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More than thirty-five million Americans currently suffer from Hashimoto’s—an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland and causes the body to attack its own cells. To alleviate the symptoms of this debilitating condition—including chronic cough, acid reflux, IBS, allergies, chronic pain, hair loss, brain fog, and forgetfulness—patients are often prescribed synthetic hormones that have numerous life-altering side effects. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at twenty-seven, pharmacist Dr. Izabella Wentz knows first-hand the effects of the disease, as well as the value—and limitations—of medication.
The key to improved health, she argues, involves lifestyle interventions. In Hashimoto’s Protocol, she outlines a proven treatment that has helped thousands heal and many others feel better—in as fast as ninety days.
– Welcome back to The Urban Monk. I am happily in Southern California where the weather is turning warm and it’s so yummy. It just reminds you why you live here. I just went outside, had a bowl of soup. I got a buddy in town. It’s just three of us out there in the sun going, “Yeah.” In about three weeks from now it’ll be the eternal summer. It’ll be 95 degrees and you can’t sit out there anymore. It’s nice bing inland and being in perfect weather. I am back in studio in California this week and I am happy, very happy, to have a good friend of mine on the show. I don’t know if I’ve ever had her on the show, which is weird because we’ve just kind of missed each other in schedule, but Dr. Izabella Wentz is a pharmacist who has revolutionized the way we look at thyroid and she had problems herself, and was just like, “Fuck that,” and looked into it and started to figure out why she was feeling the way she was and she was able to turn around a health condition that was really debilitating. Now, she is vibrant. She is healthy and she has helped, I think by now, millions of people deal with their thyroid issues, so welcome. Welcome to The Urban Monk.
– Hey, Pedram. It’s so great to be here with you. I’m so excited we’re hanging out.
– I know, seriously. So, you live in Colorado and I hardly ever get to see you. Her and her husband are friends and we kick around in some of the same circles. There’s people out there, I have to say no names, no names, no names, but there are people in the health industry that are just doing the kind of same old, same old in health and they’re just kind of playing that game, and then there’s the people that are actually just breaking concrete and still going and drilling down and changing things, and you’ve made quite a mess of the establishment recently with your work. You’ve actually broken up a lot of old thinking and had to do it, and it all started with your own inquiry.
– Absolutely. So, I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition after almost a decade of some pretty debilitating symptoms. I was a pharmacist at that time. It just didn’t make sense to me that I had this thyroid condition that had just come out of nowhere and I was just supposed to take thyroid hormone while my body attacked itself. Most thyroid conditions are because there’s an autoimmune component, so the immune system is attacking our thyroid gland. So, I went to the top endocrinologist in Los Angeles and I said, “OK, what are we gonna do? “What are we gonna do? “I need to address this condition. “I need to figure out what caused it, “and I need to do everything in my power “to take charge of my own health,” and they said, “You’re gonna be trouble, aren’t you?”
– Stop being that way.
– And so, of course I never meant any trouble. I just really wanted to feel better and the medications helped, of course, a little bit, so I went from sleeping for 12 hours to 11 hours a night, and then all of a sudden I realized that Southern California was not as cold as I once thought it was. So, I went from sleeping under just two blankets to finally just one blanket. But still, I kept having panic attacks, anxiety, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome. I had these sexy braces on each arm. I had carpal tunnel that was so bad that I couldn’t do yoga. I couldn’t do any reports at work and I just got tired of it. I was like, “This is not working for me. “I need to figure out something different.” Nothing that I learned in school was really helping, although the fact that I learned how to research, so I just started researching for my health, and one by one as I started to change my lifestyle and started to figure out what some of my triggers were, I was able to recover my health and to start shedding some of those symptoms. When you’re chronically fatigued for about 10 years you become really efficient and really effective at what you do because you’re either sleeping and then you have to get shit done. So, once I got my energy back and once I had all this surplus of hours in a day I just decided to take thyroid disease as a personal life mission and put out a book about Hashimoto’s, how to recover from that. That became a New York Times best-seller. I created a documentary. I’m just really trying to shake up the system and let people know that there’s this condition that’s probably the reason why you’re having all these crazy symptoms, and that you can do things to recover from it, and a lot of times the answers are not in your doctor’s office. A lot of times, these are the things you do in your day to day life that can help you recover your health.
– So, what is Hashimoto’s by definition? Let’s look at, because a lot of people have that diagnosis, and so what do we know officially and what do we know now?
– Right, so it’s thought to be a rare condition. That’s kind of the official mind frame is that it was a rare condition. Now, we’re looking at the data and information out there. At least 27% of the population in the U.S. has this condition, but it’s not caught at the right time. What it is is basically the immune system decides to recognize the thyroid gland as a foreign invader and attacks it much like it would a pathogen, and so it’s our own body attacking our thyroid gland. Eventually, that leads to the breakdown of the thyroid gland and we can no longer produce thyroid hormones. For the first 10 years that you have this condition your thyroid is being attacked and you’re having all these symptoms, panic attacks, anxiety, infertility, miscarriages, weight gain, fatigue, and you go to the doctor and they tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you because they don’t do the right kind of testing. The TSH test is the test that gets elevated when a significant portion of the thyroid gland has been damaged, where the thyroid gland can no longer make enough thyroid hormone, and most people get diagnosed 10, 15 years after the whole disease process starts. For me, it was about 10 years.
– So, you go into your average, kind of run of the mill medical doctor’s office. They’re not running this test. They don’t know to run this test or insurance doesn’t pay for this test. How backwards are we?
– Oh my gosh, it’s so silly. Insurance does pay for these tests. They’re thyroid antibody tests. They’re very inexpensive and if you were to buy them out of pocket through a private lab it would be under $100 for both tests all together, but they say that the doctor’sguidelines from insurance guidelines or whatever they learned from their practices or school, is that they should first test the TSH, and then if that is elevated then they can test the antibodies, which is kind of backwards because the antibodies are elevated for 10 to 15 years before the TSH does, and the antibodies basically mean that the thyroid gland is under attack.
– It’s the ultimate wisdom of the allopathic model gone wrong, right? Let’s just wait for it to break and then they can do drugs to fix it. Oh, I’m sorry, not fix it. It’s so ass backwards.
– Yeah, it’s definitely ass backwards and it’s silly because I’ve had clients and patients who have said, “Well, they found out that I had this, “but they said that my thyroid gland wasn’t damaged enough “and to come back when it was fully damaged “and then they would help me.” But, here I am having panic attacks and anxiety and I’m overweight and they were like, “Oh, well maybe you should take antidepressants,” and it’s really frustrating because lifestyle interventions and definitely having the right kind of thyroid hormone can significantly help a person. People can use psychiatric diagnoses when they get the right treatment.
– Amazing. So, you’re on Prozac. You’re on all sorts of sleeping pills. You’re taking all sorts of crazy things to make up for this really misdiagnosed thing and one in five people are walking around with this.
– Yeah, I mean 27% of the general population in the U.S., if you do more advanced testing, has this condition in the various different stages whether it’s in the early stages or the late advanced stages where, I didn’t mention this, but the fourth stage is when we have the thyroid gland is almost completely destroyed and the fifth stage is when the autoimmunity continues and the immune system starts to attack a different part of the body, and so it’s kind of scary when you don’t do anything about it ’cause it can be progressive.
– So, let’s look at this autoimmunity thing because I think a lot of people, we’ve been hearing about it more and more, but to understand how this diet thing could lead to this autoimmunity thing and to bridge the gap of the molecular similarities and some of the things that would drive antibodies to start being synthesized for thyroid tissue.
– So, there’s a few different ways that it works. In some people, when they have Celiac disease, that’s been pretty documented that gluten can cause them to attack their own thyroid gland. There’s some cross-reactive proteins on the gluten molecule that looks similar to the thyroid gland. I kind of like to think of it as the immune system is walking around with an iPhone and taking snapshots of all the different proteins out there and then it’s showing it around and saying, “This is who we need to attack.” And then, it’s a case of mistaken identity in that case where the immune system starts reacting to the food and then it also reacts to anything that looks like the food. So, that’s one subset. The other subset is governed by the IgG part of the immune system. There’s a few different ways that the immune system can react to various things. One of them is known as allergies and this is governed by the IgE part of the immune system. This is something where if you’re allergic to peanuts you will have anaphylaxis. You’ll have difficulty breathing. You’re gonna know because you’re gonna have hives if you have this horrible reaction. With IgG reactions, this is a delayed type four hypersensitivity reaction where you eat a food and then your body creates an immune response to it. Now, this is usually seen in symptoms in the gut, joint pain, brain fog, sometimes skin breakouts, irritability, those kinds of things. The other interesting thing that not many people are aware of is Hashimoto’s is also a type four delayed hypersensitivity reaction that’s governed by the IgG branch. So, in a way, whenever we eat these foods that cause a IgG reaction, we’re up-regulating that system to keep attacking the thyroid gland. So, in very simple terms, there’s foods that basically drive up the attack on the thyroid gland whenever we eat them.
– So, obviously avoid those foods, and then what kind of interventions are we talking about? What does one have to do to start coming back from the precipice and get the body to kind of stop attacking itself?
– You know, with Hashimoto’s and with just about every autoimmune disease, there’s gonna be six different things that cause it. Food sensitivities are one that we just talked about, nutrient deficiencies, an impaired ability to handle stress, toxins, a leaky gut as well as chronic infections. What all these things have in common is they send a signal of danger to the body and they let the body know that we’re not safe in this environment. So, let’s say if we were eating foods that were inflammatory to us, cavemen, cavewomen wouldn’t be doing that unless there was a famine. If we are nutrient depleted because we’re eating processed foods, usually that also sends a message to our ancient bodies with ancient genes that there’s a famine. Same thing with chronic stress, same thing with toxins in our environment, and what happens based on adaptive physiology is the body tries to slow itself down whenever our environment is not safe, and so the fastest way to slow the body down is to slow down the metabolism, ensure survival is to attack the thyroid and create an autoimmune response within the thyroid to kind of slow things down. So, the easiest way to reverse this condition is create a sense of safety within your body and this could be done through numerous ways, and just one of the great ways is to start thinking positive thoughts, and not that positive thoughts are gonna help you overcome everything, but it’s a step in the right direction. So, doing things where you put yourself and you go from the fight or flight state to a rest, digest, and heal state whenever you can do that, that’s gonna help you. So, sleeping more, cutting out caffeine, incorporating helpful, relaxing routines in your life. Ninety-five percent of people with Hashimoto’s say that stress is a significant trigger for them, so that’s gonna be one of the key things is addressing stress. I know that The Urban Monk is the king of stress reduction.
– And creation if you ask my wife.
– Right, and it’s a matter of how you handle the stress. Part of it might be rewiring your brain and getting yourself in kind of a more of a relaxed state. The other thing is to take away the things that are causing you inflammation. A lot of times these are gonna be foods. Gluten, dairy and soy is what I have people starting with. Then I have them make sure they’re nutrient sufficient. Sometimes taking nutrients that cost $20 a month can help rebalance the immune system and can help people feel significantly better like eliminating fatigue in three days. And then, we’re looking at how do we support the body’s own capabilities? How do we clear out our toxins out of the body? How do we support our gut function? Whenever we do those things we start seeing the symptoms melting away and going away one by one.
– You mentioned in your Hashimoto’s protocol that it’s about a 90 day plan. We live in this world where everyone’s like six pack abs in seven minutes, and it’s just all this kind of instant gratification. What is it doing? Why is 90 days the important threshold? What’s happening with the cells? What do we need to patient with in order to actually start healing?
– That’s a really great question, and as far as the cells go, generally with the immune cells that produce the antibodies, we’re gonna need about 90 days to see a complete turnaround in the function of those cells and to see the full impact. We’re gonna see some trends within 30 days of making lifestyle changes in those objective markers. The cool thing is in the subjective markers like symptoms we actually start seeing improvement within the first two weeks of the Hashimoto’s protocol. The first two weeks is based on liver support and 65 to 75% of my clients who have gone through the liver support and people who have gone through my program will say that they feel significantly better within just the first week or two of liver support. I had one client who had multiple chemical sensitivities and headaches, joint pain, fatigue, all kinds of classical thyroid symptoms, and she was started on the liver support. This was right around Christmas, and she called me and said, “Wow, I’m at the mall “with my kids for the first time in years, “and I can finally walk past those Yankee Candle stores “without having a choking fit from all the chemicals,” and this is something that happens once you start supporting your own body’s natural detox capabilities is we get rid of some of that toxic backlog and the symptoms start to vanish.
– Interesting. And so, most people don’t realize how toxic they are because if you’re surrounded by it, you’re in a loud bar with a bunch of drunk people eventually you start yelling, too.
– I always do.
– You have no choice, right? And so, when you’re in our environment where all the perfumes and the creams and the topicals and all these things that overload the liver are constantly there and you’re always kind of on that threshold, then that fuse is really short. So, you’re saying that even with all of this cellular regeneration or all the things that need to happen for the system to chill out and the IgG numbers to come down and all that, just helping the body’s detox pathways, symptomatically, just bam, starts to make people feel better.
– Absolutely, and I like to think of the analogy as kind of an overburdened, overworked government office worker with a stack of papers on her desk, and she’s trying to get through the papers and then somebody else comes up and is like, “Here’s more papers.” That might be fluoride, or here’s more papers, here’s some endocrine disrupting chemicals. She flips out and she says, “Don’t give me more stuff. “I’m freaking out here. “I can barely get through this,” and that’s essentially what happens when we have thyroid disease and autoimmunity. Thyroid disease specifically, people are not sweating enough. They don’t have that ability to get rid of toxins through sweat. That’s a symptom of thyroid disease. Their gut is always gonna be impaired so they’re not cutting toxins that way, and then all this pressure and all of these toxins basically go into the liver and they keep recirculating so it’s like that passport that you apply for or that driver’s license. It’s taking you six months to hear back from it when it should take her 10 to 15 minutes to process, and when you give this government worker an assistant or somebody that can help her efficiently process that, so you give her some support, then all these things happen and she’s happier. That’s what we’re doing with the liver protocol is we’re giving the liver support through different nutrients, and herbs, amino acids, functional foods, as well as we’re sort of taking away the low-hanging fruit. So, the toxins in our environment like the gluten, dairy and soy, which are toxic to people who have overburdened systems, the fluoride we’re taking away, the triclosan, the endocrine disruptors in make-up, and it’s just amazing what happens when you give the body that opportunity to heal on its own and to sort of breathe and have some time with fresh air and smell the roses.
– Most people who have not done that will never know. If you haven’t done a proper detox you don’t know how light you can feel. You don’t know how good you can feel and so many people are just walking around so burdened that it just created challenges, and you’ll never see the other side of that unless you do it, so you gotta clean up. You gotta clean the mess. I got a question about glandulars. I know it’s kind of taboo because if they’re not vegan, but a lot of doctors really recommend them. What’s your take on that? Is that just a bandaid overlying the actual autoimmune issue here?
– Glandulars can be controversial in some circles. What I’ve found is that glandulars are actually very, very helpful for people with thyroid disease, especially from early stages from stage two on to stage five, when they have some damage to the thyroid gland. The glandulars can really help a person feel significantly better, and if you’re getting natural desiccated thyroid hormone like WP Thyroid, they’re very well tested so you know exactly what’s in them and they’re bioidentical to what we would normally make within our own thyroid glands. It’s one of those interventions that’s very, very helpful and I always recommend it along with lifestyle changes because let’s face it, thyroid tissue, it’s much, much easier to prevent the damage to it than it is to regenerate and regrow new tissue. We do have interventions in Hashimoto’s Protocol that can help accelerate tissue regeneration, but generally most people, if they have some damage to the thyroid gland, they’re gonna feel significantly better with some hormones, but the deal is people don’t want to just stop there because if you were just to take hormones, the autoimmunity can just keep progressing. It’s like having a bucket with a hole in it and you just keep pouring more and more and more water into the bucket rather than plugging up the whole, and that’s what the lifestyle and functional medicine does is we aim to plug up the hole in the bucket.
– Yeah, makes life so much easier, doesn’t it? We got a question from the audience. I’ll push to Sean over here.
– [Sean] So, we got one from Sharon. She said is this protocol suitable for hyperthyroidism?
– [Sean] Yeah.
– Sharon wants to know if the protocol is suitable for hyperthyroidism.
– Hashimoto’s and Graves disease, Graves disease causes an overactive thyroid. Hashimoto’s causes an underactive thyroid and it’s actually, I almost want to say the same condition because it’s still an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, it just so happens that a different part of the thyroid gland is attacked. So, the liver, adrenal and gut protocols and pretty much every single advanced protocol will apply to hyperthyroidism. The only thing that a person would modify is instead of trying to increase their thyroid hormones like we’re doing in underactive thyroid, we would want to suppress the thyroid hormones in hyperthyroid, and there’s a intervention there known as low does Naltrexone, which is the least toxic of the medications to do that and there’s also some herbal interventions that can help with suppressing the thyroid function until the body rebalances itself.
– How much does exercise weigh in on this, just getting the body moving?
– The exercise, it depends. It depends on how the person is doing within their adrenals. I see a lot of people who can induce thyroid disease in themselves with extreme diet and extreme exercise because again, our primitive cavemen bodies think that we’re being chased by tigers and bears, and so what we found is when we give a person a spa month if they’re in the advanced stress dysfunction, where we have them pretty much rest for a month and just do very light exercise, they can recover and lose weight. It’s gonna depend on the person, of course, and what degree of dysfunction they have, and I have some assessments to help you determine where you are in the exercise scale, but one big clue or hint is when you’re done exercising you should feel better than you did before you started the exercise and you should feel like you could do that once more again. If not, if you feel like, “Wow, I feel more tired “and I feel like I could not do that again,” that means that exercise is too much for you, and generally muscle building exercises like Pilates, yoga, weight-lifting are gonna be more helpful for people who have autoimmune thyroid disease than people who are doing running or extreme sports.
– Got it. So, build up some mitochondria, build up better ability to metabolize sugars and build some resilience against stress, which is also what some of those exercises tend to do, the gift that keeps on giving.
– Exactly. The whole beginning of my book, the foundational protocol is all about building resilience like you said.
– Yeah, Lord knows we could use it in our world. So, the book is called The Hashimoto’s Protocol, Izabella Wentz, a dear friend. Book is out now, and here’s what I saw this morning. The book is number two on Amazon behind Bill O’Reilly. I want my friend to be number one, so if you’re listening to this right now please go on to Amazon and by the book and leave a comment, a nice comment if you will, and let’s help this book be number one and really rise to the top. This is a serious piece of work. Izabella does her homework and she is one of the leading experts in the field. If you’re suffering from the fatigue we’ve been talking about, if you’re suffering from the brain fog and the moodiness and you suspect, even suspect, that you have something going on with your thyroid, it is important to know what’s going on. I highly recommend this and I say again go to Amazon right now and get the book and let’s put this book number one and let’s get this in the hands of more people, ’cause this is how this works, by the way. This isn’t just like us trying to win on a scoreboard, is when a book becomes number one, then all of a sudden other people pick it up and then you get it cross-exposed to multiple audiences. So, if your stated goal is to help more and more people, that level of exposure, these little bumps and accolades make a big difference, ’cause then you end up being able to put this in front of this group which is seven million people in this. If we’re talking 27% of our population, that is a lot of people that are needlessly suffering. Let’s help them. Let’s help them. Get a book. Get one for you friend. Help share it and let’s get this going. Izabella, I wish you the best with this. You have my undying support. I love you. I love your husband. We go way back, and I know what it takes to go into the cave and write a book and you write smarter books than I do. I just talk shit compared to what you’re doing. You’re doing a lot of research on the medical studies to get into to all this, and so this is important that people understand that there’s more than what their street doctor is saying, and a lot of times, those guys’ hands are tied. They’re playing by rules that don’t serve us but serve the business of medicine and that sucks. That’s not what we’re in this for. We’re in this to help people. So again, get the book, Hashimoto’s Protocol, Amazon. Let me know once you’ve read it what you think and let’s open up a discussion to see how we can get more and more people waking up to the fact that maybe they don’t feel well because of some internal reason. Stop blaming yourself for being moody and having brain fog. There might be a reason why. Let me know what you think. This is Dr. Pedram Shojai, The Urban Monk. Izabella, thank you so much for being here.
– Thank you so much for having me, Pedram. It’s been a pleasure.
– Always a pleasure. I’ll see you next time.