Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum – From Fatigued to Fantastic
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Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim Podcast. I’m very excited about today’s show. I’m going to talk with one of the world’s best experts on a subject that I know is going to hit home with a lot of us, and that is fatigue. Feeling like we might not have enough energy and what we can do about that. I’ll tell, people are concerned in this area. There is a short list of people you could talk to, and I high on that list is our guest today. His name is Doctor Jacob Teitelbaum, AKA Doctor T. He has written all kinds of best selling books like From Fatigue To Fantastic, Pain Free 1,2,3, Sugar Addiction Now, Cause Real Cure, just so much stuff. He’s done all kinds of studies. His research is considered the gold standard in treatment for fibromyalgia. We have none other than Doctor Jacob Teitelbaum with us together. Doctor T., welcome to the show!
Dr. Teitelbaum: Thank you Jonathan, great to be with you.
Jonathan: Thank you for joining us, Doctor T. Really quickly, before we get into the problem we’re dealing with-because it is quite significant in our country-what lead you to specialize in this area?
Dr. Teitelbaum: I got into it the old fashioned way. I came down with chronic fatigue syndrome. I had the drop test flew back in 1975 when I was in medical school. It basically left me bed bound for a good bit. I had to drop out of med school. I could not function. It was through that process that I learned my own way for recovery. I had learned about treating hormonal problems and nutrition support and just a host of other areas. I was able to get myself well and return to medical school. I spent the last 35 years teaching about, researching, and helping people with these conditions.
Jonathan: When you say “researching” you’re not just any researcher. From what I understand, it’s very rare to be speaking to someone that has developed the procedure which is considered standard of care in that arena. You fit that bill. Your research is essentially the standard of care, is it not?
Dr. Teitelbaum: There is no standard of are in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s a very controversial area. There are some people who still believe that you can just throw some Prozac at it. It’s like back in the earlier days of Multiple Sclerosis, what they used to call “hysterical paralysis” or lupus, when they just told the women that they were neurotic. This field is too controversial to say that there is any one accepted treatment approach, but this is one of the most accepted treatment approach especially for those who specialize in treating people with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Jonathan: What is the scope of this problem? Certainly we’ve all had times when we’ve felt a little tired, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Can you help define what we’re actually talking about in terms of severity and how many people actually suffer from it?
Dr. Teitelbaum: Think about the worst flu you’ve ever had in terms of how exhausting it is. Some people are able to manage it, but even those able to work, that’s about all they can do. It consumes all of the energy they have. If you remember what it’s like to have a toothache, picture that going all over your body for years and doctors have no clue what is going on with you. There’s an average 32 ½ pound weight gain. Your brain is gone, your body is gone, you have no energy, you have chronic pain. The doctors are too lazy to take the time to figure out what is going on. It used to be that they would try to convince you and your family that you are crazy because they didn’t know what was happening in your case. Fortunately that is going into the past. Those doctors who said that are becoming the exception rather than the rule. I’m gonna tell listeners one thing. If you’re going to the doctor and they say “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. You’re crazy” go up to them and give them a hug and say “thank you, thank you for telling me that you’re a total idiot so that I don’t waste my time” and walk out.
Jonathan: I love it. Certainly. I love that. How many people are facing this in Western Culture?
Dr. Teitelbaum: 2-4% of the population; 2% have a severe form of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Intermediate forms affect about 4%. Millions and millions of people. 85% of people have not yet been given-
END OF PART ONE
Jonathan: Well, Dr. T., just how many people are dealing with this kind of a condition?
Dr. Teitelbaum: Well, you’re looking at 2% of the population having the most severe forms of fibromyalgia, 4% of the population dealing with intermediate forms, and 31% of adults complaining that they’ve been having chronic fatigue lasting for over a month. So, this is a major problem that affects, well frankly, most people, and who do you know that wouldn’t want more energy.
Jonathan: Are there, is this, I’m not the expert here, is this just lifestyle related? Is it genetic? What can we do with our lifestyle to improve it? Can we do anything?
Dr. Teitelbaum: This is very treatable. Our research has shown using what we call the S.H.I.N.E. Protocol, which we will discuss in just a little bit. 91% of people improve with an average 90% increase in quality of life, so this is very, very treatable and basically, Jonathan, it’s an energy crisis where you’ve blown a fuse, where your body is spending way more energy than it’s able to make and the area that uses the most energy, it’s a major control area in the brain called the hypothalamus goes offline, just like when you trip a circuit breaker in your home.
There’s no damage to it but it basically takes you out of the game until you get rid of what’s causing the energy drain. It can be infections, it can be toxic chemical exposures, toxic [indiscernible 01:26] exposures, hormonal deficiencies, inflammatory problems. There are literally hundreds of ways that your body can blow a fuse.
Jonathan: Well, and certainly we talk about, here on this show and in my book we talk about things like nutrition and sleep and exercise and hormones and, what role do those things play in this?
Dr. Teitelbaum: Well, you just listed S.H.I.N.E. Sleep is the ‘S’ in S.H.I.N.E. and the average night’s sleep in the United States average until 130 years ago was 9 hours a night, and then Thomas Edison discovered light bulbs. Once he invented that, we started going downhill in terms of sleep. Now, with computers, radio, TV, Facebook, tweeting, and God knows what else, we’re down to, we’ve taken the 30% tick tock, we’re down to less than 7 hours of sleep on average a night and sleep is critical. If you don’t get your sleep, you’re going to gain an average of six pounds compared to those who do get enough sleep, and have a 30% higher risk of obesity. It’s one of the things that trigger that 32 pound weight gain that we see in fibromyalgia.
Jonathan: Dr. T., does that have to do with a dis-regulation of the hypothalamus? Does it have to do with inflammation in the brain? What’s actually happening when we don’t sleep enough? Is it just because we’re awake longer and therefore, we’re more likely to eat ice cream or what’s going on?
Dr. Teitelbaum: No, what’s happening, again in fibromyalgia that circuit breaker, the hypothalamus is also the sleep control center and that’s why the inability to sleep even though being exhausted is the hallmark of this disease. Other causes of fatigue is sleeping all day and all night, but what happens is that sleep is where you make growth hormone, which is what turns fat into muscle, and also where you go ahead and make several appetite controlling hormones, especially Leptin would be the key one.
So, you’ll end up having to eat more before you feel full during the day and this is what contributes to the average six pound weight gain in people day to day, folks who are just not getting enough sleep.
Jonathan: I think that’s such a profound example Dr. T. I’ve uncovered much of the same research in researching my next book, and we talk about, we hear this old dogma that you’re just eating too much and the question is sure, but again, why? Why are we eating that much? If we’ve literally broken our brain’s ability to tell us when we’re full, then just starving yourself while you continue to sleep five hours a night is not the right approach, is it?
Dr. Teitelbaum: Absolutely not, and more to the point Jonathan, we live in a country where we desperately want to find somebody to make the bad guy. It used to be, we could turn blacks into being less and then we take other people and we want to make them less than us, we want to make them bad. We can’t do that anymore with blacks or different religions and even sexual preferences are getting passed up, but now we can take people who have chronic fatigue or who are overweight and make them believe they have a character defect, they’re bad, they’re weak, they’re slobs, all these different things, and it’s part of the nature of our society to do that. It’s really nasty. So again, it may have to do with overeating, but I see people who eat nothing virtually and they will be 40 pounds overweight and I’ll see other people skinny as a bean pole that you can’t’ get them out of the freezer chugging down the ice cream.
It’s so much more than just eating. It has to do with metabolism, it has to do with the appetite regulation. It has to do with all these things. Most of the calories you burn are not during exercise, it’s just keeping your temperature at 98.6 when its 60 degrees outside and if your body is keeping your temperature at 97 instead of 98.6, it doesn’t have to burn as much calories hanging around, you’ll gain weight.
Jonathan: You mentioned chugging down the ice cream there, certainly all this sugar and starch and garbage we’re eating can’t be helping matters.
Dr. Teitelbaum: Well, sugar drives insulin secretion and insulin tells your body to pack on fat, so the bottom line is that the average American is getting, pretty much eating their weight in sugar each year. It’s 140 to 150 pounds of sugar per person per year that is added in to the diet beyond what used to be there 100 years ago, and it’s up to 18% of our calories and that is one of the major factors driving our metabolism crazy.
The interesting thing is, it will be more common in men that we’ll see, if men just stopped drinking sodas, they’ll often drop 30 pounds and more so than in women, we don’t know why. Men and women are different but if you treat the metabolism, getting rid of the sugar, optimizing hormone function, even if the tests are normal, you’re going to find that your weight is suddenly able to come down and you’re going to feel a whole lot better.
Jonathan: It sounds like in that scenario, the weight loss really ensues. It’s about fixing that hypothalamic system. It’s about fixing your central nervous system. It’s about fixing your body at a core level and then it takes care of the rest. That might be an over simplification, but am I on the right track?
Dr. Teitelbaum: Absolutely, and to make it simpler than that, if you burn more calories, then you will weigh less. It’s that simple. So basically it’s a matter of facing the metabolism and the same thing that causes us not to be able to burn our calories efficiently except you don’t have the energy or fuel also causes us to pack on the weight. So, we’ll find a lot of times when you treat to that S.H.I.N.E. protocol, sleep, hormones, especially thyroid and adrenal issues. In men even testosterone once you get, what’s called “manopause” in their fifties, treat the underlying infections such as Candida, which cause people to crave sugar and give people the nutritional support, so they can burn the calories efficiently and effectively, and then get out and exercise [indiscernible 07:37]. You’re going to find you feel better, your metabolism improves, your weight comes down, so you’re going to feel better, your brains going to work better and you’re going to look better.
Jonathan: It all focuses on fixing the underlying issue, thinking about your health first and I noticed, you actually didn’t say, “starve yourself and spend hours on a Stairmaster” as part of that regimen.
Dr. Teitelbaum: Oh no. Look at it, if you starve yourself, your body is just going to figure that there’s famine and your body knows what to do with famine, it shuts down the furnaces to conserve calories so it will work for a couple of weeks, but then your body gets the message, “we’ve got to make the adaptation” so no. It is good to exercise more, but like I say, most of the calories you burn don’t come from exercise, they come from keeping our temperature at 98.6.
Jonathan: Oh, absolutely.
Dr. Teitelbaum: Just being awake and what’s called basal metabolism. So you do want to exercise and you do want to clean up the diet in a way that’s healthy and tastes good, but I’m going to tell people to avoid sugar except for chocolate, chocolate is a health food. Chocolate is more than 3 times more likely to prevent you getting a heart attack than taking these cholesterol medications for example. So, it can be a health food in moderation. So, I want people to learn that pleasure is good, but to learn moderation but I’m going to quote Mark Twain on that too. He said, “Moderation in all things, including moderation.” It’s okay.
Jonathan: Well, Dr. Teitelbaum, How much, you know you mention there using a little bit of chocolate, using a little bit of cocoa that which makes chocolate so healthy to cure what ails us, how much of this, and maybe it varies by severity, can we address without the help of medication just through lifestyle intervention?
Dr. Teitelbaum: Well, as I said, it has to do with the severity. So, if you’re going ahead and just getting a good multi-vitamin and most of them are not. I like the vitamin powders. There’s one that’s awesome called the Energy Revitalization System where instead of 35 to 40 pills a day, you just take one drink. If you’re getting sunshine, sunshine makes a big difference. The advice to avoid sunshine is insane. Look, Jonathan, when I was a kid, my mom and dad would take me to museums. I still remember there was this skull with a hole cut out in it and the Aztec medicine men would cut the holes in skulls to let out the evil spirits. We go, silly Aztecs and I figure, 50 years from now, we’re going to have the medical halls of shame where you walk in, you see the commercials of the AMA doctors saying, ‘Smoke cigarettes.’
The next one will say, ‘Don’t breastfeed, that’s barbaric’ and they’ll have this exhibit that says, ‘Avoid sunshine.’ I can just picture this little kid tugging on his mommy’s dress saying, ‘Mommy, mommy, were they insane?’ The mother will go, “Yes, dear.” It’s the simple, things in lifestyle. Go outside for walks in the sunshine. Get a good multi-vitamin, cut back sugar, stay hydrated, make time for sleep and you make time for sleep by cutting out the things you don’t enjoy. If you’re watching the evening news or any of the national networks, remember they have been taught, it used to be sex sells and now the TV mantra is fear sells.
What’s today’s news, what’s today’s crisis? What’s today’s conflict and battle? As long as it feels good and you’re having fun and entertained by it, watch it but when it starts feeling bad, I’m going to teach you this simple Tai Chi move that will really help restore energy. So, when you’re watching that kind of stuff on TV, pause, calm and center, reach and sweep your arm to the side, grab your remote, point it at the TV and click ‘off’ or turn to the Comedy Channel. So, you can make time for sleep getting rid of those things that you don’t enjoy but here’s one key thing, Jonathan, and it’s arguably the most important thing.
If you are trying to get your energy back so that you can go back to doing a life you hate, your body will shut you down again so we talk about S.H.I.N.E. to restore energy production and again, we didn’t talk much about thyroid but low thyroid is a biggie. Most people who need thyroid, have normal thyroid blood tests and we can talk about that if you want, but the key thing is are you following your bliss?
Are you doing the things that you love, that make you feel good? Because if you’re doing that, your body will support you by giving you the energy you need, but if you’re using your energy to do things you hate, it will support you for a little while, but pretty soon it’s going to pull your car over to the side of the road and say, “check your bearings.” You’re going to say, “But we have to get there now.” And it’s going to say, “We’re sitting here on the side of the road.” Where’s your GPS again? Where’s it want to go? So you want to start listening not to your brain. Your brain is going to tell you what you were programmed as a kid that you needed to do to be a good boy and a good girl, as you were programming you to do what other people wanted you to do. No, listen to your feelings. If something feels good, that’s your psyche’s way of saying, ‘It’s authentic.’ When you do that, your body will start supporting you with tons of energy.
Jonathan: Well I love that Dr. T. I can definitely, I got little chills there because I can certainly associate with that. I’ve noticed that we’ve all had the experience likely where we’re not getting a lot of sleep, which is bad. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but we’re not getting a lot of sleep because we’re engaged in a project that we love and even though we’re not sleeping as much, we’re energized.
We feel better because we’re just rocking and rolling on our project and then maybe, we are actually getting a lot of sleep but we’re working on something that we don’t really like and it’s just like dear God, put the cup of coffee directly into my bloodstream because I’ve got ten hours of sleep last night and I’m just dragging. I love that, that’s a great distinction there, so…
Dr. Teitelbaum: Your body will make up the sleep later and it’s okay if you’re doing something you love and it’ll tell you, “nah, you know, come on, time up.”
Jonathan: Dr. T, just to close really quickly here, you mentioned the T word that gets brought up all the time, especially as we get older and quite often, especially for a lot of our female listeners, and that’s thyroid. Can we talk about that a little bit?
Dr. Teitelbaum: Absolutely. It’s important to understand first of all, when the hypothalamus is not working, that controls your entire hormone system, thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, adrenals, the whole shebang there, and doctors, it’s funny, they treat the blood test, but they often ignore the person and they don’t understand what normal means in a blood test.
Normal just means that you’re not in the highest or lowest 2% of the population. It says nothing about whether it’s adequate. So if you have a shoe size, if I give you any shoe between size five and thirteen, it will be in the normal range. Now, if your doctor happens to be 6ft. 4 inches and he weighs 250 pounds, and you are tired, achy, waking, cold intolerant, you’re a poster child for low thyroid, he says, “Your thyroid test is normal. You’re not off the deep end of the cliff yet.” Give him a size five shoe and say, “Doc, this size five shoe is in the normal range. You wear this until my next visit so you know how I feel and then let’s talk.” Go to a holistic doctor. Go to www.adihm.org, find one of the thousands of the holistic doctors near you who knows how to treat you and not just the blood test.
Jonathan: I love it and I also, correct me if I’m wrong here Dr. T, but if we go up to your website, which is www.endfatigue.com, you also have a pretty awesome energy analysis test that we can even plug in our lab results and get some insights right there online.
Dr. Teitelbaum: Absolutely. It’s the energy analysis program, it’s free. You take some simple quizzes. It will figure out in your case what you need to do to optimize your energy, and even though you don’t need the lab tests, if you have pertinent lab tests, it will even analyze those and help, but usually the symptoms and blood tests point to the same things going on.
So, you do that test. It’s going to say here are the things you need to do so you can feel great and even more fun, it used to be $400 to do that. People came back and they say, “Well, I have fibromyalgia. I can’t afford anything.” Finally, we just made it free for everybody, and then we even adapted it so it’s helpful for day to day fatigue. So it’s free.
Jonathan: That’s a good deal. I love it. Well, Dr. T thank you so much for joining us today, and certainly we’ve only scratched the surface and folks, hopefully, as you can hear from his wonderful analogies and stories that he’s a graduate at Ohio State University, which you know I love because that’s…. I’m just kidding, I’m a Buckeye myself. I’ve got support for the Ohio love here. So Dr. T thank you so much for joining us and folks if you want to learn more about Dr. Teitelbaum’s work, please do check out his website, www.endfatigue.com. He’s got a bunch of new books coming out, all kinds of good stuff, and Dr. T, any closing words for our listeners?
Dr. Teitelbaum: I’m just going to repeat what I said before. You want to go ahead and increase your energy so you can go back to a life you love. Start paying attention to what things make you feel good and keep your focus on those.
Jonathan: Love it, love it, love it. Dr. T, thank you so much for joining us today.
Dr. Teitelbaum: Jonathan, you have a great day. Bye-bye.
Jonathan: Bye-bye. Listeners, I hope you enjoyed today’s show as much as I did, and remember this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. Talk with you soon.