timeline from the ACS showing what happens when you stop smoking:
- Twenty minutes after quitting your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- Twelve hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- Two weeks to three months after quitting your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- One to nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures (called cilia) that move mucus out of the lungs start to regain normal function in your lungs. This increases their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
- One year after quitting the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.
- Five years after quitting your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker in two to five years.
- Ten years after quitting your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx and pancreas decreases.
- Fifteen years after quitting your risk of coronary heart disease becomes that of a non-smoker’s.
Ready to quit?
There are myriad ways to successfully stop smoking. What works for one person might not work for another. And studies show that the average smoker tries several times before giving up the addiction entirely.
“No matter your age or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting improves health, both immediately and over the long term,” the ACS says. “Giving up smoking is a journey, and it can be hard, but you can increase your chances of success with a good plan and support. Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.”
You can also download numerous quit-smoking apps to help, or find tools and tips at Smokefree.gov. The site also offers live chat help for those trying to quit. In addition, each state has a quit line, which you can access by dialing 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Of course there are various medications also available, so if you’re trying to stop smoking, please talk with us. We can help find the best path for you.
The coronavirus pandemic has had everyone on edge for months, and smoking may be one way you’ve used to cope. But, as with increasing alcohol or drug consumption, it’s unhealthy and ultimately unhelpful.
My husband and I have been patients of Dr. Poncy for over ten years and have been extremely pleased and happy for him. He is not only a brilliant internist, but also a wonderful person. Now that he and his partner, Dr. Lubarsky, have opened the concierge practice it is better than ever. The nursing staff is superlative as is the front office staff. The office is very well appointed and comfortable. We feel very fortunate to have such a competent and caring physician.
About 11 years ago, I first met with Dr. Poncy. I came away from my appointment with him confident he understood my problem and contributed some thoughtful suggestions. Over the years, he has never changed. The outstanding staff Dr. Poncy has put together, along with his partner, Dr. Lubarsky, are the best! I honestly feel, when I have an appointment, it is like visiting "family".
I recommend Dr Lubarsky emphatically. He is a true professional: thorough, compassionate and an excellent diagnostician!
We have been concierge members for only 6 months but so far we have been very pleased. The office atmosphere is very relaxed and the doctor is able to give us the time we need. Time in the waiting room is minimal and we have been able to obtain spur of the moment appointments with no difficulty. We are happy that we joined
The new practice has a very warm, friendly, feeling to it. We don't have long waiting times. Everyone is very prompt.
I have been a patient for over 30 years. I actually look forwarded to a visit. Pleasant, professional in every way, I consider myself very lucky.
A great Dr. & great staff, minimum wait time. Spends as much time with you as you need. Same day appointments.
Dr. Poncy has been my primary care doctor for over 8 years. I've known Dr. Poncy for over 8 years. My neighbor recommended him for my diabetes and heart problem. The staff at Dr. Poncy's office is always very pleasant and Dr. Poncy is very patient to my concerns.
I have been a patient of Dr. Lubarsky since 2004. He has been such a great physician to me and my wife for several years. Recently, I was hospitalized at Jupiter Medical Center. My wife contacted him and he immediately responded and came to the hospital. Without Dr. Lubarsky's support, I don't think I would be at the health level I am at today.
I'm a big fan of Dr. Lubarsky! After moving from New York, I researched area Internist throughout Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. Dr. Lubarsky was a home run!