“Gluten has a big impact on your brain health”
Dr. Veronica Anderson, Host, Functional Medicine Specialist and Medical Intuitive interviews Dr. Carri Drzyzga about gluten sensitivity, cortisol stress & nutrient deficiencies.
Do you want to feel normal again? Functional Medicine Doctor Dr. Carri Drzyzga helps patients find the root cause of their health problems and fix the cause with natural treatments so they can feel normal again.
In this episode, Dr. Carri will talk about the impact gluten has on your brain and the effects of cortisol on your body including ways to find balance. Listen to the end for the proper method of supplementation for your nutrient deficiencies.
Listen to episode 41 on iTunes here or subscribe on your favorite podcast app.
41: Show Notes
Dr. Veronica Anderson’s Links:
Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again – Dr. Carri
Body Metamorphosis – Private Facebook Group
02:40 – Are you healthy?
07:30 – Gluten’s impact on the brain
08:20 – Emotional issues
10:00 – Removing gluten
12:05 – Simple & delicious breakfast
15:00 – Cortisol’s effect on the body
17:45 – Balancing your cortisol
20:30 – Nutrient deficiencies & supplements
Female VO: Welcome to the Wellness Revolution Podcast, the radio show all about wellness in your mind, body, spirit, personal growth, sex, and relationships. Stay tuned for weekly interviews featuring guests that have achieved physical, mental, and spiritual health in their lives.
If you’d like to have access to our entire back catalog visit drveronica.com for instant access. Here’s your host, Dr. Veronica.
Dr. Veronica: You’re listening to Wellness for the Real World. I’m Dr. Veronica, medical doctor, medical intuitive, homeopath, and all around fun person, if I must so say myself. I don’t think my kids think I’m so fun. They probably think I’m really intense. And some other people might think I’m really intense when I’m them accountable to take care of their health. But if you want to find me, and ask questions and say, “Why don’t you talk about this or that?” Go to drveronica.com. Contact me. Find me on Facebook, Dr. Veronica Anderson.
I have a great private Facebook group where we have real discussion about, here’s some information that I want to give you to help you change your life, body metamorphosis. Join the group. You have to ask to join because I have to make sure that it stays wholesome and clean, where we all feel that we can share. Just anybody doesn’t get in. I have to make sure you’re a real person and you’re not meant to be there to do anything other than be informational and/or uplifting. This is what we have to do today.
I wear a lot of different hats besides radio host. And I have a kindred spirit who’s going to come on in a few minutes with me. She’s the functional medicine doc. And if you don’t know what functional medicine is you ought to. And this is why you’re sick, because you don’t know what functional medicine is. But we’re going to talk about it.
I don’t like calling it medicine even more. When people say, “What do you do?” I say, “I do functional wellness. I’m a functional wellness specialist. Because it’s about being whole and well. When I ask people, “Do you have any health problems?” I notice everybody pretty much says, “No, I’m healthy.” Okay. “What medications are you taking?” And then they proceed to give me a list of five medicines. The definition of health has changed.
I call myself healthy because I don’t have any diagnosed medical conditions. I don’t take any medications at all. I’ve even gotten to the point where I don’t even like to take any over-the-counter painkillers like [Unintelligible 00:02:52], Tylenol, Naproxen, or all those other types of things. Why? Because they risk cardiac events even in healthy people.
I do supplements. And so, I have a big drawer of my supplements. My family has watched me take all these things, laughing at me. But it’s basically herbs and homeopathics, and making sure that I get my nutrition in when I’m running around like crazy.
Why do I do this? I do this because I have decided that I’m living until 99. That is my number, 99. People say, “Why would you want to be 100 or 107, or 116? It’s enough. 99 is enough. As I go to 99 I want to be like the lady I saw dancing in the White House. She’s 108 going on 117.
But she walks up and says, “Everything’s going well. I gave a little two-step.” I plan to do that walking upright, straight, with a clear mind. And people say, “I really do want to be 99. If I could be 99 like that.”
Dr. Veronica: I see people who are older, and they have numbers behind them. But it’s not how I want to do aging. If you want to be healthier and you want to live a longer life there are ways to do that. And one of some of the best ways to do that are without medications.
I understand if you have a chronic disease and you have to take it because it’s keeping you alive. And that’s it. There are certain people who have situations like that. I understand that that’s what the situation is. But a lot of the chronic conditions that people have today are the direct result of lifestyle choices that can be changed.
Yes, they can be changed and conditions can be reversed. And so, when you work in the functional wellness, and/or functional medicine space, you specialize in helping people reverse problems that they thought they never could reverse, i.e. conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, even cancer can be reversed. People on dialysis, it’s not all necessarily that you’re on it forever. People can get off.
If you have one of those things like polycystic kidney disease and you were born with it. There’s nothing else that can be done because your organ came into your life with this problem. That’s a different situation. However, the top 10 chronic diseases in our country and next door, because our next guest is from next door in Canada, the top 10 diseases are all based on lifestyle choices.
You can feel good. You can feel normal. And yes, you can get well. And it doesn’t have to be total drudgery. You can do it, and you can do it in a fashion where it feels good and it tastes good. But always realize that nothing tastes as good as health feels. And everything that is worth having you’re going to have to do some work for.
I want to welcome our next guest, Dr. Carri Drzyzga. But she goes by Dr. Carri, drcarri.com is her website. I want to make sure that you always know where to find our guests. She has a great book, Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again. Don’t we all want to have high energy? Dr. Carri, welcome to Wellness for the Real World.
Dr. Carri: Hi Dr. Veronica. Thank you so much for having me on your show today.
Dr. Veronica: I just got to give you a high five. Audience understand, she has two doctoral degrees, in chiropractic and naturopathic medicine, two doctoral degrees. This lady is certified up the Wazoo. But that’s not how you get to be wonderful at what you do. How you get to be wonderful at what you do is you do it, and then you become even more wonderful. It’s not just the education that you have in the classroom, even though every day you get more educated. It’s doing it and getting results.
Dr. Carri, if you’re going to tell people, what is first of all one of the top tasks that they must do? And this is going to have to do with food. What is the top food that you find that is sapping people’s energy?
Dr. Carri: That’s a great question Dr. Veronica. I would say the top of the list is gluten. Gluten has been getting a lot of press this last few years. The gluten-containing grains are wheat, rye, and barley. And we know from a functional medicine standpoint that gluten has a big impact on your brain health. And it’s one of the most common reasons why people have fatigue.
Dr. Veronica: Let me just talk about brain health. I talk about my son, my father, my family, and everything like that. I found out that… Here’s the other thing. You can be sensitive to one of the glutens and not sensitive to the other. I actually found that I was sensitive to wheat but not the barley and rye, because I was tested, which is kind of interesting. Although barley and rye is not something I eat a whole lot of anyway, so the wheat is what everybody’s eating.
But I have two sons who’ve gone through depression. And we figured out that one of the foods that was causing them problems was wheat. Have you met people like that that are having that same type of problem, not just that they have low energy but they’re also having emotional and psychological issues because of gluten?
Dr. Carri: Absolutely. And I would say food allergies and food sensitivities in general are known as the great mimicker, in the sense that they can cause and create any kind of symptom in the body including mental and emotional issues.
So, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar, that could all be due to a simple food sensitivity. Even things like brain fog, problems with concentration, problems with memory, not so much it’s not in your head but it can be a simple food sensitivity to something like gluten.
Dr. Veronica: How do you help people back out of gluten? There’s a couple of things that happen. First of all, people think that if they tried themselves off gluten and they don’t get better that’s not it. But there’s more resistance to people stopping it in the first place.
Because I have found and what I see is I believe that it’s very addictive. What do you tell people when you say gluten’s a problem? And everybody who comes to me I would like to give them a trial without the gluten. And then I do some testing on people and there’s some people who are sensitive. There’s some people that are not sensitive. What do you tell people in the beginning? Do you try everybody off of gluten? And how do you get them to do that, just because there’s a lot of resistance?
Dr. Carri: That’s a great question. Dr. Veronica, I would say because of the nature of my practice and the patients that come to see at functional medicine Ontario I see a lot of really sick patients. And so, they’re a little bit more open to making a change like that. But I will say that it’s a pretty scary thing just the thought of going off of gluten.
Me personally I had some training. You mentioned it earlier. One of my mentors is Dr. Tom O’Bryan, and he is the Gluten Guru as you know. I did some training under him. And just from taking his training I knew that I personally had to go off of gluten. But it was a very scary thought. And it took me years to come to grips to that. It took me years to finally get to the point where I was like, “You know what, I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Now I’m going to try a gluten-free diet.”
And so, what I’ll tell patients is, “We’re just going to do a trial of 30 days. So, this does not mean it’s for the rest of your life. Let’s just try 30 days.” And what I recommend to make it more manageable to people, because it can be a big, shocking thing. Because when we start thinking about gluten and wheat in our diet we realize we eat it at breakfast, we eat it at lunch, we eat at dinner, we eat it for snacks. And then people are wondering, “What the heck can I eat?”
What I would recommend is that you just start with one meal a day. For me personally when I switch to a gluten-free diet I just worked on breakfast. And it took me a couple of weeks to really master breakfast, and figuring out what I was going to eat, what I needed to buy, and what I needed to have on hand, and all that kind of stuff.
But once I really mastered breakfast then I took the next step and I started working on lunch. And again, it might take you a couple of weeks to master that one meal. But once you master it then take the next step, and that could be changing over your snacks or supper. But taking it step-by-step so it’s not so overwhelming. And then once you get to that point where you’re 100% gluten-free, then I want you to try it for 30 days. Really do it for 30 days. Give it a really good chance and see what changes.
Dr. Veronica: Good advice, one meal at a time, because you do have to adjust. The most common question I get about the meals is, what do I eat for breakfast? Because in our culture carbs are what everybody tends to eat for breakfast. And so I think that that is the hardest meal. I think lunch and dinner don’t tend to be as hard. People pretty much for lunch can figure it out easier than they can for breakfast because we’re into the muffins, the bagels, toast, and things like that.
Dr. Carri: Exactly. I do agree with you that breakfast is the most difficult hurdle to get over. But once you get over that you realize, you know what, that wasn’t too bad. And the reality is with the internet now there is so much free information, you could do a Google search or an internet search for “quick and easy gluten-free breakfast recipes” for example. Or I find it very easy to do smoothies in the morning.
Dr. Veronica: Yes, I love the smoothie.
Dr. Carri: So if all else fails do a smoothie. And you’ll be able to do a gluten-free smoothie very easily.
Dr. Veronica: A lot of us do breakfast on the go. I’m a smoothie person. So even when I’m going on the go I know where to go get the smoothie from if I’m not making it home. But for people who are doing breakfast on the go, and a lot of people are, what do you recommend to them? I want to run into Starbucks. Is there anything in Starbucks that I can eat for breakfast?
Dr. Carri: I don’t think so. Honestly, I haven’t been in a Starbucks in a long time.
Dr. Veronica: Starbucks is tough. I’m just asking… Sometimes they do have smoothies. You can’t get yogurt in Starbucks, I would tell you that. What can people do? Because one of the big challenges for people is being able to not have to change too many factors in their life to be able to be successful. It has to be a slow transition.
I like to tell people, “Here are some other… Look at the menu and look for X or Y, or do this. You can get that yogurt there if you’re not intolerant to dairy. Just don’t eat the granola part of it. You can have the berries or something like that.
To learn how to modify whatever it is. And also when you go to a restaurant ask questions. You got to ask questions. People say, “What do I eat when I come to the restaurant?” Ask them to make it the way you want to. You’ll be able to do that.
Let’s switch over to one of my favorite subjects. People see me speak about this, cortisol. Tell us about Cortisol and energy. The audience must be educated on cortisol. What is cortisol? Why should we know about it? And how does it affect to energy. I’m going to let somebody else do the preaching today. Go ahead Dr. Carri.
Dr. Carri: You’re funny Dr. Veronica. Cortisol is a hormone that everybody has in their body. And the main job of cortisol is to help protect you from the effects of stress. And by stress, I mean the chronic stress. We’re all under a certain amount of chronic stress, whether it’s mental, emotional stress, or it’s stress from eating a SAD, standard American diet, stress from not getting enough exercise, having too sedentary of a lifestyle.
What happens is cortisol over time gets out of balance. The more stress we’re under the more we strain the cortisol reserves in our body. And the main place where cortisol is made is the adrenal glands. And they sit right on top of your kidneys. As we’re under stress cortisol gets out of balance.
And that will definitely contribute to fatigue and even things like weight gain, especially belly far around the waist, as well as other kinds of hormonal imbalances. Because cortisol does impact your sex hormones. Whether you’re a man or a woman it will affect your sex hormones. Cortisol will affect your thyroid. It will impact your immune system.
We know that cortisol impacts 12 different body systems. In functional medicine we’re always looking for the root, underlying cause. And the reality is everything in your body really is connected. And the common cause of fatigue is chronic cortisol imbalance.
Dr. Veronica: If someone feels that they have a cortisol imbalance, because you know that we all go to the university of Google and we listen to the radio, and watch Dr. YouTube to get our information, even though there are people like Dr. Carri and Dr. Veronica around who are going to give you your individualized approach.
But you want to try it on your own first. And we appreciate that. So let us give you some advice. You know Dr. Carri, I’m really concerned that my cortisol is off. What do you think I should do to try to get it back in balance? Are there some simple changes that I can make before I decide that I’m going to ask somebody with lots of degrees and 50,000 or 100,000 of education and training? What should I do to self-help? Dr. Carri, help me with my cortisol. Go ahead.
Dr. Carri: Dr. Veronica, there’s many things that we can start with. And we always want to start with going back to the basics. We talked just earlier about gluten and about diet, that one of the things to help balance your cortisol is getting gluten out of your diet and making sure that your blood sugar is steady through the day.
If you are craving sugar. If you eat a meal and you feel tired after. Or if you eat a meal and you’re craving sweets, like you have to have a piece of fruit or chocolate or something after, those are all signs that your blood sugar has gone too high and you ate too many carbs during that meal.
And then if you’re the type of person that fall asleep fine but you wake up during the middle of the night, that’s usually a sign that your blood sugar is dropping during the middle of the night and you’re having an episode of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. That will also create stress and strain on your cortisol levels.
First off is eating in a way that maintains a steady blood sugar through your day. And then the next thing you can do is something I like to call vitamin R, which is rest, relaxation, and recreation. How can you get more vitamin R in your life? How can you get more rest, relaxation, and recreation? For some people that means getting back to doing some hobbies that they loved, that they put on a back burner because they get too busy. Bring out some of those things back into your life. For some people that could be actively practicing stress management, some form of meditation to help get that extra load of stress off your body.
And then recreation, one of the things that I found really helpful and I wrote about this in my book, Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again, is one stress management thing that I found very helpful was learning how to box. For me that meant hitting the heavy bag, not hitting other people but just hitting the heavy bag was a good, physical way to get stress out of my body. And from a perspective too of being a woman in the world is very empowering too, to feel that you do have that type of power available to you. However it is that you can get more rest, relaxation, and recreation in your life that would be a good place to start as well.
Dr. Veronica: Yes. I tell everybody, you have to take care of you, radical self-care. Even when life is going crazy you have to figure out some place that you can put that self-care, and that vitamin R is important. Let’s switch over. Nutrient deficiencies are so prevalent because of our diet that is low in everything, practically other than gluten and sugar. What are some of the most common nutrient deficiencies that you see in people?
Dr. Carri: Magnesium is one of them. But two of the other really common ones I see on a very frequent basis are B12 and vitamin D. Where shall we start Dr. Veronica?
Dr. Veronica: Let me just ask about that because I deal with a pretty savvy audience and clients. And so people come in on all these supplements. Is that enough if you think, I’m probably low in vitamin D because I’m in this particular part of the country. I’ve heard about magnesium and B12, and I’m just going to pull them off the shelf and take them. Is that good enough?
Dr. Carri: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. What I usually find is when I have patients that come see me they usually are on a list of supplements that they’ve prescribed to themselves because they used the internet to try and figure out some of their health problems. And sometimes people are taking the right supplements but they’re just not taking enough of them. And then sometimes I find too that the supplements that they’re taking, too much of it ends up in the toilet and not enough ends up in the bloodstream.
Dr. Veronica: What I was going to say, one of the problems I see is that people have broken digestive systems. And because their digestive systems are broken they’re not absorbing anything well that includes, even if they’re eating healthy food and they’re taking supplements, the supplements aren’t getting absorbed and digested. Even though they’re taking them they’re ending up in the toilet. Is that what you’re talking about?
Dr. Carri: That is what I’m talking about Dr. Veronica.
Dr. Veronica: What do you tell people when they come in on their list and they say, “But I’m doing all this already? What are you going to do different for me?” Where do you go from there?
Dr. Carri: As you know, functional medicine is a very individualized process. But that question is at the top of many people’s minds, “I’m taking all these supplements but am I doing it for the right reason? Are they helping me at all? And like you said, is it really getting absorbed. How do I know if it’s actually getting absorbed or just ending up in my toilet? Some of the answers to those questions will come in the form of testing.
For example Dr. Veronica, B12, which I find is a very common, not a frank deficiency but an insufficiency. The range for B12 as far as the normal range and a blood test is from about 150-600. That’s what’s considered normal. And what I often find are people are on the low end of that normal range. And because they’re still in the normal range they’re told it’s normal. But they’re on the low end, and we really want them on the high end of that normal range for B12. I like to see B12’s numbers at 600 or higher. According to some of the research that’s really ideal for health.
And so with your question Dr. Veronica, if a patience is on a B12 supplement it would be good to take a blood test to see where is their B12? Is it in the 400’s, is it in the 500’s, is it in the 600’s, is it in the 1,500’s? Where is it? And that’s part of how we can train, decipher if the supplements are working for the patient or not.
Dr. Veronica: Yes. Same with vitamin D. And this is what I explain to people about, what does it mean when you’re talking about functional? We’re talking about how you’re actually doing. You may go to your doctor and you get a lab test and it says you’re normal. There’s issues with thyroids, vitamins, etc. You’re in the normal lab range. That doesn’t mean that you’re in the range that means that your body is going to function optimally, and you feel really well.
Vitamin D is another one. They say the range is like 30-100. I like to see people above 60 before I say, “Okay, we’ll consider you good, because of the same type of thing.” Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that’s in practically every important pathway in your body. If you don’t have enough of it then you’re screwed. Understand, when you’re interpreting your labs, just because everything says normal it doesn’t mean that everything is good enough for your body to be able to function.
This is what functional medicine, functional wellness people specialize in. Dr. Carri, go to drcarri.com, Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again. Because if anything is out of balance, this is when you don’t feel good. I was having morning where I didn’t feel so good, and I can trace exactly back to what I ate yesterday because I was at home, it was in the middle of the day. I had some meatballs. I said, “My husband’s going to drop in for a second. Let me make some pasta.” And guess what, I didn’t have the rice noodle pasta, I ate the regular pasta.
And so as a result today I feel so low energy and like crap, gluten, wheat. Once you see a functional specialist, you’re going to become so aware of yourself you’re going to be able to trace exactly what you did to yourself. And then you’re going to be able to fix it. That’s the goal. I know. I messed up my own self. And so I know what I have to do to fix it. Because I try to walk the edge like everybody does but I feel like crap.
Dr. Carri, thank you for being on Wellness for the Real World, drcarri.com is where you go. Look her up and her book, Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again.
Female VO: Thank you for listening to the Wellness Revolution Podcast. If you want to hear more on how to bring wellness into your life visit drveronica.com. See you all next week. Take care.
Dr. Veronica Anderson is an MD, Functional Medicine practitioner, Homeopath. and Medical Intuitive. As a national speaker and designer of the Functional Fix and Rejuvenation Journey programs, she helps people who feel like their doctors have failed them. She advocates science-based natural, holistic, and complementary treatments to address the root cause of disease. Dr. Veronica is a highly-sought guest on national television and syndicated radio and hosts her own radio show, Wellness for the REAL World, on FOX Sports 920 AM “the Jersey” on Mondays at 7:00 pm ET.