Welcome to the Waist Away podcast! Today’s guest is Dr. Eric Balcavage. He is the founder of Rejuvagen, a premier healthcare center that focuses on Function and Regenerative Medicine. The vision is to help clients reduce their symptoms, improve their function, regain their health and maximize their quality of life. In this episode we cover; the root causes of thyroid problems, the effect of hormones on weight loss, whether or not you should take Advil, treating low sex drive, and Methylation Dysfunction. Enjoy!
Video Version: https://youtu.be/dWq0ETlOf0Y
Dr. Eric’s website: https://rejuvagencenter.com/
Chantel Ray: Hey guys, welcome to this week’s podcast and today’s guest is Dr. Eric Balcavage and he is the founder of Rejuvagen. It’s a premier healthcare center that focuses in functional and regenerative medicine and he specializes in all the things I love to talk about chronic health challenges, autoimmune issues, thyroid issues. So welcome Dr. Eric.
Dr. Eric B.: Thanks for having me on.
Chantel Ray: so talk to us about what drove you into getting into functional medicine?
Dr. Eric B.: Well, I mean the reality is I had no intention of really getting into functional medicine. Initially I was really a medical technologist or going to school for medical technology and found a chiropractor who helped me with a personal back injury. And then I made the switch and the transition to chiropractic care and going to chiropractic school. But when I came out I was going to be chiropractor just like everybody else, adjust the spine and do musculoskeletal things. And I think it was a family member that really got me started down the road of trying to figure out what was going on with them. And they were struggling with hypothyroidism and a number of issues. And so I had to go back to my roots in blood chemistry and start trying to figure out what was going on.
Dr. Eric B.: So I started going to functional medicine seminars and really trying to figure out what was different in blood chemistry that I could help my family member. It turns out she had hypothyroidism, she had Hashimoto’s, and we wound up having to identify what was a better way to help her than just putting her on a medication and just doing some surgeries to address other issues. And so we started working on her and then as I’m starting to help her, I started talking to my other patients. And there’s a lot of people that were struggling with chronic hyperthyroid symptoms. A lot of them either had the symptoms and weren’t diagnosed or they had symptoms and were diagnosed, were on meds and still had symptoms. And so I started kind of going down that path. And once you kind of go down that path of trying to address why people have hypothyroidism, then that leads you to, “Hey, I’ve got to figure out what the root cause is.” And so then you start looking at gut function and hormones and compromise diet and lifestyle. And now that’s pretty much all I do. I mean I still have a few strictly chiropractic patients that I see, but most of what we do is take care of people who are struggling with chronic hyperthyroid symptoms and the related challenges that go with that.
Chantel Ray: So what would you say are the number… If you had to say the top two reasons why people, the root cause of why people have some issues with their thyroid?
Dr. Eric B.: Well, I think first of all, we’ve got to talk about the different types of thyroid disorders. So I really try and simplify it down to two things. One, you either have a glandular problem. The glands not producing enough thyroid hormone or you have a cellular problem where the thyroid hormones being deactivated at the cellular level. So what allopathic medicine really addresses is the glandular problem and so when we talk about glandular hypothyroidism, something is causing the thyroid gland to not produce thyroid hormone. There can be something that’s disrupting iodine into the thyroid gland, it could be an endocrine disrupting chemicals, it could be toxins, it could be estrogen. Something is causing the thyroid gland not to be able to make enough thyroid hormone. The most common cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland and so medicine is really good at identifying primary hypothyroidism and treating primary hypothyroidism with primarily T4 medications.
Dr. Eric B.: Sometimes you’ll get somebody who’s kind of progressive that does T4-T3. The problem is that what causes hyperthyroid symptoms isn’t really about the gland. It’s about how much thyroid hormone gets to the cells and gets into the tissues. So many people can have hypothyroid symptoms and have a totally normally functioning thyroid gland because their cells are under stress. When the cells under stress, you get a general deactivation of thyroid hormone locally and that causes hyperthyroid symptoms and that usually happens for weeks, months, years, even decades maybe before the gland becomes dysfunctional. So medicine is good at once the gland is become dysfunctional at giving thyroid hormone, but the problem is a lot of people struggle with cellular hypothyroidism for long periods of time and it’s just missed in that traditional model. I think it’s important to point out too that by the time you get diagnosed with primary hypothyroidism, you may have lost almost 90% of the function of your thyroid gland. So we’re not catching or using that TSH, T4 model to identify primary hypothyroidism. By the time somebody has gotten there, they’ve had quite a bit of their thyroid hormone damaged and they may have been struggling with symptoms for five, 10, 15 years before that gland is at a point where it’s not working anymore.
Chantel Ray: Yeah. So for me personally, that’s what happened to me. I have Hashimoto’s and I was on Synthroid 125 milligrams of Synthroid. This was years ago until I started really understanding that my problem was I couldn’t convert my T4 to my T3 and so you kept giving me T4 which doesn’t do me any good because if my T4 can’t convert to my T3, that’s a problem. Let me ask you, a lot of people now are talking about just doing the desiccated thyroid where it has a combination of T4 and T3 but actually just taking T3 on its own, small doses of it. Have you prescribed that to any of your patients and how has it worked for them?
Dr. Eric B.: No, I don’t. I don’t prescribe medications. I’m a functional medicine practitioner. I don’t have prescriptive license to provide it. I’m not a fan of T3 only medications because there’s a couple of reasons for that. One, if somebody’s got a problem with the conversion of T4 to T3 then the thought process is if I just take T3 then most of what we call the genomic actions, the things that we consider with increasing metabolism are driven by T3 in the cell. The issue is that the vast majority of cells prefer to make T3 at the cellular level. So they prefer T4 and then the cell itself can determine whether that T4 is converted to T3 or that cell is converted to reverse T3. There are some cells that require T3. I mean they don’t have the deiodinase to convert T4 to T3. So some cells and tissues need it.
Dr. Eric B.: The other problem is that people are told, “Hey, if you have a problem with conversion of T4 to T3 and your T4 is converting to reverse T3 and we just give you T3, then it can’t convert to reverse T3 and therefore you’re going to be fine. Well, the problem with that thought process is that the same mechanisms that are causing T4 to be deactivated to reverse T3 are still going to deactivate T3 to T2 or one of the four forms of T3 to T2. So it may be helpful temporarily just like T4 can be helpful for some people and some tissues but it doesn’t necessarily always fix the issue.
Dr. Eric B.: The cell is still deactivating thyroid hormone and so it doesn’t matter if you give T4 or T3, it’s still deactivating it. I know the reason a lot of functional medicine or integrative medicine practitioners provide T3 is they’ll say, “Listen, T4 can convert to reverse T3 and reverse T3 blocks the nuclear receptors and blocks T3 from binding to the receptors,” and that’s never really… I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of papers and I’ve never seen that anywhere documented. The conversion of T4 to reverse T3 is usually primarily done by what we call deiodinase 3 and that’s usually done at the plasma membrane and even outside the cell is where the deactivation occurs. It’s not occurring in the nucleus of the cell.
Dr. Eric B.: So reverse T3, unless somebody can prove me wrong, does not bind to the nuclear receptor inside the cell. It doesn’t block T3 at the nucleus of the cell. And so that whole idea just doesn’t make sense. What people I think often get confused with is there are receptors on the outside, what we call the plasma membrane of the cell. They’re called integrin receptors and T4 can combine their T3 can bind there as well and do what we call non genomic effects. And reverse T3 can bind to those integrin receptors and potentially cause a blocking action there. But it’s not the blocking action that most people are considering when they’re talking about taking it. So for me, I try and get most people to understand that, “Look, if your body’s deactivating T4 it’s deactivating T3 too.” So instead of trying to flood the system with more and kind of patting ourselves on the back and saying, “Hey look, your reverse T3 went down,” well obviously it’s going to go down because you’re not providing T4 to convert to reverse T3 but that doesn’t mean you fixed the problem. And I do get concerned for those tissues that only take up T3 that we may make them a little bit more hyperthyroid.
Chantel Ray: And is there any supplements that you’ve seen that you say these supplements really make such an impact on the thyroid. Would selenium or zinc or anything that you’ve seen, iodine, that you say, “This is when we’ve see patients and we’ve added this supplement into their diet, they’re missing that. And that’s one of the reasons why their thyroid may be lacking.”
Dr. Eric B.: Well, somebody could be iodine deficient. So you could say, “Hey, is this person iodine deficient?” The problem is we don’t have great testing to be able to say, “Hey, is a person iodine deficient?” And so there are some urinary iodine tests out there that you could do. You could do 24 hour urine, you could do a spot test and you can look and see is the person iodine deficient, but the research on that isn’t great. Now, if they have elevated toxicity, they have high fluoride, bromine, they have high estrogen and they have indicators that may be things that may be blocking iodine absorption. Then yeah, iodine could be helpful. Is it potentially problematic with somebody who has autoimmune issues, especially TPO antibodies? Possibly. Could selenium be helpful? Yeah, it could be. Is glutathione potentially helpful? Could zinc be helpful? All of those things could be helpful.
Dr. Eric B.: The challenge I think for a lot of people is that they have hypothyroidism and they say, “Well, I’m going to support the gland with this formula that’s going to fix my thyroid physiology.” Well if you have a state of stress in the body, and the body is causing autoimmune attack on the gland. Maybe it’s a selenium deficiency or maybe it’s just part of what we call the cell danger response, and so the selenium that you’re hoping is going to help your thyroid conversion or help your thyroid physiology may not even go to do that action. So it’s hard to direct based on a supplement just because a bottle says, “Hey, this is the thyroid support formula.” It doesn’t mean the ingredients in there are actually going to go support your thyroid. But yeah, there are some general things that are probably important for most people who’ve got thyroid issues, but it’s not uniform.
Dr. Eric B.: I mean, the most important thing is that we get people to understand that if you have hypothyroidism, what we need to do is identify, is it glandular, is it cellular or is it both? Anybody who’s got glandular hypothyroidism has cellular hypothyroidism. That’s why they have symptoms, but you can have symptoms at cellular hypothyroidism and have a perfectly functioning gland. In that situation the most important thing to do is look at diet and lifestyle factors to find out what’s creating, what we call cell stress that’s causing the thyroid hormone to be deactivated and address those. It doesn’t come in a bottle. In most cases it’s a lack of absorption. There’s a gut issue, there’s a poor sleep issue, some type of lifestyle issue that’s causing the cells to perceive excessive stress. They shift from what we call homeostatic regulation to allostatic regulation and then they shift from making new cells, new tissue, new skin, new hair to cell defense, and so energy gets used to go kill things or to protect the cell and the things that are less important kind of get turned down in a hyperthyroid state.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. Well this is a question I like to ask all my guests and walk us through a day in the life of Dr. Eric. What did you eat yesterday? When did you eat it? Are there certain foods that are off limits for you or that you avoid? What did yesterday look like for you?
Dr. Eric B.: Well, I would say for most people when they’re considering what’s the best diet? Here’s a person who’s dealing with thyroid physiology patients in his practice, what’s the best advice that they would give from a dietary standpoint? I try to be real for most people and that is the best thing you can do is eat more whole food, real food, and I think me too. In the vast part of my day in my life, 80% of the food I eat, I try to make sure it’s whole food, real food. That’s step one. Now I am gluten intolerant to some level and so I do not eat gluten based foods, but I also don’t then say, “Well, I’m just going eat a lot of gluten free processed foods.” I don’t think that’s the trade off.
Dr. Eric B.: Is there a benefit to being gluten free? Should everybody be gluten free? I don’t think so. If you don’t have a gluten issue, there’s potentially some reason to consume gluten or consume grains. So I’m not totally against it. As far as eating, how many meals a day do I eat? I’m pretty liberal and I go with the flow. Most days I’d say four to five days per week, I probably eat two meals per day. And do like a time restricted eating. Is that right for everybody? Maybe, maybe not. I think you’d need to determine what is best for you with the help of maybe a functional medicine practitioner, but that’s my style. I mean I get up, I may have a cup of coffee early in the morning and then not have anything to eat until lunch, have dinner and then try and wrap it up. So I try and have my timed eating window somewhere in that six to eight hours.
Dr. Eric B.: But if I’m hungry, if I get up and I’m hungry and I want to eat, I’m going to eat it. As far as lifestyle wise, I try and get eight hours of sleep per night because I think that’s critical to get good quality sleep. Definitely, I talk about breathing and the importance of breathing appropriately and so I definitely, if I don’t nose tape or mouth tape the night before, I probably don’t have as good a quality sleep. I’ve had a broken nose multiple times and so I got one nostril doesn’t work too well. So if I have any level of inflammation, nasal passages get closed off, I open my mouth to breathe, that creates hypoxia and that’s going to disrupt sleep and it’s also going to cause increased deactivation of thyroid hormone. So it’s going to increase that conversion of T4 to reverse T3 and T3 to the inactive forms of T2.
Dr. Eric B.: Activity every day. Try to usually be active everyday. I was up today up four mile run, I came back. It typically when I’m at home, which I am today, doing some work and even in my office I’ll set my timer for 20 to 30 minutes and every 20 to 30 minutes I’ll get up and do something. If I’m not dealing with patients, my timer’s going off, I’ll do 20 push ups, 10 pull ups just to get up, move and do some physical activity. And I try to get my patients to do the same thing because we all say that, “Hey, I don’t have time to exercise, don’t have an hour, I don’t have two hours.” You don’t need an hour or two hours of consistent exercise everyday. You just need to be more active. And so I’ve adopted what I call the 20 minute rule, which is every 20 minutes get up and do something. Whether it’s five squats, it’s pull up, push up, run up and down the steps a couple of times. It doesn’t have to be much, but get yourself up and moving. So physical activity, good diet, good nutrition, try and drink lots of water, healthy water, get plenty of rest and sleep and always work on studying emotions, reading and time with family.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. I love it. Well, let’s jump right into the questions. This is from Abby in Tampa. The other day I found a small, very dry and itchy patch of skin on the back of my neck. I didn’t think much about it until it continued to itch every day. I’ve tried putting moisturizing lotion with dryness, but sometimes it burns when I use it. I haven’t switched my laundry detergent and haven’t been using any new kinds of lotions or body washes. I think some days are worse than others. Is this psoriasis and will it spread to other areas? Is there any kind of lotion or cream that will stop the itching and what supplements work for psoriasis?
Dr. Eric B.: Well, first of all, I think if she’s got some itchy stuff on her skin, I would definitely say one of those things obviously, go see your dermatologist. Make sure that it’s nothing more significant or more sinister. That would probably a good thing to see and look for a dermatologist who’s more functionally or integrative medicine based. Could the issue be psoriasis? It could be and so what you want to do is if there’s something, some area of the skin that’s dry, that’s irritated, we want to rule out is it an immune or an autoimmune issue going on and I would suggest that the potential is that there may be, well there may be a gut issue, there may be a thyroid issue, but we need to look for what’s the root cause issue.
Dr. Eric B.: Without going to a doctor, one of those things I would tell her is probably the moisturizing lotions she’s trying to put on there are probably alcohol based. If you put alcohol based lotions on the skin that’s already kind of irritated, dry, itchy, it’s probably going to dry it out more. Probably a couple of the cheapest things that she can do just to moisturize that area of skin is just using natural oils. I mean you don’t have to spend a lot of money on anything expensive. Try some avocado oil or olive oil or coconut oil or jojoba oil or even some Alvera and just work it in there just to try and protect that skin, because that dry area skin then becomes a place where you get more toxins into the body. It sets the stage for infection.
Dr. Eric B.: As far as laundry detergent and stuff like that. I would say take a look at your lotions and the laundry detergents and the things you’re putting on and find out how much toxicities in those things. They could still be a thing that’s causing issues and sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years of using the same kind of toxins in our chemicals, whether we are washing our stuff in it or it’s the stuff we’re putting on our skin before it really becomes a problem. So look at that. I mean, you go to ewg.org look at the health and beauty things that they have listed that are safer for the skin. I would definitely do that.
Dr. Eric B.: I always consider the fact that if somebody has got skin issues, there may be a root in the gut in the GI tract. So look at health history. Do you have a health history of gas, bloating, pressure, loose bowels, constipation, diarrhea? Do you get gas and bloating after meals? Do you have other symptoms that may be associated with GI issues? Definitely is something to consider that at the root is maybe some type of GI or even even an autoimmune issue. And definitely you need to consider is there potential for some type of underlying thyroid issue even though it’s only in this small area of the skin.
Dr. Eric B.: So is there a specific supplement? I’m not a, here’s my symptom, here’s the supplement protocol. That’s really not my style. But I will tell you that the vast majority of the skin has a high level of Omega-6 in it. And so if you’re not a person who is getting parental oils in through your diet,, to get some type of parental oil that has some Omega-3 Omega-6 as the parent oil and start utilizing those things. But I would give you those basic recommendations.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. All right. This is from Lilly in Virginia. I’ve recently changed my entire lifestyle to deal with Hashimoto’s. The last four years have been the hardest because of severe depression, 50 pound weight gain, and losing a 12 week old baby, by miscarriage three years ago, followed by infertility. Now that I’ve recently broken free from what felt like a prison inside my body, I have left to fix my sexual hormones. I struggle desperately with vaginal dryness and libido. In fact, my husband and I have not had sex in eight months now because of it. I truly want to fix the root causes for everything. So I’m doing what I can to be healthier and reduce inflammation and stress rather than just slapping on a bandaid. What else should I be doing for my sexual health? I’m 22 and I feel like I should not be having a libido issue. Oh my goodness.
Dr. Eric B.: Yeah. I would say she shouldn’t be having a libido issue at 22 and if that’s where she’s at, and she doesn’t get to some of the root cause issues she’s not going to have such a happy life I would think. But I think the key is, and there’s a lot we don’t know here. She’s had a… Changed my entire life dealing with… So one of the things I would guess is that she said four years have been the hardest. So I would guess that her Hashimoto’s was diagnosed four plus years ago, somewhere in that range. My number one concern is that by the time she developed Hashimoto’s, that wasn’t the beginning of her problem. She was still having some level of cellular hypothyroidism and that’s probably why she’s had 50 pound weight gain.
Dr. Eric B.: It probably led to the loss of the child because she wasn’t healthy enough to really maintain a full pregnancy. And I don’t know what broken free and what she’s got left to fix her hormones. So I would say, I don’t know what that means, but I would still want to take a look. If it was my patient, I would want to take a look at, okay, let’s make sure we understand when did we start having symptoms and what was her cycle like, hormones like even prior to being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, when she got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, what was the treatment? What was done? Was she put on thyroid hormone medications, is she having the conversion? Maybe she’s got problems with thyroid physiology that still persist. That needs to be addressed and that’s part of the reason why she’s got the hormone issues.
Dr. Eric B.: I would say that one of those things that may be beneficial to her because she feels like the libido issues and the hormone issues are her primary is to work with a functional medicine practitioner who’s going to run more of a functional hormone test. Maybe something like the Dutch test, to take a look at her hormones and then along with that maybe a comprehensive metabolic panel that’s going to give us indication like, did she really address all the issues? Because a comprehensive blood chemistry issue that’s interpreted, not just read for highs or lows is going to help us understand like you’ve changed some things in your diet lifestyle, but some of the underlying issues still persist and that’s what we really want to do in functional medicine. So if she’s lost all the weight, she feels fantastic and it’s really just a hormone issue, then a Dutch test will be able to kind of point out maybe some part of what’s going on in the physiology, but my guess is she’s still got some issues that are causing that the hormones, estrogen, testosterone to be and progesterone maybe, even cortisol to be dysregulated and we need to get to that root cause issue and the Dutch test is probably one of the better tests to do that.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. I’m reading over the last three questions that we have and they’re so specific. Sometimes people send in questions and they really like, sometimes they’re general and sometimes they don’t give us enough information to kind of answer them. So I’m just going to kind of summarize what a couple of these questions are, but one of the girls talks about some knee issues and she’s talking about taking Advil. Talk about Advil for just a second because I feel like I get… My husband has some back issues and he’s been taking so much Advil and I’m telling you I am so anti Advil pain medicine. Talk about your thoughts on that. I want to hear what your thoughts are on that.
Dr. Eric B.: Well listen, I think if somebody has a periodic ache or pain and those things can be things that temporarily modulate it. But if you find that every time you’re exercising or just every day you need some type of anti-inflammatory medication just to get through the day, you take two in the morning to get started, then two at the end of the day so you can sleep at night, you got an underlying issue. And so there’s an underlying inflammatory issue and we need to get to the root cause as to why. A lot of people say, “It’s just because I have back pain. It’s just because I have arthritis.” Or maybe the issue is something’s triggering chronic inflammation.
Dr. Eric B.: So we know that the medications can actually inhibit the regeneration of new new cartilage. That’s not a good thing. So they inhibit what they call your STEM cells and the STEM cells that are the regenerative cells of the body. So maybe taking them once or twice periodically, may be not such a big deal. But if you’re taking them on a regular basis, you have pain, which is caused by something, then you’re taking an anti-inflammatory, which actually suppresses the body’s ability to deal with whatever’s causing that issue potentially. And other part of that issue is that now you inhibit the regeneration of regrowth. So what I see in a lot of my patients who have chronic joint issues is I’d take a look at the rest of their history, especially if they have gut issues because what we’re seeing in the literature and the research is that many times problems from within the GI tract, dysbiosis, leaky gut syndrome, elevations of what we call lipopolysaccharides or LTA can cause inflammation in other tissues and specifically the cartilage tissue.
Dr. Eric B.: So we’ve seen problems with bacteria and yeast getting into the joints, breaking down the cartilage, and they’re at the root of the issue. So we need to understand what’s causing somebody’s health issues. Sometimes it’s the supplementation they’re doing to try and be healthy on a regular basis. And so the things they’re doing well, why are you taking that? Well, because it’s good for you. Well, it’s also maybe causing or contributing to your arthritic conditions like calcium can contribute to the breakdown of the joint cartilage. Iron supplementation may contribute to the breakdown of the joint cartilage. So it’s not like more stuff, more supplementation is always better. Sometimes it’s one of the triggering things that causes our joints and tissues to break down and I guess the last point on that is if you have somebody who’s active, exercising and they have joint problems, hey, go see somebody who does physical medicine, chiropractor, physical therapists, find out if there’s problems in the mechanics that are leading to abnormal joint movement. Work on improving the joint movement and improve the muscular function around that tissue and maybe your joint discomfort goes away.
Chantel Ray: All right, let’s answer this last question. Emmy in California. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. Sometimes it’s easy for me to drop three dress sizes, but sometimes it takes months and months just to lose five pounds. Do you think that this is possible I could have a metabolism problems or maybe a hormonal imbalance? Talk about just how hormones play such a big part in weight loss.
Dr. Eric B.: Well, listen, I think there’s a lot in that little part. If she’s gaining weight that easily and that quickly, then there’s some problem with her metabolism. There’s problem with her diet potentially. There’s problem with metabolism. Something in lifestyle is creating stress that’s causing her metabolism to slow down and then when she’s adding the calories her body’s not efficiently burning those calories, typically when you think about it, if you eat more calories than the body needs, your thyroid hormone physiology should actually speed up to deal with that excessive calorie load. People who eat calories and then they’re not losing the weight, thyroid hormones not working at the cellular level, so that excess caloric load that they can’t use immediately is going into their adipose tissue. So they’re going to gain weight.
Dr. Eric B.: Sometimes she can easily drop three sizes in her dress, you got to be thinking she’s doing a significant calorie restricted diet to do that and if she’s drastically reducing causing this caloric restriction and dropping weight like that, it’s probably creating a stress response on her cells and then creating cellular hypothyroidism and now she’s going to have a harder time losing weight as times go on. So without a doubt, thyroid hormone, estrogen, cortisol, almost all the hormones can play a positive or negative role in weight loss or weight gain. And so if your weight’s changing five pounds, up or down per week, I wouldn’t worry about that at all. I mean, based on what you eat, how often you go to the bathroom, what’s your sleep like. But if you’re slowly and steadily increasing your body weight and then you go through some type of diet of the month and you lose your weight but then it comes right back again as soon as you restore normal eating, you definitely have a metabolic problem going on and you need somebody to take a look at what’s actually causing it so you can identify what the root causes or causes might be and then somebody can set the strategy for the best way to help you fix it.
Chantel Ray: Do you see people with a lot of estrogen dominance having problems losing weight?
Dr. Eric B.: Absolutely. Estrogen is proliferative. Estrogen slows down thyroid physiology. I mean, think about what happens, most girls, young ladies go to college, if they start taking birth control either to prevent pregnancy or they get on birth control to normalize a bleeding cycle what do we see? We see them gain weight. We say, “Hey, you put on the freshman 15 or whatever,” and we blame it on diet and nutrition.
Dr. Eric B.: But probably the bigger issue may be we’ve loaded them with estrogen. The estrogen just shut down their sodium iodide symporter. They can’t get as much iodine into the system now. They can’t make as much thyroid hormone and estrogen really blocks or can slow down thyroid physiology at the cell because of the impact it has on hormone transporter mechanisms and its impact on the deiodinase enzymes that actually either activate or deactivate thyroid hormones. So definitely see a huge issue with estrogen imbalance issues, estrogen dominance issues, and people struggling with weight gain.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. Well I know you live in Pennsylvania, but you can see patients all over the country, correct?
Dr. Eric B.: Yeah. So we have patients take care of around the country, around the world. That’s the beauty of having things like Zoom. That makes it easier to see people. So yeah, we have people locally, but we take care of people from all over the place.
Chantel Ray: Well, where can our listeners go to follow you and your work?
Dr. Eric B.: So my office is, if they go to www.rejuvagencenter.com that’s the website for the office. The websites actually getting kind of rehabbed. Hopefully it’ll be released pretty soon. They can find us at Rejuvagen or Rejuvagen center on Facebook. We have a Instagram that’s either Dr. Eric Balcavage. That’s primarily where I post. And we also have a Rejuvagen Instagram, but most of the information on Instagram is on Dr. Eric Balcavage. And then I do videos that you can find through Rejuvagen on YouTube and Vimeo. And usually every Thursday I do a thyroid Thursday episode, which are short three to 10 minute tidbits on different aspects of thyroid physiology. And then I also have thyroid answers podcast that I do with a colleague, Dr Erica Riggleman. So we release that about every two weeks we release the podcast and I just sent off today. We’re working on hopefully have a book here finished in the next couple months on thyroid physiology. So that should be out hopefully in the next few months. We’ll see.
Chantel Ray: That’s awesome. And I wanted to ask you the big word that everyone’s starting to talk about is methylation dysfunction right now. Talk about that for people who don’t know what that is, give people a little brief description of what it is and what you do for that.
Dr. Eric B.: So yeah, methylation I think has its highs and lows. I got really into it a number of years ago. We still help people manage with it, but methylation, a methyl donor is a carbon and three hydrogen molecule that is used and it’s methylation means the transfer of that methyl group to another substance and it’s part of… It can be used to either turn on or turn off genes. It can also be used to stimulate what we call detoxification reactions or number of reactions in the body. It doesn’t just have to be detoxification, and so it’s a critical part of cell health and cell function. When somebody who’s got a methylation issue, we still come back to the same kind of thoughts, why do they have a methylation issue and what’s the best way to address it? Some people would say, “Well, I’ve been told I have a methylation issue. I just need to put more B vitamins in the system and that should fix it.” No, probably not.
Dr. Eric B.: For maybe 50% of the people that may work and for the other 50% of the people it may not work or they may actually feel worse. So I think at the end of the day, methylation is critically important, especially when we’re talking about weight issues and weight loss and estrogen, physiology, it’s a really important thing. But the big issue is if you have methylation issues, don’t get too caught up in taking a methylation supplement to try and fix the problem. You really want to get to the root cause issues first. Then people talk about MTHFR, I have MTHFR and that’s my problem because it’s on my genetics. It may not be, I mean there’s a lot of people that had genetic pre… Actually, we all have genetic snips and people have MTHFR, heterozygous, homozygous or not at all and they’re either, it may be an issue or may totally not be an issue. And so the big key is, if you’ve been told you have a methylation problem, it’s a big deal, but the solution is to find out, “Okay, what’s at the root cause of my methylation issue?” And that’s probably going to find that more in a functional medicine model than an allopathic model.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. This has been a pleasure having you on, and if you have a question that you want answers, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you next time. Bye bye.
***As always, this podcast is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.***