Steven Gundry: 00:00 Hey, there. Welcome to another exciting episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where I give you the tools you need to support your gut, boost your health, and live your youngest, healthiest life.
Steven Gundry: 00:19 Before we get started, let’s get to this week’s review of the week. Ashram, 84, writes, “Love your show. I’ve read The Plant Paradox and I’m currently working on longevity. So, I’m so thankful for my and my family’s sake that I found you. We are living in a very confusing time and as a nurse, I know that most medical professionals have absolutely no clue when it comes to nutrition, and what is right and wrong, good or bad. I’m glad the word is getting out and people are being saved. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Steven Gundry: 00:52 Well, this is why I do this, because quite frankly, as we hear from a number of my esteem guests, many of whom are physicians, that most doctors working as hard as they do have not been trained in nutrition, do not have time to learn in nutrition. And as good as they are at what they do, food is so important in turning your life around. And that’s why I do what I do and see patients every day to learn from you, and this is what keeps me going. So, thank you.
Steven Gundry: 01:25 If you’d like me to read your review, make sure to subscribe right and review my podcast on iTunes. If you’re listening on your mobile device, take a screenshot. Share your favorite takeaway and add a tag me in your Instastories. I’ll make sure to re-share them in mine.
Steven Gundry: 01:46 Hello, and welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. The topic of today’s podcast actually affects 35 million Americans. So, this is something that you actually might have and may not- might not even know it. It’s an autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid. And it plagues you often with painful, frustrating, even debilitating symptoms. Many of which are actually invisible to you and people who see you. So, I’m talking about Hashimoto’s disease. And one of my followers, Kelly Clarkson made it very famous, so last year when she actually cured herself of Hashimoto’s by following The Plant Paradox.
Steven Gundry: 02:32 But we’ve got a real expert joining us today who’s Izabella Wentz. She’s a pharmacist and author of Hashimoto’s Food Pharmacology. And she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease at age 27. And Izabella began studying it’s roots- root causes and Izabella, welcome to the program. I’m so happy to have you on. I’ve been following your work for years. So, tell me, I love personal stories. Tell me how this started with you and take it from there.
Izabella Wentz: 03:09 (laughs) Thank you so much for having me. I’m a huge fan of your work as well. So, in full disclosure, I was never really interested in thyroid disease during pharmacy school. It was pretty straightforward in- in you know, in what we learned at the time. It was … If you had an overactive thyroid, you suppress thyroid function with certain kinds of medications. If you had an underactive thyroid, you gave more thyroid hormones. And I really thought there was all there was to it, maybe some brand name, generic names and, um, you know, not converting between the two different types of medications.
Izabella Wentz: 03:41 And it really wasn’t until I was diagnosed myself with Hashimoto’s after graduating from pharmacy school when I realized the complexity of the condition, and when I realized that while medications could be helpful, they weren’t the be all, end all for most people with thyroid issues. Um, I started having some strange symptoms during my first year in undergrad. I started having, um, fatigue after a viral infection that just never seemed to really get better. Then I ended up with, with just not feeling like myself for pretty much the first year or two with, with apathy and new changes, and, and just that constant fatigue.
Izabella Wentz: 04:23 Eventually, I learned how to, how to deal with it and ended up getting good enough grades (laughs) to get into pharmacy school. Uh, I don’t know how I did that but, um, during pharmacy school it was one thing after another. I started having more and more symptoms. I- I started with irritable bowel syndrome, then it was panic attacks. Then after graduation, I ended up with acid reflux, and carpal tunnel with both arms, and hair loss, and allergies. And I just felt like my body was breaking itself apart.
Izabella Wentz: 04:52 I would go to different practitioners and I would … You know, I was a good girl. I was eating whole wheat and low fat dairy, right? And I was like exercising, trying to do the right thing. I would go to my doctor and say, “Hey, I’m just, just not feeling right. I’m tired. I’m forgetful. I’m gaining weight. Can you tell me what’s going on?” And, and you know, the things that I heard like I … We could just do a whole podcast on that. One of … One of the doctors said I had, um, I was just getting older, so I was (laughs) 25 this time, right?
Steven Gundry: 05:19 25, yeah.
Izabella Wentz: 05:22 Yeah. It’s like-
Steven Gundry: 05:22 It’s time to slowdown.
Izabella Wentz: 05:23 Yeah, [inaudible 00:05:24] pretty much, uh, geriatric at that age, right?
Steven Gundry: 05:27 (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 05:27 And so, um, so I ended up eventually asking more questions and getting pursuing additional testing, and I learned that I had Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland. And, um, at that point, part of me was really happy and relieved. I know that sounds strange, but at least I had an answer, right?
Steven Gundry: 05:45 Right.
Izabella Wentz: 05:46 I was like, “Okay great, I’m gonna take thyroid hormone medications and everything’s gonna be fixed, right?” Because that’s what I learned in pharmacy school [crosstalk 00:05:54].
Steven Gundry: 05:53 That’s what I do, right? Yeah. (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 05:55 Take thyroid medications. Excellent. Um, and then of course a part of me was sad, because I thought, “Okay, there’s this condition I have and there’s nothing that can be done about it. My thyroid gland is gonna be attacked and, uh, maybe I’ll have other types of autoimmune conditions in the future. Um, you know, but at least I could take medications for that.” And unfortunately, the medications they were helpful. I went from sleeping like 12 hours a night to 11 hours a night, which of course was great to have that extra hour, but I was still having a ton of symptoms. And I really wanted to figure out if there was anything I could do to make myself feel better and potentially reverse the condition. And so that’s how I became a Hashimoto’s expert/human guineapig, was just really trying to get my own health back.
Steven Gundry: 06:37 Yeah and I, I think that’s very true, and you know, certainly eh- in- in my case, so I thought I was you know, doing everything, right eating you know, whole grains, and beans, and low f- and low fat, and you know, running, and going to the gym, and there I was a big fat you know, obese guy with you know, uh, high cholesterol, and arthritis and, um, eh- and- and everybody says, “Well, it’s your genes. You know, get over it. Your dad was the same way.”
Izabella Wentz: 07:08 (laughs)
Steven Gundry: 07:08 So, uh, who did you … Uh, and I think this is really important particularly for, uh, all of our, all of our female viewers. Uh, and I wrote about this on, on Wednesday last week. Um, we, as a medical profession, um, don’t take particularly women’s complaints seriously. And I’ve, I’ve been on a soapbox that, uh, we sh- you- you … When you do not feel right, um, somebody … you have to find someone who will actually listen to you. Um, you guys have a gut feeling that unfortunately men are not good at, and this as you know is all coming from your gut.
Steven Gundry: 07:56 And it is so frustrating, uh, to meet no- you know, thousands of people, particularly women who have gone from doctor to doctor, to nurse practitioner, to, to PAs, to other nutritionist and they’re, they’re not taken seriously. Um, uh, is that what you found in your journey?
Izabella Wentz: 08:21 Unfortunately, that’s the case. And being a pharmacist, if I used my credentials, I might get a little bit more attential- mo- a little bit more attention there. But for the average woman, I mean, there are so many different statistics out there. Um, a woman that presents with, with, um, with cardiac symptoms is gonna be taken less seriously at an emergency room. A woman that presents with pain symptoms is gonna be taken less seriously. And you know, part of that is, is definitely cultural right? So we know that, um, men if- if- eh- if my husband you know, he has to fee- feel pretty bad to, to go to the doctor, right?
Izabella Wentz: 08:56 Um, and women are just not, not necessarily taken seriously because they are considered to be more emotional, or unstable, or potentially, “Oh well, they’re just hormonal,” and their, their menstrual cycles make them crazy.
Steven Gundry: 09:12 (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 09:12 And we got this, this kinda social cultural stigma, um, that, that this wades us from listening to women. And when we look at, um, the history of, of various types of conditions especially looking at thyroid conditions, which are more common in women and general for every man diagnosed, there may be anywhere from three to six women that are diagnosed with the condition, um, a lot of times the initial presenting symptoms are gonna be anxiety and maybe some weight gain, and maybe some fatigue. And often times unfortunately, they’re written off as hypochondria.
Izabella Wentz: 09:49 And, um, generally w- women are the ones that suffer with that label, not necessarily men. Um, and you know, I- I think this is quite unfortunate, um, in our society. And I wish I could say that I love … I’d love for it to change. Um, and I don’t think it’s gonna change anytime soon. I think what’s really important for women is to advocate for their own health. It’s quite amazing whenever I connect with clients, and they tell me everything that they’re … they’ve been doing with.
Izabella Wentz: 10:20 A lot of times it’s, it’s almost like they don’t believe themselves, because people have tried to talk them out of their symptoms for so long, “Oh well, you’re just getting older, and it’s normal to be tired. Everybody’s stomach hurts, blah, blah, blah.” Um, to the point where they, they almost … when they’re telling me these things, they almost hesitate. And I’ve had so many women just cry when I say, “You know, this is not in your head. What you’re going through, this makes perfect sense to me. I’ve seen so many people with thyroid disease with your similar labs, with your similar symptoms. And guess what? We can make this better.”
Steven Gundry: 10:57 Yeah, and that’s, that’s so important. Uh, my, my practice is na- n- over, over 50% of my practice is now autoimmune disease. And usually, they are people who have been multiple centers, um, I- I just had a woman fly in from Toronto yesterday who you know, has a, has a textbook of people she’s seeing, uh, trying to get to the bottom of you know, her autoimmune disease. And she said, “You know, everybody calls me crazy and, uh, that it’s all on my head, and I’m you know, malinger.”
Steven Gundry: 11:37 And, and yet you know, when, when we look she, she had you know, four autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but she had markers for lupus. She had markers for mixed connective tissue disease, et cetera. And, uh, the first thing I did is you know, I- I gave her a big hug and I said, “The good news is you’re not crazy.” (laughing) And you know, she’s burst out crying, uh, ’cause you know, you’re right, women are basically told that you know, this is you know, it’s mental or you’re right, hormonal. It’s that time of year.
Steven Gundry: 12:14 And one of the things that’s interesting particularly in women is many women, uh, will develop Hashimoto’s following a pregnancy. Um, and what happens and maybe you’re a great example, y- y- you know, you’re gonna be tired having a baby, uh, or having a little kid you’re chasing around. And so it’s very hard when you come in to tell, “Doctor, I’m exhausted.” And you know, and they look at you and you’ve got a one year old and will go, “Well, of course you’re exhausted. Why wouldn’t you be exhausted?”
Steven Gundry: 12:49 So, I- is that your experience? And many times we can’t sort out this (laughs), the exhaustion of being a young mother and being exhausted from hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s?
Izabella Wentz: 13:04 Yeah, and I actually think it all goes together, ’cause we know that, um, m- m- you know, I- I’m a young mother myself too. So, I have an 11 month old, and I … You know, looking back at some of my clients I’m like, “I understand why they had post-partum thyroid issues now, right?” So, because children don’t sleep at night. And one of the fastest ways to crash our adrenals, which are connected to thyroid and autoimmune function is gonna be through sleep deprivation. And- And we see these young mothers, new mothers with, with a lot of s- a lot of these sleep deprivation issues. And of course, you’re gonna be tired, but at what point is this gonna be Hashimoto’s? And what point is this gonna be just a normal part of motherhood?
Izabella Wentz: 13:45 I really, um, I’m a big advocate of testing thyroid function not just looking at the TSH, the markers of advanced disease, but also looking at the markers of early disease like the thyroid antibodies in women who are of childbearing age, and definitely in women who are post-partum. Because we know that, um, that thyroid conditions can develop specifically related to, um, around the times of hormonal changes. And that can be pregnancy, puberty and, and even perimenopause.
Izabella Wentz: 14:15 Um, so there … You know, there’s a lot of different reasons why women are more likely to have thyroid issues and definitely hormonal shifts are, are gonna be a part of that. And so, uh, a lot of times people get, um, women unfortunately get shoved aside, right? Um, I- I could go on a tangent about this whole thing, but we know that with, um, with pregnancy care, a lot of times we really … we s- the- the OBs see women once, once a week at a certain point to make- make sure that the pregnancy is progressing.
Izabella Wentz: 14:51 And then after that, it’s like you get the baby out and then women are just sort of left off on their own. There was one article I read that said, that the modern care for, um, for women post-partum is, is you can … you can compare it to how we treat, um, a candy in a wrapper. So, during the time that the child is in the womb, the- the wrapper is- is- is you know, the mother that she’s cared for. But as soon as we get the candy out of the wrapper, the wrapper is almost tossed aside.
Izabella Wentz: 15:23 And you know, just seeing (laughing) that firsthand, this eh- this is- this is really what happens, and women get these six-week appointments. And a lot of times you know, the appointments may be delayed and, and doesn’t even happen. And I feel like they should be offered thyroid screening at that appointment in every four weeks throughout just to make sure that they’re doing well. Their thyroid is still, is still working properly, because that can impact so much with from post-partum depression to even post-partum psychosis and milk production, eh- and just feeling human again, right?
Steven Gundry: 15:58 Yes, good point. So, um, so what you’re saying and I agree with this, it’s- it’s- it’s not sufficient to get, uh, a TSH, uh, thyroid stimulating hormone. And if that’s in the normal range to tell a woman, “You don’t have a thyroid problem.” Eh- Is that a- Is that a good starting point where that, that isn’t what you should get?
Izabella Wentz: 16:26 Absolutely. So, what’s really kind of, um, backwards I believe is that when you go in to see most practitioners, most, um, most conventional docs, you’ll say that I ha- I think I have a thyroid condition. I wanna get tested, so on and so forth. Most of them will just test the TSH. Now, this test is excellent for advanced cases of thyroid disease, but there are five stages to Hashimoto’s, and the TSH is not gonna be affected until maybe stage 3, but generally not until stage 4. Um, and we’ve got stage 2 and 3 where we have these elevated thyroid antibodies in many cases, and people are symptomatic. They’re anxious. They’re having panic attacks. They’re gaining weight. They’re tired. Um, they can be having fertility challenges.
Izabella Wentz: 17:16 And if they go to their doctor they, they might have a lot of thyroid symptoms. And their doctors will just test the TSH and send them away and say, “There’s nothing wrong with you. Maybe go see a psychiatrist.” And really, at the stage 2 or 3 is when we can make the best interventions to prevent lifelong issues. We can prevent damage to the thyroid gland so a person may never need thyroid hormone medications. And a person may never progress to other types of autoimmune conditions.
Izabella Wentz: 17:42 I talked about the five stages of Hashimoto’s. Stage 2 is when we start seeing the antibodies. Stage 4 is when we start seeing this drop in TSH when the thyroid gland can no longer compensate for all the damage that, that’s been occurring. And stage 5 is progression to other autoimmune conditions. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could pick-up on these early signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s in stage 2 and, and recommend, um, your type of diet and my type of diet, and whatever the person needs to, to get rid of those symptoms and prevent further damage.
Steven Gundry: 18:16 Yeah, that’s great. And that’s why you wrote Hashimoto’s Food Pharmacology, you know, because, uh, as you know and I know that, uh, the diet is, is really, uh, the way to, to fix this. So, what made you consider food as the possible treatment option? I mean, a pharmacologist thinking about food? That’s as … That’s as dumb as a heart surgeon thinking about food. (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 18:43 I know. I wa- uh, such a heretic, right? (laughing) Um, it was really crazy ’cause we hardly learn anything about lifestyle changes in pharmacy school for thyroid. There was nothing. It was like, “You’ve got a thyroid issue, here’s the pill for that.” And, um-
Steven Gundry: 18:56 Good news. (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 18:58 … Yeah, great. In other conditions, we at least you know, for high blood pressure, they at least mentioned a few things. They … Maybe they weren’t fully, um, aware of the lifestyle changes that are possible through functional medicine, but at least people are trying, right? With thyroid there was nothing. And, um, at the time when I was working as a pharmacist, I was a consultant pharmacist for people with rare conditions that didn’t really have standard of care approaches. So, I was spending a lot of time in PubMed and patient forms, and parent forms, and the associations of rare disease trying to figure out what to do for my clients.
Izabella Wentz: 19:35 And a lot of times, um, we would see their primary care doctors weren’t always you know, up to speed on everything. And no disrespect to them, but you know, these people had complicated needs. And I thought to myself, “Okay, so maybe my average primary care doctor doesn’t know everything about Hashimoto’s that’s out there in the research.” So, I started looking into, um, potential PubMed studies about remissions, and reversals, and thyroid antibodies, anything that could really produce.
Izabella Wentz: 20:05 And I came across- across the gluten celiac and Hashimoto’s connection where people who had both celiac disease and Hashimoto’s were able to get Hashimoto’s into remission when they remove diet- gluten from their diet. And I was like, “Holy cow.” So, I’m like, “Okay, let’s get tested for celiac disease.” Now, I didn’t have it. Um, so-
Steven Gundry: 20:25 Darn, huh? (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 20:27 … Right. And so I was like, “Okay, back to the drawing board, right?” And, eh- I- I was sort of in this paralysis by analysis for quite sometime as I’m sure many of us brainy people can get trying to figure out what could … what my triggers could be. And then eventually, I decided why not just give this gluten-free and dairy-free diet a try? And within three days, my acid reflux that I had for three years was gone. I was like on Tums, proton pump inhibitors, H2 bl- blockers like I was chugging my lanta, right?
Izabella Wentz: 20:57 And still not, not … did not have my acid reflux resolved. And I was all of a sudden, “Well, where did it go? Really?” Like, “Is this really working?” I was so skeptical about diet. I was like, “I’ll just try this, and I’ll prove all these crazy people wrong, right? I’ll just go back to my diet.” And then, um, irritable bowel syndrome that had been with me for many, many years within three days gone. All of a sudden I had abs. I was … I was like, “Where did this come from?” (laughing)
Izabella Wentz: 21:29 Um, and then within time, my carpal tunnel that I had in both arms, that started getting better within a few weeks. And I- I actually had to wear arm braces on both arms during work and at night because of the, of the pain. And I ha- I actually left a job I really loved because I couldn’t type on the computer. And na- now I write books, and I drink coffee, and do all the things that people with acid reflux aren’t supposed to do.
Izabella Wentz: 21:56 Um, and furthermore, as I started to track my thyroid markers, those improved. So, I had thyroid antibodies that were in the 2000 range. And I was able to-
Steven Gundry: 22:07 That’s pretty good. (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 22:08 … Yeah, pretty good, right? I was able to l- lower them by more than 90% just with the nutritional interventions. And, and I had to do some more, um, functional medicine stuff as well, but really the nutrition should be the first step to taking back your health, because you just don’t know how many of these symptoms can disappear. Like I didn’t know that I … uh, that I was meant to have abs. (laughs) I didn’t know that these things could, could be, uh, a part of who I was. And I thought I was … I thought I was meant to be anxious, and I thought I was meant to be really tired. And all those things got so much better. And getting rid of those foods reveal the person I was really meant to be.
Steven Gundry: 22:47 Yeah, I’ve … I’ve been fascinating in, in the research. So, uh- everyone who’s probably watching this h- hopefully knows that gluten is a lectin, and these are plant proteins that protect the plant from being eaten. And there is a lectin like molecule in most dairy, um, which is casein A1. Uh, and I know you are against soy, which is, uh, one of, uh, the best lectin containing foods I know of. And, uh, so we’re all in agreement of that. What’s fascinating to me from the, from the research since you brought up anxiety is that you can, you can take rats and inject plant lectins in their belly, in their perineum.
Steven Gundry: 23:32 And they will get so anxious that they will cower in the corner of their cage and will not come out and look for food. And, uh, y- I actually respect plant’s a great deal. They … You know, they are sentient beings, and they were here a longtime before we were. And if you think about it as a plant defense system, making someone anxious is a great defense against you going out looking for food. And as I write about it in the Plant Paradox, uh, y- y- you may remember that cows normally don’t eat corn and soybeans. And they get such heartburn from the lectins in corn and soybeans that they actually stop eating.
Steven Gundry: 24:18 Because think about it from a plant standpoint, if it hurts you to eat something, a smart animal would stop eating that. But you and I, you know, I traveled with big jars of Tums and you know, I was just constantly chewing Tums, ’cause I had horrible heartburn. And half the world supply of Tums, calcium carbonate is mixed in the cattle food so that they-
Izabella Wentz: 24:44 Oh.
Steven Gundry: 24:44 … they will keep eating corn and soybeans. And yeah, so you’re right. When I … You know, when I stopped, when I took lectins out of my diet, all of a sudden you know, a- a day later or there was no heartburn and you go, you know, “What’s with that? I’ve always had heartburn.” And it’s like the plants trying to get our attention. It’s like you know, “Why didn’t I listen?” So, uh, yeah, so I think food, uh, and certain foods are real triggers just like you found out and I found out, and luckily my patients had been guineapigs, uh, to let me you know, look at, at their data.
Steven Gundry: 25:25 In fact, uh, speaking of Hashimoto’s, I saw a, uh, a 50-year old woman recently who my PA had seen, uh, six months earlier. And it was my first meeting with her. And we were talking about, she says, “Well, you know, I have Hashimoto’s and of course that’s why I’m here, but since I saw you know, your office last, my, uh, physician, my PCP has dropped my thyroid dose in half because he said I’m on too much thyroid.” And I go, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And she said, “Well, you know, but I have Hashimoto’s.” And I’m looking at her antithyroid antibodies and her antithyroid globulin antibodies. And six months ago, she was very positive. And when I saw her, she was negative.
Steven Gundry: 26:16 And I said, “You don’t have Hashimoto’s.” And she said, “Well, of course I have. That’s why I’m here.” And I … And I hold up her labs. She … And I said, “Well, you don’t have it anymore.” And she said, “It is true. You know, you- you can- you can cure this. You know, you’d go into remission.” I said, “Yeah, it’s absolutely true.” And so here’s a 50-year old woman and you know, she doesn’t have it anymore. And, uh, so that’s why you do what you do and that’s why I do what I do. And we just have to empower, particularly women to, to ask questions, to- to get these, uh, get these tests done.
Steven Gundry: 26:55 Also, uh, talk to me about early stages of Hashimoto’s. It can fool people, because you can actually become hyperthyroid in the early stages as your gland is being attacked. And so, talk me through that, um, …
Izabella Wentz: 27:16 Yeah, absolutely. So, this is known as a … This can be known as Hashitoxicosis when in the early stages what’s, what’s basically happening is the immune system starts to attack the thyroid gland, and then there’s a breakdown of thyroid tissue, and some of the stored thyroid hormone can get into our bloodstream. And if you were to take, um, take a lab test that day when this was happening, you may find on, on test results that the person will look as though they have too much thyroid hormone onboard, because so much is getting dumped at once.
Izabella Wentz: 27:51 And a lot of times we’ll see, and I’m sure you can appreciate that, um, with, with my clients. In the early stages of Hashimoto’s, they’ll have palpitations, and they’ll have a lot of these symptoms that may be more traditionally considered, uh, Graves’ disease or hyperthyroid symptoms-
Steven Gundry: 28:09 Correct, yup.
Izabella Wentz: 28:09 … where they’ll say, “I’m anxious. I’m … I may be shivering. I may be losing weight. Um, you know, my, my hair is lo- I’m losing my hair and I can’t sleep.” And, um, but then they also might have symptoms from the hypothyroid spectrum as well where they’ll say, “Oh, but I’m cooled all the time,” or they might have hot flushes. And it’s, it’s really quite interesting because when I, when I was in pharmacy school, we have this picture of a woman that was cut in half, and it was like this is hypothyroid, this is hyperthyroid. And these are these symptoms, and these are those symptoms.
Izabella Wentz: 28:43 And what I’ve seen with, with my clients and even with myself is when you have Hashimoto’s, you can have symptoms from, from both sides especially in the early stages and/or when we have very high antibodies when there’s a lot of that thyroid tissue breakdown happening.
Steven Gundry: 28:57 And so that makes you crazy. (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 29:01 You know, unfortunately I’ve seen people … So, I’ve seen pep- people misdiagnosed with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, um, borderline disorder, let’s see, bipolar disorder, and I’ve also seen, um, people who were hospitalized with psychosis. And they were you know, placed on multiple medications. And these, these are heavy duty medications too, antipsychotic meds. As a pharmacist, some of the … my least favorite meds out there, right?
Izabella Wentz: 29:31 Um, and in fact, it was Hashimoto’s that was, was causing all of this. And, and in many cases we can, we can, um, sometimes use thyroid hormones, but definitely the lifestyle changes, and you can get rid of psychiatric diagnosis. It’s- It’s quite, quite amazing where the person is no longer, um, “crazy” once you figure out that it was their thyroid that was causing them to be all over the place.
Izabella Wentz: 29:57 I- I definitely see those with, um, bipolar disorder is in the early stages of Hashimoto’s where they are like, “Oh, you have energy one day, and then the next day you don’t. And then you’re anxious, and then you’re depressed.” You have, you have bipolar disorder and it’s like, “No, actually it’s your, it’s your thyroid.”
Steven Gundry: 30:14 Okay, so you’ve got someone who know you’re convinced or, or l- luckily lab test showed that you got Hashimoto’s, you know, asking people to give up some of their favorite foods, uh, is challenging. Ha- Tell me how you work this out with someone.
Izabella Wentz: 30:37 It can be very hard at first. And I know for me, this was very, very challenging. And I’m from Poland originally, and I grew up eating Pierogi, and all kinds of you know, gluten and dairy foods. Pretty much that was the staple, (laughs) 90% of my diet, right? Um, so I know it can be very hard to change your lifestyle, but the, the way that I like to think about it is it’s not gonna be something that you have to do forever if it doesn’t work. And if it does work, then think of all of the different things you can do in your life.
Izabella Wentz: 31:06 Um, I generally ask people to just commit 30 days. And if you feel better, then you get to decide if you wanna keep eating that way. If you don’t feel better, then you’re, you’re just fine going back to your old diet. Um, and through you know, my, my way as look food pharmacology, I really just try to make it easy for people. So, I’ve got some dietary templates. We’ve got meal plans. We’ve got recipes. We’ve got like what to say to waiters when you’re eating out and, and how to get your family onboard.
Izabella Wentz: 31:35 Um, because sometimes you know, we can be onboard but then we sort of have all these other things in our life that we have to work out. So, uh, kinda get our systems, systems align and whether that’s, um, eating at work or going on, going when we’re traveling, or just convincing family members. And the other different ways to work through that, um, I made a lot of mistakes when I was first starting off. I ended up eating a lot of junk food, because it was gluten-free, right?
Steven Gundry: 32:04 Gluten-free, yup. Yup.
Izabella Wentz: 32:05 And I was like, “This is great stuff.” And so now, um, I really wanna make it easy for people. And, and a part of it is just getting prepared and getting, um, you know, knowing which foods are gonna serve you, which foods, um, you, you wanna back off of and give yourself sometime to get there.
Steven Gundry: 32:22 Let’s talk about eating in a restaurant, because certainly my patients often have real challenges in restaurants, and I often find even someone … S- So, I- I take care of a lot of people with celiac. And even someone who will swear on a stack of bibles that they are gluten-free when I do the advanced testing on them, because they still have some symptoms. They still have a leaky gut, and gluten is getting in them. And they go, “That is impossible.” And then we start talking about their restaurant experiences. And a lot of these … uh, those patients tend to eat out quite a bit. And so teach me, what- what are the tricks that you tell people about eating out? Besides sounding crazy-
Izabella Wentz: 33:12 Um-
Steven Gundry: 33:13 … that, “Oh, I’m gluten-free and you know, there can’t be a crumb of gluten anywhere.”
Izabella Wentz: 33:18 Yeah. And I- I think that’s such a great question, because a lot of people who are normally very outgoing and, um, I would say maybe some people pleasers kind of don’t like to make a fuss when they go out to eat, because then they feel bad, right? They’re like, “Oh, I don’t wanna bother the waiter. The waiter … He’s- He’s busy enough and I don’t wanna bother him with, with my little problems and whatnot.” And I really ask people to reframe. Um, when you go to restaurants especially, especially decent ones, really the chefs, this is … They’re artists. This is their passion. And they actually enjoy being creative in the kitchen and creating, um, some of these challenges when you have to make something without an ingredient. It’s actually a lot of fun for, for chefs.
Izabella Wentz: 34:00 And for the waiters, waiters most of them I would say are out there, because they, they like helping people. They’re in the service industry. They wanna serve you. And so, the way that you ask is you say, you take your waiter aside or you know, you don’t, you don’t kinda like make an announcement on the big table and say, “Hey, hey.” You just say, “Hey, I’m trying this new diet my doctor wants me to try, or you know, whatever, whatever the story is. Can you help me out?” And I found that just asking them to help you out just changes the conversation so much and say, “Hey, you know, these are some of the foods that, um, my doctor wants me to stay off of. This is something I’m trying. Can you help me out?”
Izabella Wentz: 34:40 Because a lot of times, you ask somebody to help you and they feel like they’re giving you a gift and it’s fulfilling to them.
Steven Gundry: 34:48 I think I-
Izabella Wentz: 34:48 And I’ve-
Steven Gundry: 34:49 Go ahead.
Izabella Wentz: 34:50 Oh, I was just gonna say, I’ve gotten so many amazing meals just because of that little reframe where I’ll, I’ll be eating out with, um, I’ve been eating out with colleagues who maybe were not gluten-free, dairy free. Um, and they were like, “Wow, your food looks like the best out of the entire, (laughs) the entire table. And that’s just a really one, one little trick that you can do to kinda shift the conversation.
Steven Gundry: 35:14 Are there any … So, you’re looking … Uh, I have a very good friend Tom Guy who I wrote about in, in one of my books. And Tom used to say, “The menu just tells you what the chef has in the back.” And so I … Uh, it’s always I think great advice. Um, you can see what the chefs got back there. And it … It’s great to be able to ask you know, “Can I … Can I have this, and this, and this, and this?” Are there any go to safe things in a restaurant that you tell your clients, “Okay, you know, this is … If you gotta do it and you’re in a restaurant, here’s some go to things to get that are pretty safe.
Izabella Wentz: 35:56 Um, things like doing like a Cobb salad, and asking to have the cheese, uh, removed and any croutons off to the side, and any kind of dressings off to the side and using, um, olive oil and lemon is, is one great starting point, because gluten dairy and so it can be hidden in the dressings. Um, that- that’s one thing that’s, that’s kind of fancy that you can get. And a lot of times, just the really simple things, delicious steaks, um, delicious types of grilled meats, fish, and vegetables, these are gonna be really go to’s, even if you’re somewhere out.
Izabella Wentz: 36:32 Um, and, uh- I grew up in the Midwest, (laughs) but even if you’re somewhere out in the Midwest that has never heard of gluten, a lot of times, this is something that you can order without any issues. Um, I used to be, um, traveling sales rep for the pharmaceutical industry. And I would have to go to, um, you know, a very rural parts of Illinois. And I was able to eat that way. So, eh- you can do it too.
Izabella Wentz: 36:54 Um, the one thing that you do wanna ask about is you wanna make sure that you are not, um, that whatever meats you’re eating are not gonna be breaded. So, we wanna avoid any kind of breading, and we wanna, um, uh, clarify that they are not gonna be, uh, deep fried in a deep fryer that potentially has, um, you know, other kinds of things. Uh, Wa- One, it could have a, uh- soy, but two it could be, um, it could be some of the, some of the other gluten ingredients. The other thing that I like to recommend is using a product called, “gluten dairy digest.” I found in some cases, it can minimize the reaction if you have some cross-contamination issues.
Izabella Wentz: 37:38 Um, and this is an enzyme that you could take with, with the food if you’re eating out. Um, definitely not something where you know, you order a pizza and you eat one of those and then everything goes away. Eh- That’s not gonna happen.
Steven Gundry: 37:50 Yeah.
Izabella Wentz: 37:50 It- It- But it will minimize some of the reaction that you may normally have.
Steven Gundry: 37:54 So, um, I think something you mentioned early on I think is very important for people to realize. Um, again, uh, if you have Hashimoto’s, it doesn’t mean you don’t have other autoimmune diseases. And it’s amazing to me the number of people who, um, have multiple autoimmune diseases. And unfortunately, we tend to put names on these things depending on the end organ. And I, I think you’d probably agree with me that all of this I think stems at one way or another from a leaky gut. And, uh, it just … Whatever target happens to be on you, there are other things being targeted.
Steven Gundry: 38:37 Um, I just got a paper accepted for the American Heart Association in May, uh, looking at lectins as a major cause of coronary artery disease, and showing when we took lectins out of people’s diet, so that markers for attack on their blood vessels actually subsided. So, uh, these things I think are all interconnected. So, one final thought. Uh, it’s certainly my impression on it, but you- it’s your impression that Hashimoto’s is an epidemic that we did not see 50 years ago. Um, thoughts, uh, on that?
Izabella Wentz: 39:20 That’s correct. And a lot of times, people will say, “Well, we’re just doing better screening tests right now, or it’s a hot topic,” or you know the- somebody said, “Oh, it’s a trending topic and, and it’s a fancy sounding name.” That’s- That’s why everybody wants to have it. It- It’s- It’s glamorous, right?
Steven Gundry: 39:36 (laughs)
Izabella Wentz: 39:36 No, eh- but that- that’s not the case. Um, when we look at blood samples from decades ago that were frozen and we run, uh, tests on them right now, comparatively, we see lower rates of Hashimoto’s in those blood samples than we do in today’s blood samples from similar populations. And definitely, it’s one of the … Uh- It- It’s the number one autoimmune condition. And it’s one of the fastest growing ones. We see, um, … I mean, we see chil- uh- It used to be an older woman’s condition, right? And now we see younger people with it, men, children, um, women, um, even before they’ve ever had children, it used to be something that was more, or, more common post-partum.
Izabella Wentz: 40:20 Um, there’s … There’s a lot of different potential root causes and triggers and, uh, potentially environmental toxins can be contributing. We know that Chernobyl, uh, I- I actually grew up in Poland pretty close to the Ukrainian bol- border so I was exposed, uh, downstream to Chernobyl. And we know that children who were closest to that, uh, disaster had higher rates of Hashimoto’s antibodies, somewhere around 80% versus children of similar genetic backgrounds who lived further away. And- And those rates were somewhere between 20 and 30%.
Izabella Wentz: 40:56 So, we definitely know that toxins play an important role. But I also believe that our diet is, is gonna be one of the key contributors to, to the rates of Hashimoto’s that we see.
Steven Gundry: 41:07 Great. Well, s- speaking- speaking o- of diet, you may know that my new book, The Longevity Paradox is, is out. And I’ve got a longevity question for you. So, some people would say and you’re a pharmacist, “Well, it’s okay, we luckily have thyroid medications and you can do just fine taking thyroid medications. And you don’t have to worry about you know, having Hashimoto’s.” Tell me why from a longevity standpoint it’s a really good idea to worry about Hashimoto’s?
Izabella Wentz: 41:47 When … You know, when we look at Hashimoto’s, it- it’s a progressive condition. And taking thyroid hormones even if they erased all of your thyroid symptoms and normalize your thyroid function, there’s still that inflammation going on. And autoimmune conditions are progressive. So, you may end up with another autoimmune condition unfortunately. Um, you may end up with, with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Um, I know in some cases thyroidectomies were recommended for, um, for Graves’ disease-
Steven Gundry: 42:18 Yeah.
Izabella Wentz: 42:18 … which is another autoimmune thyroid condition. There are some doctors that are recommending them for Hashimoto’s as well and they, they kind of … They’ll say, “Well, that’s the cure, right? Just the thyroid is inflamed, well, let’s remove the thyroid.” But it doesn’t work that way. I’ve seen numerous people who go on to have their thyroid glands removed and then they go on to have other types of autoimmune conditions down the road, because that root cause of the inflammation just wasn’t addressed. So, whether that’s the thyroid getting addressed or, or vessels, or another part of the body, um, it- I- I feel like it’s really, really important to get that inflammation under control to prevent other types of autoimmune conditions.
Izabella Wentz: 43:00 And- And honestly, most people who do take thyroid medications, they’re not gonna be feeling a hundred percent. Every now and then, people will say, “Oh, I just … I feel just fine on my thyroid medications Izabella. I don’t know what you’re talking about all these sick people with Hashimoto’s.” And then I start talking to them and they’re like, “Oh yeah, but I only you know, go to the bathroom once a week, or yeah I am 50 pounds heavier than I was in high school, or yeah I guess my hair is falling out, or- or yeah I do have to wear you know, three sweaters and a- and- and a winter jacket in the summertime.”
Izabella Wentz: 43:34 So, um, I really encourage people to look at their whole body and treat their entire body well, not just look at their thyroid gland as though it was in a vacuum. Um, additionally, when we just kinda support one system, we might have, um, we might sort of set other things out of balance. There is some evidence that just taking thyroid hormone may accelerate different types of, of cancers. And then I, I believe it’s because of the underlying inflammation that’s not addressed.
Steven Gundry: 44:06 Yup. Good point. All right. So, that, uh, … It’s been great having you on the program. And as I told you when we started off camera, we always have a viewer question. And so, we’re gonna ask the audience question, this is a follower on Instagram. And they wrote, “What are your thoughts on the celery juice trend? Do you feel eating food is more beneficial than drinking it?” So, uh, our guest Izabella, you wanna weigh in on that?
Izabella Wentz: 44:42 Oh, that’s such a great question and- and I’ve actually been seeing a lot of that lately where people will say, “Hey, is celery juice the cure all … Will that cure my thyroid?” And you know, this reminds me of when I was first starting off, uh, trying to figure out helpful information for myself. And it was … At the time, it was really high dose iodine that was the cure all for every single condition. And if you had a thyroid condition, all you had to do was take high dose iodine.
Izabella Wentz: 45:03 We later learned that in some cases, that can actually exacerbate Hashimoto’s and accelerate thyroid tissue damage. Um, and, and sometimes symptoms, uh, very, very quickly. And then the other thing was, hey, coconut oil. That’s gonna be … That’s gonna cure your thyroid entirely. And, um, it can be helpful. It wasn’t a cure all again. And you know, I- I can’t say that I’ve placed a hundred of my clients on a celery juice cleanse and tracked outcomes or done out- outcomes research on this.
Izabella Wentz: 45:36 But, um, I’m, I’m skeptical to say that that’s gonna be the cure all for everything. I think drinking green juice is a fantastic idea. It can be very helpful, very beneficial. Um, juice cleanses just when you just drink juice by itself. We’re trending a few years back as well and, and they were sort of touted as the cure all for, for many things. And unfortunately, I’ve see that fall out of that with certain clients getting worse.
Izabella Wentz: 46:02 Um, here’s the thing, there’s various types of root causes and triggers that we may have. Our unique biology, um, the- the kind of infections that we may have, the kind of toxins that we might have. Celery juice can be helpful for some things. Um, just for example, um, I know that with the, the parasite giardia, it’s a protozoa that lives in our guts, and that can be a root cause and a trigger for some people causing leaky gut.
Izabella Wentz: 46:30 This parasite can be eradicated with a juice cleanse with about three to five days of a juice cleanse with about three to five days of a juice cleanse, we can make this pericycle bye-bye, and that can cure you know, get rid of that leaky gut. And that can be … You know, in that case you could say the juice cleanse was a cure for that person. But another person with something like blastocystis hominis, which doesn’t respond to juice, they can juice cleanse all they want, and that’s not gonna help.
Izabella Wentz: 46:55 So, I- You know, I- I say like go ahead and drink the celery juice and maybe it’ll help, and I love that, but at the same time, please don’t stop your thyroid medications. Please don’t stop, um, your supplements that have helped when you’re trying something new like that. Like be … B- be … Keep an open mind, but not so open that your, that your brain will fall out, right? (laughing)
Steven Gundry: 47:16 Uh, all right. Good. And how … Now, my two sense on this. Uh, as you know, the best part of any vegetable including celery is actually not in the juice, it’s actually in the whole plant. And if you want to use celery, either eat it, or put it in a blender like a Blendtec or a Vitamix, and homogenize it and put it in your green smoothie. In fact, if you really want to use celery properly, juice it, throw the juice away and take the pulp, and then eat that or make a muffin out of it from our cookbooks. And you’ll get far more benefit (laughs). Uh, so that’s my thought on celery juice.
Steven Gundry: 48:02 And so I think both of us, if you wanna drink celery juice you know, knock your socks off, but I’d rather you get the whole plant, and probably you’d agree with me on that Izabella.
Izabella Wentz: 48:15 I would agree with you, and I also, um, wanted … I spent some time in Italy last year or last couple of years. And, um, I grew up in Europe and then lived in New York for little while. And what’s interesting that I don’t think, uh, many Americans are aware of, but raw, um, celery is actually a very common allergen in countries like, um, like Italy, and France, and Switzerland. So, this is something to consider here too. And- And the, the thought process is because they eat a lot of it in the raw state.
Steven Gundry: 48:45 Yeah, celery actually contains, uh, a compound called, “Psoralen.” And Celery Picker’s Disease is actually, they burn their hands from this compound in celery. So, uh, you know, concentrated celery, eh- to me is, is not a great idea. So, I’m glad you brought that up. It’s very true.
Izabella Wentz: 49:06 Just some food for thought. (laughs)
Steven Gundry: 49:07 Yup. Food for thought, that’s what we’re here for. So, Izabella, where can people find you? Where can they find your book?
Izabella Wentz: 49:16 People can find me on si-
Steven Gundry: 49:16 Books.
Izabella Wentz: 49:17 … Yeah, I’ve got three of them now.
Steven Gundry: 49:18 You got three, yeah.
Izabella Wentz: 49:19 Um, um, thyroidpharmacist.com is my website. And I have articles on some of the most helpful interventions for Hashimoto’s whether that’s supplements, or nutrition protocols, or just lifestyle changes in general. Um, how to deal with people right, all those things. And then, uh, my books can be found anywhere that books are sold. Amazon has, um, all three of them. The- the latest one is Hashimoto’s Food Pharmacology. And you could see that right here. So, it’s … It’s all about helping people become their own nutrition gurus, and make that connection within their own bodies to figure out which foods work for them and which foods don’t work for them.
Steven Gundry: 49:57 All right. Well, keep up the good work. Keep getting the word out to empower women. And thanks again for being on the program. So, that’s it for another episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Uh, tune in next week. We got more exciting guests. Look for my new book, The Longevity Paradox. I wrote it, because as you know, I am Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you. See you next week.
Steven Gundry: 50:26 Exciting news my friends. My new book, The Longevity Paradox is out now. Like The Plant Paradox, this will be a game changer in helping you live a long vital life. So, pick-up your copy now at your local bookstore, Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or my audio book, which I actually recorded this time. And make sure you tell your friends and family about it.
Steven Gundry: 50:50 So, for more information about this week’s episode, please take a look at my show notes below and on doctorgundry.com. In the show notes, you’ll also find a survey, and I’d love to find out more about you. Please take a few minutes to fill it out so I can do my best to provide information you’re looking for.
Steven Gundry: 51:09 Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Check back next week for another exciting episode. And make sure to subscribe, rate, and review to stay up-to-date with the latest episodes. Head to doctorgundry.com for show notes and more information. Until next time, I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.