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What I Learned At The Thyroid Mastermind

Recently I attended a “thyroid mastermind meeting”, which was put together by Dr. Izabella Wentz, who is the author of the amazing book “Root Cause”.  In addition to Dr. Wentz there were other very knowledgeable practitioners present such as Dr. Datis Kharrazian, Dr. Alan Christianson, and numerous others.  It was a great experience, and so I figured I’d share some of the highlights.  In the future I hope to have separate blog post interviews with most of these presenters, along with many of the other attendees, and so be on the lookout for this.

Dr. Izabella Wentz.  Dr. Izabella Wentz started off the presentation, and one of the topics she spoke about was Blastocystis hominis, and how she finds that this parasite is common in her Hashimoto’s patients.  She also discussed a survey she conducted on 2,232 of her email subscribers with Hashimoto’s, as she asked them how they felt when eating certain foods.  Some of the statistics weren’t surprising, as she mentioned how most people felt better on a gluten free diet (88%), and less than 1% felt worse.  79% felt better when avoiding dairy, while only 1.5% felt worse.  81% felt better when following a Paleo diet, while only 3.2% felt worse. However, some of her findings were more surprising.  For example, for those who followed a vegan diet, 30% said they felt better, but 28% of them had felt worse.

Stacey Robbins.  Stacey Robbins was the next speaker.  Like Dr. Wentz, she was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, and is author of the book “You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone”.  During her talk she spoke about gratitude, and how having Hashimoto’s isn’t the end of your health, but can be the beginning of your healing.  She finished with a wonderful yoga/meditation exercise…thank you for that Stacey!

Shannon Garrett.  Next up was Shannon Garrett, who is an integrative registered nurse, holistic lifestyle & wellness coach, and a certified nurse-nutritionist.  Not only was Shannon diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, but she also was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, pernicious anemia, and interstitial cystitis.  Shannon tried taking a functional medicine approach for her condition, but she didn’t respond well after two years of integrative therapies, as she didn’t feel better, her antibodies didn’t decrease, etc.  But after going on low dose naltrexone (LDN) she felt much better, and eventually her antibodies weren’t detectible.  Even though LDN worked well for her, she did mention that it shouldn’t be used as a standalone treatment.  One important thing she mentioned that I didn’t realize is that candida will block LDN from working, and so if anyone reading this took LDN while dealing with a candida infection but didn’t receive good results, then this very well might have been the reason for this.

Michael Roesslein.  Michael Roesslein was the next speaker, and his focus was on spore-based probiotics.  He discussed how they have 100% survivability, and they produce powerful antimicrobials.  He discussed some of its functions, and he said that spore-based probiotics seem to be especially effective for Th2 dominant conditions, which means that they might be more beneficial for those who have Graves’ Disease.  He mentioned how spores can benefit people with a leaky gut by helping with the tight junctions and increasing microvilli height.  He mentioned Dr. Tom Bayne, and how Dr. Bayne has seen up to a 66% reduction in TPO antibodies for those who take spores, although I wasn’t able to find this information.  He also said that people with histamine issues have received great results when using spores.  This past summer I attended a nutrition conference and one of the presenters there also spoke about spore-based probiotics, and so I’ll definitely need to look into this.  And of course if anybody reading this has received some good benefits from taking spore-based probiotics please feel free to share your experience in the comments section.

Dr. Kirk Gair.  The next presenter was Dr. Kirk Gair, who uses cold laser therapy in his practice, including on the thyroid gland of some of his patients.  I recently discussed this in a blog post entitled “Can Cold Laser Therapy Regenerate Thyroid Tissue? [1]“.  One of the main studies is the Hofling study, which involved 43 patients, and it showed that cold laser therapy helped reduce the TPO antibodies and improved thyroid function. (1) [2]. It’s important to note that while the thyroid peroxidase antibodies were reduced, there was no improvement in the thyroglobulin antibodies. Dr. Gair also mentioned how people with Graves’ Disease can also benefit from cold laser therapy, although there doesn’t seem to be any research on this.  Just as is the case with LDN, Dr. Gair also mentioned how you need to incorporate other aspects of functional medicine.

Dr. Jolene Brighton.  Dr. Jolene Brighton is a naturopathic physician who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, and her presentation focused on postpartum thyroiditis.  She started off by telling everyone that 300,000 to 400,000 births will result in postpartum thyroiditis this year alone.  While many of these cases will be temporary, 30 to 40% of these women will develop permanent thyroiditis.  In addition, of those who go into a state of remission, they are at risk of developing postpartum thyroiditis again if they become pregnant in the future.

Dr. Alan Christianson.  I’m sure many reading this are familiar with Dr. Alan Christianson, who is also a naturopathic physician, and is author of the excellent book the Adrenal Reset Diet.  Dr. Christianson discussed some “curious case studies”, and he mentioned that 10 to 40% of people with Hashimoto’s will test negative for thyroid antibodies.  This of course can make it very challenging at times to tell if someone has Hashimoto’s.  He also spoke about how TSH isn’t linear.  For example, if someone has a TSH of 94, while another person has a TSH of 12, this doesn’t mean the person with the TSH of 94 needs to take more thyroid hormone medication than the person who has a TSH of 12.

Dr. Datis Kharazian.  The next presenter was Dr. Datis Kharazian, who has a very well known book on Hashimoto’s entitled “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? “.  He spoke about the autoimmune paleo diet, and mentioned how some of the “allowed” foods might cause problems.  I spoke about this as well in other blog posts, as while I like the autoimmune paleo diet and commonly recommend it to my patients, it’s not a perfect fit for everyone with Hashimoto’s and Graves’ Disease.  He also spoke about cerebellum antibodies being the most common autoantibody associated with Hashimoto’s, with the exception of the autoantibodies associated with Celiac Disease.  Most people reading this are familiar with the health risks of bisphenol A (BPA), but Dr. Kharrazian warned everyone attending that bisphenol S (BPS) is frequently used as a substitute, and is just as bad as BPA, and perhaps even worse.  Sure enough I did some research on this, and the literature does show that bisphenol S also has endocrine-disrupting effects, as does bisphenol-F (2) [3] (3) [4] (4) [5].

Andrea Nakayama.  The final presenter of the day was Andrea Nakayama, who is a functional nutritionist, and she essentially spoke about how we need to educate our patients better, and make them realize that they are on a “heroes” journey.  Although most people are looking for a quick and “smooth” recovery, she said what everyone attending the thyroid mastermind knows, which is that in many cases one’s recovery isn’t going to be a quick and easy fix.

Hashimoto’s Awareness.  Pearl Thomas-Flanagan and Fabienne Heymans are part of Hashimoto’s Awareness, which is a non-profit organization which helps to raise awareness of this autoimmune condition.  And although they didn’t have a presentation during the thyroid mastermind, I would like to encourage everyone to visit their website (www.hashimotosawarness.org) and consider helping them either by giving a donation, volunteering, or simply sharing your Hashimoto’s story with others.

Although I was honored to be invited to the thyroid mastermind meeting, initially I considered backing out due to my hectic schedule.  But I’m glad that I had the opportunity to attend and meet everyone there, and I’m very thankful to Dr. Izabella for putting this together.  As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I’m hoping to eventually interview most of those who attended, and so you can look forward to learning even more about some of the topics mentioned in this post.