Dr. Izabella Wentz, Pharm.D., FASCP is the author of  “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.”

Izabella spent three years figuring out how to fully reverse her own Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis beyond the limited improvement that traditional medicine provided.

She has some great clinical and personal experience and is also currently experimenting with LLLT to regenerate the thyroid.

  • Intro

    We discuss Dr. Izabella’s top five causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (which also includes causes of other autoimmune disease), and how to reverse the condition.

    Therapies discussed include supplementation, dietary changes and protocols, natural therapies, Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), and PEMF, among others.

    Questions:

    Q: How did you become interested in Hashimoto’s and the thyroid?

    She was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in 2009 (age 26) after being fatigued and not feeling very well for a long time.

    Symptoms included fatigue for 8-9 years, hair-loss, IBD, acid reflux, nausea, carpal tunnel.

    That was when she wanted to try to reverse the condition.

    Q: What has been your personal struggles with your thyroid and where are you today?

    Izabella began having thyroid symptoms when as young as 3.

    She grew up next to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and began having cold hands, anxiety.

    As many as 80% of children exposed to that level of radiation may have thyroid antibodies.

    Q: Does having low thyroid hormone cause anxiety?

    No, but when thyroid is under attack by immune system this can cause Hashitoxicosis or bouts of too much thyroid hormones (this can happen in Hashimoto’s before hypothyroidism when a person will have symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability, cold intolerance, etc. that all go along with hypothyroidism.

    Acid reflux (caused by a low amount of stomach acid) is present in a lot of people with Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune disease.

    Medications didn’t help her that much.

    There is much more going on in Hashimoto’s other than under-active thyroid.

    They can have immune system imbalance and inflammatory markers, and infections setting off the immune system.

    After thyroid medicine, Izabella still had acid reflux, irritable bowel and carpal tunnel (carpal tunnel actually got worse).

    Q: What happens when someone has borderline antibodies? Does this mean that there is inflammation but that it isn’t hurting the thyroid yet?

    Antibodies are working for cell turnover. If they are low, under 10, maybe this is what’s happening.

    But when creeping to 20s or 30s, it may be more significant. She works with people with really high antibodies, so when antibodies are under 35 she is really happy.

    Q: How do you get their antibodies down?

    Find different triggers and remove them, while simultaneously strengthening the person. Give them lifestyle strategies for helping them feel better.

    Some helpful things include going gluten, dairy, and soy-free.

    Around 88% of people with Hashimoto’s will start to feel better just by getting gluten out of the diet.

    Then find nutrient deficiencies. Selenium is big for Hashimoto’s (200 mcg of selenium over the course of 3 months should see a reduction of antibodies by about half).

    Look at chronic infections like H. pylori and parasites. Once the infection is eradicated, there will be a gradual decrease in antibodies.

    Molecular mimicry is the theory that a bacteria or virus looks similar enough to the thyroid gland or cells that make up parts of our physiology, confusing our immune system and starting autoimmunity. Supplements that help include systemic enzymes, WobenzymeDHEA to help get antibodies down.

    Also, avoid chemicals and toxins.

    Q: How did you get rid of H. pylori?

    She used a 2-month herbal protocol, taking S. boulardii, Mastic Gum, and DGL.

    All of these caused a reduction in thyroid antibodies when she rid herself of infection.

    Secretory IgA gets depleted in poor adrenal function (this is something that lines gut lining and helps you fight off infections naturally). One of the ways to hack this is to do high Saccharomyces boulardii. This will shoot up secretory IgA levels. Also, support adrenals (with adrenal hormones).

    Q: What do you think is the root cause of autoimmune thyroid disease?

    It is different for everyone. Top 5 things to look at are:

    1. Nutrient deficiencies
    2. Food intolerances
    3. Chronic infections
    4. Toxins
    5. Stress

    All of these create a perfect storm for immune imbalance.

    Q: What were TSH levels and full thyroid panel when you first had symptoms?

    Was always told her results were “normal” even though she had symptoms. At age 25, TSH was 4.5, even when she was losing hair and had other symptoms.

    Q: Did you go on medicine right away, or did you try to fix it on your own first?

    She was originally against natural therapies. She did medications which helped with fatigue and cold symptoms. 9 months later she did natural remedies that reversed the condition.

    Q: What is the range for thyroid tests?

    People feel best in mid-upper range. Reference ranges for all tests are different, other than TSH range which is universal. Most will feel best with TSH at .5 to 2. When above 2 people will start having symptoms (forgetful, losing hair). Usually, younger people will feel better with it slightly under 1. People older will feel best between 1 and 2.

    Q: Best thyroid drugs?

    Published research shows that 90% of people do well with T4 medications.

    In her experience, this isn’t the case.

    Compounded meds that contain both T3 and T4 are probably her favorite because they can be adjusted to the person. They also don’t have a lot of fillers.

    Other options include Armour Thyroid , Nature-Thyroid, and WP Thyroid (all derived from thyroid glands of pigs). These give us hormones that are more like the naturally occurring thyroid hormones in the body, in comparison to the Synthroid that needs to be converted to T3 to be more active in the body.

    Q: Best supplements?

    • Selenium: good for reducing thyroid antibodies
    • Systemic enzymes: good for reducing thyroid antibodies
    • Betaine HCL with pepsin : good for getting stomach acid optimized, which gets rid of fatigue and acid reflux a lot of the time

    Q: Describe Low-Level Laser therapy protocol use for thyroid?

    Some studies were done in Brazil that looked at the impact of LLLT therapy on thyroid function. A big percentage of people with this protocol not only improved thyroid function but also were able to regenerate thyroid tissues and reduce thyroid antibodies. A significant percentage were able to get off thyroid medications

    The protocol used 830 nm laser that was applied to the thyroid gland for 1 minute. This was done 2X a week for 5 weeks. Izabella used the same protocol.

    She ordered the same laser from Brazil: Theralase.

    Cheaper lasers are also available that seem to provide same/similar results (i.e. 850nm)

    Izabella tried this laser protocol with thyroid medication initially. She didn’t see any improvements. Now she will be working with other lasers.

    Me:

    I increased laser time to 5 minutes because I didn’t see improvements with the allotted 1 minute.

    I also do PEMF, which rejuvenates tissue as well. My favorite is ICES. In contrast, with the high-powered PEMF from Russia, my heart rate went from 50 to 90. I prefer ICES which is less powerful, but effective.

    Almost every time I checked my free T3 the results were in the lower range, which suggests oxidative stress or inflammation. TSH was between 1 and 2. I did a few things (even though I was told I was healthy) to optimize my thyroid.

    Thyroid was a 1-5% health boost just getting T3 in optimized range.

    T3 important for helping with motility of gut.

    When stimulating thyroid I can up caloric intake.

    With cold therapy, I can now tolerate cold better.

    Q: Do you like supplements like oleanolic acid (through TGR5), olive leaf extract, Ashwagandha, and bile acids, to stimulate thyroid hormones?

    Ashwagandha is good to balance the immune system.

    For people with Hashimoto’s she doesn’t stimulate the thyroid because this can increase the autoimmune attack. What she does instead is trying to calm down the thyroid.

    Optimizing the thyroid function for those with thyroid disease is different for some people. Some need iodine or zinc. Some need nutrients like iron and selenium to help convert more T4 to T3.

    L-Tyrosine helps with symptoms, and other herbs (but be careful for those with thyroid disease).

    Q: There is a controversy with iodine. What do you think about iodine and it stimulating the Th1 system? Could this make Hashimoto’s worse?

    Treats iodine like a drug, be careful with it.

    If you have iodine-deficiency induced hypothyroidism (the leading cause of an under-active thyroid), then take iodine.

    If you suffer from sluggish thyroid in the absence of Hashimoto’s then it can be helpful to take selenium, B vitamins, vitamin A, and others.

    But for people with Hashimoto’s that she surveyed, about 25% felt better with high doses of iodine but 25% felt worse.

    Q: What’s the mechanism that they are doing better (on 50mg iodine)?

    Be conservative. Make sure you have a deficiency in the first place.

    Can do Iodine Spot Test.

    Q: Are ferritin going to affect the thyroid (i.e. if they are 50)? 

    When you test ferritin levels with Hashimoto’s, they will be like 7, optimal is 20-100, so at 50 clients will start to feel better (but need to still improve).

    Low ferritin and iron have many different causes. This can happen not only if you aren’t eating enough meat, but also if you have H. pylori, heavy metals, celiac disease, arsenic poisoning.

    Supplementation isn’t always the answer.

    Q: Why do people with the same set of issues like chronic inflammation and oxidative stress have low ferritin?

    What causes oxidative stress are inflammation, infections, heavy metal toxicity, etc. The common underlying cause is oxidative stress.

    Q: Thyroid hormones lead you to absorb iron better. Is low T3 the reason why a person isn’t absorbing iron?

    You need to have adequate stomach acid to absorb iron correctly. If you have hypothyroidism, this can lead to low amounts of stomach acid. This may be the mechanism.

    If taking thyroid medications you need to space them 4 hours away from iron supplements because it can prevent absorption of the thyroid med.

    Dairy-free made her carpal tunnel go away.

    Me:

    My theory with people that have a certain set of symptoms (food intolerances) is that the root cause is CRH (Corticotropin-releasing hormone).

    Every single person with these cluster of symptoms is allergic to gluten and dairy.

    CRH causes histamine release in a few different areas, gut, and decreases intestinal motility, so they will get IBS, skin problems, a leaky Blood-brain barrier, and sometimes joint problems. CRH was found in rheumatoid arthritis patients in their synovial fluid. Over time these patients will get sensitive to gluten and dairy. But if have it long enough, they will also have sensitivities to lectins.

    Q: What foods did you cut out?

    Taking care of infections, toxins, supporting body, trying to balance sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

    She was sensitive to a lot of different foods and was able to get a lot of them back.

    Got rid of gluten and dairy but then allergic to nuts, eggs, and seeds.

    Now she avoids gluten and dairy but strictly avoids nuts.

    Q: How did you get food sensitivities to go away?

    • Systemic enzymes (see links below).
    • Wobenzyme
    • High-dose probiotics
    • 4-day rotation diet (do 1-3 months to see full effects)
    • Treating gut infections like Blasto infection allowed her to eat grains again.
    • Support stomach acid (with H.pylori, stomach acid is suppressed, causes more food sensitivities)

    Q: H.pylori protocol?

    • Mastic gum
    • DGL
    • ProbioticSaccharomyces Boulardii
    • Matula herbal tea for 1 month
    • Fermented foods
    • VSL 3 Probiotic …..
    • Fermented foods
    • Cabbage juice

    Me:

    Circadian rhythm is also important.

    CRH disrupts circadian rhythm and causes acne.

    CRH/Cortisol post can be found here, with a list of ways to dampen CRH and the stress response.

    Generally, HPA axis causes an increase in CRH. Adrenal fatigue is misunderstood, it has to do with chronic CRH causing circadian rhythm disruption, not really much to do with adrenals.

    If this happens hormones will be out of whack and cortisol will not spike in the morning.

    When circadian rhythm isn’t working you get oxidative stress and many symptoms.

    Herbs and adaptogens dampen CRH and HPA axis dampens the whole stress response. If you have inflammation that is an increase in CRH, then there is circadian disruption and oxidative stress.

    Toxin burden, heavy metal etc. also increases CRH.

    Looking at the core problems is important, other problems in the body, rather than just looking at the organ itself.

    Addendum

    I took the H. Pylori blood antibodies test and after reading some scientific studies after our interview, I realized that I likely don’t have H. Pylori, which makes sense given all the antimicrobials that I take.  But she still gave some useful information on getting rid of such an infection if you have it and problems that it can cause.

    Links

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15 COMMENTS

  • marla

    I was happy to find this post, I learned a lot thank you. I only have questions regarding supplements like systemic enzymes? can anyone tell me the brand I should buy? also probiotic that is of high quality? I would appreciate it.

    1. Natcha M

      For systemic enzymes, I usually go with this: or http://www.iherb.com/wobenzym-wobenzym-n-healthy-inflammation-and-joint-support-200-enteric-coated-tablets/10831?rcode=coh780. For probiotics, gotta look at whether you are Th1 or Th2 dominant plus other factors. ~Team SelfHacked

  • Aaron Morgan

    Excellent interview, Joseph. As Dr. Wentz indicated, you really are brilliant.

  • programmaticinvestigations

    You’ve mentioned that your regimen was regrowing your hair, yet in this recent video you have a shaved head with receded temples. Has your hair receded further since that last statement or remained constant or what?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Constant – shaved for other reasons

  • Bianca Paris

    I think that you should all read this link, according to these complaints to consumer affairs, Armour Thyroid changed their formula this year and people that have been on it for years are having horrible side effects and losing their hair among other complications. I notified Dr. Wentz as well.

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/rx/armour.html

    Love and Light,

    Bianca Paris

  • Kyle

    What are your thoughts on Dr. Ruscio? I’d be curious for you to interview him.

  • Guin

    Hi Joe,

    Did you try using NAC to get rid of your H. Pylori infection? I would take NAC (500 to 800 mg) on an empty stomach with some water and wait 40 minutes. The theory is that NAC will reduce the disulfide bonds in stomach mucus, breaking it up and exposing the little jerks. Then I would immediately take your favorite death-to-h. pylori-supplement stack with water and wait another 30-60 minutes before eating or drinking anything else. Do this twice a day (probably once immediately upon waking and once before bed) until the infection clears up. You will need to stop taking magnesium and calcium supplements during the treatment period to keep stomach pH low.

    Guin

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Didn’t try that, but sounds interesting…

      1. Guin

        NAC definitely needs to be taken alone and on an empty stomach, otherwise it will react or complex with food which will result in decreased adsorption. Load up on the probiotics during and after the treatment period because NAC has antimicrobial activity. I took NAC twice a day for insulin resistance/hypoglycemia (and as an anti-androgen) for 3 months. It seemed to help, but I developed a very sluggish digestive system–NAC probably knocked down my gut bacteria. Interestingly, LDN helped with BM regularity after my NAC overload. LDN also swings my sluggish thyroid into overdrive and after I started taking it, I had to quit taking desiccated thyroid. So far the best the best combo has been LDN (at night), pregnenolone (mornings), and ashwagandha (day). I also knock down estrogen dominance with DIM and quercetin (very important). Quercetin helps to keep my hyperthyroid symptoms in check if the pregnenolone/LDN kicks it into overdrive. I’m also working on cycling supplements to to balance monthly hormonal levels (that are constantly fluctuating); period cramps and pms are minimized now. Mineral support is very important, especially magnesium and trace minerals. I’ve tried hacking my methylation cycle with every B-vitamin combo I can think of, but nothing really helps; my SNPs are a rat’s nest.

  • Jen

    Isn’t it so nice of people to always complain when offered ‘free’ information? Thanks for the article. I have learned so much from this site and am so glad to have found someone who has similar issues as I do and who has also cured their problem. This site has given me a lot of direction as well as a renewed sense of hope (y)

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Thanks 🙂

  • Jonathan

    We have a 80 year old Thyroid doctor in the UK who is extremely good.
    He recommended Armour Thyroid as well as relatively strong adrenal support vitamins.
    This practically solved the issue. There was a slight tweak to the thyroid medication some months later, but so far so good.

  • Ole

    Put a smile on my face when you started laughing each time she went on about the adrenals.

    She’s probably too much of a psuedoscience “natural” snake oil kind of Dr for my taste.

  • luke

    I think I have hypothyroidism. Cold hands and feet all the time, low energy levels but I still force myself to work out. I also don’t eat that much and yet, somehow, don’t lose weight. I didn’t like this post too much because it sounds like it doesn’t actually solve the problem but some of the things that contribute to it.

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