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About the Thyroid with Dr. Greg Brannon

"So, in my mind, I'm trying to picture this picture that we're all Ferraris and we all have 12 cylinders. The question is, are we running on two cylinders or...

Introduction: Welcome to Qualgen’s podcast where we talk about all things health and wellness related, including hormones, pharmaceuticals, health trends and ways you can help better your life.  

 JP: Hi, everyone thank you for taking time out of your day to listen in. Today, I am joined by Dr. Gregory Brannon. He owns Optimal Bio in North Carolina. Dr. Brannon, thank you so much for taking time out (of your day) and I'm so excited to have you on! 

GB: Thank you, Jennifer. I thank you very much for your time.  

 JP: Can you give us just a brief background about yourself and Optimal Bio? How it got started all of that.  

 GB: Yeah, I'm going to, I've been and OBGYN for 32 years, had a practice I loved OBGYN and it's phenomenal. But during that time, having some women complain of issues that didn't make sense. I started to do some research on not the standard care of like the PMS, the post partum depression, the menopausal symptom because the standard treatment is a Zoloft or Prozac or things like that - and the body wasn't lacking those things. The body was lacking the hormones it was making. So, I started doing more research on that and I found out about these bioidentical pellets I got involved with, and then my OB practice, I started doing women and then a few weeks later, they're asking their, their husbands, could they join? So that became a whole another  avenue to help people was that I formed another business, because in my OB practice, I was a specialist. So, I opened a practice next door that did bioidentical hormones and now we have four offices across the state of North Carolina and it's just great to watch men and women be their best.  

 JP: That's awesome - and what are some of your most popular treatments at Optimal Bio? 

 GB: I consider myself an energy guy in the sense that I want to just give our bodies the best energy possible. So what I do when people come in, I, I talk to them about how the hypothalamus pituitary talks to other parts of the body - the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland, growth hormone, follicular stimulating hormone, gluttonizing hormone, how all these intertwine and work synergistically. So, in my mind, I'm trying to picture this picture that we're all Ferraris and we all have 12 cylinders. The question is, are we running on two cylinders or 12 cylinders or three cylinders? And so, the energies that I source I look at first is I look at thyroid because thyroid is the, you put your key in the car, start the car, the car is idling that's thyroid. And then I look at the torque, the power that is the testosterone, the estrogen, progesterone. And then I look at it as my car get enough gas, enough oxygen? And that's your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are tested using saliva, cortisol, the best is four times a day via saliva. And the other one is the gold standard or blood draws. So, I consider myself again an energy guy trying to get before the car breaks down, get it, running the best they possibly can.  

 JP: Yeah, and heal from the inside out and not try to heal things after.  

 GB: Yes, I don't want to be - the key is again to be preventive. I don’t even really believe in preventative medicine. Our body is simply amazing when given the right supplements, the right nutraceuticals, the right food, the right sleep, the right exercise. Your body can not just, not just survive, but actually thrive.  

JP: Absolutely. So, I want to talk to you about something and you kind of just mentioned it and what you do and I haven't talked to anybody about this on the podcast yet and that is the thyroid and it's also new to me. So, can you tell us about what the thyroid is and what it controls?  

 GB: Yeah, the thyroid sits in your neck near Adam's Apple. There's a hormone in your brain called thyroid releasing hormone, that's in the hypothalamus, which squirts out a certain frequency and a certain amplitude to your pitu, your anterior pitu. Here, the brain make a thing called thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH and that tells your thyroid to squirt out four hormones. T1, T2, T3, T4, but the main ones are T4 and T3 and a 4 to 1 ratio. The T4 was called a pro hormone. It converts to T3 about seven days after its release, but T3 is the literally the key that turns on everybody's engine inside the body. We have cells, inside the cells we have these organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondria makes this area where steroid, the testosterone and estrogen and progesterone are made, but it's really important to understand it what mitochondria is. It's actually where we breathe in oxygen and through our lungs and eventually gets to our cells. It's the cells that take that oxygen, it's called cellular respiration that actually makes energy. So oxygen becomes ATP and carbon dioxide. I tell people how important mitochondria is. That's where cyanide works. We heard about cyanide and how it's a poison to us because that's where it works. So it's called electron chain transport system it turns that off. So T3 literally makes every cell make mitochondria. So without that, you can't turn the cell on T4 also converts to, it's called reverse T3 and you being a, you know, working for a pharmacist, a compound pharmacist, they're called enantiomers, if you rotate something in space that changes its orientation, so T3 rotated in the way it sits, turns on cells when you rotate it, a mirror image of a cell called enantiomers, so reverse T3 turns things off and to be optimal, you want your T3 above 3.2 and you want your reverse T3 under 10. So, I look at all those plus, your body needs the iodine and  your thyroid needs to work properly. Selenium, iodine, zinc, magnesium, iron, vitamin C and B complexes. So we try to put all that together so that thyroid can be again, not just surviving but actually thriving.  

 JP: What are some of the more popular thyroid disorders that you see? And what are the symptoms of those disorders?  

 GB: Well, when you look at one of the tests I do, I said I do all those tests plus I do these antibodies. There's antibodies that attack two structures in one end and one enzyme ones that they're called TPO, called TGA and microsomal. So if your antibodies, your body attacks those they can cause certain syndromes. And the main theory behind how your body attacks that is in your gut. Gluten is a molecule that can become very allergic to your body, so your body attacks the gluten in your gut, but with those antibodies that attack the gluten can also attack the thyroid, the TGA, the TPO or the microsomal. If it attacks the microsomal, then that makes your body your thyroid disease, hyperthyroid, it turns it on too much, that's called Graves disease. If it attacks the other two, that turns it off, that's called hypothyroidism and a type of that is called Hashimotos. So I find that, that thyroid disease is a spectrum from too far on to too far off and in between. And I can't stress the importance of iodine. We have been about the last 40 years iodine deficient in our food when the, our government took iodine out of the food and replace it with another halogen called bromide. Iodine is crucial. It's the ninth most common mineral in the world's crust, but it's crucial for every single steroidal hormone production. That's how important it is. So you need these levels, the optimal selenium converts T4 to T3 and reverse T3. So, what I do is I know we're talking a lot here, but when I have my patients, I draw pictures, I really believe it's nice to be visual how all this works together.  

 JP: Absolutely. Yeah, and how often are these thyroid disorders misdiagnosed?  

 GB: Well, I think what happens is the diagnosis part may be because we change the standard. The screening test, is TSH I think it's suboptimal, but it is a screening test, and then I'd like to the other ones, but that being said 40-50 years ago when  I was in school a TSH above 2.0, was considered bad or hypo. The higher the TSH is the slower your thyroid works, the lower it works, the faster it works. Hypothyroid is much more common than hyperthyroid. Hyperthyroid can actually become life threatening with high blood pressure and heart, a heart arrhythmia. But back to our hypothyroidism is, is that the thing about it is the TSH again, when I was in school, anything above 2is considered a hypothyroid. Now it's 5.3. So I think we label a lot of people normal when they're actually suboptimal. It's much more common in women as well. Fluoride in our water can just can actually kick out iodine from the receptor site. So, you have chlorine, bromine and fluoride competing for iodine in our body system. So I think it's more, more common than people think of the literature says women are about four times more common than men. But I do see it in men as well.  

JP: Yeah, that sounds really similar to people with the testosterone levels even though your levels might be considered normal that doesn't mean that they're optimal.  

 GB: Yeah, exactly. A man's level 40 years ago is between 800-1200, today is anywhere between 170-700. Same thing for women when I was in school, women were about 90-150 to 180. Now women's consider normal 3. So the question is why is the range changed in both of them? I think it's because the environmental for the sex hormones, it's the neuro endocrine disruptors, the flight, the fake estrogen called xeno estrogens, they disrupt because estrogen is what actually causes the turns off the production of testosterone. So your body is making enough hormone, it turns it off properly. But when you get an outside source of fake estrogens, your body can't recognize it's fake and there it turns itself off. That's why we're lower. The same thing with the iodine being displaced by the other halogens. So we have these low, we have these ranges change for an not healthy or actually more, more, more unhealthy.  

 JP: So what forms of treatments do you use for thyroid disorders?  

 GB: A thyroid disorder I think when you get the levels and you write them all down on a piece of paper again, you see how far off you are. To me, the biggest one is the reverse T3 to T3 ratio. I want to keep that reverse T3 low. Knowing selenium converts T4 to T3, reverse T3, those enzymes are very depend upon selenium, a strong antioxidant. I believe sometimes when you look at the levels that they're close to being a good range is to always try to treat them with nutraceuticals first. Selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron, if the are low in iodine, Dr. Brownstein out of Michigan has written a great book called iodine and a great book called Thyroid Disorders. Who's written books for the last 30 years showing the data from Dr. Abrams as well on our thyroid disease became much more prevalent at the same time, we started to become more iodine deficient. So therefore, I believe in a higher dose iodine than the government recommends. I recommend I believe his literature shows about 12.5 mg - 25 mg a day, which is, by the way, is about 100 times stronger than the government recommends. But interesting point, it's been shown and proven that iodine helps decrease breast cancer. 40-50 years ago in America, when iodine was a higher rate, our breast cancer was 1 in 20. Now, breast cancer is one in seven. Japan has the same high rate we used to have 40 years ago and their breast cancer rates one in 20. It has to do with what is called a sodium iodine system. I may get into that little detail later on. But again, I give our body the, the nutraceuticals it needs and then check the levels in three or four months to see how it's going. If I need medication, I try to mimic the actual 4 to 1 ratio that our body makes. So, I like to use armor thyroid or compounded from pig. For some reason, the porce thyroid is the same exact structure and the same ratio as humans. So that's why I use that.  

 JP: Wow. And how are they, can you go more in depth about how thyroids and hormone imbalances are related?  

 GB: Yes, they're both sources of energy. Ok. Again, one is the basal rate. Thyroid is the basal rate where you just turn your car on it’s idling, that's your basal metabolic rate. That's what thyroid does. Also, there's been, there's been shown that again, keeping the mitochondria healthy and Doctor Warburg in 1924 showed the Warburg effect that cancer cells, their mitochondria becomes dysfunctional. There's some association that the reverse T3 gets higher. So as the cells become dysfunctional, they become more dysplastic and over time can become cancers. Now, testosterone is interesting, cholesterol is actually formed within the mitochondria and that's the precursor to all of our sex hormones. Again, you need a healthy mitochondria which becomes healthy with T3 to make our sex hormones and be functional. So that's how they all chain together. But the key to all of this is they both help the mitochondria acts its best because again, I can’t say this enough sort of mitochondria are the nuclear plants of our cell, without that we cannot breathe oxygen. So that's what they do. They help the mitochondria work efficiently. 

JP: Right. So you need everything balanced to be able to work as efficiently and as optimal as you can be.  

GB: I agree 100% with that.  

 JP: So what should someone do if they believe they have a thyroid disorder?  

 GB: I believe the gold standard is getting a blood level done. And again, the blood level, uh we check the TSH and I want the ratio, I want the rate between 0.5 and 1.5. I want the free T3 above 3.2, the reverse T4 at 1.1 or greater. I want the free T4 over 1.1, the reverse T3 under 10. Now at the levels between 50 and 100 and then I will want the enzymes to be negative. But those are just cold numbers. What I really want to do is listen to the patient. That's the most important: dry skin, oily skin, thin hair, eyebrows change on the lateral side, edema on the legs. There's all these classical symptoms of hypothyroid, bulging eyes of hyperthyroid. So listen to the patient. I don't want to is what people say. I feel more. My, my doctor says I'm normal. That's what I hear every time. But again, they're thinking normal is three or four. But I'm looking at the optimal of all those 11 parameters, not just one. So I think blood test is, is crucial, but the, the patient's story is the, is our map. That's our map.  

 JP: Absolutely. I mean, even when I'm talking to my friends or colleagues, anybody and I mean, I always stress how important it is to find a doctor that will actually listen to you and what you're saying and not just, you know, shove antidepressants or sleeping pills in your face to help you. I'm like, no, that's not what you need.  

GB: I agree. I agree. Like example, vitamin D, it's also made from cholesterol. Vitamin D affects 10% of our genome. It's like a cascade event. Cholesterol becomes about 22 different structures. So we have this idea in medicine, that one penicillin was great, but it made us think simplistically sometime. Penicillin, 1925 was isolated attacks one cell wall. Therefore, one weapon for one enemy. It doesn't work that way. Magnesium works on 400 enzymes. Zinc works on 90 enzymes. Again, iodine works at every single process to make our hormones. So it's a cascade. So you want to, I think it's very important to go back to our biochemistry pathways and see where we could give nutrients and so to that so that our body can do its cells work, not the stop gaps because most medication is either destroys enzymes or blocks receptor. That's not how the body works efficiently.  

JP: Absolutely. I completely agree. Well, is there anything else you would like to add about thyroids or hormones?  

GB: Well, in general, every path of physiology doesn't matter if it's atherosclerosis, leaky gut. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, it has to do with inflammation. And what happens is you have a vascular integrity when that vascular area gets damage that starts off a cascade. The next thing that happens is an immune response, which is supposed to in that local area. But the inflammation, which is the next phase spreads throughout the body, that's the problem. So whatever, we just talk about, whatever process we talk about, we want to eliminate vascular injury over immune response and inflammation and keeping your thyroid and your sex hormones balanced, as well as, your adrenal glands help that tremendously. Plus the biggest culprit of all this is processed sugars. We got to get rid of those processed sugars and eat a healthy balanced diet.  

 JP: I completely agree. So much easier said than done. 

 GB: It sure is. It sure is. But that's what we try to do here to get our, they get, we have a Wellness program. We just want to make sure - I'm really believing that Optimal Bio, our job is to listen to the individual walk their journey, but to be an educator, so that the most important person that can't quit is in the mirror so they can make educated informed decisions what's best for them not be told, “take this because I said so” and walk that process. So that's why I have a big a whiteboard in my office. And everybody just walks in, we just draw the structures of how things work. But again, I think visualization is very, very important. That helps me when I listen to their story, give them a visual to look back and say, hey, that's where I'm at because everybody needs a body to be working optimal has to have these levels, you know, in the perfect range.  

JP: I love that. I mean, and especially for me, I'm a visual person, so I need that in my life.  

 GB: Excellent.  

 JP: Thank you again for joining me. I know schedules are crazy right now. So it definitely means a lot to have you take some time out of your day to chat with me. If anyone wants more information from Dr. Brannon, his website is or you can find them on Facebook at Optimal Bio BHRT.  

 GB: Well, Jennifer, thank you very much. Everybody have a great day and hope you everything this season keeps progressing better, hopefully better than 2020.  

 JP: Oh, yes, I hope so. Thank you, everyone for listening. Please make sure to subscribe and follow us on social media to stay up to date on Qualgen. 

Disclaimer: The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on Qualgen’s website and podcast are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.  

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