015: Dr. Kent Holtorf on Medical “Quackery” and Evidence-Based Therapies for Chronic Illness

Uninvisible Pod

015: Dr. Kent Holtorf on Medical “Quackery” and Evidence-Based Therapies for Chronic Illness

Kent Holtorf, M.D. is the medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group, and a founder and director of the non-profit National Academy of Hypothyroidism (NAH). He has trained numerous physicians…
March 27, 2019

015: Dr. Kent Holtorf on Medical “Quackery” and Evidence-Based Therapies for Chronic Illness

Kent Holtorf, M.D. is the medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group, and a founder and director of the non-profit National Academy of Hypothyroidism (NAH). He has trained numerous physicians across the country in the use of bioidentical hormones, hypothyroidism, complex endocrine dysfunction, and innovative treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic infectious diseases, including Lyme and its co-infections. Lyme, in particular, has been the focus of the Holtorf Medical Group and has been a passion of Dr. Holtorf’s – not least because he, himself, lives with chronic Lyme. He is also a fellowship lecturer for the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine, the Endocrinology expert for AOL, and is a guest editor and peer reviewer for a number of medical journals, including Endocrine, Postgraduate Medicine, and Pharmacy Practice. He has published innumerable studies and papers on his various topics of interest and expertise.

Dr. Holtorf has helped to demonstrate that much of the long-held dogma in endocrinology and infectious disease is backed by evidence that proves it is inaccurate. He is also a contributing author to Denis Wilson’s Evidence-Based Approach to Restoring Thyroid Health. He has been a featured guest on many TV shows, including CNBC, ABC News, CNN, Discovery Health, TLC, The Today Show, and CBS Sunday Morning; in addition, he has been featured in print in The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, US News and World Report, SF Chronicle, WebMD, Health, Elle, Better Homes and Gardens, Forbes, the NY Daily News, and Self magazine – among many others. He joins Lauren on this episode to discuss his work at the forefront of chronic illness and thyroid medicine, medical “quackery” and evidence-based approaches not yet recognized by larger medical organizations, the need for healthcare reform in the US and how this might be achieved, and his own struggles with Lyme, which have greatly informed his methodologies and patient-centered care approach.

Listen in as Dr. Holtorf shares… 

– about being both a survivor of chronic illness (Lyme) and a practitioner 

– how so many medical practitioners who treat chronic illness came to alternative/integrative/experimental treatments because they themselves were once sick 

– that societal guidelines are far more restrictive and often less evidence-based than innumerable anecdotal cases, particularly with regard to chronic diseases like Lyme – and how organizations like ILADS and the Infectious Disease Society of America still don’t even classify Lyme as a chronic illness despite the mounting evidence to the contrary 

– that the fatigue of chronic illness is entirely different from general fatigue 

– that he first went into anesthesia because he was so fatigued, and he knew this field would keep conversations with patients – which were further exhausting him – to a minimum 

– that he started attending “alternative medicine” conferences, and found the studies and practitioners coming out of these events were far more evidence-based than the materials with which he was presented in medical school and in residency 

– that he worked on optimizing his hormones to get well 

– how everyone’s “normal” is different 

– the studies from his Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers (FFC), which indicated that most patients saw – on average – 7.2 physicians without improvement in chronic symptoms (current numbers are more like 12-14 physicians without improvement in symptoms) 

– how care in the US has become more segmented, and it’s deteriorating 

– that doctors are the least empathetic group he’s ever seen 

– what doctors are working against: the business model of health insurance (which is tied into quantity over quality, time restraints, and big pharma); ego and self-esteem issues 

– how quickly his work has been dismissed as “quackery” 

– how few practitioners can’t – and often don’t want – to take the time to find the source of chronic and invisible illness 

– the stress connection to health – it can devastate the immune response and be a huge factor in chronic illness 

– that he knew he had Lyme – and his blood was so thick he had to wait months to thin it out in order to properly test it 

– that he used antibiotics for 4.5 years – and would never prescribe them that long for ANY patient 

– that he is a fan of Ozone, LDN, stem cells, and peptides for treatment of specific chronic illnesses, and has used these therapies himself 

– if you don’t fix the immune system, you won’t get rid of the infection; his ethos is root-cause based for this reason 

– his whole life, he was never able to get out of bed before noon. Now, he is much more highly functional 

– the chronic illness cycle of rest and anxiety when you can’t get to sleep despite total body and mind fatigue 

– his take on the opioid crisis: that so many highly addictive opiates have been approved by the FDA because of special interest groups and big pharma 

– the frustrations of the rising cost of medication 

– how the US has the least free-market healthcare system in the world, despite our acceptance of capitalism – and how this is entirely tied to big dharma 

– the frustration of communication between “standard” Western doctors and the more “experimental” medical establishment 

– placebo doesn’t work in chronically ill patients in the same way it does in “well” patients – it’s more of a “no-cebo” among the chronically ill 

– that the sicker the thyroid patient, generally…the more T3 they need (combo therapy of T3 and T4) 

– that doctors are taught to memorize and to segment the body, rather than understanding multi-system symptoms and treatment 

– the cost of chronic illness 

– that Lyme is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s, ALS, and MS – among other conditions 

– that his Lyme disease was initially misunderstood as HIV/AIDS because his immune system was so incredibly suppressed 

– that coagulation of the blood is common among immune-suppressed patients 

– that he is in favor of universal healthcare, but fixing our system is not as simple as that – it also requires a free market and reduced prescription costs, as well as a removal of price-fixing among big pharmaceutical companies 

– restrictions on publishing medical studies: even medical journals are funded by big pharma ads, which presents a conflict of interest and some collusion 

– that he encourages healthy, informed debate over angry outbursts 

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