Reversing Hashimoto's Naturally with Dr. Anshul Gupta

Reversing Hashimoto’s Naturally & Managing Thyroid Antibodies | Dr. Anshul Gupta & Dr. Westin Childs

How to Reverse Hashimoto’s Naturally with Dr. Anshul Gupta Podcast Interview

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Show notes & links from the video

Today I am joined by Dr. Anshul Gupta for a great discussion on reversing Hashimoto’s, what triggers Hashimoto’s, natural treatments for Hashimoto’s, and much more. 

Dr. Anshul Gupta is a best-selling author, speaker, researcher, and expert in Hashimoto’s disease. He is board-certified in family medicine with training in functional medicine, integrative medicine, and peptide therapy. He previously worked at the Cleveland Clinic Department of functional medicine alongside Dr. Mark Hyman and has most recently published a book called Reversing Hashimoto’s. 

You can learn more about Dr. Gupta here:

  • Get a free consultation with Dr. Gupta here
  • Learn more about Dr. Gupta’s book Reversing Hashimoto’s here 

Topics discussed today include:

  • How conventional doctors view Hashimoto’s versus the functional medicine approach to Hashimoto’s
  • Whether or not Hashimoto’s is reversible
  • Tracking antibody levels to determine the severity of your disease
  • Why Hashimoto’s is both an autoimmune disease as well as a thyroid disease and both aspects must be treated 
  • The 5 most common triggers of Hashimoto’s
  • How diet plays a role in the development of Hashimoto’s
  • The importance of detoxification in managing Hashimoto’s
  • How to test for heavy metals, mold, and other toxins
  • Using FAR IR sauna for detoxification
  • How to improve lymphatic function through dry bushing
  • The primary foods that drive Hashimoto’s as well as leaky gut
  • Why patients with Hashimoto’s develop small intestinal bacterial overgrowth as well as small intestinal fungal overgrowth
  • How to support thyroid function in Hashimoto’s using food, supplements, and medications
  • Using ashwagandha if you have Hashimoto’s
  • Using iodine if you have Hashimoto’s
  • Should you avoid nightshades if you have Hashimoto’s?
  • How AIP fits into treating patients with Hashimoto’s
  • The value of consuming quality protein for immune and thyroid function
  • Should you use iodine if you have Hashimoto’s?
  • Where does thyroid medication fit into the treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Audio Transcript

Dr. Childs:

Hey guys. It’s Dr. Childs here. Today I am joined with Dr. Anshul Gupta. Dr. Anshul Gupta is a bestselling author, speaker, researcher, and expert in Hashimoto’s disease. He’s board certified in family medicine with training in functional medicine, integrative medicine and peptide therapy. He previously worked at the Cleveland Clinic department of functional medicine alongside Dr. Mark Hyman and he’s most recently published a book called Reversing Hashimoto’s, which of course we’re going to be talking about today. So Dr. Gupta, welcome to the show.

Dr. Gupta:

Thank you so much for having me on the show. You guys are doing an amazing job, lot of good information you’re sharing, so I’m privileged to be here.

Dr. Childs:

Awesome. I think we’re going to have a really good conversation. So obviously today we’re going to be talking a lot about reversing Hashimoto’s. This is something a lot of patients who have this condition they worry about and I want to get into sort of the conventional side of things, how people view Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, especially MDs and conventional type of doctors and I want to talk about your approach, but before we do that, could you just sort of give an introduction about you, what got you into medicine and functional medicine and how you ended up where you’re at right now?

Dr. Gupta:

Absolutely. So actually my story starts off with, I was having my own health issues after working as a pretty busy primary care physician. So I was just into a couple of years into my primary care practice after my residency and I started having issues with my gut. I was having this horrible stomach pain, the pain was so bad that sometimes I will have to double over in the pain and even thought about going to the emergency room, but I knew that emergency room doctors could not do anything except for giving me pain medications and just send me home. And then after that I was having more health problems. I was feeling fatigued or tired to the point that sometimes I even have to take a nap during my lunch hour just to function during the whole day. I was actually brain foggy at the end of the day that, okay, after I’m done with the day, I just cannot think about anything else, except for just go to bed and sleep.

Dr. Gupta:

I was gaining weight like crazy, even though I have not changed my diet. So all of those things were going on and nobody had an idea what was going on with me. I thought I am my own physician, let me fix myself. I started taking some medications to improve my gut issues, did not work. I thought I’m not smart enough, let me go to these specialists who can fix me. So I went to specialists after specialists and they did multiple testing, endoscopies, blood work, ultrasounds, all the tests that you can think about, everything was normal. Nobody could figure out what was going on and they kept on piling more and more medications on me, but nothing was working. I was the same miserable man, and I was just 32 years of age at the time.

Dr. Childs:

Oh yeah.

Dr. Gupta:

I was like, “Wow, really? I have to live my life this way with taking more than six medications in a day and having random pain all my life?” And just my quality of life was so miserable. I was totally hopeless at the time. So that’s the time actually somebody introduced me to functional medicine. So I got trained into functional medicine, actually did some of the modules on the gut health and all those things. I started implementing… First of all, I tried to find my root cause of what was going on with me, why I’m feeling this way. So I found my root cause there was a lot of inflammation in my gut, I had food sensitivity problem, my adrenals were completely shut. So I started working on all those things with supplements and a whole plan. Within one month my pain was completely gone. Within six months, I was off all medications. I lost more than 40 pounds.

Dr. Childs:

Oh, nice.

Dr. Gupta:

I had more energy in my life than ever had. I even did a 5K Rugged Maniac-

Dr. Childs:

Awesome.

Dr. Gupta:

… which I’d never thought I would do. So that was a power of functional medicine that I should change my life. So that’s where I decided, okay, I need to share this with all of my clients, all of my patients, because this is huge and this can be life changer. So when I started working in the Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine department, that’s where I was seeing the same plight that was happening with Hashimoto’s patients. They were all taking medications, they were all doing the right thing they were supposed to do, but still they were miserable. They had weight issues, they were all fatigued, they were all brain foggy, they had gut issues, all of those problems that I had, they have all of those problems, but nobody could help out. So that’s when I started my research into Hashimoto’s disease, why they’re not feeling better and I made my own protocol to start helping them out.

Dr. Gupta:

As soon I started implementing the protocol, everything changed in their life. They were feeling so great. We were getting good results and that’s where I started seeing more and more Hashimoto’s patients and thought about writing the book so I can let people know that there is hope for them to get better.

Dr. Childs:

No, that’s really interesting that you talked about that. So we’ll talk about the Hashimoto’s in a second, but… So you are the third physician now that I’ve talked to that had the same sort of issue, so with gut problems and adrenal fatigue and burnout, must be something about residency, lack of sleep, not probably eating very healthy food, something about that, that causes gut issues because there’s a… I had another MD on who had the same exact thing. Almost the exact same thing happened to me. I had diagnosed myself with small intestinal bacteria overgrowth to be treated, adrenal fatigue, et cetera. So it must be a pretty common thing, right? And as you mentioned, patients with Hashimoto’s absolutely have a lot of similar issues, which I’m sure we’ll be talking about adrenal function, gut health, et cetera.

Dr. Childs:

Before we talk about that though, I’m really interested to hear… So from the perspective of a patient, we’re talking now about Hashimoto’s patients. When you look at conventional medicine, if these patients were to go to a conventional doctor and they get to diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the general consensus among these types of doctors, and you had training in this, in family medicine, so you are probably familiar with this, it’s really a sit and wait approach. It’s, let’s just wait until your thyroid becomes destroyed by your immune system so that we can put you on thyroid medication. But other than that, there is no treatment, right? The actual autoimmune aspect of Hashimoto’s is left unchecked really. And so I want to get your thought and opinion on that. So how was it coming from conventional medicine where the dogma was, don’t treat the autoimmune aspect.

Dr. Childs:

In fact, most doctors would say, it’s not even treatable, right? They would just say, no, there’s nothing you could do about this, to then functional medicine, which more… I mean, if we’re talking about reversing Hashimoto’s a lot of the therapy is going to be focused on the immune system. So how did you make that transition from the conventional side to the more functional medicine side? I’m interested to hear sort of how that change occurred in your mind.

Dr. Gupta:

I mean, I was also primary care physician for a long time, so I had seen training that you shared about that, “Okay, well, don’t check for Hashimoto’s. There is no reason to check for those antibodies.” Why would you check those? If the thyroid levels are fine, nothing can be done. We don’t have the medications right now to shut off the immune system or modify the immune system so that we can safeguard the thyroid gland. So the doctors have been ingrained, “Okay, there is no medicine for it, there is no treatment for it and nothing can be done.” And I was very traditional in that sense, but then when I started exploring functional medicine, doing research behind it, I saw that we had so much research, which talks about these Th1, The responses and a lot of immunological modulators which are happening in Hashimoto’s and now there are things which can be to modify the immune system so they can safeguard the thyroid gland.

Dr. Gupta:

So first of all, I was totally completely shocked. I was like, we have so much research and nobody’s talking about it. None of the medical school, we have been taught that there is a hope, that these Hashimoto’s patients can be actually saved from going to destruction of the thyroid gland and landing upas a hypothyroid patient. Nobody’s talking about it. So that’s where actually I said, “Okay, let me look more and make sure that I’m looking at the right places.” So I looked at the research studies and the research studies are so phenomenal that, okay, there are so many things, whether they are supplements, whether they are minerals, whether they are other therapies that can be done to control this inflammation in Hashimoto’s patients and can improve it. And then when I brought out my own protocol, I started implementing it. Saw phenomenal results. The antibody levels went down, the thyroid numbers improved, the symptoms improved.

Dr. Gupta:

In fact, I was actually offering to do a research study with an endocrine doctor. Said that, “Well, you treat Hashimoto’s patients conventionally and let me treat it with a conventional and a functional medicine way with my protocol and let’s see what the numbers show.” And obviously nobody like you know would like to do the comparison. They said, “No, no, no. We don’t want to do it. We are very happy with what we have.”

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. It’s kind of funny that way and that’s why I wanted to bring that up because patients, when they go to their doctor, there’s a lot of inherent trust with the physicians that they get treated by. And I’m sure you’ve seen this. People come to you and they respect and they honor your opinion. It’s like, “Okay, well, if this doctor is telling me that there’s nothing I could do. Well, then there must not be anything that can be done here.” But the truth is there can be. And so what I want to do is the way that I think about this, and I want to get your feedback on this methodology of thinking about it. But I really think of Hashimoto’s disease as both an autoimmune component, as well as a thyroid disease and what really… It depends on the person and where they’re at, but eventually over time if the autoimmune aspect is not treated, it will result in complete destruction of the thyroid gland over some period of time, usually decades, something like that.

Dr. Childs:

So depending on where you’re at in this disease progress, this disease state, whether your early stage or late stage kind of changes how you view it, but that doesn’t really change the fact that there’s both the immune aspect and the thyroid aspect that need to be treated simultaneously is how I look at it. Is that sort of how you’re thinking about treating Hashimoto’s and reversing Hashimoto’s?

Dr. Gupta:

Absolutely. As you said that, the initial process is the inflammation and inflammation ultimately leads to the thyroid of destruction, so then we obviously have this hormonal dysfunction going along with the inflammation, which is causing it. So I feel, as you correctly said, that you have to address both of those things. So when the conventional, maybe we are pumping people with just more thyroid hormone, it is taking care of, let’s say one aspect of things, but totally ignoring the other aspect, which is the inflammation piece of it. So unless both of those things are addressed, people with Hashimoto’s do not feel better. Because that unchecked inflammation first is destroying the thyroid gland, but ultimately is going to destroy the other parts of the body, including your mitochondria and other things. So that’s the reason once you have Hashimoto’s, then over the course of decade or two decades, you actually start having more and more autoimmune conditions, which are happening in your body. So we have to prevent more autoimmune conditions. We have to safeguard the body as we start making it feel better by actually working on the thyroid too.

Dr. Childs:

Okay. No, I appreciate that explanation and I totally agree with that. I want to talk about definition here just for a second. So would you say that Hashimoto’s in general is a reversible condition or that it can be, quote, cured? How do you frame that when you’re talking to patients? How do you think about that?

Dr. Gupta:

Right. So again, all these medical terminology that we have are totally deceiving in terms of our understanding, because what we feel is that once a person gets an autoimmune condition, it’s uncurable, or it is not reversible. So the way I look at it is that, give an example is that let’s say a person gets pneumonia. Pneumonia is a bacterial infection of your lung. So you get exposed to bacteria, that particular bacteria you get pneumonia. You get antibiotics, you get treated, so technically you’re cured, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot get pneumonia again if you do get exposed to the bacteria again in the future. So that means that, okay, we got cured of pneumonia, but can we get it again? Yes. So then how is it cured?

Dr. Gupta:

So same with Hashimoto’s. There are triggers that causes Hashimoto’s in people’s body. Those can be toxins, infections, Epstein-Barr virus, or other things. And when people get exposed to it, when we work on those root cause of the problem, people with Hashimoto’s gets better. The symptoms get better, their thyroid numbers get back to normal, their antibody levels gets better. So those people certainly are basically from my side is reversed. Now in the future, if they get exposed to any of those triggers again, let’s say another infection, let’s say another bacteria, yes, they can get like a bout of Hashimoto’s again if they’re not careful with that, but then again if they focus on that particular trigger and they treat it, then again, they reverse of it. So for me, it’s a reversible condition because now I know what is causing it and I can work towards it and I can actually improve the thyroid numbers. So for me, that’s a reversible condition.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. And I definitely agree with that. I think that there are metrics to use that you can follow the patient to determine how well they’re responding to the therapies that you’re using. Now, I think the real thing that we need to talk about is how does somebody, how does a patient actually go about reversing it? Because we already talked about the conventional side of things. The conventional doctor, if anything, if they’re going to do anything, it’s going to be thyroid medication, probably in the form of level of thyroxin. And as we discussed, you have that autoimmune component, which includes the inflammatory pathways and so on and then we have the thyroid component, which your doctor says, “Okay, well, let’s give you some level of thyroxin. We’ll control the thyroid aspect somewhat.” Because they don’t even always control that very well, but there are plenty of other things over here for the autoimmune component with the inflammatory cascades and all the other aspects that we’re going to be talking about.

Dr. Childs:

So let’s talk about that. So when you partition it in your brain, as a patient, you’re thinking about this, there’s two areas that need to be focused on. And the good news is there are a lot of things that the patient can do on the inflammatory side. So you mentioned before you were talking about root causes and these are the things that trigger Hashimoto’s. So maybe, could you go into a little more detail about those triggers? What are the most common types of triggers that patients might interact with or might trigger their Hashimoto’s? And maybe if these are preventable, we can talk about that as well, but talk about the triggers for just a second.

Dr. Gupta:

Absolutely. So I actually categorize these triggers into five big categories. So the very first food sensitivities. Food is medicine, but food can also harm a lot of people’s body.

Dr. Childs:

For sure.

Dr. Gupta:

But these are different than food allergies where people will eat a peanut and blow like a balloon and land up in the hospital. That’s not the case. These food sensitivities are foods like gluten, dairy, soy, corn, processed food that we have in our environment, which has been processed so much that we don’t have in original form. So most people react to those foods and create food sensitivities. These food sensitivities lead to leaky gut and obviously lead to trigger of Hashimoto’s. That’s a very big category that we are seeing.

Dr. Gupta:

The second category that we are seeing is nutritional deficiencies. Our food actually is deficient in nutrients. There was a research study done from 1990s to the present day that when they check for nutritional quality of the food which has been grown and they were shocked to see that the nutritional component of our current food is actually much lower than what it used to be. So even though we are eating the right foods, but our body is not getting the right nutrients and that again, thyroid or our body needs, right, vitamins, minerals, and all those things to function. And that’s the reason when we are low on those that again leads to a trigger of Hashimoto’s. So that’s the second big category.

Dr. Gupta:

The third category is stress. Now whether that is emotional stress, physical stress, psychological stress, we all get exposed to stress all the time. We are living in a corporate world currently and corporate world is that stress is good for you because the stress improves your performance, but stress is not good for your body in the long term basis. It basically destroys your body from inside and again, leads to trigger of Hashimoto’s. The fourth category is toxins. We have so many toxins each and every day, we are getting more and more chemicals pumped into our environment, which all start harming our body over the course of time, whether that is heavy metals, mold toxins, very big issue. We are seeing so many of our clients with Hashimoto’s and mold toxins, and they have no idea about that, that they’re causing the problems, environmental toxins. So that’s a very fourth big category about it.

Dr. Gupta:

The fifth category’s infections. There’s so many infections that we go through, whether that is viral infections, like Epstein-Barr virus, which again, triggers Hashimoto’s, whether those are parasites in your gut, which can trigger Hashimoto’s. Then the chronic infection like Lyme disease or the coinfections. Those can again, trigger Hashimoto’s. So that’s, again, the fifth category. So as you’ll see, these are the big five categories which have identified that are the major trigger for Hashimoto’s for people that we see on a regular basis.

Dr. Childs:

Now, when you are looking at this… So essentially what you’re saying is, if I’m understanding you correctly and you correct me if I’m wrong here, that these triggers are the things that really sort of insights the Hashimoto’s or the initial precipitating event, which causes the downstream to triggers, which results in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in a patient. So the idea is if you can address these things, whatever one is specific to you, then you might be able to halt that pathway or the progression of the disease. Is that generally in a nutshell kind of what we’re advocating here?

Dr. Gupta:

Absolutely. Yes.

Dr. Childs:

Okay. And then I guess my next question would be, and I totally agree with this, by the way. I’m just sort of just clarifying. When it comes to these triggers, which ones do you think are the most common and if possible, do you think some people have more than one of these things at once? Or do you think it’s just like a… Stress might be the main one, or do you think food sensitivities may also compete with toxins or things like that? How do you view that when you’re looking at patients?

Dr. Gupta:

Well, I mean, initially I thought actually the food sensitivities would be the number one trigger, but now I actually I’m realizing toxins are the number one triggers. 70 plus percent of my clients, it’s toxins which are causing the issues, whether that is heavy metals or mold or environmental. So time and again that’s the first test that I go over ordering with a lot of my clients of checking their toxins to make sure that is not the issue. And the second after that comes is the stress, especially in the recent, like the past couple of years with the pandemic going on, more and more people are stressed out about a whole bunch of things, so that definitely doesn’t help their adrenals and definitely caused an uptick of the Hashimoto’s diseases. But I will say time and again, number one reason is toxins. I see it so many times that majority of my clients will have toxin as a trigger.

Dr. Childs:

Okay. And how are you testing for these toxins? What tests are you using?

Dr. Gupta:

Yeah, so, I mean, unfortunately there is not one test to check for all the toxins, so we have to do multiple tests. So one test is to check for heavy metals like lead and mercury. So generally I use a urine for that, but sometimes I also use hair analysis as a way to check for heavy metals. The second is a mold toxin. Again, that’s a urine test to check for more toxins in the urine. And the third is the environmental toxins, which is a big panel, which checks for a whole bunch of toxins, which are in our environment, which we know can, again, trigger a lot of issues, which again is a urine test, which can do it. Now, there are not many companies doing it. Only a handful of companies are doing these tests. So that’s the reason we have access to those and then people can get it done. The good part is that these are at home kits, so people can actually do it right in their home and ship the kit back to the company. So they don’t even have to go to a lab to do it.

Dr. Childs:

Okay. And when you see somebody has exposure to these toxins, to heavy metals, et cetera, what sort of things are you recommending patients do this so they can eliminate these things? Do we have certain therapies, sauna therapy or chelation therapy, are you going down that path, are you leaning more towards just avoiding the exposure of them and just identifying that they’re present and then eliminating them? What type of treatments and therapies do you see the most success with?

Dr. Gupta:

Right. So first of all knowing what kind of toxins people have, and then designing of what is the best course of action. But doesn’t matter what toxins they have, the first thing which I do is that I optimize five different detox channels that we all have in our body. So the five detox channels, the first detox channels is, as you said, is the sweating, that’s where the saunas are very helpful. Infrared saunas do a wonderful job in kind of eliminating the toxins in a more natural fashion. So that’s the one thing that I recommend my patients to do. The second way we detoxify is through our gut. So I optimize everybody for having at least one bowel movement every day so that we can eliminate those toxins through our gut optimizing the gut channel. The thing is the kidneys. So making sure people are drinking water so that you can eliminate those toxins from the kidneys also.

Dr. Gupta:

The fourth that we have is through our lymphatic channels, which is again, the most underappreciated detox channels that we have, but dry brushing is a good way of helping people to kind of detoxify those lymphatic channels. So that’s something that we do. Sometimes people have access to special kind of massages, then we can always do that, but dry brushing is a good way of doing it. And the last one is the liver. So liver is again a master detoxifier, so again, we have to optimize liver for doing that. We can start with some detox teas with them, green tea is good way to detoxify. There’s certain supplements like glutathione, which is also support the liver. Curcumin is another one, which is good for that. So some of the supplements we start them for doing that. So these are the five basic things that each and every person, doesn’t matter, which toxins they have, I always recommend doing them so that they can get started on it.

Dr. Gupta:

But then after that, depending on which, let’s say they have heavy metals, then we start doing specific therapies to remove the heavy metals which is like chelation or other things for that. Mold is actually much more difficult to treat, because mold only just doing the detox doesn’t work for them. Mold actually hides in people’s body, so we have to work on their biofilms. Mold actually causes a third kind of situation just called CIRS, chronic inflammatory response syndrome. So we have to work on the CIRS to actually bring it down. So we need to work on that also, the biofilm, as well as we have to actually work on killing the mold from the system. So that is a little bit more complicated and takes a longer time.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. I think actually you’ve brought up a really good point here and that is the detoxification sort of pathway and I actually really appreciate what you’ve talked about here, these five ways that you can eliminate things. I think, as you mentioned it’s a huge problem for lots of patients with Hashimoto’s and really, really, really underappreciated in terms of its benefit and effectiveness. I actually recently purchased a far infrared sauna. Is that the sauna therapy that you’re generally recommending is a far infrared or steam?

Dr. Gupta:

Far. Yep. No, no, far infrared.

Dr. Childs:

Far infrared.

Dr. Gupta:

If they can afford it and they can get access to far infrared that is much, much better than the regular saunas.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. That’s my belief as well. I think the far infrared has deeper penetration and helps with detoxification and it’s been amazing. And so I think that a lot of people underestimate how many things are coming into contact where they just need to be eliminated on a daily basis, regular things, lotions, soaps, detergents, all the things that you put in your body. I think people have a tendency to think, “Well, I didn’t actually ingest it, therefore it didn’t go inside my mouth, therefore it’s not in my body.” But we have transdermal absorption of things. Things go through… Lotions, creams, makeup, even all these things have certain chemicals in your, and people kind of… This detoxification pathway sort of has this woo, woo sense to it where it’s like, “Oh, well this isn’t a real thing.” Or in other words, your body can take care of it.

Dr. Childs:

And I think for a lot of people, that’s true, but because of the variance in genetics, there are some people who are just naturally going to be slightly less… They’re not going to be as good at eliminating these things as other people and these are the people that are going to accumulate these things over a period of time, which is probably why after 20, 30 years of just small amounts of accumulation, it just builds up to a point that then it becomes a problem. And so the detoxification pathways that you mentioned, I think are really underappreciated. And I really like that you talked about the lymphatic channels as well because being an osteopathic physician and doing a lot of osteopathic therapy, manual therapy, I can appreciate the lymphatic channels as well. And those are really, really underappreciated by most people. Because doctors will talk about arteries and veins, but the lymphatic channels are there, this is anatomy 101 and they don’t…

Dr. Childs:

I don’t know if you guys talked about it in family medicine, like in residency or not, but I don’t think it’s really talked about, unless you have cancer or radical mastectomy that resulted in lymphatics being taken out and you have lymphedema or something like that. I don’t think it’s really talked about in conventional medicine, unless you can think of a situation in which it is.

Dr. Gupta:

No, no, no. It is not ever talked about it. We always learn about it in med school, okay, this channel exists, but then certainly it just goes away because in pathology we know about it and okay, well it’s just a useless channel. Let’s just forget about it. Unless, as you said, if there is a big lymphedema issue that happens with that or maybe in some cancer patients where the lymphatic channels are important, but again there is nothing done to improve them basically they just looked at them and then kind of again… Like for lymphedema, definitely there are good therapies that are available, but otherwise we just don’t pay attention to it.

Dr. Childs:

I think the idea is it exists, but it’s like, okay, the body must be taking care of it just like it would in the sense of detoxification, like the liver exists and the mindset, I think of the conventional side as well, it’s doing its job. It’s getting rid of everything that’s there. But as you mentioned, there are a lot of reasons that the liver may not be functioning optimally and a lot of that… I mean, we just know statistically speaking, that there’s a ton of insulin resistance and insulin resistance hits the liver, right? So you can see that in elevations of AST and ALT and other liver enzymes, which obviously if there’s some problem with the liver cells themselves, they’re not going to be functioning at 100%. Maybe it’s 95% or 92% or 90%, but that’s still a slight deficit from where it needs to be and therefore a slight deficit ability to get rid of some of these things. At least that’s how I wrap my head around this thing.

Dr. Childs:

So I actually really appreciate you bringing all these topics up because these are huge, I think for patients and really underappreciated. I really think they are and especially on the conventional side, but even probably a little bit on the functional medicine side, because you have variability in terms of training and how people are practicing and whatnot. So I do like that. I do want to touch base on the food aspect a little bit, because you talked about some of these food sensitivities, I want to dive a little deeper into the food sensitivities because again, I think this is another really important thing. Now when I talk to patients, almost everybody is always telling me they’re eating really healthy, right? Like everyone is saying, I’m eating healthy. It must not be my diet. It’s got to be something else. So maybe you could talk a little bit from the perspective of Hashimoto’s, what are the primary drivers, the main things that you see in terms of food sensitivities that patients really need to avoid, or at least the most of them should be avoiding or at least think about avoiding?

Dr. Gupta:

Yeah, no again, very important part because as you said, each and every patient of mine, when they come to see me, “Oh, food is not my problem. I eat just the cleanest diet.” And I said, “Well, yes, I understand you’re eating clean, but you’re not eating it appropriately for your Hashimoto’s. But again, on nutritional information that has been given by mainstream media or other channels is so lacking. Now we are always talking about calories. We are talking about, “Okay, well, how much calorie goes in?” We are talking about macros in terms of those things. Nobody’s talking about the quality of food, what food nourishes your body, that’s a more important thing. And the second thing is that we are not talking about food, which is hurting your body. So we definitely need to remove the food which is hurting your body, which most people don’t do that. People are more focused on ingesting food, which is healthy for their body, but don’t pay attention to remove that from their body.

Dr. Gupta:

So in that aspect, I researched and I looked at certain foods especially like gluten, dairy, soy, corn, processed meat, processed food, sugary foods, those are all definitely top on the list, which definitely cause big triggers for Hashimoto’s and definitely I recommend all of my clients to remove them from their diet completely. A lot of people when they tell them, “Okay, remove them.” They somehow hear it, reduce them.

Dr. Childs:

Sure.

Dr. Gupta:

“Oh, I’m not eating gluten.” I said, “Okay, well, okay you’re not eating gluten, but I see your food list, your dietary chart and you did mention that you’re eating bread or some other form.” “Yeah. I’m just eating it one piece a day. That’s it.” Okay, well, that is still gluten. People love cheeses so it’s very difficult for them to give up cheese. I said, “Okay, I’m daily free, but you eat cheese that is not daily free.” So it’s very important for those Hashimoto’s patients to eliminate those foods completely from their… Not to reduce it.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. I definitely see that as well and it just seems to be a problem. I guess I’m glad I’m not the only one that has experienced it, but food is so important as you mentioned, but I do think there’s two aspects, the two sides of this, it’s the food that you put in your body and the food that you avoid. So I do want to talk about that because I think this will tie in a little bit to fasting because we have the healthy, and the quality of food that you put into your body and then… You’re talking about the removal of food, but I’m about talking about the absence of food, periods of time in which you go without eating in the form of fasting. But before we talk about that as a potential treatment therapy type of thing, I want to talk about food.

Dr. Childs:

So you mentioned previously the main thing you’re worried about with these foods, is it triggering of inflammation in the body? Is it triggering of leaky gut? Is it triggering of molecular mimicry and exacerbating pathways that already exist? What do you think is the main issue with eating these foods? How does it damage the body for these people who are consuming these foods they shouldn’t be?

Dr. Gupta:

Right. So the main reason is actually causing the leaky gut. These foods because they have been genetically modified so much that our body cannot recognize them anymore, so once they enter the body, then we start producing these antibodies, which actually destroy our own gut and lead to the leaky cut. So that’s the main problem that we are seeing. And the molecule mimicry sometimes happens with certain foods, not with everything. Sometimes gluten can cause it, which is it can molecularly mimic certain cells in our body and can enter it and then when our body tries to fight against it actually destroy the thyroid gland. So certainly we see that, but the major reason which I feel, or which is ongoing, is a leaky gut, which is caused by these foods, which ultimately end up causing the Hashimoto’s disease.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. And as you have the leaky gut, you have endotoxins that are entering, you have the potential for particles that may result in molecular mimicry and so on. And just so anybody who isn’t familiar perhaps with the idea of molecular mimicry or… I’m sure you know what leaky gut is, but leaky gut is the separation of the tight junctions inside of the gut, which are supposed to protect your body, the inside of your body even though you think about… The gut is really a tube, right? It actually isn’t the inside, even though it kind of is the inside of your body, but it protects the actual inside of your body from things that you don’t want to get in. So when you have leaky gut, which is really just damage down there, you have a separation of these junction, which allows things to get in that shouldn’t be there. And this concept of molecular mimicry, I think was more popular, maybe about 20, 30 years ago, but it was the idea of what triggered Hashimoto’s.

Dr. Childs:

And the idea was, well, if you have damage to the gut, you let some particles of food come into your body or bacteria, some particle or something that enters inside of the gut that looks similar to portions of your body, that your body then creates antibodies to and then there’s a cross reactivity between. So as your body’s attacking whatever entered into it, it cross reacts with, let’s say, if it’s your joints, maybe it’s rheumatoid arthritis. If it’s your thyroid, maybe it’s Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or if it’s your nerve cells, maybe it’s MS or whatever. But that’s this idea of molecular mimicry, so obviously that’s something that we definitely want to be cognizant of as a patient and something that’s very important.

Dr. Childs:

Now, another topic I want to talk about while we’re on the topic of the gut, what do you think about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and small intestinal fungal overgrowth syndromes? Are these things that you see commonly among patients with Hashimoto’s or do they accompany leaky gut or do you say let’s focus more on just fixing the gut themselves, fixing the input, which is the food, heal the gut lining, and then things kind of take care of itself down the line? How are you thinking about that?

Dr. Gupta:

No, definitely. There is a big issue with the SIBO which is the overgrowth of bacteria, as well as the fungal overgrowth. Time and again we see that very common, especially the candida is a big problem with trigger for Hashimoto’s. Again, candida is undetected for a long time in the gut. Again, molecule mimicry is a big issue with candida, immune dysfunction is another big issue with candida and hiding and producing antitoxins in our body and gut. And that, again, leads to the destruction of our leaky gut, as well as the thyroid gland itself is a big issue with candida. So again, underappreciated thing, candida, a lot of convention doctors definitely will poop it out that it’s not a real thing. So certainly that need to be addressed. And even functional medicine doctors kind of underappreciate sometimes, okay, well… Because it’s difficult to find candid.

Dr. Gupta:

Because if we check the gut, sometimes the candida doesn’t grow, but if we are to look for all different ways, so I recommend checking candida not only in the gut, but also through organic acid, as well as through blood work, to check for the antibodies of candida too, and then make a determination whether that person has it or not. Because unless candid is addressed, the immune function cannot be improved because the candida will continue to hijack the immune dysfunction and go again to the inflammation side of it. So that’s something need to be addressed. Same with the SIBO that unless we address the bacteria and get them better, again, people do not feel better. Because if the gut is not functioning, doesn’t matter how many supplements I’m going to give them, they’re not able to absorb it properly and that again, that doesn’t help me out inside the body. So we need to address those things along with addressing obviously the inflammation and the thyroid itself.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah, definitely. And I think it makes a lot of sense physiologically when we talk about gut dysfunction in the setting of anybody who has a thyroid disease, a thyroid condition, because the thyroid itself helps with the prokinetics of the bowel, the bowels itself, right? So if you have low thyroid function, low T3, low T4, primarily T3, but we’ll say in general, as you damage the thyroid and those levels reduce, you’re going to have a slowing down of the intestinal tract and what does that mean? Constipation, number one, which is a huge symptom, which as you mentioned, it means you can’t eliminate the things you need to eliminate. Number two, you’re going to set the stage for the overgrowth of things that shouldn’t be growing there. So you have overgrowth of fungal, if it’s small intestinal fungal overgrowth, or the overgrowth of bacteria in the form of small intestinal bacteria overgrowth.

Dr. Childs:

So really important to this equation is not only treating the gut, eliminating the triggers, which go into the gut, which allow candida to grow and they feed off certain things, the prebiotics and so on, you have to treat the thyroid, which is controlling the gut function. You have to control the input, which is coming into it. You have to reduce the inflammation. You have to heal the gut lining. I just want to talk about this, kind of putting it all together, because from the perspective of the patient, it can be a little bit complicated, right? This is why it’s more than just touching on the gut, it’s a lot of things that have to work together in order to get that sort of ironed out, which kind of brings me to the next topic. So we talked about the immune aspect. Let’s talk about the thyroid function itself. So when we’re talking about reversing Hashimoto’s, how are you thinking about targeting specifically thyroid function itself? Because we know that patients with Hashimoto’s, most of them end up with hypothyroidism, meaning they have low thyroid function.

Dr. Childs:

Now, yes, some people do have hyperthyroidism and people will obviously fluctuate over time, but in the setting, I guess we can talk about all kind of all that, but how do you think about thyroid function? How are you addressing thyroid function specifically so people can get an alleviation of those symptoms, hair loss, weight gain, constipation, et cetera, how are you thinking about the thyroid aspect?

Dr. Gupta:

Yeah. So I, again, like to address things in a more comprehensive fashion by incorporating and using each and everything that we have. So the diet, again, plays an important role. We know that certain foods can help you support your thyroid gland, especially a lot of vegetables, which again, lot of conventional doctors say, “Oh, don’t eat this vegetable or that vegetable because they’re, goitrogens, they’re going to hurt your thyroid and things.” New research, again, suggests that, “Okay, well those actually foods, vegetables are much more helpful for your thyroid gland.” So a lot of vegetables, especially green leaf ones to get all the antioxidants is very important. Good quality protein is very important to support a thyroid gland to help them function in a normal fashion and the good quality fats. Again, one of those things which are lacking in a lot of our patients, like in their diet is good quality fats, especially like in good quality fish, omega-3 fatty acids through chia seeds or flax seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, all those good fats that we need in our body is lacking because that, again, supports the diet function.

Dr. Gupta:

So that’s the diet aspect that definitely needs to be optimized for supporting the thyroid gland. Then becomes the supplements that can be helpful for the thyroid. So we have certain supplements. Again, research has shown that they’re wonderful for supporting the thyroid functioning, like zinc, like selenium, like magnesium, the B vitamins that we have. Then we have those adaptogens, like ashwagandha, which is again, all together can support your thyroid gland. So that’s the second thing that we use to help the thyroid gland. Now, in case the thyroid needs some help or support in that then we can always use natural forms of thyroid hormones to supplement them or help them out to function the thyroid in an optimal fashion. So that’s another thing that we use a lot of times.

Dr. Childs:

No, that’s really good. I took a couple notes here that I want to touch base on, because I see a lot of questions about particular things and I want to get your input on them. So one of them is ashwagandha. So I’m in agreement with you that I think ashwagandha is very beneficial for most thyroid patients, but especially in the setting of Hashimoto’s, there’s some group of people who, I’m not for sure why exactly. I mean, I guess I could come up with the reason as to why, but they believe that ashwagandha is harmful and should be avoided in those people with Hashimoto’s with under the idea that, well, it falls into the family of nightshades and therefore if you’re following a strict AIP diet, it should be avoided.

Dr. Childs:

That’s not really what I see. I see ashwagandha being far in a way beneficial for probably 99% of patients with Hashimoto, but I wanted to get your input on that. So what do you think about ashwagandha in the setting of treating Hashimoto’s specifically, and then how do you put those two things together where it is potentially in the nightshade family, is that something you see as a problem or not? What’s your experience with that?

Dr. Gupta:

Well, as you said, like 70 to 80 or percent of my clients will tolerate ashwagandha really well, but there are like 20, 30% who will not tolerate it. Because as soon as they take ashwagandha they’ll actually feel much more hyper reactive, like actually affecting their thyroid and instead of hypo, they’re causing them to in hyper phase. So they get very anxious with it. Because ashwagandha is very calming, so they’re actually going opposite. So that tells me that ashwagandha is basically triggering their Hashimoto’s and causing excessive thyroid hormone release, which we are seeing in the initial phases of Hashimoto’s. And those are the patients that, okay, let’s not use ashwagandha in your case because your body is not reacting to it.

Dr. Gupta:

Unfortunately we don’t have a way to know which person is going to react to it or not. There are no labs which can certainly say, “Okay, yes. Avoid it or no, don’t use it also.” So it is basically I just have to use it and I always tell my patients, if you feel worse on it, then please let me know.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. Exact same way. I just wanted to bring that up because there seems to be some rules of thumb that exist out there among Hashimoto’s patients and one of those for whatever reason tends to be that ashwagandha should be avoided in patients with Hashimoto’s and my experience that tends to not be true. It sounds like you’re in agreement with that. Now, do you see a problem with nightshades in general? I know we’re hopping back to the food aspect here for a second, but do you think that nightshades ought to be avoided by patients with Hashimoto’s? Is that a common trigger that you see with food sensitivities?

Dr. Gupta:

Sometimes, yes especially if the Hashimoto’s is accompanying with a mass cell disorder or histamine intolerances, then I definitely tell them to use, stay away from the nightshade, but a lot of people who do not have those issues sometimes they can tolerate nightshades. So we generally start off with having them avoid the nightshades, but then we go after four to six weeks, we give them a trial of, “Okay, why don’t you introduce nightshade and see how you do?” And if they’re doing fine, then we’ll continue with that. But if people have more sensitivity issues like there are multiple chemical sensitivity problems, or histamine intolerances, then certainly we have them avoid nightshades.

Dr. Childs:

Now, when you’re doing that, and you’re talking about diets here for a second, another really popular sort of diet is the autoimmune protocol or AIP diet. Are you a proponent of using this type of diet in patients with Hashimoto’s?

Dr. Gupta:

So AIP has some good components to it. Again what I do is that I basically, every client’s for me is a personalized client. So I nitpick for that particular client. So AIP definitely has good things. We promote most a lot of vegetables avoiding, bad things, but AIP also sometimes avoid a little bit more things that becomes very constrictive for most of my clients. They avoid completely lentils, legumes, all kind of grains and all the nightshades, everything. So then most of my clients have just left with nothing to eat and we see some issues with that. So for me, especially a lot of my clients are vegan or vegetarian. So for them, if we avoid legumes and lentils completely, then the source of protein is literally gone. So those patients I say that, “Okay, legumes and lentils are okay.” I’m always cognizant about the lectins, so then we work on them to reduce the lectins level by soaking them, by pressure cooking them, so all those things can reduce the lectins levels.

Dr. Gupta:

And if they’re still reacting to it, then obviously we stay away from it, but most of them can tolerate it. So I definitely appreciate a lot of things about the AIP diet, but I not follow it completely from everything.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. And that tends to be my experience as well. I think that AIP has a lot of potential value if you’re a patient and you don’t have the guidance of somebody that has the knowledge like you have, because you’re basically saying, “Okay, well, I’m not really sure. Maybe I can’t test them for heavy metals. Maybe I don’t know about the detoxification pathway. Maybe I don’t know about mitochondrial function, but I can…” Because I eat something that I can control and so I think that leads a lot of patients down that path. I do see problems with it, especially with the reintroduction of foods and I think part of the issue with only treating the diet is that you’re missing nutrient replacement of deficiencies that exist, you’re missing treating the thyroid function itself as well and these things all kind of have to be done simultaneously, or at least in sequence with one another, if you want to see lasting results.

Dr. Childs:

So for that reason, I’m kind of the same as you. I don’t generally recommend the AIP diet, although I have recommended in the past. I tend to use it for people who have multiple autoimmune conditions. So if someone’s got vitiligo and Hashimoto’s and ITP or something like that, then maybe I’ll think about using something that’s a little more extreme because in that case, I’m thinking, okay, this person has just broad reactivity to a lot of different types of foods and maybe this is a good way to reset that gut, start from a fresh slate, so to speak, and then we can kind of build on top of there and see what works and what doesn’t. So that’s kind of how I’m thinking about that.

Dr. Childs:

One more question about, while we’re on the topic of… You talked about food, you talked about proteins. So when you mention eating the good proteins, are you primarily interested in getting tyrosine in there or is that the amino acid you’re looking for or are you just looking for a broad array of amino acids? What’s sort of the logic there in regards to making sure you have good amino acid profile and good protein source?

Dr. Gupta:

Right. Definitely we want to have all the amino acids that are needed by our body, so that’s what drives priority. And then obviously getting as much tyrosine as possible, because again, that can definitely improve the thyroid function. So in that aspect, like getting organic chicken, or having fishes, which are mercury free, like wild caught are wonderful ways of doing it. And for vegan and vegetarian, obviously then we are left with only unfortunately legumes or lentils or nuts and seeds which can be chia seeds or flax seeds which can be done. So that’s where definitely good quality protein, clean protein is very important.

Dr. Childs:

Okay. And I also agree, I also think there’s a lot… We have these shifts in culture where it’s like, okay, certain groupings or macromolecules are demonized. Fat was, maybe 30, 40 years ago fat was like the bad thing and then carbs are the bad thing and I’m just wondering if it’ll eventually switch. At one point, protein was the bad thing because it simulated and it mess with your aging pathway. So we kind of shift through all these things simultaneously and as you mentioned, it really is a personalized approach, which I think is the most important thing, because some people do better on more fat, some people do better on more carbs, some people do better on more protein and figuring out where you kind of fit into that, I think is the most important thing is, but it’s on an individual basis. I don’t think you can come out and say, broadly speaking, this is the diet that patients with Hashimoto’s need to consume.

Dr. Childs:

Like a hundred percent of patients with Hashimoto’s should be consuming 30% fat, 40% carbs, 30% protein, something like that. I’m just obviously making that up, but I think it really needs to be individualized, which is really where you get the benefit of having someone who understands the complexities of all these things put together. So I appreciate the expanding on that topic. Now, one thing I wanted to mention as we talk about supplements that this is always somewhat of a controversial topic and that is of iodine. So where do you sit on the use of iodine in the setting of Hashimoto’s? Are you generally for or against, or is an individual sort of basis? Where do you sit on that?

Dr. Gupta:

So again, iodine, as you said, it’s such a controversial thing and too little of iodine definitely causes Hashimoto’s too much of its… causing Hashimoto’s. The problem that I encounter most of the time is that we do not have a perfect test to check for iodine in persons like you know. Blood test is not accurate, even 24 hour urine iodine, first of all, it’s such a cumbersome test to do. And again, it can give us some indication, but again, it’s not a perfect test. So what I’ve come to conclusion is that I generally try to give iodine, not as a supplement form, but as a food form. So I encourage all of my folks, if they can tolerate the food, which are high in iodine and a lot of seafood, like the sea vegetables and things they can use it, then that’s what I recommend doing them, so I can give them enough iodine and I’m not overdoing it.

Dr. Gupta:

Because a lot of those supplements will have a lot of iodine, which can be huge quantities and plus sometimes they might be getting it from the food aspect too. So I’ve seen the other ways of things, so I’m on the more conservative side. So I generally try to get it as much from the food rather than the supplements.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. And I think that’s a really good approach, to be honest. I have no issues with that approach. My general approach has been, I like to have a quantification of how much you’re getting and sometimes some of the seafood have variability in terms of how much is per quantity program or whatever. And then I also, sometimes there’s a, let’s say, a disagreement in terms of how much, or maybe a misunderstanding of how much people are actually eating because we don’t think about generally our foods in terms of grams. And it’s like, “Okay, did I eat two or three grams of seaweed? And if one gram has 50 micrograms and I consume four grams…” It kind of gets confusing, so I do like the idea of supplementation just so that you can get an exact amount by not getting too much or too little, but I absolutely appreciate the idea of getting it naturally from your food, if you can. That makes a lot of sense. That’s kind of how it’s been forever and I think that’s a great approach.

Dr. Childs:

But it sounds like, and I kind of fit in this camp too, that too little, bad, too much, bad. Somewhere in the middle needs to be kind of where we’re at, some sort of goalie lock zone and figuring that out can be difficult. And I just did a long blog post and video on the topic of iodine testing. There really isn’t a good test, so if you’re listening to this, like Dr. Gupta said there really isn’t a good one. There are several different ways to check for it, but all of them have their inconsistencies and inaccuracies and they don’t always give you the information you think you’re getting. And one of the most frustrating things that I see on my end is people will say, “Oh, I ordered this test and I have too much of this thing.” And I’m like, “Well, yeah, but you got to make sure the test is actually accurate.”

Dr. Childs:

There are a whole different ways to test for nutrients and other things in the body, mold even, but they don’t always give you the information you think you’re getting from them. And so the interpretation of those results it’s very important. Did you have anything to add on that before we go to the next topic or is that pretty much good?

Dr. Gupta:

I think that’s actually accurate. People get really get worried once they see the result of my iodine is so high, okay, that’s the reason I got Hashimoto’s. This particular doctor, this particular person kind of gave me Hashimoto’s. I said, “No, no, no, you already had Hashimoto’s. Yes. This test is not the perfect, but you have to interpret the test in the right manner.” So that’s where it is very important because right now we are in a age that patients can order the testing on their own and they get spit out a lot of information, which are just kind of from a computer spitting the information. A lot of people start using those and implementing those. But what they don’t realize that this can be actually harmful if you use those and… Because these supplements are not just candies that people can eat and they have no effects on their body.

Dr. Gupta:

So I’ve seen people actually getting worse by trying these protocols and doing things on their own when they don’t know what they’re doing. So very important to work with a professional, at least get the information that you should be getting before you do things on your own.

Dr. Childs:

100% agree. And I have absolutely seen people that cause more harm than good in trying things. Absolutely. And it sounds like you have as well. Let’s move on to the topic of thyroid medication. I think we talked a lot of good things about root causes, about managing those root causes, the various types. And by the way, for anyone listening here, I know we’ve been going for like about 50 minutes, but we haven’t even touched on all of… We haven’t even gone deep into… We only went deep into like one or two of them even. So there are plenty of other ones and you go much deeper in your book, right? We’ll talk about that a little bit later, but… So if you wanted more in-depth explanation of these root causes, sort of how they branch off and the treatments that are necessary, definitely check out Dr. Gupta’s book. We’ll have a reference to that and a link to that below at the end of this thing.

Dr. Childs:

But I want to talk about thyroid medication here for a second. So you kind of touched on that when we talked about the thyroid component, where does thyroid medication fit into this whole thing of treating Hashimoto’s to you? Do you consider it a treatment to Hashimoto’s? Because I have seen some people with antibody reduction as a result of using it. I’ve also seen people who try to avoid natural desiccated thyroid with the idea that perhaps its simulates the immune system, it simulates the antibody production, or are you just using it as a way to, let’s say, manage symptoms to boost up thyroid function until you can sort of naturally improve thyroid function through the therapies we talked about, where do you kind of sit on that?

Dr. Gupta:

So I think, like I did remind again on a person to person basis depending on where they are in the disease process. If they’re very early in the disease process, the medicines are very low dosage that is needed. I generally don’t start them on medicines, because those people actually we have an opportunity to safeguard their thyroid and we can actually reset their thyroid back to normal so that it can function on their own. Now, some people come to see me, “Okay, I have this Hashimoto’s for 10 years or 20 years.” Most of the time the thyroid is almost destroyed, so they will need some kind of medicine on board to support the thyroid hormone that is needed for their body for various reasons about it. Then obviously I go with a natural approach, natural test thyroid which has both T3 and a T4, and which is good for them.

Dr. Gupta:

What I’ve seen is that if, the immune function thing that we get worried about, okay, well the natural desiccated thyroid sometimes can trigger an immune response. We don’t see it very often. We see it only in situations again, when the body not have been prepared for it. Bodies who are very inflamed already, already have leaky gut, already are toxic, those are the people who will get triggered by doing those desiccated thyroid, but if you’ve addressed the other issues and then we do the desiccated thyroid along with it, those people never react to them and actually do good with that.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. And I think that’s definitely what I’ve seen as well. In the beginning I sort of just put, if anyone had low thyroid function when I first started practicing, I’m not practicing anymore, but when I initially started, I would just throw everyone on NDT and I would see occasionally very rarely, starting someone on NDT would spike antibodies. And so I have seen it and usually in those situations back then when I didn’t know that much, I’d be like, “”Okay, well let’s take it with some enzymes. Let’s help with the digestion.” I thought it was a digestion issue. And I’m like, “Okay, well let’s try it with some enzymes, help things break down and see if that works.” But it definitely has the potential to do that, but I think it’s pretty exceedingly rare and I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, I think as a result of other issues that are untreated.

Dr. Childs:

I think it’s, the gut hasn’t been addressed appropriately or digestive issues or inflammation that exists there already. And even if it does, there are other still medications that you can use. So I think if I could distill essentially what you said, you said in the beginning, low doses, if anything are necessary, but the whole point is, should be to try and fix the immune aspect to reduce the damage on the thyroid so that it can function by itself, that’s generally the idea if I’m following that correctly.

Dr. Gupta:

That’s correct. As I said, initially, that works really good for my clients and we can do it, but once that initial phase is gone for the long term basis of the patient coming from after like 10 plus years or their medications are like more than a hundred MICs of daily basis, then those are the patients that definitely need some kind of medicine. They’re definitely going to be lower dosage, but definitely some kind of medicine on board.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. Because over time if Hashimoto’s is left untreated, it does result in some elements, some amount of permanent damage to the thyroid gland, which is evidence, or you can see on ultrasonography. So if you look at an ultrasound and you see a atrophy thyroid gland, that’s usually evidence that some destruction has occurred. And as far as we know, there are some salvageable amount of thyroid tissue that exists when it’s inflamed, but sometimes it can be permanently destroyed. And to my knowledge, there are some potential emerging therapies that may be used to help regrow some tissues, but there’s no good therapy as far as I’m aware that helps regrow thyroid lung tissue in those settings, which means you’ll end up on thyroid medication. So moral of the story is catch your Hashimoto’s early, make sure you get tested for it and get treatment as aggressive as you possibly can in the beginning, so you don’t have to live that life downstream. You kind of agree with the general statement?

Dr. Gupta:

Absolutely. Yes.

Dr. Childs:

All right. Let’s do this. Let’s talk about antibodies for a second, because I think this is a really important thing that a lot of people want to know about and then we’ll kind of close up here. So when you talk about antibodies, you mentioned in the beginning that one of the ways that you’re kind of, at least this is what I got from it, so you can correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the ways that you helped determine if somebody is responding to treatment is you’re tracking these antibody levels. So in the case of high antibodies, you can kind of make the assumption that the immune system is dysregulated and something’s going on that needs to be addressed. And as you do treatments, as you fix a diet, treat a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, give thyroid medication, et cetera, detoxification, you should see these antibodies dropping.

Dr. Childs:

So now is that how you’re thinking about the antibodies and how you’re using them as a lab metric to determine success of treatments or if it’s some other way, let me know. I’m interested to hear how you kind of do that.

Dr. Gupta:

Absolutely. Yes. When people come to see me their antibody levels are really high in thousands or something. And I said, “Okay, let’s start working on other things and this will be a good marker for us to know actually how we are doing and how your body is responding to this particular kind of treatment.” And we do see the antibody level starts going down very sweetly over the course of like next four to six months when the people start working with us. And again, that is a sign that, okay, well, the thyroid is not getting destroyed and the immune dysfunction is going away. And that’s the same time we are actually seeing that the requirement of the thyroid medicine also decreases because now they’re actually body or the thyroid can actually produce their own thyroid hormone. So definitely I follow those antibody levels.

Dr. Gupta:

Now the problem, what happens is that, a lot of people when they come to see us or they’re thinking about is, “Okay, my antibody levels should come back all the way to zero.” But necessarily that doesn’t happen all the time, but even the antibody levels are within the acceptable range. That is great because some amount of antibodies are still present because the thyroid is a dynamic process. It is changing each and every day. So some antibody levels are still present, but from, let’s say 2000 or 3000 of TPO antibodies, the antibody comes down to all the way to 30 or even hundred. That’s a big drop that are seeing and we are already safeguarding a thyroid that way. So definitely following those antibodies and we see that they are going down very beautiful in that situation.

Dr. Childs:

And this is not the way that conventional doctors look at this. If they check antibodies, it’s maybe one time, maybe, and it’s never to look back again. And so that’s really important from the perspective of patients. I want you to gather this, if you’re listening to this, checking your antibodies at least somewhat regularly is important because it does it can help guide treatment. Having said that I do see some discordance in antibody levels and symptoms even. I’ve seen people where antibodies levels stay high, but they symptomatically return almost to normal and so I don’t know that antibodies can be tracked at a hundred percent, but I think generally the rule that I follow is the lower the antibodies, the better. Physiologically, I think that’s a good thing to aim for, a good thing to look at. But I don’t think in every single case your hat can be hanged on antibodies as a sole marker of how well you’re doing. Is that a fair statement?

Dr. Gupta:

Exactly. And that’s what I mentioned that some people, their antibody levels come down and they’re feeling good, but they said, “Oh, but my antibody levels are still present.” I said, “Well, I’m not just treating a lab. For me, I’m treating a person. So you tell me how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling still crappy, then definitely there’s a lot of work we still need to do, but if you’re feeling perfectly fine that your body should be and antibody levels are going down, then that’s a great news. That means you’re doing great.” So the antibody levels are just one way for us to monitor things, how it is going, but that’s not the only way. So that is very important that people should know about it.

Dr. Childs:

Yeah. I agree. Absolutely. Well, Dr. Gupta, this has been a treat. I have to say you are very knowledgeable on this subject and it’s been awesome to get your input and to see how you’re treating. For those people who are listening to this who want to learn more about you, so you are practicing, you have a clinic, correct? And then you have your book as well, so can you tell people where they can find you, where they can get ahold of you if they want to learn more about you or potentially become a patient or purchase your book?

Dr. Gupta:

Absolutely. So actually, we are running a virtual clinic now, so we have a virtual country medicine practice, so people from all over the country and all over the world can actually work with us wherever they are. We have patients from all over the world that they’re working with us. It’s a very seamless process. They can go on a website called anshulguptamd.com. And right now actually we are offering free evaluations calls for clients who want to sign up with us, so that they can understand the process that is involved in working with us so that they can do that. So they can just go on a website, click on the link where it says free evaluation call and they can book the evaluation call with me, so that they have an idea with us.

Dr. Childs:

I found that link. I’ll link it below for you.

Dr. Gupta:

Great, wonderful. And obviously my book is on Amazon, so people can buy it from there, whether the Kindle version or the book version if they want to do that. And then obviously I’m on social media, like Instagram and I do have a YouTube channel, so people who want to know more information about that, you can certainly find me over there.

Dr. Childs:

Okay, perfect. So I’ll include the link down below, if you want to do the consult with Dr. Gupta and we’ll link to his Amazon book. And I just, again, I have to say there are a lot of people that treat Hashimoto’s, a lot of people that treat thyroid problems, and I think there are different approaches to take to doing that, but I think I honestly, very rarely do I agree with so much of one person. Dr. Gupta I have to say, I agree with essentially everything that you’ve said. So I could tell that you’re well experienced on the subject, well read on the subject. So for those listening as well, I would have to say that. So this is a good opportunity for anybody who’s interested in this sort of comprehensive approach. I think certain people may be really good at one aspect, but putting it together, I think is really the key, having the intuition, figuring out what each individual patient needs.

Dr. Childs:

And I try to preach that as much as I can. There’s no one thing that thyroid patients need. Every single person is different. Every single person needs different medication or not. People have different philosophies in terms of what they want or how they want to be treated. Do they want to do mostly natural? Do they have dietary restrictions? Like you mentioned. Are they vegan? Are they vegetarian? All these things play a role in how treatment must occur. Anyway, I just really appreciate that approach. And as I mentioned, I will definitely include the links down below. Do you have any partying messages before we sign off here, Dr. Gupta?

Dr. Gupta:

I just want to let each and every Hashimoto’s patient is that don’t let anybody tell you that you have to live this way with a poor quality of life in the rest of your life. There is hope for you. So you just have to do the right things and if you do the right things, take the right supplements and work in a stepwise manner, then the quality of life could be better and there is hope for you to get better.

Dr. Childs:

Awesome. Well, thank you for those parting words. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and we’ll have to have you on again some time.

Dr. Gupta:

Oh, absolutely. Love being here. Thank you so much for the opportunity for being here. You’re doing great work. I really appreciate your information, your knowledge. You are really great.

Dr. Childs:

Thank you.

how to reverse hashimoto's naturally podcast episode

About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 70,000+ people have used them over the last 6 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do here.

P.S. Need more help? Check out my free thyroid downloads and resources.

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