You’re a smart, successful woman who seems to have her life together, but there’s one thing you keep struggling with; your health...
You can’t seem to lose the weight or get in the shape that you
want to... you’ve failed all the diet & exercise programs and you
You’re tired and it’s a struggle to get through the day sometimes... caffeine to wake you up and wine to calm you down have become
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Then you can’t fall asleep or you wake up for no reason and toss
and turn all night only to do it all again the next day...
You’re irritable and snap at people...sometimes even anxious or
depressed for no apparent reason...your doctor gave you
medication but you you just don’t feel like yourself...
And the intimacy with your partner has become a distant
memory that you’ve given up on and it’s the elephant in the room
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Your focus and memory are lagging and you’re finding it harder
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So you keep asking yourself...
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"I can’t wait until retirement, then I’ll have the time to get my
"Why can’t I find the right diet, supplement, exercise program or
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You see other women thriving at midlife, full of brilliance, energy &
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You’ve gone to traditional doctors, acupuncturists and even
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You’ve tried every eating program including keto, paleo, vegetarian or even vegan and carnivore. You’ve cut out gluten and other foods you heard could be the problem but to no avail. You’ve even given up and tried to find ‘peace’ by going back to your HMO doctor...but no matter how hard you try, you know that a life without great health is not the life you’re meant to live.
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Welcome back to another episode of The Hormone Prescription Podcast, the go-to resource for midlife women seeking to better understand their hormones and how to navigate this often-challenging stage of life. Today, we are honored to have the brilliant Dr. Eric Balcavage as our guest.
Dr. Balcavage is the proud owner and founder of Rejuvagen and has made exceptional strides in the world of functional medicine, earning him a reputable position as a licensed Chiropractor in Pennsylvania. Drawing upon his wealth of knowledge and years of experience in the field, Dr. Balcavage will be diving deep into the truths behind thyroid physiology and the shortcomings of the current medical model.
In this eye-opening episode, get ready to learn about:
- The crucial role that thyroid physiology plays in our everyday lives, particularly for midlife women
- The complexity of bile physiology, and what it has to do with hormonal balance
- The decisive factors that influence detoxification, oxidative stress, methylation, and chronic illness
Here's a taste of Dr. Balcavage's wisdom from the episode:
"Understanding thyroid physiology is paramount for midlife women, as changes in hormonal balance can directly affect our overall well-being."
Dr. Balcavage's journey into understanding thyroid physiology began when he encountered a staggering number of patients who were continually misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed due to the restrictive parameters of the current medical model. Inspired by the undeniable need for a more comprehensive approach, he set out on a quest to dig deeper into human physiology and develop a more refined understanding of hormonal challenges that midlife women face, specifically thyroid disorders.
Throughout this episode, Dr. Balcavage shares personal anecdotes, professional insights, and invaluable advice on how to take control of your hormonal health. Armed with these enlightening perspectives, you will be better equipped to advocate for yourself in navigating the current medical model—which, as Dr. Balcavage bluntly puts it:
"The traditional medical model's approach to thyroid health is flawed. It's far too narrowly focused, ineffectual, and doesn't paint the full picture."
So, join us on The Hormone Prescription Podcast as we pull back the curtain on the state of thyroid healthcare, empowering you, our midlife women listeners, to push past the constraints of the current medical model and embark on a journey toward better health and vitality. Don't miss this transformative episode with Dr. Eric Balcavage!
Remember to subscribe, rate, and leave a review for future episodes, and always consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. Until next time, stay tuned for more empowering conversations on The Hormone Prescription Podcast!
Speaker 1 (00:00):
The thyroid debacle. Why the current medical model is keeping you sick and unwell. Stay tuned to hear Dr. Eric Balcavage with his unique perspective.
Speaker 2 (00:11):
So the big question is, how do women over 40 like us, keep weight off, have great energy, balance our hormones and our moods, feel sexy and confident, and master midlife? If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself again. As an O B G Y N, I had to discover for myself the truth about what creates a rock solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy after 40, in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue. Now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results and to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenges. Join me for tangible, natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kyrin Dunston. Welcome to the Hormone Prescription Podcast.
Speaker 1 (01:04):
Hi everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Hormone Prescription with Dr. Kyrin. Thank you so much for joining me today. As we are going to talk about the thyroid debacle. Dr. Eric is a chiropractor who's functional medicine trained who really has a unique way of articulating the difficulties with thyroid management, not only in traditional corporate allopathic medic medicine or medical model, but in a functional medicine model model. This is where a lot of us actually get it wrong too, because we just change trying to chase T four. We're trying to chase T three. And a lot of practitioners don't look to identify and address the underlying root cause of thyroid disorders, which you must do if you're going to fix thyroid disorders once and for all. So Dr. Eric has written a book, the Thyroid Debacle, and he has a very unique perspective about a cell danger response that you're going to want to hear about.
Speaker 1 (02:08):
There's a lot of information here. It's very dense. He talks very quickly. So if you don't catch it all, you might wanna play it a little more slowly than usual so you can hear everything. But there's lots of good information in here, and we're gonna tell you the top three steps to start taking to address your thyroid problems. And he talks a lot about testing and so much else in this episode. So I'll tell you a little bit about him and then we'll get started. So Dr. Eric Balcavage is an actually recognized speaker and educator on various health related topics including thyroid physiology, biophysiology detoxification, oxidative stress, methylation, and chronic illness. He's a functional medicine practitioner and a licensed chiropractor in Pennsylvania and is the owner and founder of rejuven, a functional medicine clinic in Chads Ford, pa. Welcome Dr. Eric to the show. Well, thanks
Speaker 3 (03:04):
For having me. How you doing?
Speaker 1 (03:05):
I'm doing great. How are you doing today?
Speaker 3 (03:08):
I'm doing fantastic. So
Speaker 1 (03:09):
We are gonna talk about one of my favorite topics, thyroid, because that's one of the things that kept me stuck for years. 243 pounds with all my chronic health problems. And I kept thinking, I know I've got to have a thyroid problem. I have the top five symptoms, right? I'm overweight, I'm tired. I had hair loss, constipation, anxiety, and a host of other things. But every time I would do the standard thyroid profile as a board certified ob, G Y N, it would come back, quote unquote normal. And I started thinking I was crazy. And I even remember the last time Dr. Eric that I went to my internal medicine doctor and I said to her, I have to have a thyroid problem. Look at me. And she yelled at me and she said, fine, we're gonna check it one last time. But if it's normal, then it's just because you eat too much and you don't exercise enough that you're having all these problems.
Speaker 1 (04:09):
And she made me come to her office to get the lab results 'cause she was so fed up with me. And many people listening can probably relate to that because so many patients really do have low thyroid, but the tests come back normal. And I remember when I went to her office and drove across town that Tuesday, it was just starting to rain, and I was so afraid she was gonna tell me it was normal again. And that's exactly what she told me. And she yelled at me and said, you just eat too much and don't exercise enough. And I went in my car and closed the door and the rain was coming down and I started crying because I thought, I'm just crazy. There's really nothing wrong with me. And I know there's somebody listening right now who thinks that, so let's get into thyroid, the thyroid debacle, and how my story was not at all unique. It's actually very common. Do you wanna talk about that?
Speaker 3 (05:01):
Yeah, I, I think a huge problem for a lot of people is that we assume that two tests and ma many times, one test assess the state of thyroid physiology in the whole body. So most people, if they have, they're tired, they're fatigued, they're gaining weight, they're constipated, they have depression, anxiety, irritability, they have all these symptoms and they Google them, they go, sounds like a thyroid condition since your thyroid hormone drives the metabolism of the body. And so if you have the signs and symptoms and you get tested in a traditional allopathic model, what allopathic physicians have been trained to do much like yourself is to assess to run one test. And many times it's called A T S H, but many physicians will run a T S H with a reflex to free T four. And so what they're looking at is this marker, T S H.
Speaker 3 (05:55):
If that's out of the normal lab reference range, then there's a possibility based on the model that somebody might have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. If the T s H is elevated, they might have hypothyroidism where their thyroid gland can't make enough thyroid hormone. And if it's below the lab reference range, then they might have hypothyroidism. And if it's, if the value's outta the reference range, then the lab automatically runs what they call a free T four test. And T four is the primary hormone that's made by the thyroid gland. So what they wanna see is if the T s H is high, is it because there's the thyroid glands not making enough T four, or if the T s H is lab low, is it because there's too much thyroid hormone being made? But if you have tired fatigue, all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, they're looking to see is that T S H high and the free T four low.
Speaker 3 (06:46):
And they're assuming that as long as the values are with TSH is within that reference range, that there isn't a thyroid problem that they can address. And their primary reason for that is in allopathic world, they're typically not re recommended all the guidelines, you've read them all, I'm sure the guidelines don't recommend intervention with thyroid hormone replacement until the gland is damaged or destroyed to a point that it can't make sufficient thyroid hormone anymore. Until that happens, until there's overt glandular dysfunction, the general recommendations aren't to provide thyroid hormone. And so they'll say, Hey, they're your thyroid's fine. The thyroid gland could be fine. But what causes hypothyroid signs and symptoms is less about the gland and more about what's happening inside your individual cells and tissues, which isn't fully represented by A T S H in a free T four. And that's where most people struggle and have problems.
Speaker 3 (07:51):
So to back it up for your listeners, you have trillions of cells in your body. They're like people. They need to bring nutrition into the cell and then turn that food energy into cellular energy so they can make proteins and peptides and hormones and all kinds of good stuff, hair and skin and all this stuff that makes us feel and function well. And T three is a, is the active thyroid hormone that really drives that process. So we have this gland that's right underneath our chin in the middle of our neck and it's, it's called our thyroid gland. And when it gets stimulated, when the body senses that there's more thyroid hormone is needed, the pituitary gland generates a hormone called T ss h thyroid stimulating hormone, it signal it goes to the thyroid gland, and that triggers more hormone production. The thyroid gland primarily makes T four, that's the primary circulating hormone.
Speaker 3 (08:50):
It's in a, it's a less active hormone. It still has activity, but it's less active what the cells do with that T four. Once that T four enters the bloodstream and a little bit of the active form, T three enters the bloodstream, but it's really at a ratio of about 10 to one, eight to one maybe. But that thyroid hormone enters into the bloodstream then like almost all hormones in the body, it gets docked onto a, like an like a taxi cab. We call 'em binding globulins. And they get escorted through the bloodstream to the cells and tissues that need hormone. Once they get to a cell or tissue that needs hormone, the hormones become free of that binding globulin or get outta the taxi cab. And now they can get it, get to the cell. Once those hormones are at the cell, then there's another step the cells have to determine do they want more hormone or not want more hormone.
Speaker 3 (09:43):
If it's a cell that's in low stress manufacturing mode, it's gonna bring T four in maybe a little bit of T three in, and it's going to convert the T four into T three. That T three goes to the receptors inside the nucleus, inside the mitochondria, and turns on the manufacturing process so that the cell can generate the energy, can bring glucose in other nutrients in, and make the stuff that makes us feel good. That requires a lot of energy. So we burn glucose, we burn fats, we feel and function good, we're able to maintain our weight. And then when we have enough metabolism, those cells say, okay, I'm gonna slow this process down. It can kind of bring less thyroid hormone in or deactivate the thyroid hormone to slow the metabolism back down. That's how it should work. And that's what we call homeostasis.
Speaker 3 (10:34):
But for a lot of people, they've got some type of dangerous physiology going on. There's stress, there's inflammation, there's infections, there's toxins, there's organisms that are impacting a cell. And if the cell is starting to perceive danger, because if there's a bacteria or a virus or some toxicity, that cell innately says, whoa, we need to shift from manufacturing and shift our attention to cell defense. We need to make more inflammatory chemicals. We need to ramp up the immune system to find the threat and kill it. And the dimmer switch to determines whether we're in manufacturing mode, high metabolism, making hair and skin and hormones, or whether we're in cell defense mechanism is the amount of thyroid hormone in the cell. The amount of T three in the cell can turn on the manufacturing, but higher levels of T three in the cell can also turn off the immune inflammatory process.
Speaker 3 (11:29):
But if I have, if I have a cell stress or cell danger response going on, I don't wanna increase the manufacturing. I don't wanna make more sex hormones. I don't wanna make more proteins and peptides that could support the threat. I don't wanna bring more glucose into the cell that could support the threat. I wanna slow the metabolism down, I wanna ramp up the defense mechanisms. And to do that, the cell reduces the amount of T three in the cell, slows down the mitochondria, reduces glucose coming into the cell, ramps up inflammation so it can fine and just dam and destroy mm-hmm. The threat. Mm-Hmm. And that okay, unfortunately causes hypothyroid symptoms even if you have a perfectly functioning thyroid gland and plenty of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. So
Speaker 1 (12:12):
Are you talking about subclinical hypothyroidism where T S H is in the quote unquote normal range? And so is T three and T four? Is that what you're talking about?
Speaker 3 (12:22):
So you could have hypothyroid signs and symptoms and have a perfectly normal T S H. It could be a low T ss H and still have hypothyroid signs and symptoms. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So if somebody has the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, then we have to look at a more comprehensive thyroid panel to assess is that, is there a reduced conversion of T four to T three? And then we want to take the next steps, like if there is a reduced conversion of T four to T three, are there inflammatory mechanisms that would be driving that process? And then we also wanna consider what tissues are being, IM impacted by that immune inflammatory process.
Speaker 1 (13:00):
Okay. Let's back up a minute. 'cause I know we got very granular, very fast and we probably lost some people. So I wanna back up a little bit and take a little bit wider view. Your book is called The Thyroid Debacle, why the Current Medical Model is Keeping You Sick and Unwell. And before we started recording, you were talking about how your approach to thyroid disorders is different. And so you were talking about what allopathic medicine does, what a root cause functional approach is, and then going beyond. So I think that would be great for everyone to hear. Do you wanna talk a little bit about what the thyroid debacle is?
Speaker 3 (13:38):
Yeah, I think it's the fact, I think it goes to the fact that we treaties every person that has hypothyroid signs and symptoms or actually has hypothyroidism as if they're in that state, we call homeostasis that if we're just gonna give them thyroid hormone, it's gonna do what we wanted to do. Whether it's T four or T three, we assume it's gonna work inside the cells and it doesn't work the same if we're in homeostasis versus allostasis. So we have to change our thinking as clinicians and, and stop thinking that the immune system's outta control and destroying the gland for no apparent reason, or that this body forgot how to convert T four to T three. And if I just flood the system with T four and T three, it's gonna work the way I should. We have to, as clinicians start to understand and explain to our patients that they're not broken, their bodies are adapting to some type of excessive cell stress response.
Speaker 3 (14:31):
And if we address the things that are causing the excessive cell stress, that's how you get their body to convert T four to T three efficiently. That's how they get their immune system to stop damaging and destroying their thyroid gland. I think we make the mistake in, especially in functional and integrative medicine, that it's the reason that people don't feel well is, is because they can't convert T four to T three versus they're adaptively doing that and giving them T three can provide a just another drug providing a temporary fix, but it doesn't address the root issues.
Speaker 1 (15:09):
Yeah. So you talk about hypothyroidism as a spectrum disorder. What do you mean by that?
Speaker 3 (15:15):
In allopathic medicine, and even to some degree in functional medicine, we consider that hypothyroidism starts when the gland can't make thyroid hormone anymore. T S h's lab high T four, free T four is lab low. That's when hypothyroidism starts. We might ev, and that's not when hypothyroid starts, in my opinion, that's the end stage of hypothyroidism. What the literature shows is that by the time you're diagnosed with primary hypothyroidism, you've lost 90% of the function of your thyroid gland. So that's not the beginning. That's like saying cardiovascular disease starts when you have your first heart attack or diabe blood sugar dysregulation starts when you get diagnosis di di with diabetes. Everything's a process in the body. So my thought process and my hypothesis is that hypothyroidism typically starts at the individual cell and tissue level, not at the thyroid gland level. So that's why somebody like you says, Hey, I'm tired, fatigued, I don't feel well, I have hypothyroid signs and symptoms, but my T S H is still normal.
Speaker 3 (16:18):
My free T four is still normal. And it's because we're checking what the gland output is potentially and not considering that what is ultimately causing hypothyroid signs and symptoms isn't about the gland, it's not about what's in the bloodstream, it's about how much T three is hitting the receptors inside the cell, and that's under the control of the individual cells and tissues to a large degree. So I think most hypothyroidism starts at the cell and tissue level. And if it's short-term, you get short-term si hypothyroid signs and symptoms, you get an upregulation of the immune inflammatory system. We address the cold, the virus, the bacteria and it, and those signs and symptoms go away. But if the stress becomes chronic and persistent, then not only do we have cellular tissue, hypothyroidism start to occur, but now we get glandular thyroiditis that starts to occur and eventually we lose gland function. And that's why if you're then just giving T four or maybe just T three, the symptoms, the improvement's only temporary and partial. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And we don't get full resolve in, in either re regardless of the medication you're taking.
Speaker 1 (17:27):
And so you talk about the cell gave your response, you've talked a little bit about that, what's going on in the cell as a big determinant. And then you talk about the fitness factors that help you determine each patient's stress load. So how can everybody listening know, how do they know, are my cells in a cell danger response? How would somebody know before we get to the fitness factors, how would somebody know?
Speaker 3 (17:53):
Well, if you feel awesome, you have plenty of energy, no real signs or symptoms, you sleep eight hours, you feel well rested, you've got good muscle mass, limited extra body fat tissue on you, you've got tons of energy, great libido, probably not in the cell danger response, but if you have chronic health issues gaining weight, I mean gaining weight and seeing blood sugar dysregulation would be two of the easy things to say that there's something wrong with your cellular physiology. But beyond that, look at, if you have lots of signs and symptoms, there's some type of abnormal physiology going on. And that's when you start needing to say, maybe I'm in this allostatic state or cell danger response and not in homeostasis. 'cause Homeostasis means that I make enough energy to do everything I need to do at a cellular level efficiently. So the caloric intake is appropriate. I can make sex hormones, I can do everything I wanna do. That's homeostasis. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (18:48):
Well you just described like 60 to 80% of women over 40 have some list of signs and symptoms going wrong with their health. So we're pretty much all, that's
Speaker 3 (18:58):
Because probably 60 80% of the people have a cell danger response. And if you look at the population of the US, six 50 to 60% of the US population is overweight or obese, 50 to 60% of the population is on a statin. 50 to 60% of the population is diabetic. So yeah, I think that's easy to say that. Yeah, 40 to, I mean, a large percentage of people are grossly unhealthy to Yes.
Speaker 1 (19:21):
Yes we are. And so the average person listening that they're like, check that's me. Particularly if they're suspecting that they have a thyroid problem, how do they get at the root of, well, why are my cells having a cell danger response? And what are the specific issues that I personally need to address to help improve my thyroid so that I don't go through this? The chacha, the T four chacha with the allopathic practitioner, the T three chacha with the functional practitioner, and they wanna get out of that dance. How do they figure out what is causing the cell danger response for their cells in particular?
Speaker 3 (20:00):
Well, I mean, it's easy to do a self-assessment. And it's one of the things that Dr. Kelly and I, who was my co-author in the book, we talk about the fitness factors and we talk about the difference kind of aspects of your physiology that are probably contributing to the excessive stress load. And so when we talk about stress, most the time everybody thinks about emotional stress is the problem, right? This external thing that then causes us to have this angst. But stress comes in lots of different forms. You're never gonna be stress free. That's never the goal of what you're trying to accomplish. What you need to be able to do is stress the physiology and allow for recovery. So when we think about what creates excessive cell stress, it could be a number of factors. One of the things in my situation in my forties, I was still tr, you know, doing a lot of sports and training.
Speaker 3 (20:49):
I was doing triathlons at that point in time and training hard. And you know, few hours of physical training per day run into businesses, coaching, being a dad, sleeping four hours a day. And I had a great, I mean, my diet was good. I was physically active, mindset was good. But the big thing that drove me to have chronic inflammatory immune and thyroiditis issues was I was over training and limited recovery on top of poor breathing habits due to multiple broken noses. So I wasn't breathing well, I was over training, I wasn't allowing for recovery. So one day is not that big of a deal, my body's able to adapt. But do that over and over again and you start to create an excessive stress response on the tissues and your cells and tissues say like, enough already, let's try and shut this thing down.
Speaker 3 (21:38):
But as many athletes are, they go, I, pain is weakness leaving the body or discomfort is weakness leaving the body. And we try and just keep pushing forward. And then if you have that type of stress on your system, plus respiratory stress plus work stress plus emotional stress plus relationship stress, at some point the stress becomes excessive. And then I need to shift how my cellular physiology works. And I'll give you an example of how I typically express the cell danger physiology to my clients. And that is, do you have kids yourself? Yep. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. Do you love your kids? Yeah. Okay. So let's say this weekend you're gonna have a huge party at your house, right? One of your kids, your favorite one is sitting at your kitchen island, right? Eating food. You've got four burners on, you're cooking a whole bunch of food, you're doing wash, you're cleaning, you're doing everything all at the same time, and somebody breaks into your home and starts attacking your child.
Speaker 3 (22:38):
Are you gonna continue to cook? Nope. Are you gonna take time to turn the burners off? Put everything in nice glass Tupperware? Nope. Okay. Are you gonna try and slide one more Load of wash in? Nope. Finish vacuuming. No. Are you gonna try and take a nap? Nope. Sex? Nope. Okay. So if I walked into your house and I saw the foods burning on the stove, the house is a disaster, a mess. Vacuum cleaners running down, running in the middle of the floor, clothes are all over the place. I can make a couple decisions, right? I can make some thoughts. I could just say, well, you're a terrible cook and terrible housekeeper, so I'm gonna fix this and I'm gonna hire you a chef and I'm gonna hire you a housekeeper and I'll fix the problem. And it look, they come in, they clean, clean it up, everything looks awesome.
Speaker 3 (23:27):
Or I can ask a better question, which is, why is this happening? Is there an explanation for why you would leave the food burning on the stove, leave the vacuum cleaner, running, leave the house a disaster? And maybe I start to investigate that so we can make one of two choices that you're terrible cook chef, just like we could say the thyroid physiology's broken and the cell physiology is, is outta control. Or we could say, is this an appropriate adaptive response? So when somebody has, is feeling tired and fatigued and has signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, or actually is diagnosed with hypothyroidism but still doesn't feel well on the medication, is their immune system outta control? Are they unable to convert T four to T three or is what we're seeing? Not broken physiology, but adaptive physiology. It's the appropriate response given the stressors that are put on the system.
Speaker 3 (24:21):
Mm-Hmm. And my argument is whether it's an allopathic approach or a functional medicine approach, we shouldn't be getting in the way and trying to fix an imbalance if it's an adaptation. And we shouldn't be assuming that everything's broken physiology, but start to look at the wisdom of the body and start to say, maybe this is adaptive. And what I need to identify is what's creating that excessive stress response. And if I address that, if I find out that you're in your basement fighting off an attacker and I take down the attacker and we get that attacker, you know, off of you and in custody and get rid of them, that's the solution. You weren't being a terrible housekeeper and cook. You were doing exactly the right thing you should have been doing. And the signs and symptoms, the burning food and the stuff all over the place was what we should be seeing. The signs and symptoms that you have, my hormones don't regulate. I'm gaining weight even though I'm eating and exercising appropriately. We need to look at those signs and symptoms and stop trying to like play, you know, whack-a-mole with those results and or those lab values and start to say, okay, what's create, why is the body adaptively doing that? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And when we do that, that's what functional medicine is, in my opinion.
Speaker 1 (25:39):
Okay. And so what is the strategic thyroid solution is to identify and fix these root causes. Do you wanna talk about maybe the top three most important ones You list dietary, fitness, sleep, fitness, respiratory, fitness, emotional, physical, habitual, environmental, fitness, metabolic and genetic. What would be the top three in your opinion?
Speaker 3 (26:01):
Well, I think the top three would probably be, and we think about the things that we have the greatest control over and cost us next to nothing. Okay. And they're all important for the listener. She kinda ran through those, but they're all important. But definitely respiratory fitnesses would be right at the top of my list if you breathe inappropriately, and I would say the vast majority of us breathe inappropriately. We over breathe, we mouth breathe, especially at night when nobody's really paying attention. If you over breathe or excessively mouth breathe, you wind up reducing carbon dioxide levels. You wind up creating what we call hypoxia at the tissue level. And as soon as you induce hypoxia at the tissue level, low oxygen, you can't burn fat as a fuel efficiently. You downregulate your thyroid physiology and that's gonna set the stage for chronic immune inflammatory processes.
Speaker 3 (26:58):
So it doesn't cost anything to improve your breathing, it just takes time and activity or time and training. And first thing you gotta do is be aware. So how do you be become aware that you might have a respiratory, for my clients, I, I give them a respiratory fitness questionnaire, have 'em go through those things. But key things to keep an eye on are, you know, do you snore? And you may say, well I never snore. Well, how do you know <laugh>? Well, nobody complains. Well that doesn't mean you don't, right? And so if you're a mouth breather, if you snore, if you have a history of cavities or gum disease, there's a good chance that you're a mouth breather. If you've had a deviated septum or a broken nose, probably a good chance that you are a more of a mouth breather. If you get stuffy or congested at night, it's probably a good indication that you're gonna tend to be more of a mouth breather.
Speaker 3 (27:45):
And so assess it, address it, retrain your body's ability to breathe appropriately. If you, the other thing you could do is you could check your respiratory rate. I think you and I went to school, they, we, the average respiratory rate somewhere between 15, maybe 18 breaths per minute was considered normal. But really optimal is somewhere between six and 10 breaths per minute for optimal health. And most people aren't even close to it. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And the other thing I have my patients do is do a controlled breath hold time test where they blow all the air out, hold their breath until they start to get their first SI signs of anxiousness or panic. And if that number optimally, that number should be being closer to over 40. But you know, a lot of people with chronic health issues, it's under 20, under 10, they, their poor breathing habits, maybe a really big contributor to what's creating some of their problems.
Speaker 3 (28:37):
And it doesn't cost you anything to check it and it doesn't cost you anything to retrain your breathing. And there's plenty of things out there that if you need guided care yoga, there's lots of yoga type breathing things. There's Wim Hof and all these things that can teach you and train you how to rebreed. And you don't have to, but you really don't have to pay for anything. You just gotta work on it. I would say number two would be good nutrition. And despite the craziness in the functional medicine space today where we've circled the diet religions in and we're shooting in at each other, the focus of somebody's dietary strategy you know, it should be a whole food based diet, 80% of the time is a great place to start. If you're eating a lot of processed foods, start there, stop doing it.
Speaker 3 (29:27):
Right? That's an easy thing to do. And you can say, well, do I need to be carnivore? Do I need to be keto? Do I need to be vegetarian, vegan, paleo, medi? What do I need to be? Get rid of all those fancy names and religions and just start shifting your diet to being 80% of the time whole food based. That's a great place to start. What we've done in functional medicine and this in the, in our industry is somebody's found that they did something. It helped them, helped the patient. So therefore everybody should be doing it. And what we have to consider that a carnivore diet could be really beneficial to somebody for a short period of time. Paleo diet could be very beneficial for somebody for a short period of time. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, maybe vegan or vegetarian, depending on what you're doing and how you're doing and what's going on with your physiology. Variation in diet may be, may be important to change, but the real issue isn't with what type of whole food diet we should be eating. We should be reducing the toxic load of the processed foods. And if we just do that, most people are gonna start to become healthier, more satisfied. Right. <Laugh>. And then, and then I'd say the third thing is, well, I was
Speaker 1 (30:33):
Gonna say just before you go to that, we just need to stop eating the crap and just <laugh>, right. Eat for real food.
Speaker 3 (30:40):
We've lost touch with what we think healthy food is because we have stickers and labels that we stick on things and say, oh, this is, this is organic, this is whatever, and we think, oh, then it must be good. Well not, so it's all marketing.
Speaker 1 (30:58):
Right. Okay. Sorry to interrupt. And so the third thing would be,
Speaker 3 (31:03):
I think it's one of those things you, that everybody can work on that's really important for health and wellbeing is quality sleep. Too many of us, and I was one of those, I was like, you can sleep when you're dead. So, you know, I could stay up late studying, doing research, get up early so I could start training four hours of sleep. I was, I thought that was like a badge of like honor. I wore that proudly for probably 20 years, but I didn't realize the negative consequences it really had on my physiology. You can't heal and recover. Your brain does not process things appropriately if you don't sleep appropriately. Yeah. You don't, you can't clear out the toxins in the brain if you don't get good quality restorative sleep. And the vast majority of us are not getting it. We're on TVs or cell phones or whatever.
Speaker 3 (31:48):
We're taking stimulants too late in the day. We're sleeping with somebody who snores and keeps us from waking up or sleeping with our kids or our dog that keeps us awake. We're doing so many things to disrupt our sleep patterns and we don't realize how impactful that can be on our physiology. But those are three things that don't cost you anything to do tomorrow that you easily, you can easily assess just by googling healthy whole food diet. How do I check my respiratory rate? How do I improve my sleep? And you do those foundational things. You, your sleep may still not get, may not be as good as you want it to be, but you still have to start with good sleep habits and behaviors to be even have a chance of getting a better night's sleep.
Speaker 1 (32:34):
Right. And you can read about the other fitness factors in the book book. So I definitely recommend that. But I gotta ask you, where's spiritual fitness on that list?
Speaker 3 (32:44):
Well, I think that fit for me that fits into that psychological or emotional fitness category, like what goes on between the six inches of your ears has a huge impact on your physiology. So we talk about things in there, like, I think one of the things that's really important for people who are really anxious or depressed or sad or unhappy with their life is I think to have, whether, I don't care what religion somebody is, but I think having some spiritual beliefs is really important. And the other thing is the principles that we learn in whatever church you go to or whatever, you know, whatever spiritual philosophy you grew up in, those found, many of those foundational principles are just good things to, you know, good principles to live by. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And if you live by a lot of those principles, you're gonna feel in, you're gonna feel and functional better from an emotional, from a spiritual standpoint.
Speaker 3 (33:34):
A lot of times people think that their life is terrible. My life is awful. I'm in such bad shape. Everything is terrible for me. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Those are the people I usually say, you need to volunteer, you need to go volunteer, you need to go help somebody mm-hmm. Who's in worse shape than you. And start to start to realize, you know, even though things may not all be going right, that there is some blessings in your life and some benefits in your life, but sometimes we're so stuck in our stuff and we're so focused on how terrible things are and what's wrong, that we can't actually see how good what's around us is. And so yeah, I think you have to have some, that, that spiritual piece is part of the emotional psychological fitness.
Speaker 1 (34:15):
Yeah. I mean, what you're saying is so true. I, the other day I was all in my head about my problems and I'm in Dubai and I met a guy on the waterfront who moved here with his family from Syria at 19 to study computer science. And he lost his two sisters a few months ago in the war in Syria. And here I am thinking that I have issues and he told me it's okay. And I said, really <laugh>. And so it just really puts things in perspective. But for me in particular, the thyroid has a lot of spiritual meaning for women. I think that's one of the reasons why women have such a greater rate of thyroid dysfunction, particularly because it's in that throat chakra or energy center where you're supposed to speak your truth and so many women don't. So in particular, it's something that I talk with women about. So I was curious where that fit into your, your perspective.
Speaker 3 (35:09):
I'm not as in tune maybe from a, from a chakra perspective as you are, and there may be something to that, I don't know necessarily. But I do think what goes on, whether consciously or or subconsciously between the six inches of your ears has a drastic influence of your overall health and wellbeing. I mean, if you have a lot of trauma, a lot of emotional burden that's gonna create a windup of the limbic system, a windup of the sympathetic nervous system, a downregulation of the, a parasympathetic, and for the listener, you know, the sympathetic nervous system is that flight or flight response. And the parasympathetic is kind of the rest and recovery response. And so if in my mind I'm stressed, I'm worried I've got negative thoughts going on in that space and I can't manage and control it, that is going to drive a state of danger.
Speaker 3 (36:01):
It's a state of fear, a state of, of fight or flight response. And that will totally shift your physiology. I mean, if I was being chased by the tiger and I'm running for my life, I'm probably not gonna make digestive hormones 'cause I don't need the hormones. Right. I'm probably not gonna make appropriate levels of sex hormones because I don't need those. I'm not stopping to have sex. Right. I am running right. And so my physiology adapts to what's going on in my environment, whether it's the physical environment or the spiritual or emotional environment, my body's going to adapt to that environment.
Speaker 1 (36:37):
Right. Dr. Eric, thank you so much for raising the conversation level around thyroid disorder diagnosis and treatment. The book is the Thyroid Debacle. Why the current medical model is keeping you sick and unwell. Where can people connect with you online and found that, find out more about the work that you're doing?
Speaker 3 (36:57):
Sure. My website is rejuven center.com. So if somebody wants to learn more about me, they can go there. If they wanna have a, what we call a discovery consultation, just kind of chat about what's going on and what maybe the right strategies are or if I'm a, if they wanna potentially work with me, what that looks like. I do have a podcast that calls it, it's called the Thyroid Dancers Podcast, where we talk about not just thyroid physiology, but I talk about everything through the lens of the cell danger response. So I don't care what condition you have, we're talking about those foundational principles, physical fitness, emotional fitness, all those things that we kind of hinted to in the discussion. I've got a YouTube where all my podcasts are listed on there, as well as wherever you get your podcast, you can get 'em, you can download those. The podcast I do Thursdays, I do thyroid Thursday videos, they're on YouTube and I, my team puts them on Instagram. That's probably where I'm not really spend too much time on social media, but that's where we post, like on Instagram. And then anybody who's I, we do regular posts on there. And then any commentary that's, that comes in, those are a lot of times what becomes the content for a podcast, A Thyroid Thursday or an Instagram post. So those are the best places to reach out and hear more about what I'm doing.
Speaker 1 (38:12):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. Well,
Speaker 3 (38:15):
Thanks for the invitation. It was great.
Speaker 1 (38:17):
And thank you for listening to another episode of The Hormone Prescription with Dr. Ki. Hopefully you learned something today that you will put into action, maybe start figuring out what's triggering your cell danger response, because pretty much most all of us went in over 40, have it and start doing something about it. Like Dr. Eric, Eric was talking about, looking at your food, looking at your sleep, looking at your breathing. The this is a place to start. Reach out and tell me about it on social media at Kyrin Dunston MD on Facebook and Instagram. I look forward to having and continuing the conversation with you there. And until next week when I'll see you for another episode, peace, love, and Hormones, y'all.
Speaker 2 (38:58):
Thank you so much for listening. I know that incredible vitality occurs for women over 40 when we learn to speak hormone and balance these vital regulators to create the health and the life that we deserve. If you're enjoying this podcast, podcast, I'd love it if you'd give me a review and subscribe. It really does help this podcast out so much. You can visit the hormone prescription.com where we have some free gifts for you, and you can sign up to have a hormone evaluation with me on the podcast to gain clarity into your personal situation. Until next time, remember, take small steps each day to balance your hormones and watch the wonderful changes in your health that begin to unfold for you. Talk to you soon.
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