Podcast #118 Dr. Izabella Wentz: Everything Counts For Your Thyroid Health

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Dr. Izabella Wentz Podcast: Everything Counts For Your Thyroid HealthToday's Guest

Izabella Wentz, Pharm.D., FASCP is a passionate, innovative and solution focused clinical pharmacist.  She has had a passion for health care from a very early age, inspired by her mother, Dr. Marta Nowosadzka, MD.

Fascinated by science and the impact of substances on the human body, Izabella decided to pursue a degree in pharmacy with a dream of one day finding a cure for a disease. An avid learner and goal-oriented student, she received the PharmD. Degree (Doctor of Pharmacy) from the Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy at the age of 23.

After graduation, she excelled at numerous roles including working as a community pharmacist, a clinical consulting pharmacist and later a medication safety pharmacist. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, and holds certifications in Medication Therapy Management as well as Advanced Diabetes Care.

During her time as a consultant pharmacist, Dr. Wentz worked as part of an interdisciplinary team consulting on thousands of complicated patient cases, often caused by rare disorders. She was regarded as an expert in clinical pharmacology and would be called to investigate cause and effect by performing comprehensive medication therapy reviews to help identify and resolve adverse drug events. She quickly became well versed in finding and evaluating emerging research to help address her clients’ unique challenges. Although trained as a pharmacist, she was an ardent champion for lifestyle interventions, which often helped patients much more than any medications.

After moving to a new city, she was given the opportunity to lead a statewide medication safety initiative, transitioning to a career in medication safety and healthcare quality improvement. There, she developed an expertise about the whole systems approach, rapid tests of small change; outcomes tracking and root cause analysis.

After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in 2009, Dr. Wentz was surprised at the lack of knowledge about lifestyle interventions for Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune conditions.  She decided to take on lifestyle interventions as a personal mission in an effort to help herself and others with Hashimoto's.

After two years of researching Hashimoto's and Hypothyroidism, she decided to combine emerging knowledge with her quality improvement expertise to run rapid tests of change on herself that led her to discover the root cause of her condition.  She has summarized three years of research and two years of testing in her book: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Finding and Treating the Root Cause.

The show

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Today we discuss

  • What happened to Izabella with her health?
  • Did college cause thyroid issues from the stress and lifestyle?
  • How IBS leads to autoimmune disease
  • How to recover from thyroid issues and Hashimoto's
  • What supplements does Izabella take to support detoxification?

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Transcription

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EVAN BRAND: Alright! Hello! Welcome back to another episode of Not Just Paleo today I’m here with Dr. Izabella Wentz who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (Thyroiditis).

So you’re getting pretty familiar with Hashimoto’s now that we’ve been talking about it for, what feels like, the last month here.

She was surprised at the lack of knowledge about lifestyle interventions for Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism and just autoimmunity in general. So she’s not alone there with that thought.

Today we’re gonna get into many different things, but all about her book which is, literally, the number one best-selling book on Amazon which you should check out. It is the “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditist: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause”

So, Izabella, welcome!

IZABELLA WENTZ: Hi Evan! Thanks for having me! I’m excited to be here!

EVAN BRAND: Yes, Ma’am!

So this book…you don’t often see books with five star reviews. You see books with four and a half stars but not five. So, congrats on that, first off.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Thank you! I’m glad my story was able to resonate with other people’s [stories].

Just amazing how many other people are actually going through the same problems that I was going through.

EVAN BRAND: Yeah! Maybe that‘s a good place to start!

What happened to you? So you were a pharmacist in your past right?

IZABELLA WENTZ: I’m still a pharmacist, yeah!

EVAN BRAND: Okay, was there a certain day? Was there a certain month? A certain year? What actually started to take place where you realized that something was not right with you?

IZABELLA WENTZ: I was actually an undergrad after I got a case of Epstein-Barr virus which causes the common college condition known as `mono’.

I wasn’t myself after that. I went from being this wide-eyed, bushy-tailed undergrad to sleeping for 12-14 hours [and] missing exams; really just almost feeling depressed and exhausted all of the time.

That sort of got better and eventually I learned to cope with my fatigue and got into pharmacy school. Even then I started to have some health problems; it was kind of [like] things started breaking down little by little.

I had this fatigue so I just slopped a lot and then figuring out how to study, really affected me. Then I got Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when I was in my first year [in] pharmacy school and ended up kind of working my way through that and just taking medications for it, going to the doctor’s. Everybody said I was just tired and stressed out and I was studying a lot, which I was of course.

Then when I finally graduated from pharmacy school I thought: “Okay! I’m gonna be healthy. I’m gonna eat whole grains. I’m gonna eat low-fat dairy. I’m gonna do all of these things and I’m really gonna make an effort to lead a healthier lifestyle.” Then I started working out. I had been smoker before and I quit smoking.

All of a sudden it just seemed like my health was getting worse and worse.

On top of the chronic fatigue, I also had an irritable bowel syndrome, I then developed acid reflux and then I developed really bad environmental allergies. I was allergic to everything. I became allergic to my own dog, which broke my heart. Then my hair started falling out!

It’s just every year I would go for a physical and I would complain about more and more symptoms and every year I was just told that there was nothing wrong with me; that maybe I should try some anti-depressants.

All of these things were slowly kind of happening and I felt like my body was breaking apart. Of course I was 25 years old at the time and I started having panic attacks. I told this to one of my doctors who basically told me that that’s just the side of effect of getting older and that there’s nothing I can really do about it.

In my mind I felt like there had to be an underlying cause or trigger that connected all of these things. I ended up getting a lot of second opinions, and third opinions, and fourth opinions. And I ended up getting diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a sub-clinical hypothyroidism.

So I found out that my body is attacking itself and, at first, I thought:

“Okay, this is great! I found out that I have a condition that I can actually treat! There’s thyroid medications...”

But the more I got into it, the more I researched; I kind of thought to myself:

”Okay, my body is attacking my thyroid and so then the thyroid can’t make enough thyroid hormone and all I’m doing is taking thyroid hormone. Why would I not try to stop the auto-immune attack?”

That was kind of the big question I became obsessed with and started really trying to dig and look for ways that I could balance out my immune system so that I would stop attacking myself, basically. I came across Low-Dose Naltrexone and gluten-free diets; just kind of got on this really crazy journey that brought me to where I am today, where I focus on helping people with Hashimoto’s reversive conditions through lifestyle intervention and functional medicine.                  

EVAN BRAND: I haven’t actually gotten tested. My friend, Dr. Justin, he recommended I should get tested and just see what’s going on because that’s kind of a symptom that’s come and gone with stress.

What was sort of the healing protocol as far as IBS? Did that just come along with trying to manage the Hashimoto’s? What does that look like, today, for you?

IZABELLA WENTZ: You know the interesting thing about IBS…so if you go to a functional medicine conference on gut disorders they will tell you that IBS is often a precursor for auto-immune disease.

That was kind of crazy for myself because first I got the IBS and then a few years down the road I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. One of the important things with auto-immunity is that it needs three things for it to occur:

First thing is the right genes; you have to have the genetic predisposition. The second part is having the triggers on board; so for Hashimoto’s, for example, Epstein-Barr virus has been recognized as a trigger, as have stress, various nutrient deficiencies, and additional infections and toxins. And the third part of the puzzle piece is having the intestinal permeability.

So the intestinal permeability…one of the biggest symptoms of it is irritable bowel syndrome, acid refluxes, and other syndromes; bloating is another syndrome.

I had to carry a `poop kit’….I didn’t call it that then in pharmacy school, I called it something else that rhymed. Basically I was walking around with Mylanta, Pepcid AC, Tums, Imodium AD, and Pepto Bismol, and baby wipes… just this full kit that I have with me everywhere I went. It was with me in my car, in my classes, because I just never knew when I was gonna have to run out and have a flare up of my irritable bowel syndrome.

But what research has actually shown is a few different things that can trigger irritable bowel syndrome that can also trigger Hashimoto’s.

One of them is food sensitivities. So definitely getting rid of gluten, and dairy, and soy…those are the three biggest food sensitivities.

Those in some people can completely reverse their irritable bowel syndrome and completely reverse their auto-immune disease like Hashimoto’s. And I know for somebody like you, you’ve been on an awesome paleo diet for quite some time and you’ve probably been helped by it.

The first step that, actually, I recommend for most people is to get on this nutrient dense diet to get enough nutrition on board and to cut off the foods that are gonna be irritating the gut wall.

But if that doesn’t work then I really start thinking about what’s actually living in your gut and who you’re actually feeding.

So one thing to keep in mind is there’s a variety of different gut infections that have been implicated in irritable bowel syndrome and I also find a bit of them in Hashimoto’s. Two of the biggest ones are gonna be small bowel bacterial overgrowth, it’s also known as `Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth’; abbreviated as SIBO.

Now, this is something that usually occurs after you’ve had a bout of food poisoning. So a lot of times I will have people do a health journal and write down when their symptoms started and if they can connect their symptoms back to a case of food poisoning then you want to think about doing a breath test for SIBO to see if that can be a potential trigger for you.

There’s different types of bacteria that can overgrow in your small intestine and they cause pretty severe intestinal permeability. About 50% of people with Hashimoto’s actually have this small bowel overgrowth and you wanna get rid of these bacteria because they’re gonna be causing you a lot of symptoms: bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, and sometimes acid reflux. After you do the test you can get rid of them either through medications, Rifaximin is a common medication that’s used.

I have a lot more information about them in my book about the various protocols and they are also herbal protocols that can be done as well as, potentially, an elemental diet which basically a diet that kind of breaks apart proteins and gives us really simple molecules to absorb. [It breaks it] into amino acid form so that we don’t have to work so hard and that kind of starves off the bad bacteria. The down side of this diet is it’s really disgusting tasting and it’s, literally, a liquid diet for two weeks but it’s very, very effective.

Another potential root cause of IBS and Hashimoto’s is a parasitic infection.

So one that’s been very much implicated in Hashimoto’s, in my experience not in the research, and has also been implicated in research with hives as well as irritable bowel syndrome, is something called `Blastocystis Hominis’.

And for that I recommend doing a stool test but not just any stool test.

You need to make sure that you have at least 4 stool samples because if you just have one stool test there’s a good chance the protozoa is not gonna show up in that because they’re not gonna be shed with every single bowel movement. So I recommend doing that and then for treating blastocystis, there are various protocols and there are herbal protocols, as well as medication protocols using a drug called `Alinia’.

A lot of people that have had blasto infection, I was one of them, personally, were very grain sensitive and then once they were able to clear the infection they became less sensitive to grains and lost a lot of their food sensitivities. So that’s another thing that I think about with the irritable bowel syndrome.

The third thing that I think about is looking at your gut bacteria balance; whether or not you have this biosis. Sometimes if you have too many of the opportunistic bacteria in your gut they can, sort of, take over and run the whole show and that’s [when] you start getting the irritable bowel syndrome.

So getting some good probiotics on board can be a life saver.

One that I recommended in the past with a lot of success and that’s been studied clinically is known as VSL 3; and that’s a super high dose of probiotics.

If you go to whole foods or something you might have 10 billion colony forming units, this one(VSL 3) actually has 450 billion colony forming units per dose and, often times, a person with irritable bowel syndrome may take 4-8 doses a day. And this seems like a lot but, in the grand scheme of things, when you have 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, it’s really not that much; and these probiotics have been shown to help regulate irritable bowel syndrome.

So people have been able to… [people] with IBS and inflammatory bowel disease have been able to stabilize their condition by using probiotics.

EVAN BRAND: Is that Pure Encapsulations? I see you have the supplements on your website. Is that who carries that particular probiotic you’re talking about?

IZABELLA WENTZ: VSL 3 is [a] separate company and you can look for VSL 3 online and you can order there. I don’t have it on my website, unfortunately.

There’s also another one that I just learned about from one of my really good nutritionist friends, Tom Malterre, called `Ther-Biotic’ that he seems to believe is equivalent to VSL 3; it just doesn’t have all the research behind it so they don’t have all these published paper, so they’re not as well known.

EVAN BRAND: Okay, so there’s a lot of resources on here that you’ve gone through and I want to eventually dig a little bit into panic attacks because I’ve had some clients that have had panic attacks.

For me, it’s always an interesting place to figure out where to start. If you want to start throwing people on calming amino acids and then of course there’s people that argue that you don’t want to self-treat before testing and doing organic acid test and things like that.

There’s so many things that you’ve tried here and I’m curious to know what has stood out to be some of the most important, I don’t know if you would call these protocols or just…even things like adaptogens, I’m just curious how this is all rounded out for you and kind of what that looks like today.

IZABELLA WENTZ: You know, as an experienced human guinea pig, some of the things that I found to be very effective for panic attacks and anxiety is actually managing your blood sugar.

It sounds very strange but it works really, really well. So making sure you get enough protein and fat in very meal and even cutting down your carbohydrates.

Sometimes for a person who is having a lot of trouble, I might even recommend that they go into ketosis for a little while where they limit their carbohydrates. That has really worked wonders for a lot of people that I have worked with as well as for myself.

It’s thinking about: “Okay, I need to have protein and fat when I wake up”

So doing something like the smoothie recipe I have on my website where you use coconut milk, you use an avocado, and either pea protein or I’ll recommend a hdyrolyzed beef protein. Doing that as your breakfast rather than focusing on orange juice or heating food for breakfast; which can really set us off on a really bad trip for the rest of the day if we’re not carefully balancing our fats and proteins with the amount of carbohydrates that we’re eating.

So that’s always the first thing that I recommend that usually helps a big percentage of people. The other thing is, and I hate to say this because everybody loves their coffee, but think about cutting down caffeine.

Caffeine can actually trigger anxiety. It’s a stimulant, right? So that’s pretty clear cut in terms of the pharmacology of it but not a lot of people will know it.

Sometimes just cutting down your caffeine intake… do something like lemon juice with hot water, or you could drink tea, or you can do a maca latte where you [use] an adaptogen known as `maca’ and hot water, and coconut milk; sip that instead of your coffee latte or your Bulletproof coffee.

Another thing to do is, actually if you are gonna have caffeine, whether that’s coffee or tea, [is] to add a little bit of oil or fat into it.

For some people, they can’t tolerate tea or coffee unless they put some oil in it like, sometimes coconut oil or MCT oil or, as our friend Dave Asprey recommends doing, butter or ghee.

EVAN BRAND: Yeah. I’ve actually done matcha tea with some MCT. Talk about a brain boost! I love the feeling that you get from matcha. I was doing green tea for a while and then I read about the increase in theanine levels and things like that in matcha. And I switched over and it’s a completely different experience. That’s been pretty helpful in getting people off of caffeine because they still want that cognitive boost from coffee. But [with] matcha you’re gonna have far less caffeine but, in my experience, it’s such a calming way to start the day too. I don’t know if you’ve played around with matcha but…yeah. I love it!

IZABELLA WENTZ: No. I’m actually writing it down right now and I’m gonna order it as soon as I get off! Do you have a friend you recommend?

EVAN BRAND: Yeah. Actually, I got the behind-the-scenes dose of it because the company that I used to work for is going to be making a sort of like a chai with matcha as an ingredient so I literally have a 10-pound bag that I just got to take a jar and fill it up with.

But I would say any of the organic matchas. You wanna get the ceremonial grade and those are on Amazon. But you get the ceremonial grade and it has much more theanine in it and I’ve noticed a difference because I’ve tried a couple of them; but I would say any… usually they’re ranked organic A, B, C, or D, if you can get an organic B or even organic A, grade: ceremonial

You’re gonna love it! I promise! You may even just say “you know what, this is just as good, if not better, than coffee!” because it almost puts you in sort of a meditative state whereas coffee takes me over the edge when I drink it.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Mmm! I love it! I’m so excited to try it! Thank you for sharing that!

Just for anxiety and panic attacks, the last thing I recommend for people with Hashimoto’s is to take a selenium supplement; usually 200 micrograms does the trick for most people.

Panic attacks and anxiety can result from either blood sugar swings or an uprise in thyroid antibodies. When you have this big rise in thyroid antibodies…you’re immune system is attacking your thyroid gland and you get this rush of thyroid hormone into your bloodstream and that can cause you to have these panic attacks and bursts of anxiety.

Taking selenium in the 200 micrograms per day and the Pure Encapsulations brand is a good one I recommend, has been shown to reduce thyroid antibodies by about 50% over a course of 3 months in multiple clinical trials.

Of course, I recommend not just selenium. I also recommend doing a lot of other things that can reduce thyroid antibodies but that’s sort of one of those easy tricks people can start on right away.

EVAN BRAND: I can’t believe there’s that much of a drop there with selenium. I saw selenium supplementation. It was on here and it was [a] relatively simple thing compared to some of these other things you’ve mentioned like the medicinal herbs and the adaptogens. So I’m very happy to hear that. That’s great!

Let’s talk a little bit more about some of the thyroid issues that are going on. I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with some of the symptoms; maybe the cold hands and cold feet and just sluggish performance. But what else is somebody experiencing that they may not have a clue is tied to the thyroid issue?

IZABELLA WENTZ: One of the things that was really bad for me is actually memory loss and brain fog.

So that’s something a lot of people complain about where they are just not sharp as they used to be, they’re very forgetful; they forget appointments, they forget conversations they just had. That can be really, really embarrassing; especially if you’re a person that’s not of a retirement age.

That’s a big thing that people often miss and they think:

“Oh, I’m just stressed out. I’m tired” or whatever. That’s a big red flag for thyroid disease.

Losing your hair is a big red flag; especially losing the third part upper part of your eyebrow. That is usually indicative of thyroid disease.

Cold intolerance…so if you work in an office and you’re the only woman wearing a sweater where everyone is wearing a t-shirt. That could be an indication of you having a thyroid problem.

The other big thing that we see, and most people complain about, is fatigue.

Probably 70-80% of people with thyroid disease have fatigue. It’s basically like you’re just not motivated to do anything, you just kind of want to nap all the time, and you may have trouble waking up in the morning, you may be sleeping… instead of 8 hours to regenerate, you may need 10-12 hours to feel fully regenerated and rested.

Weight gain or the inability to lose weight is a biggie.

So you could be eating the same exact things you’ve been eating; you could be exercising just as much as you were exercising. Keeping everything the same, all other things the same, if you have thyroid disease, you’re gonna gain weight; because it slows down your metabolism. So you’re just gonna keep gaining weight every year, every month, if your thyroid is underactive.

The other thing that is really, really sad to me is issues with fertility; which a lot of women actually don’t know that they have thyroid disease until they have a couple of miscarriages or if they have trouble conceiving, they might find that out. For men, a lot of them might have problems with their libido [and] they may not be able to grow a beard. So those are the things that can happen.

One symptom that nobody seems to complain about, but is pretty much a good sign that you may have thyroid disease, is that you don’t sweat as much as you used to.

If you’re somebody that used to sweat a lot this may seem like a nice thing but it’s actually a symptom as well.

EVAN BRAND: Wow…so can you elaborate on that a little bit? What’s going on? Why would you not sweat as much? 

IZABELLA WENTZ: It’s the reduced metabolism; it’s the reduced temperature in your body.

So unfortunately what happens is people who don’t sweat also don’t excrete toxins as well.

Often times, people with Hashimoto’s and thyroid disease will have an impartibility to get rid of toxins and we’ll see a lot of toxin build up as well.      

EVAN BRAND: That’s very interesting.

Well, see, what happens for me when I’m talking with people like yourself is always [a] `like’ to dig in the deepest of the deep and figure out all of these hacks. I have this obsession with fixing things and, often times, I find that the simple takeaways are what have some of the biggest results.

But maybe we can fast forward to today, for yourself.

What are you having to do on a daily basis? What is a day in the life of Izabella to, basically, keep Hashimoto’s at bay, or to keep your symptoms as relatively non-existent as possible?

IZABELLA WENTZ: That’s a really great question! I’ve never been asked that before. I definitely follow a paleo type diet. So I eat plenty of good fats in the morning. I eat mostly organic foods. I eat good meats. I do my smoothie in the morning; that kind of sets the day right for me.

Stress is also a really, really big trigger for me so I have to be very mindful of how many projects I take on. I do try to get outside. I take supplements to support my methylation pathways.

So a lot of times people with autoimmune disease will have, like I said, an impartibility to get rid of toxins. It’s kind of a catch 22 because when you have toxins in your body they can trigger your autoimmunity and trigger your thyroid to be sluggish; and once your thyroid is sluggish it slows down their elimination. So it’s almost like they kind of take control of your body.

So I do try to sweat. I do hot baths. I do yoga, hot yoga and things like that just to make sure that I’m clearing my toxins as well as taking methylated supplements to support my methylation pathways.

EVAN BRAND: Methylcobolamine and aceytlcysteine. Things like that? What specifically? I’m curious.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Methylcobolamine and aceytlcysteine and then a product by Pure Enacapsulations called `Homocysteine Factors’ and that has a combination of some methylfolate some trimethylglycine and other things to support the methylation pathways.

I tried to be consistent with staying on that because you can get yourself in trouble once you go off of that and if you have the mtfhr genes in you, you may get a build-up of toxins again.

EVAN BRAND: Also, I wanted to talk about infrared saunas. I’m not sure if you’ve used those as [a] part of your protocol.

But it sounds like, to me, that, basically, it’s not that you’re doing one simple thing; it’s not that anyone may end up finding out that they have Hashimoto’s; it’s not that they need to do just one thing. But it’s really all these different puzzle pieces.

Is infrared sauna something you’ve played around with?

IZABELLA WENTZ: Yeah! Absolutely!

So my whole approach is to kind of dig at it. When you look at autoimmunity and Hashimoto’s, of course, it’s really a perfect storm of events that came together.

You have these genes, you have these triggers… a lot of the lifestyles factors and a lot of the things that are happening are ,sort of, supporting this vicious cycle.

[Like]the example we gave about toxins slowing down the thyroid which then causes us to excrete them slower; so there’s a lot of little things like that happening in Hashimoto’s and autoimmune disease.

So you need to try a few different things to break down this whole cycle apart.

One of them is low stomach acid, so if you have low thyroid then you have low stomach acid; if you have low stomach acid that’s gonna lead you to have more food sensitivities, it’s gonna predispose you to more infections.

A lot of times it’s like: “Okay, first you have to cover up this low stomach acid by taking a supplement then you have to clear out the infections that came because you have this low stomach acid.”

It can get complicated but I try to keep it simple in my book.

So I do have…I think it’s about 20 chapters and then every chapter has some action steps that people can take if they feel like the information in the chapter pertains to them.

I have a chapter about adrenals and looking at stressors, your triggers…if you’re practicing Zen Buddhism then that may not be something that is as relevant to you as some of the other information in the book.

EVAN BRAND: I’m excited to get a copy because this sounds like something I’ve been looking for. I’ve been looking for somebody like you that has dealt with it. I’ve often found that the best teachers are the ones who [have] struggled themselves.

I would say I’m still kind of navigating my journey to figure out what’s the most helpful thing for me but I’m about to release a book called Stress Solutions and I would like to talk about stress a little bit and get your addition to it.

Because for me, stress is, which you’ve already alluded to, is one of the biggest…first, it’s one of the hardest to things to identify, actually, what it is for people because it manifests in so many different ways. But the effects… it’s paralyzing at some point and it sounds like, especially with Hashimoto’s, it’s sort of a snowball effect where once things start rolling against you you can really start to end up in really bad shape if you don’t start taking action.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Yeah, that’s a really great way to put that. Stress has been connected to just about every chronic condition; just about every condition that you can possibly imagine.

Even getting somethings as silly as the cold, if you’re stressed out you’re more likely to get a cold than if you were not stressed out…if you were relaxed.

A lot of it, I think, has to do with the gut too; so stress actually depletes us of our `Secretory IGA’ which makes our gut lining weaker so then it allows potential pathogens to attack us [and] it lowers our stomach acid.

It’s something that’s very, very difficult to change and very difficult to get a hold of.

A lot of times, people with Type A personalities may have a really hard time of letting go. Actually people that I see that, given to remissions…they do all the work, they do a great job but then maybe they’re not fatigued anymore, and then they’re like:

“Okay! I’m just gonna go out and take over the whole entire world! Now that I’m not tired anymore”

And then they get stressed out again and they have another flare up of autoimmunity. And I’m sure you’ve seen this yourself in IBS, and I’ve it seen myself. My flares always happened around exam time and that was definitely not a coincidence.

That’s the stress…it’s one to really tame and I’m really excited to read your book about it. I’d love to get an advanced copy if those are available!

EVAN BRAND: Yeah! You definitely will! It’s almost done. I’m waiting on the final revisions from the editor. But I would love to send you a copy and get your take, because I’m basically trying to outline the chemical stressors, the emotional stressors.

Even things like homesickness and stuff like that has played a role for me because I moved from Kentucky to Austin, I’m moving back now in March. But even just the separation in the physical world… you and I… it would be much cooler to talk to [you] in person [right now].

So even that small disconnect… there’s sort of an emotional deficit, if you will. And even that, for people I’ve seen, can contribute to issues

I just talked to a girl the other day. Her boyfriend works in a different city or a different state…I couldn’t remember which one. And just that separation on a physical level, I guess you could consider that a physical emotional stress; just that was enough to cause her to flare up and have gut issues.

It’s kind of interesting to get people….I guess my message here is that: zooming out and trying to see some of these things that maybe no one else is talking about;

“Oh the relationship!” or “Oh! The fact that you’re driving [for] 30 minutes in a very highly congested area.”

These little things are all what add up and make or break us. I don’t know if you want to add to that but that’s my experience.

IZABELLA WENTZ: You know what? I think that’s absolutely right! I’ve seen numerous studies about women who were in abusive relationships; that they actually had higher rates of fibromyalgia and asthma. Fibromyalgia is very much intimately connected with the thyroid.

That find was really interesting to me and I think that’s so true and I feel like our bodies…maybe it’s a way of our bodies to signal something. And I’m not very *cuckoo or out there but it just makes sense from a physiological perspective that our bodies would want to slow down when there’s danger ahead, when we don’t feel safe, when we don’t feel secure, or [when] we feel that something in our environment is not optimal for us. So definitely, stress is a huge trigger.

You mentioned we have a lot of book reviews on the Hashimoto’s Root Cause book and I actually do read every single review and I look here for people who have changed their lives but one of the three star reviews we got was from a woman who said:

“You know, I didn’t have to do any of this and I got into remission. All I did was quit my stressful job”

I wish that would happen to everybody, for some people, definitely, stress can be the difference between you being sick and you being well.

EVAN BRAND: Especially people that work under micromanager bosses and things like that. And of course it’s easy for us to say, “Just leave! Just leave!” and of course it’s hard for us to know the details of the situation.

That’s a big one for me, I used to work out at a park; basically building hiking trails and spending a lot of time in the woods and at the time, we had this militaristic owner or boss, who wasn’t the owner but this boss.

And I could not wait to get back out of the office.

We would stop in there for lunch to check in and get warm especially in the winter when you’re freezing; since you’re in Chicago… so I’m sure you’re freezing at the moment, it’s 82° and sunny in Austin today but…

IZABELLA WENTZ: Sounds awful! Haha

EVAN BRAND: Yeah!

IZABELLA WENTZ: I’m jealous!

EVAN BRAND: Right....so anyway, we would rush out of the office to try get back out to the woods because, literally, this guy he was so overbearing and his, I guess you would almost call it, a dictatorship style management; it stressed us all out.

I didn’t talk to the guys whether they were having physical symptoms from it, but just the emotional drain!

It probably wouldn’t matter, the quality of the meat that I was eating, of course that was always important; but no matter what I did, if I still had him over my head it was going to, basically, smash my head down to a certain level where I could only reach [an] x amount level of health.

So maybe my takeaway here is trying to zoom out and figure out:

“What is that? What is that hand? Is that a physical hand that’s on top of your head that’s pushing you down? Is it a spiritual hand pushing you down?”

But there’s probably something in everyone’s life, [everyone] that’s listening, where there is this hand that’s holding you down and I think all of us have it. It’s just a matter of what version of the hand is it.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Yeah, that’s so true! And sometimes it can be an internal thing.

So your life from the outside may be very good; but for whatever reason you may hold yourself to really high expectations and you may be a perfectionist. That’s really hard on yourself. And unfortunately I see that a lot with people with Hashimoto’s.

That can be a stressor in itself because if you don’t really like yourself then you’re attacking yourself.

How is that training your body, right?                                      

EVAN BRAND:On that note, I saw that you had some psychic intervention and things like that.

Have you successfully managed your own mind? Even for me, and I’ve talked about it on my show before, sort of the monkey mind or the…maybe it’s part of human evolution, who knows. But we’re always wanting the next step; if we get x amount reviews we want 10 more, if you get that many people that bought your book, you want 10 more.

Have you dealt with or managed that…I don’t know if you’ll call that mental chatter or that sort of go-getter type of personality; at all?                                              

IZABELLA WENTZ: Yeah, it’s actually been a journey for me. So just working through and creating my book, that was a really big transformation for me.

To be able to put out something with my name and my picture, and having a website with my name and maybe there might be some spelling errors on the website or there may be some formatting issues with the book; things like that. It was a really big step for me.

Definitely the psychic interventions didn’t help with any of that. What did help was going to yoga, doing some medication, and I would also like to do some neurofeedback. There’s some stuff you can do through that; just kind of retraining yourself.

I know some people would do coaching and they’ll do…there’s a lot of really great self-help books.

One that really resonated with me was “How to Stop Worrying and How to Start living”. It’s a super old book and it was written so long ago but it’s so good, highly recommend it.

EVAN BRAND: Nora Gedgaudas, she’s been on this show before.  She’s always touting the benefits of neurofeedback.

I haven’t tried it yet because I’ve seen that a lot of times you have to end up doing 30 or 40 sessions for it to really stick. Was that how it’s worked for you? Or can you get a lot better results in less time?

I guess it depends on the person.

IZABELLA WENTZ: I ended up buying my own unit so that I could do it all the time.

EVAN BRAND: That’s awesome! 

IZABELLA WENTZ: But yeah! It depends on the person.

Some people may, and even with counseling or coaching or different kind of strategies like that, for some people it might just be one session for other people 30 sessions may not be enough. I think it really varies per person.

I wish there was a magic formula that you could just give everybody; but that’s not human nature, unfortunately.

EVAN BRAND: Right. Well you’re a really cool person and you have a lot of cool experience. I just want to say thanks for coming on! This has been great!

But I’m sure there’s some other stuff that may be popping out, maybe something I haven’t brought up that we can spend a few minutes talking about.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Likewise Evan! Thanks for having me!

So, let’s see here…did we talk about nutrient deficiencies?         

EVAN BRAND: Sure!

IZABELLA WENTZ: So, one of the things that is, often, almost always present in people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s is having either low stomach acid [or] no stomach acid.

One little hack that people can do is to take Betaine with Pepsin which is an acid supplement that will help people break down their foods. And I recommend taking this with protein-containing meals.

At the conclusion of your meal there is a way to figure out your magic dose. You basically will take one pill with the first meal and then maybe two at the second meal and then so on and so forth until you feel a slight tingling or burning. That would indicate that you took one pill too many and then you would back down to the prior dose.

This is something that was kind of like my “A-ha!” moment.

I was looking for different things; some of the diets were working. I kinda started getting a little bit better. I saw a drop in the antibodies . But I still was tired, not as tired….I went from 12 to 10 hours of sleeping.

And then I came across the Betaine with Pepsin and the stomach acid connection and that made such a huge difference in my energy levels.

Once I got my optimal dose of that supplement I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning, after 7-8 hours of sleep. The prior two years I was sleeping for 10 hours.

I felt so good after that, I finally felt like I had a glimpse of my former self before I got sick; that it really gave me the hope and the courage and the strength, determination, whatever you want to call it, to keep moving, to keeping digging, to try and identify my root cause and eliminate the attack on my thyroid.

This is called Betaine with Pepsin.

If you guys go to my website, go to thyroidpharmacist.com/gift I have a chapter on nutrient deficiencies and then that free chapter will describe in great detail how to use Betaine with Pepsin.

EVAN BRAND: Thank you for that! Do you still take stomach acid today?

IZABELLA WENTZ: I haven’t taken it for a little while. There’s a lot of times you can…if you can figure out, for example, that you can have an h pylori infection which I had, if you can eliminate that [then] eventually your stomach acid can come back up. But it’s one of those things that you have to dig at to figure out if this is an issue for you or not. And for some people, they may need to take it lifelong or for whatever reason.

It’s just something…a nice little tool that people can start with to get themselves feeling better if they’re really exhausted.

Have you seen the movie “Limitless” by Bradley Cooper?

EVAN BRAND: Yes.

IZABELLA WENTZ: I felt like that after I took it…and I was like, “Wow! This is my Bradley Cooper supplement!”

EVAN BRAND: Oh my god! That’s amazing [that] you get that much experience from that!

I figured you’d say you have to take smart drugs and a bunch of Nootropics to feel that way.

That’s amazing! I haven’t heard any testimonials that good for stomach acid.

IZABELLA WENTZ: I didn’t write my book the next day or anything like that and I didn’t become the smartest person in the world or anything like that; but I actually did feel much better. My energy got better.

I wish there was a supplement that Bradley Cooper had without all the nasty side effects.

EVAN BRAND: Right, right.

Well there’s a couple recommendations of supplements [that] I could throw in your way.

I’ve been a human guinea pig as well, tons of adaptogens, and smart drugs, and brain supplements and all that. I’m always playing around with that. You know what though, I have this, sort of, red flag…I guess you’d call it a white flag, it’s not a dangerous one. But it’s just poking out at me and it seems like for you and myself and probably so many people…what sort of started this whole process… which of course, this is debatable; but it seems like what’s started this whole process for you is just becoming a grown woman, and entering the world, and jumping into college, and dealing with becoming an adult.

It seems like that in itself can be enough to really start a snowball [effect] against yourself.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Yeah, I never thought about it that way but yeah I definitely got away from my parents’ rules and I was kind of burning the bridge at home once I got to college.

So I never thought of it that way but definitely, I could totally see that. 

EVAN BRAND: Yeah! It came to me because even myself, and probably for you… I wouldn’t say sheltered as in you’re over-protected, but you’re sheltered in a sense that your friends, and your family, and being at home, and things like that. And when you finally go out on your own... especially if you’ve already had, say, nutrient deficiencies in the past, combined with this emotional detachment and becoming an adult… it seems like that is just so much to take on.

And I find a lot of people just…that’s a struggle to grow up!

I’ve talked to my Grandpa. I’m like “Grandpa, I had this idea that adults were grown-ups!” When you’re 18 and 19 everybody just seems like they’re older and you look up to college kids and 30 and 40 year olds. Like: “Man, they have it all figured out!”

And then now as I’m sliding towards 30 years old I realize that we’re all just grown up kids.

IZABELLA WENTZ: Yes! Kind of funny because I used to think that once I hit 18 that I would have everything figured out and then you’re in college and you’re trying to figure out…you stop eating home-cooked meals [and] you start eating cafeteria food, sometimes you skip meals and you’re trying to study; and then there’s all these fun distractions that happen when you’re a college kid.

So definitely, I think that’s something that people are not aware of.

EVAN BRAND: Right. And I’m just trying to get back to the simple life. I think that’s gonna give me a huge stress relief. So as soon as I get back to Kentucky, and even around Christmas time when I went back, I noticed a huge reduction in symptoms.

So it’s really interesting to see what being around family is or what being back home [is], just all of that. It’s crazy how….maybe somebody is experiencing something like that and they can reach out and let us know. Leaving home or something… that could be a trigger.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I feel like I’m rambling at this point. But I want to give a chance for you to tell people, once again, about your book.

It is on Amazon but they can also visit your website.

What else should people know? I feel like you have at least one more golden nugget inside…before we finish this.

IZABELLA WENTZ: So my website is thyroidpharmacist.com and if you go to thyroidpharmacist.com/gift you can get a book chapter for free.

One of my big recommendations is to be kind to yourself. To treat yourself like you would a little baby animal, or your little sister, or your little cousin, or your little daughter or son, or whatever. And think about the self-talk that you have towards yourself and notice how you’re reacting to your words to yourself. So that’s something I recommend.

Definitely cutting out toxic people in your life and surrounding yourself with positive, happy people that love you and support you but also becoming a person that loves and supports yourself.

EVAN BRAND: That’s solid advice! You have to be your own caretaker, emotionally too.

I beat myself up before and it’s….nobody knows it! Nobody knows what’s going on inside your own head. So yeah, I’d say that’s very solid advice!

Well, thank you! I really appreciate it and we’ll put a link to all of this stuff back at my website.

It’ll be under notjustpaleo.com

So thank you so much for coming on! This has been great!

IZABELLA WENTZ: Thank you so much Evan!                                      

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