Ep.28: Thyroid Disease with Dr. Izabella Wentz
In this episode we’re talking about a critically important aspect of your health and your happiness, and it all starts with a little gland called the thyroid. If you are suffering with energy problems, unexplained weight gain, hair loss, oversleeping and lack of energy, it could be from undiagnosed thyroid disease. I want to introduce you to my friend Dr. Izabella Wentz. She’s a patient advocate, a researcher, a clinician, and an educator. She’s committed to raising awareness on how to overcome autoimmune thyroid disease.
She’s the author of the New York Times bestselling patient guide, “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions For Finding And Treating The Root Cause.” Izabella’s also just come out with a book I highly recommend called “Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan For Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back.” She will discuss all the things you didn’t know about thyroid disease, what tests to get, the symptoms and how it affects your overall vibration. She will also explore how negative self talk and stress can affect your health and thyroid gland.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
Check out Izabella’s new 9-part docuseries The Thyroid Secret
Get your FREE gift from Dr. Izabella Wentz HERE!
Supplement recommendations from Izabella to help with Thyroid conditions: Thiamine, Vitamin D, B12, Selenium and Ferritin.
Grab a resource we created for you of recommended Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Clinics!
Robyn Openshaw: Hey it’s Robin Openshaw here and welcome back to Your High Vibration Life, and today is Episode 28 where we’re talking about a critically important aspect of your health and your happiness, and it all starts with a little gland called the thyroid. I’m about to introduce you to a dear friend of mine who has just written a book that I think is going to potentially change your life if you are suffering with energy problems, unexplained weight gain, hair loss, oversleeping and never feeling energy, and so many other symptoms that come from undiagnosed thyroid disease.
But before I introduce her, I want to tell you my story really quickly is that in my 20s my health was failing. I didn’t know why and when I would talk to doctors about, they just told me that it was because I had had four babies in less than seven years. But I knew that something else was wrong, and so I just kept seeking help and I kept getting tests, and they kept coming back normal.
Well, it turns out that just testing my TSH wasn’t enough to diagnose me with a clinical thyroid problem. I was low thyroid and Hashimoto’s positive probably as a result of when I was a baby being downwind of the Nevada test site. What happened from that is that there was tons of radio activity. It was on the grass. Cows were eating radioactive grass. I was not a breast-fed baby and I was fed cow milk that had 500 times more radioactivity than is allowable according to FDA standards.
Thank God I have not been a thyroid cancer patient, but I was diagnosed low thyroid and also Hashimoto’s in my 30s. However I was sick all the way through my 20s and I want to introduce you to my friend Dr. Izabella Wentz. She’s a patient advocate, a researcher, a clinician, and an educator. She’s committed to raising awareness on how to overcome autoimmune thyroid disease.
She’s the author of the New York Times bestselling patient guide, “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions For Finding And Treating The Root Cause.” Izabella’s also just come out with a book I highly recommend called “Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan For Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back.” So welcome Dr. Izabella Wentz. How are you doing? Getting ready to launch your new book?
Dr. Wentz: I’m doing so great Robin. Thank you so much. It’s such an honor to be here with you.
Robyn Openshaw: Well, you have just been a whirlwind and you’re becoming very, very famous in the world of teaching all of us what our thyroid has to do with our overall health, what is wrong with or deficient in conventional medicine’s approach to it, and I want you to just tell us about how you became interested in the thyroid.
Dr. Wentz: Robin, in full disclosure, I was never really interested in the thyroid gland during pharmacy school when I was training to be a pharmacist. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition myself in 2009 after almost a decade of some pretty debilitating symptoms and that’s when I decided to become a thyroid expert/ human guinea pig.
It was really to try to figure out what was wrong with me and to see if I could somehow get rid of my symptoms or even reverse my condition. My conventional medicine training didn’t really have a lot of tools and resources for that so I sort of had to blaze my own trail and now I’m sharing that with the rest of the world.
Robyn Openshaw: Tell us about what happened with you and your symptoms because it’s quite a story. If you could see Izabella, we’ll have a photo for you, she’s absolutely gorgeous and you wouldn’t know that something was very, very wrong, but something was very wrong for ten years.
Dr. Wentz: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It started with fatigue. I’m in my first year in college and I jumped out of bed. It’s 9 AM in the morning and I’m running to my final exam. The problem was that the final exam started at 7:30 that morning and this might not be so unusual for a college student except for that the day before I had actually laid down for a nap at 3 PM. This was meant to be like a 15 minute power nap before I started studying but I didn’t wake up until the following morning until 9 AM, and needless to say, I didn’t do so well in that class.
That just sort of continued. I was so tired all the time. I was sleeping for 14 to 16 hours a night, sleeping through alarms. I just could not get out of bed. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. I went to doctors and they said it was all in my head. My loving parents took me to a psychologist who said that I was depressed even though I didn’t really feel depressed.
Of course I wasn’t happy about not doing so well in school because I was very much ambitious and Type A, but nobody was really paying attention to what was going on with my body. They just sort of thought, “You know you’re 18 years old. You had a rough semester at college. Maybe you’re just depressed.” Soon enough I just stop asking for help.
I ended up just getting adjusted to my lifestyle of sleeping for 12 to 14 hours each night. I became to compensate by learning how to be more efficient at studying and not really spending a lot of time doing anything but studying and sleeping. That’s how I got through undergrad and that’s how I got into pharmacy school. Now in pharmacy school, I was given additional challenges, so during my first year I developed irritable bowel syndrome.
That’s kind of a catch all diagnosis. How that manifested for me is that I would have to run out of class in the middle of lecture to go to the bathroom and sometimes I didn’t quite make it to the bathroom because I would have explosive bouts of diarrhea. Sometimes I’d be driving to class and I’d have to pull off on the side of the road to get out.
One awful, awful story was when I was visiting my great aunt in Poland, and my aunt didn’t have a bathroom inside of her house. She was in this really, really old home, and all she had was an outhouse. I didn’t quite make it to the outhouse, so this was just a part of my life. Year after year I started getting more and more symptoms and my world just kept getting smaller so I ended up with panic attacks and anxiety attacks that really prevented me from sharing my voice with the rest of the world.
I would have anxiety speaking up at meetings. I would have anxiety about meeting up with people, so I became very, very withdrawn and I used to be quite the social butterfly. After that I ended up with acid reflux. I ended up with Carpal Tunnel in both arms and hair loss. On top of that I still had the fatigue and my world just getting smaller and smaller where by the time when I was in my mid-20s where I should have been in the prime of my life, my life was really waking up in the morning, going to work, coming home, watching TV as I ate dinner, and passing out on the couch every day.
That was really it.
Robyn Openshaw: That is tragic. What’s exciting is that you figured it out and not only did you figure it out but now you’re making it your career to no longer prescribe drugs but rather teach a lot of people, especially women, about thyroid disease and how to dial it in, how to get it diagnosed, and how to get help, and maybe how to do things that are outside of standard of care medicine.
I’ve shared with my audience a little bit about how I feel I lost seven years of quality of life, like you, not being diagnosed, and just having all these bad things happening. In my case, I was having four babies in less than seven years and they just blamed it on that. When I would say, “I have no energy. I sleep for ten hours and I’m never, ever rested,” and I had hair falling out in handfuls. I had not libido, didn’t want to travel. All the things that I’d always loved, sports and travel and adventures, I wasn’t interested in any of them.
I just wanted to get back in my bed and conserve energy. Conversation of energy was like my priority number one. I didn’t know that I had Hashimoto’s, didn’t know I had low thyroid for seven years, and then when I got diagnosed, I was just treated with, “Here, let’s just throw a pill at it,” and it took me two years to sort of step outside that, do some additional things. Nutrition was the most fundamental, the most key thing that I did.
But tell us about how common Hashimoto’s is? Wouldn’t be bad to talk about relationship between Hashimoto’s and low thyroid and of course there’s plenty of people who have hyper thyroid too, a lesser number. So tell us a little bit about that and tell us about the symptoms of it.
Dr. Wentz: It’s funny because when you say Hashimoto’s, people will think that it’s a rare and exotic condition, but the truth is when we’re doing the right kind of testing for it, we end up with 27% of our population in the United States that has Hashimoto’s. Now, women are 5 to 8 times more likely to have Hashimoto’s than men, and pregnancy, puberty, and perimenopause are three peak times when a woman’s more likely to get diagnosed.
Generally in women I just recommend that every single woman get tested for Hashimoto’s at some point in her lifetime and actually keep retesting every five to ten years because it can be so common. Some of the symptoms that are going to be present, a lot of what the thyroid gland does is it runs our metabolism and it impacts every single cell within our bodies.
A lot of times the symptoms can be very non-specific and people on average go for about ten years being misdiagnosed or not being diagnosed at all or being told that things are in their head or like you were, that you were just a mom and being tired was a part of being a mom. Having multiple kids, that was the reason why you were tired, right?
The symptoms that are going to be present that most women complain about are going to be fatigue. What we had where it’s just so hard to do anything and you’re sleeping a lot more than you normally are used to sleeping and everything sort of becomes a chore. Then we’re looking at another major symptom is going to be weight gain and an inability to lose weight.
These are women that have been doing exactly everything the same. They’ve been exercising the same amount. They’re eating the same exact diet. They’re not sleeping less, sleeping more. Really nothing’s changed except for that their weight just keeps creeping up. For me, it was my sweatpants started getting really tight all of a sudden. I was like, “Wait a minute. Why are my sweatpants getting tight?”
Then we’re looking at mood alterations and changes in brain function. For a lot of times, for a lot of women, this may be misdiagnosed as depression or it may be misdiagnosed as anxiety disorder or panic attack. I have even seen some women who are misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder when they actually had Hashimoto’s.
Other women might present with a more of a sluggish mind where they will have brain fog and they’ll start forgetting things. You kind of walk into a room and forgot why you got there. You’re having trouble with word finding, that kind of thing. That can feel quite scary if you’re a sharp person and you’re used to kind of being on top of the world, and all of the sudden it feels like your mind is escaping you.
Those are probably the three biggest things, but really the thyroid gland can play a role in every part of our body, so women might have hair loss. They might have hair that’s become more difficult to brush or unmanageable. They’re going to have either cold intolerance where if you’re the woman that’s wearing a long sleeved jacket with a scarf and everybody else in your office is in a short sleeved tank top, that’s probably a sign that somethings up about your thyroid.
Some women can actually have issues where they just don’t regulate their body temperature correctly and they actually end up with being hot, like always hot, not matter what the situation is. Then we start looking into pain. Pain can be a very, very common symptom. I had Carpal Tunnel. That’s a pretty classical symptom of thyroid disease. Then we’re also looking at fertility issues. This is a really, really big one.
I know that many women are told that they’re infertile or they have multiple miscarriages when in fact it’s their thyroid.
Robyn Openshaw: That’s really interesting. I actually did not know that that was connected to low thyroid and I had five years of infertility before trying to get treated having four babies in less than seven years. I wonder actually if I had much longer those symptoms showing up … I should mention that I also gained 50 pounds and that was probably the most painful thing about my experience.
One time before I got my thyroid disease diagnosed and treated, I went two weeks eating absolutely nothing except for greens and lean protein. I didn’t even have salad dressing, and in two weeks of eating greens and lean protein I lost exactly zero pounds and went into the practitioner who was tracking me and got on the scale and burst into tears. I also burst into tears when they finally got to the root of it, just to have somebody tell me what it was so that I could then address it and not feel like I was crazy.
How do people get test? And why is it so hard to get diagnosed?
Dr. Wentz: Here’s the problem. The standard of care test is the TSH test, this is the thyroid stimulating hormone, and this is a hormone that gets released when the pituitary senses that there is not enough thyroid hormone circulating in the body. The problem with this is one, there may not always be a good communication pathway between what’s going on within ourselves and between the pituitary, so that’s one potential problem.
The other potential problem is when the reference range for the TSH was first determined, scientists actually had a pool of blood of people who had thyroid disease, so this reference range was overly lax where they said if your TSH was up to ten, your thyroid gland is normal when we know that most women feel best with a TSH somewhere between 0.5 and 2.
Generally a woman without thyroid disease that’s in her 20s/30s should have a TSH somewhere around 1. Anything above a 2 is when I start becoming suspicious. Then the third reason, which is probably the most important reason, is that thyroid disease and the autoimmune process of the body attacking the thyroid gland can be present for ten years before there’s a change in TSH.
So what’s going on in Hashimoto’s is that the body starts to recognize the thyroid gland as the foreign invader and launches an attack against the thyroid gland. This is going to happen in multiple stages. The first stage is just the genetic predisposition. The second stage is when this attack starts on the thyroid gland.
This attack, we’re going to see that a person’s going to start having symptoms. A person’s going to be anxious. They’re going to have mood changes. They’re going to have problems with their weight and they’re more likely to have infertility and miscarriages in that point, but the TSH will still be normal for up to ten years. The key is to find out if the thyroid gland is under attack by the immune system, and the way you do that is through testing for thyroid antibodies.
Thyroid antibodies are made against the thyroid gland when our immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader so the two antibodies to ask for are Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies, TPO antibodies. You can abbreviate it as that. Then Thyroglobulin antibodies and you could abbreviate that as TG. This is something that will catch thyroid disease ten years before a change in TSH is seen which is the standard of care.
Here’s the backward thing. Most doctors will test the TSH first and only if that’s abnormal will they test for thyroid antibodies. It’s kind of silly because the antibodies will be elevated for ten years before the change in TSH is seen. So I also recommend that every woman of child-bearing age, really every women in perimenopause, in menopause, any woman having any of the symptoms we talked about get tested for Hashimoto’s.
Hashimoto’s is progressive so as I mentioned, in the second stage we start seeing the antibodies. In the third stage we start seeing a failure of the thyroid gland which is known as subclinical hypothyroidism, so this is like mild hypothyroidism. The fourth stage we see overt hypothyroidism. This is where most people actually get diagnosed and then the fifth stage is progression to other types of autoimmune conditions.
When you’re in the fourth stage, the important thing to do is to take thyroid hormone but also work at the underlying root causes to try to get your body back into balance and prevent that progression. The challenge with thyroid hormones is that they do nothing to stop the progression of the condition.
Robyn Openshaw: You mentioned root causes and that’s really been your mission, is to help people understand what the root causes are of Hashimoto’s, so tell us what the conventional approach is. Do you want to look at a whole interplay of other factors and then sort of compare that with the conventional approach that you usually get? You’ve already told us usually they just test your TSH which was the case for me.
I was tested, my TSH, and told I was normal and “Go home.”
Dr. Wentz: Right. At a minimum what I really like to see is that women have their TSH, TPO, and TG antibodies, but in some cases we often might recommend testing the levels of hormones, so free T3 and free T4 as well as reverse T3, which basically tells you how your thyroid and the adrenals are interacting if your body is actually producing enough active thyroid hormone.
Then at least one in a lifetime I recommend doing a thyroid ultrasound to look at the structure of the thyroid gland, make sure that there are no nodules, and to make sure that you don’t any kinds of things that may be suspicious. In some cases, the thyroid ultrasounds can actually uncover thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s, even when people don’t have the thyroid antibodies. The majority of people with Hashimoto’s will have antibodies, but there’s also those that are [/the-ro/ 00:18:29] negative Hashimoto’s which means they don’t produce antibodies. But you could catch Hashimoto’s on a thyroid ultrasound as well.
The the conventional root cause is if you get diagnosed in stage two and you just have the thyroid antibodies but no change in TSH, you’ll be told to sort of wait and watch until your thyroid burns itself out. At that point the doctor will say, “Then we can put you on thyroid hormones and then we’re going to keep giving you more and more thyroid hormones as the thyroid gland keeps burning itself out. Then we’re going to just keep testing you for additional autoimmune conditions because once this autoimmune process starts, it doesn’t stop.” It just sort of keeps going.
There’s really no talk about the root causes of the condition. There’s not talk about reversing the condition and really even for people who are on thyroid hormones, there’s only one thyroid hormone that’s given to people, so Levothyroxine. The brand name is Synthroid. It was the number one prescribed drug in two of the last three years.
This drug works well for some people but for others it doesn’t get converted into T3, which is the more active thyroid hormone. A lot of times, women will get diagnosed. They’ll get on a thyroid hormone, the synthetic thyroid hormone, and then they’ll continue to have symptoms, so they’ll say, “You know what doctor? I’m still depressed,” or, “I’m still gaining weight,” or, “My brain is still not attached to my body right,” or, “I’m still tired.”
Usually the response to that is going to be, “Okay, well eat less. Exercise more if you still have too much weight. If you are fatigued or depressed, then go see a psychiatrist,” when in fact a lot of these things could be resolved by taking a different type of thyroid hormone known as natural desiccated thyroid hormone or doing a combination of T3 and T4 hormones.
That’s oftentimes one of the things that’s a really, really big miss is getting a person to feel better. The other really big miss is actually reversing the condition, which as a pharmacist I’m always thinking about how do I optimize hormones, yes but also how do I reverse the condition and what do I do to have it stop manifesting in the body?
Robyn Openshaw: So many people with undiagnosed thyroid disease. I don’t think you’ve mentioned how many of us are affected.
Dr. Wentz: Yeah, so up to 27% of the population is affected with thyroid disease and we know that women are more commonly affected. For every man that’s diagnosed, 5 to 8 women have it, and so we end up looking at, when we’re looking at a population of women, it’s a very, very common condition. I would say one in two or maybe one in three women are going to be affected at some point in their lifetime.
Robyn Openshaw: Which brings us to you have, I know, a theory about why women have more thyroid disorders. Will you share that with us? It will be important to any women listening.
Dr. Wentz: Yeah, so when we talk about some of the root causes of thyroid disease, they could be having too many toxins in the body or not being able to get rid of toxins, chronic infections, nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, impaired gut wall. There’s a variety of these different types of root causes and triggers, and when I try to step back and think about what do all these things have in common, I really start thinking about what kind of messages do these types of triggers send to our body.
And the overarching message is is that we’re not safe and this is not a good time to use a lot of energy for creation and that we need to go back into conservation mode. When you think about women, obviously you having had four children, I think you realized that you had a little bit more responsibility than your husband did in bringing new life into this world, right? From a body perspective of how much that impacted your body, right?
Robyn Openshaw: Well, from all perspectives actually.
Dr. Wentz: Right. Of course, it’s the woman’s body that needs to be in tune to our surroundings and our environment to determine if this is the best time to reproduce, if this is the best time to actually have a baby, to be out in the world, or is this a better time to kind of withdraw back into the cave and kind of conserve energy and resources. When you think about what the thyroid does and its effect on fertility, its effect on metabolism, when the thyroid gland senses danger and there are actually studies that show that it can sense danger and send chemical messengers to the rest of the body when danger is sensed.
The thyroid gland is actually protective for us. When you think about our ancient bodies that were around during cavewoman times, whenever there was a famine when there was not enough food, the people that were more likely to survive were people that had a slower metabolism because they were the ones that were able to survive on fewer amount of calories, and so this is what the thyroid gland does, is it slows down our metabolism and helps us survive.
Women who were pregnant were also less likely to survive during a famine because they had to not just feed themselves but also they had to feed the growing child inside of them. What the thyroid does is whenever there’s a sense of danger and a lot of times this could be through food, that’s one of the simplest ways to send the thyroid gland a signal that we’re in danger, it’s going to shut us down.
What I really like to think about is what are the things in our modern environment that are sending these danger signals to our body, that’s telling our body to “Hey, let’s slow things down. This is not a good time to create new hair, to reproduce, to be outgoing, to travel. This is a really good time to conserve resources.” That’s the whole reason why women have more thyroid disease compared to men is because we’re more adapt to sensing the danger signals within our environment.
Robyn Openshaw: Interesting. I hear you saying that the emotional states that we live, the emotions that we give most of our time and energy to, affect our thyroid. Talk about that. Talk about how you can send safety signals to the body, the thyroid, to help live in higher vibrations.
Dr. Wentz: So the thyroid gland may not always be picking up on the right kind of signals. We can send it these danger signals by our thoughts or our habits and patterns within our life and there’s a lot of studies that show the affect that trauma has had women and men in their early life where they end up having chronic illness later on in life, so there are studies that have connected alterations in thyroid hormone profiles to victims of sexual abuse, victims of physical abuse, and they’ve also found that women with “battered woman syndrome” are more likely to have issues like fibromyalgia and asthma which are very much connected with autoimmune thyroid disease.
Other types of messages that the body can get when we are abused, when we do experience trauma, we end up with patterns that are basically protective when you think about it. They do shape us in a negative way, so a person that’s been abused may be more likely to have negative thought patterns about the world and about themselves, and even these negative thought patterns and beliefs that we have can actually exacerbate and trigger thyroid disease.
I don’t think it’s so far of a stretch to say that a woman who has very high standards for herself and is always beating herself up, I don’t think it would be a very far stretch to say that this person might actually end up, their body might actually follow suit and start attacking a part of themselves as well.
Robyn Openshaw: Which is what thyroid disease is, of course, is autoimmune is our body actually turning on itself. You said to me earlier that thyroid disease can be a sign that you’re not living in alignment with your purpose. I thought that was really interesting in keeping with what we talk about a lot on this show. Tell us more about that.
Dr. Wentz: The whole going back to what is making you feel unsafe and what’s causing you stress. For a lot of women this can actually be because they’re doing something in their lives that they know that they shouldn’t and they’re constantly pumping out stress hormones. Whenever we live a life that’s not aligned with our purpose, there’s going to be a part of us that’s going to be rejecting this, and there’s going to be a part of us that’s going to be wishing we were somewhere else whether that is a job that we hate or whether that’s a relationship that we wish we were no longer in or we feel like we can’t do better at this time.
There’s going to be a low level of inflammation from these thought patterns that are going to send these signals to our bodies to let our bodies know that this is not a good time for us and to start suppressing some of that creativity within us.
Robyn Openshaw: That seems really important. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. As you know, I just turned 50, so I been thinking a lot about how I want my 50s to look and how do I make that the very best decade of my life. Something that really comes to me, I’ve been preoccupied with lately is how to tune in faster when something is making me feel uncomfortable or unsafe or not in alignment with my goals, and sometimes that can be a joint venture partner in business. It can be something that my child is saying to me that makes me feel off.
I was raised with a lot of dogmas that all my energies were screaming no, and I want to get better at getting in alignment and staying in flow and I think what you’re telling me is that my thyroid wants me to also.
Dr. Wentz: Yeah, absolutely, and I don’t know if you’re a believer in the whole chakras system. As a scientist of course, I didn’t necessarily believe in it at first until I started working with thousands of women, but the throat chakra, so self-expression, is actually placed at the thyroid gland. The patterns that I’ve seen in women with thyroid disease is that they do suppress a part of themselves. A lot of times they struggle with shyness or they struggle with shame.
Something happened in their lifetimes that led them to have a lot of shame, and so they end up having these negative thought patterns and part of them is suppressed, and this suppression of self-expression actually can lead to a lot of thyroid problems. I wouldn’t have believed it if you had told me a few years ago, but then I would have these women who were taking the perfect supplements and on the right diet and doing everything “right” from the physical standpoint.
But when they were missing that whole mind-body piece and they were missing that whole inner work, they would continue to get sick and they would get worse. We would have them get better with nutrition and then all of the sudden, things would get worse for them. We’d clear an infection and all of the sudden they’d get another one.
Really, the underlying patterns of your thought process and expressing yourself and living aligned with your purpose, this is how you stay well, and this is how you stay in remission. For a lot of my clients, getting sick has been an awaking process where the first thing they do is maybe they change their diet and all of the sudden they’re like, “Oh wow. When I’m eating this certain way, I don’t have acid reflux and I don’t have stomach aches. Maybe my body was trying to tell me something.”
Then they start identifying patterns with their lives where they realize that their body is sending them signals all along the way. Maybe it was a person in their life that was highly toxic and their body was actually rejecting this. This past summer I was working with somebody who wasn’t really in alignment with my goals and I was trying to be polite and I was trying to be respective but I kept having acid reflux which I haven’t had for many, many years since I got rid of dairy in my diet. That was pretty much the reason why I had acid reflux, because dairy wasn’t working for my body.
I kept getting this acid reflux every time this person was around, and finally when I expressed myself to this person, the acid reflux went away. It’s just like amazing what our bodies are trying to tell us and they’re in constant communication with us. I encourage women to think about their illness not as a tragedy but a way of our trying to tell us something.
Robyn Openshaw: It’s been interesting to see how that awakening for you has also led to shifts going from this Newtonian thinking that everything is mechanistic and for every ill there’s a pill to being aware of, open to, embracing things like the body’s chakra system which is an art and a science that’s evolved for 5,000 years. We kind of jump in and out of Newtonian thinking about mechanistic ways of looking at biology and physics and medicine to more Einsteinian things that we talk about here on this show.
Let’s jump back for a quick second because there’s one question that I wanted to ask you that’s pretty Newtonian still. What are nutrient deficiencies that you believe most people with Hashimoto’s have?
Dr. Wentz: Yeah absolutely. So nutrient deficiencies are a very important root cause. Some of the biggest ones are going to be selenium. Taking 200 micrograms per day can help a person recover their thyroid function, help conversion of the T4 to the more active T3. A lot of times we see women’s thyroid antibodies which indicate how aggressive the condition is drop by about half within three months. Best of all anxiety resolves. Palpitations usually resolve, and then hair comes back. That’s one really big one.
Another one that I oftentimes recommend that I think is really under appreciated in thyroid disease is thiamine. Thiamine is B1 and we used to think that this was only deficient in people who were alcoholics. This is what I learned in pharmacy school, but lo and behold, B1 is also slightly deficient in people with thyroid disease and this can lead to significant fatigue.
This can lead to feeling exhausted, having low blood sugar, having low blood pressure, having blood sugar swings, having mood swings, having brain fog. You can actually overcome all of this within three days if you start taking a thiamine supplement. I recommend Benfothiamine at 600 mgs per day. I wrote a blog post about this a few years back and I still get hugs from strangers at conferences who are like, “Your thiamine recommendation changed my life.”
Last week I got a message from a woman who was actually on disability because she was just too exhausted and debilitated to work, and once she started taking thiamine, she was able to go back to work part time and now she’s working full time again, and it’s like one of those simple fixes that I think everybody should know about and at least try.
If within three days time it doesn’t work for you, then it probably isn’t a relevant issue for you, but for some women it’s completely turned their health around. The other deficiencies we’re going to see are going to be ones that I recommend testing for. Testing your vitamin D levels is really important, testing B12 and then ferritin is also very, very important.
Thiamine and selenium is something that you can do not necessarily with a doctor’s supervision. It’s always good to let your doctor know, but you’re not necessarily going to find this as a deficiency in a lab test.
Robyn Openshaw: We’ll write these down in the show notes. Tell me about the connection between gut and thyroid.
Dr. Wentz: This is a huge, huge connection. Not many people realize this, but the fetal origin of gut cells and thyroid cells is the same, so the thyroid gland is made of the same cells that the gut is made from. What ends up happening is every single person with a thyroid condition has a leaky gut and the leaky gut plays an important role in triggering the thyroid condition.
If you can address the health of the gut, you can actually start seeing improvements in the the thyroid, so anything you do, that you can do, whether that’s changing up your food sensitivities or your nutrient deficiencies, or figuring out if you have chronic infections within the gut or digestive enzyme issues. This is going to help you recover your thyroid function. It’s quite amazing because you think, “Okay, so you’ve got a thyroid problem. Why would you go after the gut?” And that’s exactly what you need to do.
You’ll start seeing a big reduction in thyroid symptoms once you address your gut health.
Robyn Openshaw: One more thing you kind of alluded to it there, you know a lot about this, but most people don’t make the connection between infections and Hashimoto’s. Is it just gut infections?
Dr. Wentz: It could be gut infections. Definitely they can trigger Hashimoto’s. For some people it could be an infected tooth. It could be a sinus infection that drips into the gut. I could be an infection actually inside of the thyroid gland such as a viral infection. Epstein-Barr virus I is a common infection in Hashimoto’s.
Really, any infection, any chronic low grade infection can set off the autoimmune cascade because it can either cause your gut to be leaky or it can cause your body to accidentally the thyroid gland when it’s meaning to attack the infection.
Robyn Openshaw: Okay, so moving back into the Einsteinian realm here, you sent me a really cool chart today and it was about a whole variety of low vibration and high vibration emotions. Tell me about that chart. We’ll put it in the show notes because I hadn’t seen that before. It’s our kind of stuff that we love here on the show, but tell us about that and thyroid.
Dr. Wentz: There’s a wonderful book, “Power Versus Force,” and it talks about the various types of frequencies that we experience when we different types of emotions. When you look at the bottom of the chart it talks about some of the low frequency emotions and these are going to be things like shame and these are going to be things like anger.
When you think about when a person is first diagnosed with a thyroid conditions, a lot of times they may be ashamed because they think they brought this onto themselves. They may feel guilty. Or they may actually feel angry and maybe feel sorry for themselves. Those are lower frequency types of feelings. If you want to start thinking about healing and really transcending and taking the opportunity to transform your health as a result of your health condition, we want to start thinking about empowerment.
That’s really the first level of raising your frequency is becoming educated and empowered and realizing that this perhaps has a purpose and that it’s up to you to recover your health. I know a lot of times when I first start working with people or they first come and see me on the internet, they’ll say, “Wow, I just wish I could find somebody to save me. I just wish I could find that one doctor or that one pill,” but really the people that I see recovering their health are the ones that show up with courage.
They show up and learn what they can and they empower themselves and they build a team around them to help them. We end up seeing people who forgive themselves, people who have self-compassion, these are the people that recover their health. The ones that get stuck in hopelessness and regret and anxiety and whatnot, they continue to struggle on with their health and they sort of get caught up in that lower frequency where infections are more likely to be present and disease is more likely to be present.
Robyn Openshaw: That was really a perfect bridge from our friendly little thyroid gland we need so much to the thought that we’re trying to live a higher vibration life. I want to compliment you, Izabella, for talking about things that since you’re talking about the low vibration emotion of shame. I was a university professor for many years. I taught for 21 straight semesters and almost every semester, every class I had a student come up to me and say, “Hey before the semester gets started I just want to let you know that I’m going to be running for the door most days and I want you to know it’s not you, and I don’t want you to be upset with me, but I have irritable bowel or I have Crohn’s,” or you know any of these inflammatory gut diseases.
For the sake of the inspiration here, you disappeared that with some dietary changes didn’t you?
Dr. Wentz: Exactly. Within three days of getting off of gluten and dairy, my irritable bowl syndrome and my acid reflux were gone. I had the IBS for almost a decade and the acid reflux for almost three years every day and I was on multiple medications for both conditions and yeah, I haven’t had these since 2011.
Robyn Openshaw: You know that’s really inspiring and exciting and it shows you the power of our diet which is as foundational for your life’s work as it is for mine. Where can people get more information about you? Where can they follow you? And tell us a little bit about your book.
Dr. Wentz: I have a new book coming out called, “Hashimoto’s Protocol,” and this is a step-by-step approach on how people can recover their health. Over the course of the last few years, I’ve worked with thousands of people with Hashimoto’s, and I’ve found that there are fundamental things that people can do regardless of their root cause to help themselves feel better.
I have fundamental protocols in the book. Liver, adrenal, and gut support where we kick off your healing and then we also have some assessments to help you figure out what kind of tests you need to do to further tweak your body, how to work with your doctor. Part of what we’re doing for people that choose to get the book, we also have a practitioner database of people who are practitioners that can help you not just with getting on the right thyroid hormones but also with the root cause approach to try to unravel some of these more challenging root causes that you may have.
And if you go to ThyroidPharmacist.Com/Gift we’re going to have some really fantastic resources for you to help you get started on your journey, so I have a whole guide about addressing your nutrient depletions in digestion. This is often times going to be a first step to feeling better when you can get those things dialed in.
Then I also have some guidelines for how to be on a gluten-free and dairy-free which is very, very relevant for probably at least 90% of people with Hashimoto’s and can produce remission about 20% of the time. I have a quick start guide for you so that you do the right way and don’t do anything where you make the same mistakes I did, so you guys can get that over on my website, ThyroidPharmacist.Com/Gift.
Robyn Openshaw: Izabella Wentz you’re an absolute delight. Your story is an inspiration, and you’re a wealth of knowledge. Thank you for sharing everything that you’ve brought to the world about how we can get healthy again after thyroid disease.
Dr. Wentz: Robyn thank you so much for the work that you’re doing. I’m really, really excited about your work, and I love the message, the empowering message that you bring to the world.
Robyn Openshaw: So there you have it. Check the show notes at GreenSmoothieGirl.Com/Episode28 to get the very specific supplement recommendations that Dr. Izabella Wentz has recommended for anyone who thinks that they might have a thyroid issue, and make sure you pick up her book, “Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan For Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back.” See you next time.