Dr. Anshul Gupta is a best-selling author, speaker, researcher, and the world expert in Hashimoto’s disease. He educates people worldwide on reversing Hashimoto’s disease. He is a Board-Certified Family Medicine Physician, with advanced certification in Functional Medicine, Peptide therapy, and also Fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine. He has worked at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Department of Functional Medicine alongside Dr. Mark Hyman. He has helped thousands of patients to reverse their health issues by using the concepts of functional medicine.
Hashimoto’s disease is a growing epidemic for women, and it is continuing to become more relevant as more women are affected and more research is being conducted. Learning how to navigate and reverse Hashimoto’s through functional medicine is bound to be life-changing information for women across the globe who suffer from this condition and all of its associated symptoms.
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00:00 Dr. Anshul Gupta Ladies, welcome back to the podcast. So today we are talking about a very important topic, which I’ve talked about before, but this is going to be a different take on it, which is Hashimoto’s. Now this is a growing epidemic for women right now. I feel like I just see it more and more and more as the years go on. And so I think it’s really relevant that we discuss this often because there’s always new information coming out about it. And my guest today is somebody that I’ve actually been following for a while and have wanted to get on the podcast. So I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Anshul Gupta. He is a bestselling author, speaker, researcher, and the world expert in Hashimoto’s disease. He educates people worldwide on reversing Hashimoto’s disease. He’s a board certified family medicine physician with advanced certification in functional medicine, peptide therapy, and also fellowship trained in integrative medicine. He has worked at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Department of functional medicine alongside Dr. Mark Hyman. He has helped thousands of patients to reverse their health issues by using the concepts of functional medicine.
01:11 Karen Martel So welcome to the show, Dr. Gupta. Thank you so much, Karen, for having me on the show. You are doing amazing work with sharing great information and knowledge with your listeners. So I’m privileged to be here to share my take, you know, or my information on Hashimoto’s
01:28 Dr. Anshul Gupta disease. Amazing. Yeah. And I know what you actually through my friend, Annabel Bateman, who I know you’ve had on your podcast, our friend, mutual friend from Australia, who is so lovely. I’ve been on her show a couple of times and I love her, but she speaks super highly of
01:43 Karen Martel you. Thank you so much. Yeah. She’s such a nice person. You know, like she has connected with me to so many people and she’s always generous in connecting and contributing to this kind of ever growing field of health care practitioner
01:57 Dr. Anshul Gupta in the Hashimoto’s field. Yes, I couldn’t agree more. So let’s just jump right in. And I just want you to start out actually by explaining Hashimoto’s, how it affects
02:08 Karen Martel the thyroid gland and how it differs from traditional like you’ve got hypothyroidism. Absolutely. So Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition of the thyroid gland. What is happening in the body is that the body is making antibodies, which starts a slow destruction of the thyroid gland. Now this destruction can lead to ultimately hypothyroidism and that’s where majority of the people are being diagnosed with a low thyroid. But this destruction can happen for weeks to months to years. And finally, it is detected by this blood work of TSH, which most females get. But in reality, they might be suffering from symptoms for a very, very long time. And obviously they are not given any help because their blood work is not showing that something is wrong with the thyroid because they’re not getting the complete blood work done. Yeah, because there’s two antibodies to check for, correct? That is correct. Yes, two antibody levels to check for it. One is TPO, which is a thyroid peroxidase antibody, and the other one is thyroglobulin antibodies. Many of these antibodies are high above the normal range of that particular lab that tells you that you are developing Hashimoto’s disease. A lot of doctors will say, well, yes, you have Hashimoto’s disease, but your TSH is normal. So nothing to do about it. Just go home, relax, let your thyroid being destroyed and come back to see us. Whenever your thyroid is completely destroyed and your TSH is affected, we are going to start you on the levothyroxine.
03:42 Dr. Anshul Gupta the only treatment available for Hashimoto’s patients. Yes, it’s really, I’m in Canada and I will tell you, nobody ever tests antibodies unless you request it. And if you request it, they typically will only ever check the TPO, never the TGA.
04:00 Karen Martel And it’s possible to have either one elevated, correct? That is correct. TPO is the most common, more than 70% of Hashimoto’s patients will have TPO antibodies elevated. But TG is also the second most common antibody being elevated. So what happens is that, you know, like if you only order TPO antibodies and sometimes you do miss that 40% of people who might have the TG antibodies. So by combining both TG and TPO, that range, you know, like that you can detect of Hashimoto’s goes up to 80 to 90%. There is still 10 to 20% of people who will be antibody negative Hashimoto’s disease, which will have all the classical symptoms of Hashimoto’s and blood work will never show it.
04:46 Dr. Anshul Gupta But it’s a very small number though. Okay. And I’ve heard, and I’m wanting to ask you this question is, I’ve heard some functional practitioners say, even if you have antibodies of like two or five, like smaller numbers, or, you know, with it, even if it’s just within the range, even the bottom of the range, that that means 100% you’ve got Hashimoto’s, any antibodies at all. And I do, I look at people’s blood work all day long, their thyroid panels.
05:18 Karen Martel I can tell you, I rarely see anybody with zero. So I’m a researcher, right? So I believe in what the research says. So the research is very clear. So the way the labs are made, it’s very important, you know, because as a clinician, most of the time, we are not even aware how the labs are being tested. How are those lab machine being calibrated? Until I became a functional medicine doctor and I started to kind of like figuring out what is happening in the lab. So the problem with lab machines is that each and every lab machine has to be calibrated very differently. There are certain national standards, according to which majority of the lab machines are calibrated. But these calibration changes, you know, from country to country and from time to time that can change. So that’s the reason they have always show this range, you know, like, you know, to kind of just have those errors in place. So I don’t completely believe that, you know, if you’re on the lower end of those antibody levels that you do have Hashimoto’s. There is no research suggesting it. There is not a single paper which will say that, okay, well, if you’re on the lower end of even the normal antibody levels, you will have it. It’s the error. You know, like the lab has to have that kind of, you know, amount of leverage in terms of what their machine is showing and how much machine can run those blood work. Right. Because let’s say a busy clinic will run 100 samples, you know, of those antibodies while you know, a particular clinic will only run 10 samples. So when they run more samples, then obviously the machine breaks down a little bit more and it needs more calibration. So those machines will show some antibodies in there because obviously they’re losing
06:59 Dr. Anshul Gupta that calibration over the course of time. Okay. And that’s great. Thank you for clarifying that because I agree. That’s kind of the, I came to the conclusion like this, that’s not true because we’d all be walking around then with Hashimoto’s diagnosis. There’s just too many people that have some degree and I’ll have clients come to me super because they heard somebody on a podcast and said, well, look, I got two antibodies, just two and they’re freaking out because I’m like, look, I see Hashimoto’s, like people with true Hashimoto’s, they can be in the hundreds, you know, so, and even thousands, I think too, right.
07:38 Karen Martel For TPO. Oh, yes. One of them goes really high. Yeah. So again, that different labs like, you know, can go up to different ranges, you know, most commonly like in US and Canada, you will see like either more than 2000 or 3000. That’s the maximum they will get. But one person actually recently came and made me from Malaysia and her antibody levels were like 17,000. No. I was like, really? That’s really high. I didn’t even knew like the labs can check that high amount of antibodies and sure enough, you know, like that was the case with her. Did you retest to see if it came out the same? No, we just started working. So, you know, like we like, you know, and generally the antibody levels will take four to six months to come down. So generally, like when we start working with our clients at the end of like second or third month is where we recheck it to see where if we are going in the right direction. And obviously we have been doing it for a long time. So most of our clients, I will say 80 to 90% of our clients, their antibody levels will go down. Now, obviously, like from 17,000, we don’t expect you to come to like zero or anything in two or three months. But if we start seeing a trend that, you know, it is going down, that is very, very reassuring that whatever we are doing is working.
08:50 Dr. Anshul Gupta And you know, at least the thyroid is now moving the right direction. Right. So who is that most risk for it? And are we seeing it, Dr. Gubler, mostly in North American women? Is that like where the highest rates are right now? Or is this a worldwide thing that we’re just seeing more and more Hashimoto’s because it’s
09:09 Karen Martel just maybe being properly diagnosed or and yeah, just who’s more susceptible to it? So still the most susceptible population is the middle aged females, you know, starting from 30 to going around 65. That’s the most common people who will get Hashimoto’s disease. But now we are seeing an increase in incidence of males being affected with Hashimoto’s and also children being affected with Hashimoto’s as early as ages of like four or five and definitely going into the adolescent. Now the second part of the question was that, you know, is it more common in like North American population? No. So Hashimoto’s disease is the most common autoimmune condition worldwide. Not only in America, worldwide. Yes. So we don’t even know that, you know, like what is a proper incidence of Hashimoto’s disease because again, it is often undiagnosed because the way the conventional medicine functions is that they don’t check antibodies, as you said. So that is not the norm. But we know that even beyond millions and millions of people, there are other subset of people who have not been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and they’re walking around. So it is just not over here in North America. It’s like all over the world that, you know, females, especially middle aged females are
10:30 Dr. Anshul Gupta being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and they have it. Yeah. I wonder how much like as I’m a hormone specialist. And so I that, you know, that age range is when our hormones start dropping and then almost completely disappear for some women. And so I wonder how much that affects the development of Hashimoto’s because we know that estrogen is really important. And so is progesterone for the immune system.
10:54 Karen Martel So something there? It is. Yes. So the reason why females are more complicated are because of their hormonal system. And they go to these cascades of hormonal shifts, right? When they’re going through puberty, suddenly, you know, their hormonal surges starts happening. Every month, they’re going through these cycles of hormones. And the bigger cycles happen around pregnancy and menopause. So we see that several females do get diagnosed with Hashimoto’s or thyroid disorder, especially after delivery, postpartum. Often it is labeled that, oh, it is just the stress of delivering the baby. So, you know, that’s the reason you got thyroid disorders. But in reality, it is actually the changing of the hormones with the other stress that is causing it. And similar again, after menopause, we see again a very big rise in Hashimoto’s disease. Again, because as you suggested that, you know, females are being taken away, all the protective hormones away from their body like estrogen and progesterone.
11:50 Dr. Anshul Gupta So that definitely triggers not only Hashimoto’s disease, but other autoimmune conditions also. That’s interesting because that’s when I found mine out was I don’t have Hashimoto’s, but I got hypothyroidism. But it happened after the birth of my first child where everything went to crap. And then to put it eloquently. And then again, my thyroid kind of crashed, I would say, after when I started to go into menopause. So yeah, both times it was that’s what triggered it for me. But yeah, very interesting. I think there’s many factors to that. I would think too, it’s not even the hormonal shifts. I think that’s a big part of it. But also we’re so nutrient deficient nowadays. And I’ve done a lot of research around like, you know, how a baby will basically, you know, steal all of our nutrients out of our system to feed the baby. And that we are so nutrient deficient now that we should be waiting like four years between having children just to build those stores back up again. So you can imagine that without those important nutrients for thyroid function and for immune
12:55 Karen Martel function that that would also play a part in that. Absolutely. So, you know, like again, when I say anything about pregnancy or deliveries, you know, I don’t mean that, you know, people should not get pregnant or, you know, it’s the fault of the females of doing it. But it’s just the awareness. We are not preparing our females, you know, like for pregnancies, right? Because pregnancy, as you suggested, you know, it’s a pretty big undertaking for a female’s body because, you know, like you’re not only supporting your body, but you’re also supporting another body that needs all this vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, you know, to function. And obviously your body prioritizes at the time, you know, the fetus, which is growing inside your body as compared to your own body, right? And oftentimes we are already low in so many vitamins and minerals, you know, to start off with. And definitely at the end of the pregnancy, we are all done. And then if you have another baby, like, you know, in the next couple of years, then you’re so depleted, then your body is barely functioning. So I always suggest like females who are of the childbearing age, so that before, you know, they are trying to get pregnant, just give your body five or six months, work on that body, you know, improve your body’s health, you know, like the nutrients that your body needs and your baby will need. Just replenish those before itself. And then obviously, like, you know, there’ll be very, very less chances of having any bad outcomes in the pregnancy. Plus, you know, like having any bad outcomes after delivery of like Hashimoto’s disease
14:23 Dr. Anshul Gupta or even thyroid conditions. Yeah, great. So if somebody then, you know, they suspect that maybe they have a slow metabolism, which is usually what will send a woman into her doctor’s office. And let’s say they do a thyroid, at least a TSH and free T3, free T4, everything’s normal, everything’s in normal range. But you like you said, somebody could have the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. So what do those, besides the slow metabolism, what is a person looking for, would it would
14:57 Karen Martel maybe say, oh, maybe I’ve got an autoimmune thyroid problem. So the problem is that there are a number of symptoms. And these are so common that that’s the reason we have to have a very high index of suspicion of checking these antibodies. So the symptoms actually start with, you know, being tired or being fatigued a lot of times. Having brain fog symptoms that, you know, they feel that they’re forgetting things, they’re not able to keep up, you know, with events around them, they’re not able to concentrate, you know, on things, then they are gaining weight or not able to lose weight. Then mood swings, you know, feeling depressed, feeling anxious, feeling stressed out, then having gut issues, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, then obviously having infertility issues, then feeling cold all the time, then having hair problems, hair thinning or hair falling out or having skin problems like eczema, hives or dry skin. So these are so many different symptoms that Hashimoto’s can come up with. So along with slow metabolism, if you have any of the other symptoms, then again, it just makes sense to make sure that, you know, you do get checked for Hashimoto’s disease also. Because a good part is that if you’re at very early stages of Hashimoto’s disease, because your TSH or your T3 and T4 are not affected yet, then there is a very high chance that
16:19 Dr. Anshul Gupta you can reverse it and you might not need medicines in the future. If you’ve progressed and you’ve got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, you’ve had it for many years, let’s say, and so it’s actively, when you explained it, you know, we’re actively destroying the thyroid gland. At what point can we not come back from that? Is there a point or is there always a chance that we can reverse it no matter what condition
16:54 Karen Martel the thyroid’s in? So yeah, so ultimately what happens is that these antibodies leads to fibrosis of the thyroid gland, right? And that fibrosis is basically dead tissue and there is no way that we can revive that dead tissue. Okay. So now again, in Hashimoto’s, there are two things. First of all, is that when your thyroid does get destroyed, you need external thyroid hormone replacement. And the second thing is the autoimmune part of it. Now this autoimmune part, even though if your thyroid gets completely destroyed, it is not going to stop. It is going to start destroying other parts of your body. And that’s the reason research suggests that once you get autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s disease, there is a very, very high likelihood that in your lifetime, you will get a second autoimmune condition, whether 10 years or five years or 15 years down the lane. So now females who have had Hashimoto’s disease for a long time, their thyroid might be fibrosed. And in that situation, they might need some support of an external thyroid hormone because now their body is just not able to produce enough thyroid hormone. But the thyroid hormone replacement is not doing anything for the autoimmune side of Hashimoto’s disease. It is still destroying your body. After done with your thyroid, it is going to start destroying other parts of your body. And that’s where I tell people or females is that, you know, when you do things that we are going to tell you to do, maybe you might need certain medications to help your thyroid hormone, but you will prevent any further destruction of your thyroid gland and you will prevent developing any other autoimmune conditions. So that’s a very important piece that a lot of people have to understand is that because the medicines are not doing anything for the autoimmune condition, they’re only supporting your body’s thyroid hormone replacement.
18:42 Dr. Anshul Gupta And if you don’t work on that autoimmune conditions, you will get into more trouble. Yeah. Yeah. So what are your favorite tips then for dealing with the immune side of it, which I have actually heard that Hashimoto’s, they call it like the gateway autoimmune condition. And it’s typically the first to arrive.
19:03 Karen Martel And then yes, you’re opening up the doors for more to come along. So Hashimoto’s disease, what I figured out was that, you know, like the research suggests that it’s an interplay between your genetic makeup and the environment around a person. Now, we cannot change anybody’s genes, but that doesn’t mean that, you know, if you do have a particular genes that you are going to get Hashimoto’s disease. There are two sides to it. One is the genes and the second one is the environment. So if we can control the environment, then we can actually reverse Hashimoto’s as well as, you know, we might not be able to kind of present as a Hashimoto’s patients in the future. So there are five major environmental factors which have kind of seen, which contributes to Hashimoto’s. The very first one is food, right? So we see that, you know, food is medicine, but at the same time, wrong foods can lead to Hashimoto’s disease. We are seeing a very increase in food sensitivities to gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugars, all of those things, right? So those food sensitivities play a very, very important role in causing or triggering Hashimoto’s disease. So the first thing that’s a very big trigger. The second trigger, as we suggested, was stress. And this is like physical stress, emotional stress, mental stress, spiritual stress, any kind of stress your body goes through. Then again, that can be a very big trigger of Hashimoto’s and pregnancies, menopause comes into this kind of category of stressor because the females are going through that. The third one is toxins. We are living in a toxic world. Every day there is a new chemical which is being poured into our environment. Now what happens is that our thyroid gland is very, very sensitive to these toxins. Thyroid gland is like a sponge. Any small amount of toxins that a body gets exposed to, you know, like it directly goes to the thyroid gland and actually affects it. So over the course of years and years of slow exposure to small amount of toxins, finally we reach that level where the thyroid gland gets destroyed and triggered Hashimoto’s disease. And the next one is nutritional deficiencies. As you pointed out that, you know, like we, thyroid gland needs a lot of different vitamins and minerals to make thyroid hormone, to support our body. And again, our food itself is currently actually low in vitamins and minerals. There was a recent study done which compared the nutritious value of the crops of the food from 1980s to currently in 2000. And it showed that, you know, our current crops are low in a lot of different vitamins especially which are needed by the thyroid gland like selenium, magnesium, manganese, zinc. And those things are lower in our food. So even though we might be eating the best food, our body is low into them because our food is low into them. So nutritional deficiencies are again a big trigger. And the last one is infections. We already know Epstein-Barr virus infection has been associated with Hashimoto’s disease. So reactivation of Epstein-Barr is very important. Certain parasites in our gut like blastocystis again has been shown to be associated with Hashimoto’s disease. Similarly, other viral infections, even we are seeing an increased rate of Hashimoto’s disease after COVID infections. So that is also another virus which can trigger it. Plus other parasites, you know, Candida infections. So a whole bunch of these infections can also trigger Hashimoto’s. So these are the big five factors which are the root causes of majority of the people with Hashimoto’s disease. Now the problem is here. Most people are looking for that one root cause. And that’s where people fail. What I’ve identified is that most females will have two plus root causes playing a role together. And that is leading the Hashimoto’s disease. And unless we kind of, you know, work on all of the root causes, we are not able to reverse Hashimoto’s disease. What’s your take on the autoimmune paleo diet for Hashimoto’s? So autoimmune paleo diet is a great diet. The problem is that it is very restrictive. It is, yeah. And for people to sustain that for lifelong, I think it’s very, very difficult. So what I do is that, you know, I’m a little bit more generous with my clients. I tell them, like, you know, maybe for a short amount of time, let’s make your life miserable. Yeah. Okay. So we can calm things down. Okay. And then we can do, we do a very similar diet to autoimmune paleo, not exactly the same. And so that we can calm the antibodies, we can calm the inflammation. And then after that, we become a little bit more generous and then start adding one category of food at a time to see how their body does with that. Because I think autoimmune paleo diet sometimes over the long term basis can cause nutritional deficiencies if not done correctly. You have to pay very close attention to the kind of nutrients each and every food has it. And we have to have a very balanced diet in that situation. So it’s very difficult for a lot of people, you know, who are just busy in their lives to keep up with it on the long term basis.
23:55 Dr. Anshul Gupta Yeah, it’s super, super hard. I find the same thing. And I also have seen too, in my practice, that the longer somebody is on an autoimmune paleo diet, that they will start to develop more food sensitivities. It’s like they start to restrict and then they go to restrict more and restrict more because they’ll just start eating the same foods all the time because it’s hard. And then they develop a sensitivity to those foods. And so it’s kind of a slippery slope that I think people have to be very careful about. And like you said, like do it for a short period of time and then start to reintroduce things and see, you know, because not everybody’s going to react to all the foods that are off that list of autoimmune. But one food that I think everybody needs to remove is gluten if you have Hashimoto’s. And I try to explain why. And it’s like people are like, what? What do you mean? It’s the same genetic makeup of thyroid. Can you explain that? Like, why is it gluten and thyroid have this like cross reactivity with each other?
24:54 Karen Martel I think gluten has multiple problems. You know, there is just not one problem that we are actually identifying more and more research and more problems are being shown up. So the very most common problem is that, you know, like the gluten molecule has a very similar molecular structure to the thyroid gland, which is we call as molecular mimicry. So what happens is that whenever, you know, we are consuming food like gluten and body things, it is not the same, you know, like as the gluten that our body knew 100 years ago. And then it says, OK, something foreign. So it kind of treats it as, you know, like a threat to the body. So it starts producing antibodies against the gluten molecule. And then because the thyroid gland structure is the molecular structure is very similar to the gluten in the friendly fire, actually, it starts destroying the thyroid gland. So that’s kind of the molecular mimicry, which happens between the gluten and the thyroid that, you know, does that, which can be genetic makeup. But also a very important reason is that the gluten that we are consuming currently is completely different from the original gluten or wheat, which was there, you know, in the wild. So because, you know, of the agriculture revolution, like, you know, which happened 100 years ago, we were changing our food at a very, very rapid rate. So it is easier to grow. So it was resistant to kind of different kind of pests. And, you know, like, you know, we can store it for a longer amount of time. Now, when we are doing it, we actually accidentally kind of, you know, change the genetic makeup of it because we were kind of doing something called natural selection. And we’re not talking about just GMO crops. We’re just talking about natural crops. But we are doing natural selection. So you were selecting the variety of wheat, which was conducive to our environment. Now, what happens is that our body’s genetic makeup doesn’t change so quickly. It takes millions of years for our body’s genetic makeups to change. And we have learned, we have associated, you know, like interacted with our environment over the course of this millions of years. And then we have recognized different foods, different things around our environment based on their chemical structure. Now, because the chemical structure is different, our body doesn’t recognize gluten anymore. And that’s the reason, you know, it attacks it. The second reason, obviously, is that, you know, all the spraying which we are doing in the gluten crops, you know, like the glycosides, you know, the pesticides and the insecticides. Again, that brings all that burden inside the body and which leads to leaky gut. And the leaker the gut is, the more reactive it becomes to gluten and other things. And that’s another major reason that, you know, we are seeing an uptake of food sensitivity, especially towards the gluten things. Yes. So these are major problems with gluten that, you know, people have it. And that’s the reason in Hashimoto’s or any other autoimmune condition for say it’s best to avoid gluten.
27:36 Dr. Anshul Gupta Yeah. Yeah. It’s always the mimicry thing that people are like, what, how is that possible that the thyroid makeup is similar to the wheat makeup? And it’s like, what? But that’s, that’s the case. It’s very interesting. Now, number two is emotional stress, things like that. Now you’ve worked with thousands of Hashimoto’s patients, probably at this time. Do you find there’s a connection? If we look at the chakras in the body, energy centers in the body, the thyroid sits in your voice chakra. And so do you see, have you seen in your practice that there is a relationship with that? Like where, and I wonder if this is why maybe women have it a little bit more too, because we tend to not speak our minds as much as men do. You know, maybe we’re trapping or we’re not saying what we really want to say in life. Do you see a connection with that and with working with so many people doing this?
28:37 Karen Martel So I know stress plays an important role. Each and every female who do get diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I tell them what was happening in your life a year or two years before you got diagnosed and invariably there will be some stressful moment or thing that their body or they themselves went through that. So that was the case. Now, the problem with females is that, you know, like we, the current females are overburdened, you know, with stressful things, you know, in their life. Now they have to take care of their own family, their own husbands, their own children. Then they will take care of their own parents. Then they are working outside. They have to take care of their house. Each and everything is responsible for them. So, right, obviously. So the stress do pile up in that direction. And again, as you said, you know, like, you know, we do have all these different chakras. So the heart chakra also is very close as well as, you know, our chakra and neck is very close. And again, females being more emotional, the heart chakra being so close again, and all these chakras are connected, right? And we feel the energy starts, you know, from a lower chakra and then goes up. Right. So if your heart chakra is also affected, again, it affects the next chakra, which is in your neck. And that can also be another reason. And because the females are not able to voice their concerns, because who are they going to voice their concern to? Because they themselves feel responsible, you know, because of taking care of everyone around them. So they complain or they say anything about it. It just says that, OK, well, you know, you’re just complaining now. Why don’t you just not do it? Right. So there is no solution for things. And that’s the reason I think a lot of females will just not voice their concern and they will just go through all these emotional turmoil and all of the stress on their own. So I’m not an expert in chakras, so I don’t cannot say that how each chakra affects the thyroid directly. But I can definitely say that emotional and physical stress definitely is a very, very big trigger for Hashimoto’s disease.
30:32 Dr. Anshul Gupta Yeah, I agree. Yes. I’ve worked a lot with chakras. I used to do a type of bodywork and it had a lot to do with the chakras and kind of aligning them. And so I learned about it a very long time ago and I do find it very fascinating. And I do think that that’s probably a big piece of why I developed just hypothyroidism was I wasn’t speaking up when I should have been at that time in my life. And I think that there was I think there’s always an emotional component to any chronic illness. So I think that I think it’s an important piece for all of us to look at. And then if you’ve got Hashimoto’s, like you said, really take a look at your life and the stress and where can you ask for help? And I think that that really does have to be part of it, part of the healing process. And like you said, you can’t just pick one thing. We’ve got to look at all of the things that you talk about and see where we’re being held up on all of those levels.
31:26 Karen Martel Right. I think it’s very important. Absolutely. Stress management is a top priority when people start working with us. They think that the top priority when they work with us will be the supplements. And I tell you, yes, supplements are going to come last. But first, we need to fix your lifestyle. You need to fix your life. You know, unless the stress management things comes into place, you know, things are not going to get better. And trust me, even after me paying so much attention to it and telling my clients, still 40 to 50 percent of my clients still don’t do it. Oh, I know. You know, well, everybody’s stressed out. So what’s the big deal about it? Right. Because we are living in this world. I think it’s a corporate language. Oh, well, stress is good. Right. Yeah. Like the more stress you are, the more performance improvement that gives you. So that’s good. And I tell people, no, it’s not correct. Stress. You know, if your body is stressed out, it is sending you signals that, you know, it is you are not handling it well. And I’m not saying that, OK, well, you know, leave your job or leave your responsibilities. That is not going to happen. But just inculcating these stress reduction exercises, your body will be able to take on more. So doing simple meditations, simple, you know, like yoga or deep breathing exercises or cultivating a hobby relaxation, just 10 to 15 minutes is huge, huge game changer. And a lot of my clients, so I always propagate, start talking to them even before food. I talk about stress management as my first strategy and then go to the food and then go to the supplements after that.
32:53 Dr. Anshul Gupta Where does the medication come in for you? You know, if somebody comes in, they’ve got Hashimoto’s. They have an elevated TSA age and maybe a slow T3 or T4 both. You know, do you jump right away to medication or is that something that you take some time with?
33:11 Karen Martel So they’re already on medications. You know, I’m not in a hurry to get them off the medicines. OK, a lot of people come to see you. They’re on like, you know, 75 micrograms or 100 micrograms. And if you just go into cold turkey, stop that medicine, your body is going to feel the brunt of it. If they have not yet started the medicine, then yes, that’s a good opportunity for us to explore different options. Like desiccated thyroid is great for a lot of females. That works out good. Or even without that, you know, through our natural ways of supporting the thyroid or improving the overall health and their root cause. And sometimes they don’t even need the medicine. So I’m not in a hurry of starting anybody any medications. But if they were already on the medications, I’m not in a hurry to stop them either.
33:53 Dr. Anshul Gupta If somebody is on medication for a long time, years and years.
34:00 Karen Martel Can you ever get them off or does the body become so dependent on that medication? So, again, that answer is to kind of, you know, prongs to it. One prong is that, you know, like, so why do we need medicines? Right. A lot of people are taking medicines, but still they have symptoms. So when after they work with us, their symptoms are really good. Even then, they start stopping the medicine or going down the medicine. They still feel great. But the problem is that the body is now so dependent on the medicine. If you’re going to look at the lab work, that TSH is going to go high. Once you stop the medicine, nobody can do anything about it, because that’s the way our bodies to cope up with it. So if you’re looking at the lab work and say that, OK, well, you know, by working with you, will the TSH become normalized even after we stop the medicine? If you have been on the medicine for more than five years, that TSH is going to go up. Doesn’t matter, you know, like whatever you do if you stop the medicine. But if you’re feeling great, if you’re feeling fine, I said, well, then you can just watch your body and then you can just keep an eye on the TSH on the other hormone levels. If your T3 and T4 are normal, that means your body is getting enough thyroid hormone.
35:07 Dr. Anshul Gupta And why just to believe in the TSH part of it? Right. And then if you’re not feeling good, then obviously your body is telling you that you need that medicine. Right. And when somebody wants to try to come off their medication, because they’ve done your five steps, they’ve read your amazing book and they’re ready to see like, OK, let’s see where my body’s at without medication. Is there a certain way to do that? Because I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on that.
35:35 Karen Martel Like how so many come off and stuff like that? Yes, slowly. Again, depending on the dose of the medicine. Up to 50 micrograms, it’s very easy to get off the medicine. And it’s very easy to stop the medicine. Beyond that, it becomes difficult and difficult. Beyond 100 micrograms, we have to be very, very careful, because that means the thyroid definitely has a lot of destruction happening. So those people, we kind of go very slow beyond like beyond 100 micrograms. And then between like 50 to 100 micrograms, we start decreasing the medicine kind of every month and see how people are doing. And they’re feeling OK. And the blood work is kind of stable. Then we kind of keep them getting off of the medicine. But if they’re like 25 or 37 or 50, those people, you know, like depending on how they are doing, then sometimes
36:24 Dr. Anshul Gupta we are able to stop the medicine very quickly. OK, is the higher the medication like, are you actually going to be destroying the thyroid when you’re when you’re on high medication?
36:35 Karen Martel Yeah, because your thyroid is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone. And that’s the reason you need more and more external support of the medicine to do it. So again, it has two components to it. One component is that, you know, sometimes in acute phases, when you’re having a flare up, you know, of Hashimoto’s disease, because of that, all that inflammation, which does destroy a very short amount of time, your thyroid gland. So your medicine dosage might need to be increased. But that doesn’t mean that is leading to fibrosis, because as the inflammation settles down, then sometimes, you know, like you need lesser amount of the medicine. So when people work with us, they are in very, very highly inflamed state. So by decreasing that inflammation, we are able to, you know, like quickly reduce the dosage of medicine. So in those people, you know, it’s very easy, even though they are on the higher dosage. But people who have had disease for like 10, 15 years and they have been on more than 100 micrograms for, let’s say, five years or so. Then their body is telling us that they’re not in the acute phase. Now they are coming to this chronic, fibrotic phase where the thyroid is destroyed and is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone.
37:38 Dr. Anshul Gupta Right. OK, thank you for that. So what is your take on low dose Naltrexone? Because that’s a real big game changer for a lot of Hashimoto’s patients. Maybe you could explain what it is and do you use it in your practice?
37:56 Karen Martel Yeah, so so Naltrexone was actually basically an opioid antagonist, right? You know, it was it was used in people who had opioid addiction. Now, somehow, like, you know, a couple of years ago, like, I think it was a chance discovery that somebody was using it a very, very low dosage for some people, and they realized it is does the it does the opposite effect of what you’re supposed to do at the high dosage. So they saw some benefit in improving pain. They actually saw an improvement in reducing inflammation. So they actually started exploring what does it do? So again, it works on the opioid receptors. And we feel the opioid receptors actually play a very, very important role in our immune process. You know, we feel opioid receptors are only important for pain, but actually they are also very important for immunity. They are also very important to kind of reducing inflammation in the body. So at a lower dosage, you know, like the the LDN, which is a low dose Naltrexone, improves our autoimmune process. And actually, there are a couple of research studies which do support that in using in Hashimoto’s disease, their antibody levels did go down by using low dose Naltrexone. So the good part of a low dose Naltrexone is that there isn’t any side effects, so it is not a medicine as such. It is pretty safe because we’re using it at very low doses. So literally I have not seen much side effects from it. Now, by using LDN for a long time, I was kind of a little bit confused of what it is actually doing for my clients, because without the LDN also, you know, the antibody levels were coming down and people were doing good. And with using the LDN, still it took the same amount of time and just LDN only helps with reducing the antibody levels. It was not doing much other than that. So that’s the reason I’m not using LDN that much. And without using the LDN, also, we are getting great results. So my always process is that, well, why to use any more things if we don’t have to? So LDN alone was never a game changer for me that, you know, if I just put anybody LDN and it will just reverse Hashimoto’s or anybody that was not happening. But if somebody is on LDN and they have access to a practitioner who can give LDN, then I say, why not? You know, it doesn’t hurt. There’s no side effects. Maybe it will it will help you out. So I think it’s a great like one more tool in our toolbox. Yeah, I think especially for people who have very high amount of antibodies and it is taking a long time for them to actually reduce their antibodies. Those are special people that I think LDN can be very big game changer because that can definitely reduce the antibodies at a faster rate.
40:28 Dr. Anshul Gupta Right. Yeah, interesting, because I I started it because I I did exactly what you say to do. And I looked at all of these factors in my life and found out that I had really high levels of mercury and lead in my body. So I started to do heavy metal chelation. And that sent my body into like, I don’t know what happened, but I kind of crashed my metabolism. I started to gain weight from every every time I would do kind of a round of chelation, I just do I gain weight every single time and not have changed anything. So I I heard that if you take LDN, that could help with that piece. So I thought, OK, well, I’ll give it a go. And so I went on it and I didn’t notice anything for a bit. And then I realized, oh, I’m not gaining weight anymore. And then I was slowly starting to lose weight so I could chelate safely. And I was not gaining weight from it. And then nine months down the road, I realized that all of my histamine intolerance went away. My gut system was better. I had no more arthritis in my hands and my wrists. I was like, oh, and so I actually went off the LDN to go, is this what what’s happening here? And sure enough, within about two months, all these little symptoms started to creep back up again. So it hadn’t cured it, but it certainly really helped to improve the immune system. But it happened in a really slow and subtle way. So I always tell people I’m like, it’s it’s not this like big kapow. It’s a miracle thing that’s going to cure you of your thyroid problems. But in the long run, it can help with the immune system, which then has a waterfall effect because who knows what is like what your body, what’s happening in your body from that compromised immune system. And it kind of shows up in different ways. Mine was histamine. You know, other somebody else’s might be something else. So it did. It has really, really helped with that piece of it for myself.
42:34 Karen Martel So no, I agree with that. You know, the problem is that when people are coming with us, you know, like they are such a bad shape, they want to kind of get quickly fixed. So we have made this kind of four to six months of a protocol where we kind of literally like rejuvenates people’s body. So an LDN, as you said, works very slowly. So I was like telling people that it is not going to do anything for you. Initially, you have to take it at least a minimum of four months, you know, like otherwise, it is just not going to do anything for you. And people say, well, I don’t have patience to use it in that amount of time because I’m already on this bucket load of supplements and things. So I said, OK, well, if you choose between the supplements and LDN, then definitely like supplements, I know that I can fix you within four to six months. So definitely that’s a priority. But this is definitely a great thing. But you’re absolutely correct that it has to be taken for more than four months to actually start showing any change in the body. And again, like if you have access to it, like again, I tell people is that if you do have access to LDN, if you can use it, absolutely use it, because literally, like, you know, we just cannot find any side effects, you know, of LDN. So I think it’s a great medical thing, which does work in a lot of people, especially they have arthritis issues, a lot of inflammation in their body and high antibodies. I think it’s a very great tool.
43:49 Dr. Anshul Gupta Yeah, yeah, I agree. And I see that you’re a peptide therapy expert as well. So do you use peptides then like in or bioregulator peptides, regular peptides?
44:02 Karen Martel Yeah. So again, you know, like peptides is an emerging field, right? Of medicine that, you know, we are all kind of, you know, still exploring and still learning. So not each and every client that I use peptides into. But this is another like tool in my toolbox. When I feel necessary, then I use it. There are a couple of peptides, you know, that has shown to be beneficial, especially in Hashimoto’s disease. One is like the TA1, which is a thymus in alpha one. Like it’s an immune modulator. We know that it regulates our autoimmunity in our body. And we have like, you know, very small couple of research studies, especially for Hashimoto’s disease, that, you know, it did actually decrease the antibody levels and also improve the functioning of the thyroid gland at the same time. So that’s the reason again, TA1 is a very nice peptide because it does help with immunity. So a lot of like Hashimoto’s clients do have chronic infections like Lyme or viral infections or parasites. So TA1 is very useful for it. And the second one is useful is for histamine intolerances. So again, you know, like as you are having a lot of people with Hashimoto’s disease will have mast cell or histamine intolerances to the point that they will not even tolerate supplements. So for those people using TA1 initially and then using supplements, that actually worked for them because they were able to tolerate things better. So I think TA1 is one of those great peptides, you know, which I think can help a lot of Hashimoto’s clients. The second one is BPC. Now, BPC157 is a common peptide. A lot of people have been using for a long time, mainly for like, you know, in the weight training exercises, because, you know, like for all the injuries, because it does help with ligamentous and muscular injury. But what people don’t know is that BPC actually originated in our gut. So it is actually our gut makes BPC as a natural way. So it has gut protection ability. So a lot of people with Hashimoto’s again have leaky gut issues, you know, have SIBO issues, which is the overgrowth of bacteria or have, you know, like overgrowth of candida problems. So BPC, I think, is a very great peptide, which not only helps to heal their leaky gut, helps improve the gut immunity. And they are able to fight off these bacteria and viruses and improves the gut functioning. And obviously, like, you know, if they have any joint pains or if they have like body pains, then BPC is useful for that also. So I think these are two very standard peptides that, you know, I think a lot of our clients with Hashimoto’s CC benefit. And again, I am this person that, you know, if there is no harm, why not use it? So these two peptides are pretty safe, you know, like very, very less side effects, I will say, if any, with peptides. Obviously, I’m careful that, you know, what person is doing, what is their medical history? A lot of people are just buying peptides, you know, on Internet and using them. I totally kind of say that’s not a right thing to do because although they are safe, but still like, you know, we have to use it in proper fashion. So once we use them in proper fashion, then these can be very, very useful
46:53 Dr. Anshul Gupta for a lot of Hashimoto’s clients. What about the bioregulator, the thyroid one? Have you ever used that one?
47:00 Karen Martel I think it’s called thyrogen. Yeah, so I mean, it is it actually more recent. So I have not kind of used it a lot of in my clients, because unless I’m 100 percent sure about something, I don’t kind of use it. So in our peptide groups, you know, like still like, I’m getting those fillers out and sometimes somebody is using it. Have they seen any benefit from it or not? So until like, you know, I get some positive feedback from other people, I just don’t feel very comfortable in using anything in my clients,
47:30 Dr. Anshul Gupta unless I’m 100 percent sure. Yeah, I haven’t heard much from bioregulators. I just recently one client had been using a bunch of them, and we did see an improvement on her hormone levels, and she was using the ovarian one. So I was like, OK, that’s the first time I’ve actually seen proof that this actually might have worked. But I had somebody this morning, she said, What should I use for my thyroid problem, LDN or thymogen? And I’m like, oh, I said, I don’t know. I said, I don’t have enough experience with that bioregulator to know if it would be if it could work or not. But it’s interesting. And I definitely want I’m interested to see where it’s going to go.
48:09 Karen Martel Exactly. And I think that’s the whole peptide world, you know, is so emerging, especially bioregulators are even much more newer. So we don’t have experience, right? You know, there are not many practitioners who are using it. So again, you know, like, yes, they seem promising, but majority of the research or majority of people who have used them are basically either in animals or in laboratory. So like, you know, who is going to be that first person who feels comfortable using them in their clients or patients? We just have to wait and watch. So I was I’m always on the back seat of those things. I’m not that adventurous of sitting on the front seat and kind of driving. OK, well, I am going to try that first. I’m actually the opposite. I’m always on the back seat. OK, well, let other people use it. But I’m comfortable then only I’m going to use it. So even with supplements, you know, like whenever some something comes out, either I’m going to try it on myself or like I’m going to kind of hear stories from other practitioners once they are safe, because safety is the most priority for me. I don’t want to do any any harm to any of my clients. So I’m very upfront with them that if I’m not sure about anything, I’m going to let you know. Now, obviously, the choice is yours. If you want to use it, that’s fine. But if I’m not comfortable, I don’t have enough data to say that, OK, this is good and there is good safety data about it. I’m not going to use it.
49:25 Dr. Anshul Gupta So when patients come to you and you, you know, put them on your protocol, how quickly are you seeing results with people?
49:35 Karen Martel So symptom wise, within four to six weeks, you know, like, you know, they start feeling better, you know, their energy levels gets better. Their mood is more stable. Their gut is stabilizing in that manner. So all of those things is happening in four to six weeks. But I think I call the magical month is like the third month, the end of second month or third month is a magical month where suddenly like their body shifts and they start feeling really good. The energy is really great. You know, like they’re able to do so many things. Their mood is stable. They lose weight. All of those things happen in that magical month. So I always tell people, like, you know, end of two months or the third month somehow is a magical month in our protocol that you can feel very, very substantial difference. And that’s the amount of time it takes for the antibody also to come down. So at the end of three months or four months, we want to repeat the lab work to see that antibodies are coming down. And I will say almost 70 to 80 percent of our clients, you know, like their antibodies do show that, you know, they are in the downward trend
50:30 Dr. Anshul Gupta by the time. Yeah, that’s funny, because it’s usually the same timing for hormones to whether you’re replacing hormones or you’re trying to balance something out. I always tell women like two months at the very least, but you’re looking at three months solid before you’re going to redo labs and really see what just happened with what you did. So it’s a three month is the magic number for me as well. OK, so you’ve got a book. So let’s what’s in your book that people like, where are people
51:00 Karen Martel going to get from your book? Yeah, so the book, like, you know, the kind of came into place is was that, you know, like people have written book on Hashimoto’s, but I think they were like very, very medically driven. They were so thick and a lot of people will get lost into the medical terminologies or what exactly is going on. So I want to write a book in a very simple language where anybody like, you know, on a layman who had Hashimoto’s or they feel they have it, just read it, understand it, and then give them like a stepwise protocol where they can implement today itself so that they can see a difference. So that’s where, you know, like this three step process. And then I discussed that in the book. The very first step is basically kind of figuring out the root cause. Right. Right. So like I have given certain questionnaires, you know, in the book where people can that can give them some ideas about what potential root causes are playing a role, because otherwise, like people will look at all these five categories and they will completely get lost. OK, well, I don’t know which categories are applicable to me. So by doing those questionnaires, by kind of, you know, introspecting on some of those things and some symptoms, people can find maybe, OK, well, I have these two or three root causes. So that’s the very first step of figuring out the root cause. And the second step is start fixing the thyroid, fixing, you know, like, you know, some of the deficiencies that people have. That’s where, you know, the diet comes into place. So I’ve developed this something called mito thyroid diet, which is very specific for Hashimoto’s clients. Again, like what food to eat, what not to eat, which is a thyroid friendly foods. You know, all of those things is what we talk about in that. And the same time, we talk about some nutritional supplements which can support the thyroid gland in the second step. And the third step is removing the toxicities, removing the toxicities of stress, removing the toxicity of toxins, as well as removing the toxicities of all these chronic infections. So we talk about like how to lower the burden of toxins around the body, you know, like how to improve your body’s immunity in general. And then obviously the stress reduction techniques. So that’s what, you know, like the three steps are laid out. And it’s more so like people who can do things on their own, because beyond that, that’s where you need the help of a practitioner. Now, like, you know, you gave a very great example, you know, like how your body did not do very well with chelation. So like I saw this lady, like, you know, who was 57 year old lady who came to see me three months ago. You know, she was having like Hashimoto’s disease, you know, like she was like, you know, suffering from it even longer than five years. A lot of brain fog, a lot of fatigue, tiredness, you know, gut issues. She was having somebody told her, well, toxins are a major problem for Hashimoto’s. Why don’t you buy this detox protocol online and start doing it? She started doing the detox protocol and one month into the detox protocol, her body completely gave up. You know, she was just not able to remember anything. Her brain fog was so bad. Her fatigue was so bad that she had to take two naps just to function during the day. Her memory was so bad, so she had to go to the neurologist. When you went to the neurologist, she was diagnosed with dementia. Seeing that you are actually only a stage of dementia. So she was completely like, you know, depressed by the time she saw me, because she said, well, I think I did it to myself, you know, by doing the detox. So I told her, well, that’s OK, you know, like you didn’t knew better. That’s fine that you did, but let’s look what was going on. So she was correct. She did have more toxins in her system. But that detox protocol, because there are several stages of detoxification, that detox protocol was only focusing on the first stage. And that first stage, what it does is that the toxins, the mold toxins are hidden into our environmental body, in our bones, in our fatty tissues and things. It just bring all those toxins from that hiding places out in the blood. And it was not getting those toxins from the blood out of the body. So all those toxins were actually running in their body, in a blood. And actually that completely kind of overburden our brain system. So then actually we had to revise our whole plan, work on the gut. All we opened up all the detoxification pathways and kind of finally made a stepwise plan to get all those more toxins out. It took us four months. Then finally her brain started working. She was able to remember things. She was able to pay attention to things. So she was like, finally, Dr. Gupta, I’m feeling a change that, you know, I’m coming back to the normal of what I was. So that’s what I tell people that, you know, it’s good to get information, but it’s also important to know what you are doing, not do things on your own, because things can backfire.
55:32 Dr. Anshul Gupta So you do work with clients one on one?
55:35 Karen Martel Yeah. So actually we started this virtual functional medicine practice, you know, three years ago since the COVID came in. And so we are working virtually with people literally like from all over the world, you know, US, Canada, everywhere people can work with us. So they can get all the consultations. We recommend them all the great supplements. We have, especially in US and Canada, we can ship the supplements to them. We have access to all the advanced testing for toxins and everything. So so we are a completely virtual functional medicine practice. And again, still we are seeing great results with it.
56:07 Dr. Anshul Gupta Yes. And I’m going to have all of his links in the show notes for anybody that’s interested in working with Dr. Gupta. So thank you so much for coming on the show. It was fascinating. I can sit here and just pick your brain all day, I think, but I’ll stop there. So thank you very much for coming on the show.
56:25 Karen Martel Karen, thank you so much for having me over here. It’s always a pleasure to kind of share information and give hope to people that, you know, they can get better, because I think that’s the biggest message that you and me are carrying over here is that don’t let anybody tell you that you have to live a life which is defined by hormones or Hashimoto’s or any particular disease. There is hope for you to out to get better. Just make certain changes and your body is going to listen to you and you can get better. Couldn’t agree more.