Dr. Raphael Kellman was featured on I HEART RADIO where he discussed thyroid disease and the importance of the TRH Stimulation Test. Here is the transcript of that conversation:
OUTLOOK, HOSTED BY DAN HOLZMAN
My name is Dan Holzman. I am very pleased to be joined on the phone with thyroid expert Dr. Kellman. Dr. Kellman is the founder of the Kellman Wellness Center. We are in the midst of January and January is Thyroid Awareness Month. And I have to tell you I am looking forward to this interview as I am starting from pretty much of a blank slate. And so, Dr. Kellman gives us a little bit of an autobiography about yourself before we dive in.
Dr. Raphael Kellman: Sure. Yes, I am a medical doctor and trained in Internal Medicine and went to Albert Einstein medical school. I practice Holistic Medicine, also called Integrative Medicine or Functional Medicine. I have been doing this for a long time, but it is becoming a popular field. Not so common back then. It’s really a different orientation in understanding the causes of health and diseases and how to treat. Is it only medications to suppress symptoms? But there’s another component of medicine that I focus on that is delving into the root causes and understanding the physiology and biochemical processes and what goes awry when one is in a state of disease or lack of health, and then making appropriate decisions and improving the basic function of the cells, organs, and systems. That’s it in a nutshell. I have been very deeply involved in thyroid function and immune issues. There’s a lot of chemicals in the environment and they are causing a lot of problems on our endocrine systems. They’re called endocrine disruptors. Holistic Medicine looks for these causes. Unfortunately, it’s not widely known. The Senate has discussed environmental toxins but it’s not even in the medical literature. Endocrine disruptors are really harming the natural world. That being so, we are now in the midst of low thyroid epidemic mostly because of endocrine disruptors. Unfortunately, many doctors are not aware of what they are doing to the fish, the reptiles, the birds — the animal world and the humans. In addition, we are relying on the tests to detect an epidemic and the tests are grossly inadequate to detect the root cause —endocrine disrupters. They are good for general screening, for general thyroid issues, more of the type that we had in the past. But the bigger issue – the endocrine disrupters as the cause – and routine tests are just not cutting it. People are not being diagnosed and this problem is just not out in the forefront.
Q. Why are the tests not good enough. Is it that we can’t do better? A. It’s both. I think number one is knowing the limitations of testing. What could blood testing show us or not show us? Perhaps we made assumptions about blood testing that are fallacious. Perhaps they are partially true but not 100% true. There are many exceptions. And that’s a big problem. We are missing a lot of people. Millions of people. One example is that if you do a blood test and look in the serum, basically when you do a blood test you are looking in the serum of the blood, the assumption is that it’s steady or that thyroid hormone— let’s say the T4 or the TSH that comes from the pituitary and regulates the thyroid, the assumption is that these numbers are always going to show the same value in someone with a low thyroid. Well, that’s not true. It can change and make fluctuations in any given day. If someone has a problem for a longer period of time, is the body going to keep the blood level over time or will there be some compensation? Assumptions are made without proof. And assumptions can lead us astray.
Q. And assuming assumptions are not good…. A. Yes, because the consequences are devastating.
Q. Where is the Kellman Center? A. We’re in Manhattan 7 West 45th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. We’re in the Times Square and Grand Central Station area.
Q. How big a problem is it Dr. Kellman. The American thyroid association believes that about 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease. A. That is a very conservative number. The numbers are even higher – in fact, it’s reached epidemic proportions. And the older you get, the more likely you will be you will a have a thyroid problem.
Q. So, the numbers are much higher than that? A. Yes, there’s an accumulation of toxins that are causing it, that’s why the numbers increase as we age. The older we get, the more likely it is that the toxic buildup will be affecting you. How long can you stand being exposed to these effects! And eventually, too many people will succumb. So, there is an epidemic. There’s better testing at the Kellman Center. I have been using the TRH stimulation test. Speaking about it, lecturing about this, advocating this, telling the medical community and of course, people in general, the importance of using this test. The medical community used to use but stopped it for a number of reasons. Then research showed that it is a superior test, although complex. But when someone is complaining of fatigue, difficulty losing weight, brain fog, depression, constipation – and there’s no answer and the regular thyroid tests are normal? These are the people that deserve better testing. And the test that I use that is best is the TRH stimulation test. People come from all over the world for it. The next option is to get all the tests that are available and look at it in a different way. And understand that you can’t just rely on the routine test with the old way of looking at it. We have look at things with new eyes.
Q. Bigger problem for women than men, correct? Do we have any reason why? A. Absolutely. But men get it too.
Q. Do we have any reason why it picks on women more than men? A. Women are more likely to go to doctors and more likely to tell you how they are feeling. So that’s one reason. It’s not that women are more susceptible. Additionally, there’s a hormonal relationship that creates a biological and genetic basis for it. But by and large, a significant reason is that women tell you about their problems. Men keep it to themselves and don’t want to go to doctors. And that has to be included in the analysis. Until we have such an analysis, I am not going to say that women are just more susceptible than men. It’s more complex. And yes, women do have more Yes, they are more systems that interplay with the thyroid.
Q. Do you have a web address for the center. A. www.kellmancenter.com. I have also written a number of books on the subject. You can find them at here and here (add links)
Q. Let’s talk about maybe the most important part of this conversation. What are some signs and symptoms that people might be able to diagnose on their own that indicates “Hey, I have a problem – I may need some help.” A. Fatigue, brain fog, depression, difficulty focusing, mood changes, just feeling like you are aging, hair loss, constipation, cold hands and feet. You don’t have to all of these symptoms. You can one of these symptoms and yet your thyroid could be low. Many people have many symptoms. People have muscle pain, joint points. These are the general symptoms. If you have low thyroid it plays a role in overall health. If you have high cholesterol, the cause may be low thyroid. The thyroid plays a complex role in our overall health. If one has symptoms, unexplained symptoms, absolutely you want to think about the possibility that the thyroid is low. One of the most important points of this conversation is this: just because a doctor tells you your routine thyroid test is normal it does not necessarily mean the thyroid is normal. We can’t be led astray because a doctor did a routine thyroid blood test. Routine tests are frequently inadequate. Bottom line, you can’t rely on one blood test.
Q. What is the bigger healthy worry— overactive or underactive? A. Clearly, underactive – when your thyroid is not producing enough hormones. And then everything is in slow motion. Your brain is not functioning like it should be. You are more likely to gain weight. Your metabolism slows down. You feel puffy, have pain, aches, depression, insomnia. When your thyroid is fast, you tend to lose weight. You can diarrhea, have palpitations. have anxiety or you could have anxiety with hypothyroidism as well. They’re very different and hypothyroidism is much more common.
Q. What is easier to fix? A. Hypothyroidism. But you can fix hyperthyroidism as well. Hashimotos thyroid, an autoimmune thyroid disease, is also common. With my approach, you can reverse autoimmunity. And that sounds shocking because they are told no, you can’t reverse the antibodies! But, Hashimotos can be reversed; it can be cured, with a functional approach.
Q. Does a thyroid problem often lead to thyroid cancer? A. Not necessarily but there is a greater risk, but not significantly greater.
Q. How much do we know about thyroid cancer? Does cancer start in the thyroid? A. Thyroid cancer is an easily treated cancer. No one should ever get it, though. If you have low thyroid, we treat it vigilantly.
Q. Tell me the connection between thyroid function and digestive health. You talked about that here and there during the show. Give it to me in a little more detail, if you would? A. If your thyroid is not functioning properly your gut won’t function properly. In fact, other than the brain, gut dysfunction could be the most sensitive marker of thyroid function. The gut is so susceptible to fluctuations, slight changes in thyroid hormone levels. The gut needs an adequate amount of thyroid hormones because a lot of the muscular force that causes peristalsis in the gut – contractions of the gut – requires a lot of thyroid hormone. To maintain a healthy gut wall (it’s like a fortress), you need thyroid to produce enzymes, you need thyroid hormone to produce HCL in the stomach, you need thyroid hormones. Thyroid issues will cause gut issues. Sometimes you don’t even know it. Abdominal pain, bloating, irritable bowel.
Q. Tell us about your holistic approach to treating the disease? A. Sure. Here’s the question that shocks people. You can reverse thyroid disease. Even Hashimotos. First, let’s talk about Hashimotos. It’s an autoimmune disorder rooted in alterations of the Microbiome. The bacteria in the gut are the good guys. Conducting, orchestrating our health. But when that ecology is unhealthy due to antibiotics, stress, chemicals poor diet, etc., then its ability to maintain gut function falters. When that happens we are more likely to get inflammation. The immune system is not regulated. When it’s not regulated, it’s going to start to attack its own tissues. That’s autoimmune disorder. If it attacks your own thyroid, it becomes Hashimotos. I coined the term “Microbiome Medicine” because it deserves to be a field in itself. When you improve the microbiome, you are improving the root problem. You are healing the microbiome, and alterations and dysfunctions in the microbiome are the most significant causes of autoimmunity. We help people use the right strains of probiotics. There are so many, and most people don’t know which to use – they think they’re all the same. They’re not all the same. It’s like saying all dogs are the same or all cats are the same. Or all fish are the same. It’s ridiculous and they all have different functions. In addition, the use of prebiotics is important because they nourish the gut bacteria. But we can also isolate them and use them as supplements. There are many different types. Which one do you use? It makes a big difference. If you want a certain bacterial species to proliferate, you want to give them the right type of prebiotics. It’s a very complex field. By improving the microbiome, you really are beginning to reverse autoimmunity. Low and behold, the antibodies come down. The Hashimotos is eventually reversed. This doesn’t mean that you get off the thyroid hormones. Sometimes you can get off the thyroid hormone if the autoimmunity is caught early enough and treated in this comprehensive holistic way.
Q. You mention an important question that I want to bring up. How important is it to catch this early? Almost every medical issue, early detection is important. A. Absolutely. The longer it goes on, the more damage will be done to the body, and the more of the thyroid will be damaged. You may never be able to produce enough thyroid hormone to get off thyroid medication. When you have an autoimmune issue, there’s not just one form of it, it causes inflammation everywhere. And sometimes, you don’t see the antibodies that are diagnostic for autoimmune disorders. And yet you can have Inflammation that is causing as much damage to the body as some “defined autoimmune disorder.” We get caught up in disease categories and missing the real demon. Disease is tricky. It’s fooling us and we are fooling ourselves. Pigeon-holing ourselves into diagnosis and understanding health and disease only through the lens of disease and diagnoses which are arbitrary at best. But designed by the medical establishment, and not to be facetious, but with the full help of the pharmaceutical companies because the disease categories are so important because they are perfectly aligned with drugs that are needed to address the diseases. What we have to understand is that health and illness and not being well is much beyond disease categories. You can have no disease category but be very ill.
Q. How much of a role does heredity play? A. The answer is yes, genetics plays a role in everything. But we can overcome genetics. It’s nature and nurture. We are not fixed or locked into our genetics. There are so many genes involved in any health issue. And remember the genes in the microbiome far outnumber our own genes that are playing in our health. And their DNA of bacteria outnumbers our DNA by 150:1. The number of genes playing a role in every single health issue we are dealing with is incomprehensible. When we say something is genetic, it could mean that what we inherit is not the susceptibility to disease. Some people have a more potent immune response, and some are more vulnerable. But does one gene do this? There are multiple genes. There’s so much we can do to overcome that, that we should be focusing not so much on nature but nurture and environment and all the natural treatments that we can do to lead the body in the direction of health and healing.
Q. Dr. Raphael Kellman, founder of the Kellman Wellness Center. Dr. we are just out of time. Thanks again for doing this. You can find out more about Dr. Kellman’s medical practice at www.kellmancenter.com. Thank you. Having a great weekend. A. Thank you, really thank you.
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