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Properly Diagnosing and Defeating Thyroid Disease – Dr. Izabella Wentz – #408

By: Dave Asprey

Why you should listen –

One of the biggest obstacles of treating people with thyroid disease is an improper diagnosis. Many doctors will prescribe medications that don’t work and commonly recommend unnecessary surgeries that end up doing more harm than good. This an experience that today’s guest, thyroid expert Dr. Izabella Wentz, went through as young woman making her way through medical school. After years of treatments for thyroid disease that didn’t work, she decided to create her own treatment protocol. This show is must listen for anyone that suffers from chronic fatigue, depression and mental fog.

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Speaker 1:             Bulletproof Radio, a state of high performance.

Dave:                        You guys ready? All right. You’re listening to Bulletproof radio, with Dave Asprey. Isn’t that awesome? There we go! Today’s cool fact of the day is that selenium is a mineral that’s pretty commonly found in some parts of the world but not other parts of the world. It can help to reverse the effects of mercury poisoning. In fact, having selenium in our seafood, which naturally occurs, can help to reduce the risk but not eliminate the risk of mercury in your food. Because selenium is so important to mitochondrial function, the island where I live – which is selenium deficient – they’re actually brought moose to the island over and over. There’s not enough selenium to make moose happy, so they swim back to the mainland. Apparently it matters, at least if you’re a moose.

Izabella:                  Interesting.

Dave:                        If you’re listening at work or in your car and this sounds a little different than normal, that’s because this is recorded live in Denver with a few hundred of the coolest people in the audience. If you enjoy today’s show, which you’re about to enjoy, I would absolutely appreciate it if you went to iTunes and you left a review. It’s one of the easiest things you can do. We’re at more than 400 episodes, which is, jeez, I don’t know how many hours of time it takes to do all the work to get them ready. Anyway, that’s a whole lot of investment of time. It takes you 30 seconds to leave a 5-star review, and I would be super stoked if you would do that. In fact, if you’re in the live studio audience and you do it from your phone, I won’t object.

Today’s guest is Izabella Wentz. She is, first and foremost, as she says, a health nerd. She’s also a doctor of pharmacy, clinical pharmacist, and someone who like me had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is your second time, third time on Bulletproof Radio?

Izabella:                  Fourth time.

Dave:                        Fourth time. There’s a reason that Izabella keeps coming back on Bulletproof Radio. It’s because she knows her stuff. I know a lot about thyroids. I fixed my Hashimoto’s. When I read Izabella’s books, I’m like, “Oh, something I didn’t know even more, the stuff about tobacco and autoimmunity.” Just all sorts of crazy stuff. She’s dug it all up. My new book Headstrong is a really, really good book, but her new book is one step above it on the New York Times list. You are talking to, or at least you’re hearing an interview, with someone who is now in her second week on the New York Times list and still kicked my ass on my first week. That’s pretty legit, I gotta say. Congratulations.

Izabella:                  Thank you.

Dave:                        The name of your new book.

Izabella:                  Hashimoto’s Protocol.

Dave:                        You have to tell us the full subtitle. Did you memorize it?

Izabella:                  It’s, “A 90-Day Plan for Taking Your Health Back and Eliminating Thyroid Symptoms.”

Dave:                        You said it backwards.

Izabella:                  Oh no.

Dave:                        I can tell you I don’t know the subtitle on my book at all. 12 Week, 2 Week something. Headstrong was the important part, for god’s sake. I was impressed that you remembered that. I was just testing whether you had a brain fog.

Izabella:                  Not today. I took a whole bunch of your supplements backstage.

Dave:                        I noticed you were kind of bouncing around a little bit. That explains it. What we’re going to talk about today, because you’ve been on the show before, we’re going to go a little bit deeper on what happened when you got Hashimoto’s and also what it does to your energy. Tell me about when you first figured out that you had this and what it did to your brain, specifically.

Izabella:                  I had been struggling with chronic fatigue for almost a decade by the time I found out I had Hashimoto’s. I started with having symptoms in my first year of undergrad. I went from this bright-eyed and bushy tailed kid, I was called an Energizer Bunny by everybody that knew me, or a busy bee, bumblebee, I was just always so bubbly and energetic. When all of a sudden during my first year in college, I’m finding myself missing class. I was super type A, straight A student, just really obsessive about having the best grades. I was missing class because I couldn’t get up in the morning.

In fact, one day I was getting ready for my final exam, it’s the night before and I thought, “Okay, I’m going to study. I’m going to just really, really study hard for this exam. It’s really important.” I went to take a nap at around 2 PM, and I actually woke up the following morning at 9 AM. My final exam had started at 7:30 that morning. I’m jumping out of my dorm room bed, I’m running over. Unfortunately, I didn’t do so well in class that semester. This was quite devastating because I really wanted to become a pharmacist and help people, and they kind of don’t let people into pharmacy school when they don’t have great grades.

That just sort of continued. It was like I was sleeping for 14 to 16 hours without feeling refreshed. Eventually I learned to work around that and I worked my way down to sleeping about 12 hours each night. I missed out on most of my 20s because of this. When everybody else was out with friends and partying, I was sleeping. Everybody else was achieving things, and I was like, “Okay, I either have to sleep or study.” That was how I got through pharmacy school.

Things just kept going downhill from that point on. I just kept having more and more symptoms where I started having carpal tunnel, I had acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome. Eventually I started having panic attacks, and then I had brain fogs so bad that I was at work and I would have to write everything down because I was afraid that I was going to miss something important. I would have to obsessively review my notes every single day because I just thought there was no way that I would be able to remember anything. My husband Michael, who’s here, he would make jokes about my memory, very kindly, and say, “Oh honey, I’m going to write this down for you because we know how your memory is.” I’m like, “That’s not me. I used to be sharp. I used to be smart.”

Dave:                        I have to kind of wonder, were the jokes funny every time because you didn’t remember them?

Izabella:                  Yeah. I think he said that joke once or twice, that’s it. Yeah.

Dave:                        I actually believe that, Izabella. In your new book, you have a 90-day plan for reversing autoimmune thyroid conditions. Quick question for the audience, how many of you had a thyroid issue that you know about? All right. For people who are listening, I’d say roughly 40% of the room. How many of you know someone who has a thyroid condition, if it’s not you? Pretty much the entire room. This is a massive problem in society, and it’s mostly undiagnosed. In fact, what percentage of people have some clinical thyroid problems and don’t know it?

Izabella:                  Actually 27% of the population in the United States has Hashimoto’s and most of them do not know it. When we look at the statistics of how many of those actually know, we’re looking at 3-5% of people that are actually diagnosed out of the 27%. It’s crazy because millions of people are walking around each day thinking that it’s their fault that they’re overweight, that they’re tired, that they’re depressed, and it really is their thyroid.

Dave:                        10 years of struggling. More than 10, it sounds like.

Izabella:                  Yeah.

Dave:                        Or 90 days.

Izabella:                  I don’t know, yeah. For me it was nine years until I found out I was diagnosed and then a few more years until I got my health back. Since I started working with clients and dialing in my protocols, we’ve been able to see results actually in as little as two weeks, seeing 65% improvement. Then within 90 days, 80% improvement.

Dave:                        The reason that I invited Izabella here on stage with you is that all of you know someone, and roughly almost half of you have issues with this. This is one of those things that saps your energy, it saps your willpower, and it just makes you tired all the time. What I figured out with Headstrong and even the Bulletproof Diet before that was what is the nature of willpower? All of the energy that you make comes from electricity in your body. The thyroid hormone controls how much electricity your cells make. No wonder you’re feeling crappy. No wonder you yell at people you don’t like and you sleep all the time and all that sort of stuff. It’s not like it’s an on/off sort of thing. There are people who have just a little bit of this. What happens if you’re just a little bit Hashimoto’s?

Izabella:                  For people that have the very beginning stages of Hashimoto’s, a lot of times the early symptoms are going to be anxiety and just a feeling that something is off about your body. All of a sudden you feel sort of like a stranger in your own body. It’s very hard to describe. You start wanting to withdraw from people around you. Really in a way a lot of my clients, a lot of my readers, and people I’ve interviewed will say that they just feel like there’s a wall around them that’s preventing them from showing up in the world how they wish they could.

Dave:                        When I had Hashimoto’s, it was kind of life-changing. They actually just diagnosed “thyroid problems,” not Hashimoto’s at first. This was 18 years ago. The first time I had thyroid hormone I was like, “Holy crap, they gave me cocaine!” For the record, I’ve actually truly never tried cocaine, but this is just what I imagine cocaine would be. It doesn’t seem like a smart bio-hacking drug to me.

Izabella:                  Yeah, I don’t think so.

Dave:                        You’re a pharmacologist. Should I?

Izabella:                  Yeah, I don’t think that’s a good one. Sorry.

Dave:                        [crosstalk 00:10:38]

Izabella:                  Too many side effects.

Dave:                        License at risk, see? That’s the right answer. You can’t take away my bio-hacking license, so I can say whatever I want. Which is kind of fun.

Izabella:                  I like it.

Dave:                        It was literally a game-changer. I went on a business trip once and I forgot my thyroid. “Oh my god, I’m going to die.” It’s literally like I’m myself, or at least partly myself again. I called and had a friend go to my place and FedEx it to me wherever I was, just because it’s critical to survival. You get used to feeling like this because unless you get this sudden, something just whacks me over the head, if it’s a slow decline as your immune system gets more and more into the mode of attacking your thyroid gland, you don’t just sort of wake up one day with Hashimoto’s. At least I never did. Did you? Do you know? Because you work with enough people, do some people just wake up with Hashimoto’s one day and like, “God, my life sucks.” Or was it there was a slow decline?

Izabella:                  It’s a progressive condition. There are five stages to Hashimoto’s. The very first stage, you just have the genetic predisposition. I have a whole theory about it that we could talk about, but I actually believe it’s the body’s way of protecting itself and conserving resources and energy, from an adaptive physiology standpoint. Based on studies done in Chernobyl, up to 80% of us can actually have this genetic predisposition to develop the condition. Looking at the stats in the US, I’m not surprised. For all intents and purposes, in the first stage you don’t have symptoms, you don’t have the condition. You just have the right genes for it.

The second stage is when we start getting into symptoms. This is when we start getting into having an attack on the thyroid gland. Essentially the immune system recognizes the thyroid gland as a foreign invader and starts attacking it bit by bit. Usually people will say that they have anxiety at that point. They might have obsessive-compulsive tendencies. They’re going to feel a little bit more tired, maybe gain some more weight. Their mood might be off. A lot of times they’re going to be at risk for getting misdiagnosed with depression because their TSH test, which is the screening test for thyroid disease, will still be normal.

As that goes on, they get into stage three, which is subclinical hypothyroidism. At this stage, we’re going to have more attack on the thyroid, more thyroid tissue that’s been damaged, as well as some changes in the TSH. Then we’re also going to have more symptoms. If people are lucky, they get diagnosed at this point and sometimes they’re given thyroid hormone like you were.

Stage four is when we have overt damage to the thyroid gland. So much of it is destroyed that you cannot make enough thyroid hormone. At this stage, you’re feeling exhausted, you’re feeling overweight, your mood is likely to be off. This is when most people get diagnosed, they get placed on thyroid hormones, and they’re told, “That’s it.” It takes about ten years to get from stage two to stage four. Most people are misdiagnosed with fertility issues, with mental health issues, with fork to mouth disease or other crazy kinds of things that doctors say.

Stage five is when we progress into other types of autoimmune conditions. The point is that you don’t just wake up with it. It doesn’t happen overnight. You might have it within your body, and it’s really important to figure it out, what stage you’re in, so that you can start doing lifestyle changes and start preventing the damage and reversing the progression.

Dave:                        Would you support regular screening for this, as something that we should do at every annual checkup?

Izabella:                  Absolutely. 27% of us are walking around with this condition. It can cause us to have fatigue, fertility issues, mental health issues. I’ve seen people who were misdiagnosed with psychotic disorders. It’s crazy, right? I would advocate for everybody to get tested for thyroid antibodies at least once a year. Women of child bearing age, even more frequently.

Dave:                        If you catch Hashimoto’s early, what can you do?

Izabella:                  You can prevent a whole decade of freaking symptoms. That’s a big payoff, right? The other thing you can do is you can prevent damage to your thyroid glands, so then you don’t need to take thyroid hormones. Another great thing is you can prevent having autoimmune disease later on in life, other types of autoimmune disease that don’t have hormones for them – like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, those kinds of things.

Dave:                        How much does it cost to get a test for Hashimoto’s?

Izabella:                  Insurance will cover it if you have insurance. If you don’t have insurance, you can self-order it through labs like My Med Lab or Direct Labs, all these wonderful labs online. To get both antibody tests, depending on the lab, it’s going to be anywhere from $40 to $100. Then they run specials, when it’s even cheaper. Well worth it.

Dave:                        This is about as expensive as vitamin D testing, which you should also get on a regular basis. It’s not a $500 food allergy panel, which is also kind of useful. What is the most common precipitating thing that turns on Hashimoto’s, in your opinion, knowing that there’s debate about this?

Izabella:                  In my opinion, based on interviewing and surveying over 2,000 people with Hashimoto’s, stress seems to be the biggest thing. About 70% of people will say that they were going through a significant stressful period in their life.

Dave:                        So husbands are the cause of Hashimoto’s?

Izabella:                  Husbands, wives, in-laws, you know.

Dave:                        Okay. Any kind of life stress?

Izabella:                  Any kind of life stress. Generally it’s going to be a negative stress. We see people who have a divorce or perhaps they have a death in the family, so that can be a negative stress. It can also be a positive stress, like having a child. That can precipitate thyroid disease as well. That’s a stressor on the body, right?

Dave:                        Would cutting calories and working out several hours a day be a stress on the body?

Izabella:                  I think so. That actually goes back to my whole safety theory. The reason why we develop thyroid disease is basically our body thinks that we’re in a dangerous state, and the thyroid gland can actually sense and send danger signals to our body whenever it senses there’s danger around. Kind of going back to the adaptive physiology model, we are these creatures with our ancient genes showing up in today’s world. Why on earth would a cave man or a cave woman exercise for seven hours a day and cut their calories?

Dave:                        Because they want to get swole?

Izabella:                  Close. Generally it’s going to be because something really horrible is happening, right?

Dave:                        Yeah, there’s a tiger that won’t stop chasing me. That’ll genereally do it.

Izabella:                  Right, or there’s a war, there’s a famine, there’s a flood, or one of the deadly things happening. In that kind of situation, it would actually be protective for somebody to have a slower metabolism. Studies have found that prisoners of war, various types of people who have been exposed to trauma, they actually have lower levels of thyroid hormones. It makes sense. If your metabolism is slow, you don’t need as much food, so you’ll survive a famine. If you are hiding in your cave and sleeping all day instead of being out and about, maybe you might survive that war because you might not get stabbed, or shanked, whatever. Whatever they had in those days.

Dave:                        Clubbed.

Izabella:                  Clubbed, there you go. This is a really important thing to consider: what are you doing in your day to day life that’s making you feel like you are threatened? What would your inner cave woman or caveman say? What’s happening? Is it traffic? Is it stress? Is it calorie restriction?

Dave:                        You’re saying excessive Facebook alerts cause Hashimoto’s?

Izabella:                  You know, I really like Facebook so I’m not going to comment on that.

Dave:                        Oh yeah, your likes didn’t go down.

Izabella:                  I don’t want my page shut down.

Dave:                        The point behind that question was more how much acute big stress does it take versus just the little things that grind you down?

Izabella:                  Like sleep depravation. That’s a big stressor. Holding onto feelings of anger, being high strung. We find that with a lot of people that have thyroid disease. I’m not going to say everybody. I’m sure there are some natural couch potatoes, but a lot of them tend to be type A and tend to be very hard on themselves. They push themselves past their limits. That sends a signal to the body that they’re not safe. They’re like, “Keep going! Keep going!” Why would a cave woman keep going, when she’s actually tired?

Dave:                        What was the stress that brought yours on?

Izabella:                  Oh man, so I grew up in Poland and I lived on the Ukrainian border growing up. I was one of the lucky that was exposed to Chernobyl when I was around 3 years old. I’m sure that kind of set the stage. Like I said, about 80% of kids within a certain age range, age that I was when I was exposed, ended up with thyroid antibodies for Hashimoto’s. The closer they were to Chernobyl, the more likely they were to have it. Then it ended up being likely Epstein-Barr virus in college, maybe too many late nights, too many fun parties. Who knows? Definitely Epstein-Barr virus was probably contributing.

Dave:                        Do you see things like Lyme disease or my favorite, toxic mold, which is endemic as being the type of stressors that turn on Hashimoto’s?

Izabella:                  Oh, absolutely. Lyme disease, there are actually numerous cross-reactive proteins on Borrelia, the Lyme bacteria, that cross-react with the thyroid gland. The way that that works is when the Borrelia is in the body, the body tries to attack it. There’s a mechanism known as molecular mimicry where basically the bacteria is recognized as an enemy. When I think about the immune system, I think about it taking little cell phone pictures. If you have an iPhone, just little snapshots of “this is a part of the bacteria, this is what we attack.” This is a protein sequence that gets recognized as an enemy, and there’s matching protein sequences on the thyroid gland that can get attacked. Definitely with Lyme, this has been really well documented. I would say the longer a person has Lyme, the more likely they are going to develop thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease. The same goes with toxic mold exposure. Some people might develop asthma, other people might develop Hashimoto’s. I’ve seen it quite a few times, and it’s usually the people that just can’t seem to get better usually have mold or Lyme as a trigger.

Dave:                        It’s a really interesting thing. These are environmental variables that are basically turning on your immune system for some reason, which is probably evolutionary like you’re saying. We like to think it turns it against us, but it’s doing its best to manage what it perceives as a threat environment, saying, “Well, I don’t need this gland anymore. To hell with that.”

Izabella:                  When you think about mold as a toxin, any kind of toxin can bring in the autoimmune response. It’s basically our body saying, “Hey, there’s a lot of toxicity around, it’s not the best time to maybe reproduce. Maybe this is not the best time to be out in the world. Maybe you need to go back in your cave and rest.” If a person is infected with a condition, perhaps that’s a way of us protecting the herd, that we withdraw to our caves instead of infecting everybody else. I’ve thought about this a lot.

Dave:                        Nature is kind of mean when you think about it.

Izabella:                  Yeah. That’s why we have bio-hacking, right?

Dave:                        That’s also why we have those wasps that lay their eggs inside spiders why they’re still alive. Anytime someone tells you that nature is kind, it’s like, “No, no, no.” I don’t know what that had to do with Hashimoto’s. I just like to say that to-

Izabella:                  It makes a lot of sense.

Dave:                        There’s a link, I’m sure. Conspiracies.

Izabella:                  I’m sure there’s a study on it somewhere, connecting the two.

Dave:                        In your new book, you talk about – it’s like a third of the book – you don’t talk about the thyroid. Part of me was like, “What a rip off!” By the way I’ve fully endorsed all of Izabella’s work. She’s my go-to thyroid expert when I don’t know the answer. What you’re talking about though is liver adrenals and gut. Why did you go there in a book about Hashimoto’s?

Izabella:                  Long story short, I had this client – I had actually a host of clients – that we were going after all these chronic infections and all of these cool and fancy triggers, trying all these supplements. They just weren’t getting better. They were sensitive to everything. Quite a few of them had multiple chemical sensitivities, which means like perfume will bother you and you can’t walk into the mall because you’re overwhelmed with all the chemicals that are in the air.

Dave:                        I have that. I have to hold my breath, ever since I was a kid, walking down that soap aisle. Fabric softener was like kryptonite. I totally get that.

Izabella:                  Totally. It was like we’d give them a supplement and then they’d feel worse. It would be something very benign like a B vitamin. I wanted to find a way to help them. I thought, “Okay, well maybe their body has all of these toxins that are stored within the body, and they’re not getting them out correctly.” When you have a thyroid condition, you’re not going to be sweating enough. That means toxins are not leaving that way. You’re always going to have intestinal permeability or leaky gut, so toxins are not leaving that way. You end up with circulating immune complexes that form to the antibodies that end up lodged in your liver, so then your liver is sort of like this overworked office worker that just is frustrated with anything. You come up and you’re like, “Here’s a little perfume.” She’s like, “Get out of my face!” You end up being sensitive to everything.

I started them on this liver support protocol. I was actually surprised because one of my clients reached out to me within a week and she said, “Wow, I’m at the mall with my kids again. I am shopping, the Yankee Candle store is not bothering me. None of these things are bothering me like they used to.” Her headaches resolved. Her depression lifted. Joint pains lifted. She was feeling like herself again, and that was within like a week of liver support. I was like, “Huh. I think I’m onto something.” Then really I started researching resiliency and thinking about how do we build up a person first, before we give them fancy stuff?

I started thinking about what are the fundamentals of healing for each person? What are the things that just about everybody can do to make themselves feel better, regardless of what their root cause is? Every Hashimoto’s patient is like a snowflake. Everybody’s got a slightly different story. Supporting our own body’s natural protective defenses – supporting the liver – helps to build resilience because now we’re no longer toxic to everything. Supporting the adrenals, that means we’re less stressed out, and it means the world feels like a safer place. When your adrenals are burned out, you often times feel like everything is a threat. That makes you feel safer. Then supporting the gut. The gut is key in every autoimmune condition, so we couldn’t ignore that. Really what we found is supporting those three body systems, people feel significantly better.

Dave:                        I’ve read a few new studies that talk about how leaky gut doesn’t cause autoimmunity, autoimmunity causes leaky gut. Do you buy that?

Izabella:                  It’s like a chicken or egg thing. It’s hard to say. What I have found is that we know that there are certain things that cause leaky gut, and when we address those triggers, we can actually reverse it. I have seen addressing the gut can actually reverse autoimmune disease. I would say I don’t know. I don’t know if I believe that. I think it could be a chicken or egg thing, but definitely there are foods that can cause it. There can be nutrient difficiencies. There could be infections within the gut that can cause leaky gut, for example SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. 50% of people with thyroid disease have it, and when we eliminate that, we can see a remission and we can see things improving. Yeah, so I would say give it a try at least, right?

Dave:                        Now I have to ask this even though it’s kind of a weird question. Is stinky farts a good way of potentially diagnosing thyroid disease?

Izabella:                  Stinky farts? Was this the payback question?

Dave:                        No. I was just going to say, you should talk to Michael. Sorry Michael. I love you, man.

Izabella:                  Actually if you want to get nitty gritty, stinky farts can be a sign of sulfur toxicity, sulfur intolerance, as well as giardia. If you want to get into fart smelling. Do you want to do a demonstration?

Dave:                        I need a volunteer from the audience. You actually told me something a while back. I’ve had a few parasites recently, which is something I’m going to be writing about. This was actually a couple years ago. Actually, more than a couple now. I had dialed in the Bulletproof diet. I’m like, “It’s effortless. I can keep my weight where I want it. I’m never hungry.” Then in about five or six weeks, I gained 20 pounds. I’m like, “What the hell? Don’t tell me butter doesn’t work. I know it works.” I did some testing, and I had blastocystis, which is a relatively common parasite. I took some antiparasitics, killed it, and radically my weight control returned back to normal pretty quickly.

I also had developed some food allergies at the same type, that I think actually were more caused by taking … I was doing an extreme low carb diet for three months straight. I had basically one serving of broccoli a day and the rest was tons of fat and some meat like I’m going to be an Eskimo. This the reason I like cyclical ketogenic diets, not full-time ketogenic or full-time carbogenic diets. You told me several years later that you’ve seen an increase in food allergies in people who have blasto.

Izabella:                  This is my favorite parasite to talk about. I’m excited!

Dave:                        I knew you’d get all jumping up and down.

Izabella:                  Blastocystis hominis is a protozoan parasite, so you can’t see it with the naked eye. It’s not like a giant worm or anything crazy like that. It’s been connected with irritable bowel syndrome, and it’s been connected with chronic hives, which are two conditions that are connected with Hashimoto’s. There are so many studies connecting hives and Hashimoto’s. I was like, “Huh. That’s so interesting.” I personally had it, and I kept finding it in my clients with Hashimoto’s, actually about 25-35% of people will have it with Hashimoto’s. What we find is whenever we address this parasite, we see thyroid antibodies reducing, a lot of food sensitivities going away, especially to grains, sugar. It’s just amazing. The hives go away, irritable bowel syndrome goes away.

There was recently a study that was published in 2015. I was really jumping for joy because it was a case study that showed remission of Hashimoto’s with eradication of Blastocystis hominis. I was like, “I knew it!” It was quite exciting for a health nerd. I don’t think my clients are as excited when I tell them that they have a parasite with a big smile on their face, but I say it because we know that when we have it, we know that when we treat it things get a lot better.

Dave:                        What percentage of people in the room would you guess have this parasite?

Izabella:                  I would say if you guys want to provide stool samples and do a study. No, I think probably anywhere from maybe 25%. That would be my guesstimate. I’d love to validate that.

Dave:                        That’s kind of close to 27%, isn’t it?

Izabella:                  It might be.

Dave:                        Is it worth all of us getting a poop test?

Izabella:                  It is. The thing is though, some doctors consider it a commensal organism, which means that they think it’s supposed to be there. They think it’s part of your normal flora, but there’s fighting scientists on either side. With knives and everything.

Dave:                        I would think they’d be flinging poop at each other. I mean, these kind of doctors.

Izabella:                  That too. You think it’s commensal? You take this! It actually does cause intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. It does cause IBS. Lo and behold, the people that had hives and you treat it, the hives goes into remission. Lo and behold, same with IBS. Key thing here is you need to do the right test for it. I think we’re preaching to the choir, but generally functional medicine testing is going to be able to pick it up a little bit better. It’s a stool test. The treatments, we want to make sure we’re not using Metronidazole because it can be resistant to that, about 50% of strains are.

Dave:                        It worked for me.

Izabella:                  Metronidazole? You had the not certain types of strains. There’s like eight different strains, and about half of them are resistant. The other half are not. If you guys look it up on Facebook, there are people that say they could never get better from it. It’s usually because they’re not utilizing the right treatments. Medication Alinia and then herbal protocols with oil of oregano, wormwood, as well as berberine, over the course of two months can actually get rid of it, as well as Saccharomyces boulardii. It is definitely something, if you find it, you know it’s not supposed to be there, you can get rid of it. It’s fun to see what kind of symptoms disappear.

Dave:                        How much does that kind of a poop test cost?

Izabella:                  Probably anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on which lab that you use.

Dave:                        Okay, so that one is relatively expensive. My experience with parasites has been that really successful parasites don’t like to leave the body. Only the bad ones leave. Not bad for you, but they’re just bad parasites, like they aren’t good at their job. I’ve had some where I went to three different labs and no one could figure it out. That was pretty bad. I’ll be doing a whole podcast about that. I ended up having to go to an 80-year-old doctor who wrote eight textbooks on tropical diseases. That guy, it took him like 20 minutes. He said, “Oh yeah, I know. Why would you need a lab test? I can just tell with my [Barry 00:33:24] style master vision.” Actually he didn’t, he used a scope. Anyway.

Izabella:                  One of the keys is multiple food sensitivities. Generally if you have a primary food sensitivity, it’s only maybe one to three. When you have basto, you’re just sensitive to everything, like sugar and carbs and rice. You’re just like, “What’s going on? I can’t eat anything without being sensitive.”

Dave:                        Do you have people who come to you for help, who completely reverse their food allergies and can eat everything?

Izabella:                  We’ve seen a few people, and I don’t recommend it, where they’ve utilized probiotics where they have said they can eat gluten without a reaction and dairy without a reaction. I don’t recommend it. The majority of times, for me, I was sensitive to everything. I was like this thin. I’ve reversed all of my food sensitivities, except for gluten and dairy, which I avoid religiously. Then I also avoid nuts. Yeah, we see that all the time where people get rid of food sensitivities, where they go from 16 to 27. They just stay off of gluten and dairy.

Dave:                        You’re good with eggs now?

Izabella:                  Yeah, I can do eggs now.

Dave:                        Eggs are one of the best foods you can do, that’s why they’re in the Bulletproof zone on the Bulletproof road map. When I did this three month crazy excessive fat and protein with almost zero carbs, I did a good number of eggs. I developed an allergy to those eggs. I’m probably 70% better, but I still don’t eat eggs regularly. Which when you travel, it’s like mother nature’s perfect food. Not to mention they’re good in ice cream.

Izabella:                  When you boil them and take them on a road trip, it’s perfect. It makes the car smell really nice, according to my husband.

Dave:                        Yep. My wife says the same thing. Actually, she’s Swedish and she’s like, “Oh that would be great with sardines!” I’m like, “Didn’t win on that one.” Spoiled fish? We got that. If someone came to you and said, “I think I might have Hashimoto’s, but I don’t really know where to start,” what do you tell them to do first?

Izabella:                  Definitely do the testing first, to figure out what you’re working with. Do antibody testing. Then what I really focus on – and this is part of my liver support protocol – is eliminating the most reactive foods. Those are going to be gluten, 88% of people with Hashimoto’s feel better off of it. Dairy, about 80%.

Dave:                        This is dairy protein? Dairy sugar? Dairy fat?

Izabella:                  Generally casein. Casein is generally going to be the biggest problem for people. A lot of people, unless they have a really severe casein reaction like I do, they can usually tolerate things like ghee and even butter. Generally milk and whey protein can even be a problem for a lot of people. I just always recommend to exclude it for at least three weeks and see how you feel off of it. I know I was doing whey protein shakes with yogurt and all this other great stuff, and I was like, “This is great!” Then I found out I had a really bad reaction. I was like, “No way! This food voodoo is not going to work.” Three days later, half of my symptoms were gone. Just something for people to consider. Sugar is another big trigger, as well as soy. You get off of these foods. You add in different types of foods that support your thyroid. Bone broth is great. Green smoothies are great. We’re looking at supplements, selenium, which moose apparently like just as much as humans do.

Dave:                        Chocolate mousse.

Izabella:                  Meece. Mooses. Selenium can be really helpful for thyroid disease, thiamine, magnesium, vitamin D. Get your B12 checked. Get your ferritin checked. Do all these things, and you’re going to start feeling significantly better when you get your nutrition addressed. These are things a lot of times you can do in your own home. You don’t need to go to a fancy doctor. You can do it either on your own or with your regular doctor down the street.

Dave:                        Awesome. Those are all the questions that I had for you, except for this last one. The problem is, you’ve already answered the three things, etc. I’m going to just change it entirely. What are three things you’re grateful for?

Izabella:                  I’m really grateful for having the opportunity to take back my health. Actually, I’m grateful for having had Hashimoto’s. It sounds kind of crazy to say that. It really allowed me to fulfill my passion and destiny of helping other people and becoming a healer. I’m really grateful for the amazing support of people in my life, especially my husband Michael, my mom, my friend Dave Asprey. Another thing that I’m really grateful for is living in this digital age, where information is really at your fingertips. We’re making all these crazy, crazy connections that would have taken us thousands of years and thousands of hours to synthesize, where we’re all so connected. I feel really connected with everybody within my community, within Dave’s community, with all of you guys. I feel like we can share information so rapidly with each other and learn from each other, which is quite amazing when you’re a nerd.

Dave:                        You mentioned earlier that you’re not in your 20s, which I’m sure was a shock to a lot of people.

Izabella:                  Yeah, I’m not in my 20s. Can you guys believe that?

Dave:                        Do you remember microfiche?

Izabella:                  Microfiche? What? I also came to the US when I was 9, so a lot of the references from the 80s are completely lost on me. I’m like, “What? Leggings? Socks? What are you talking about?” That might be a part of it.

Dave:                        That’s okay, I hear that a lot when I talk to people under 30.

Izabella:                  I’m 25, yeah.

Dave:                        If you’re a millennial, before Google, before Facebook and all that, the way that we would do research like this is we would go to the library and we would look up in a little card catalog. Card catalog, I have one – it’s an antique – in my office because it’s so cool. You find this little number, and then you go to the book. They’re like, “Oh, sorry, that’s on microfiche.” Which means some jerk took a perfectly good book and they took pictures of it and they shrunk them down into these little tiny things. You go through little envelopes and find little plastic things and put them under a microscope and then scroll around until you find what you wanted and look through a little hole around a screen.

Izabella:                  I thought these were elf books!

Dave:                        That would have been a better name than microfiche. Seriously, that last grateful, it’s so easy to say, “How would you look for a correlation between things?” When you can just search for it, it’s frighteningly easy. It would have taken, I would guess, 25 years of library research the old way to write my latest book. It simply would not have happened. I’m guessing with your book as well. You just couldn’t have done it without the tech that we have at our fingertips.

Izabella:                  I was able to survey over 2,000 people with Hashimoto’s, which is the largest survey of people with Hashimoto’s ever done, to figure out what was working best for them and then include that in my book. I was able to sit in my yoga pants and download 800 scientific papers onto my computer. They’re taking a lot of space in our house, but I’m working on that.

Dave:                        You wear pants when you write?

Izabella:                  Only when I write on camera. When I’m off camera, I don’t.

Dave:                        I can tell you that most of my bok was written between 11 PM and 5 AM, but it was in my labs which are separate from the house. I was wearing pants because it was cold, to get back into the house, to go to sleep.

Izabella:                  Canada is cold.

Dave:                        Yeah, they do that up there. Because we’re in Denver, I have one more bonus question. Cannabis and Hashimoto’s? What’s the connection?

Izabella:                  It’s legal. I get this question quite frequently, “Can cannabis help Hashimoto’s?” We’ve seen some benefits in people with joint pain, with carpal tunnel which is a common symptom of Hashimoto’s. We have seen some benefits with that. It can potentially act as an adaptogen as well, from what I’ve heard. I recommend usually other adaptogens because I work with people from all over the world, and not all of them have access. The challenges could be if you’re already fatigues and tired and brain fogged, it may not work so well for you there. Pros and cons.

Dave:                        Is that why you moved here?

Izabella:                  No comment. No, I’m just kidding. It’s funny because I actually lived in Amsterdam before this. People were like, “Why did you go to Amsterdam? Why didn’t you just move to Colorado?” That wasn’t the reason why. I just loved Colorado. How can you not? We’ve got so much sunshine. Everybody is gluten free. They ask you what food sensitivities you have when you walk into a restaurant. You can wear yoga pants out to a fancy club at night. In Boulder on New Years Eve, we were all wearing sweat pants and dancing. I mean, it doesn’t get better than that.

Dave:                        On that note, Izabella, thank you.

Izabella:                  Thank you so much.

Dave:                        Where can people find you and where can they find your book?

Izabella:                  Thyroidpharmacist.com is my website, where you guys can find me. I have all sorts of great gifts if you go to /gift, obviously. Then my book is everywhere – on Amazon, it’s in Barnes & Noble. I’m actually doing a book signing on Saturday in Boulder at the Barnes & Noble if any of you guys want to come and say hello.

Dave:                        Awesome. For you listening in your cars rather than live, or listening at work, you can go to that same thyroidpharmacist.com domain name and look up Izabella’s work. It is absolutely worth doing. If you’re just interested in general detox stuff, her book is a wealth of knowledge. I highly recommend it. While you’re at it, do what you’re supposed to do as someone who enjoys books. You go to Amazon and you leave a review after you read her book. Since you’re already at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, if there’s a really cool orange book right next to it that says Headstrong on it and you happen to pick it up, maybe as a support for Izabella’s book that beat Headstrong so thoroughly on the New York Times list – that would be okay, too. Thanks.

Izabella:                  Thank you so much. So much fun.