Dr. Hotze is joined by special guest, best-selling author, and physician from New York City, Dr. Erika Schwartz. She is the author of several top-rated books including “Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You.” Her own battle with hormone imbalance led her to research bioidentical hormones and preventative medicine, which changed the course of her cutting-edge practice from treating disease to preventing it. Watch as they discuss the importance of hormone balance and vitamins for optimal health.
2:46: “Son.” I said, “Yes sir, Dad.” He said, “Son, don’t poison your patients like all the other doctors do. Do you understand me?”
5:38: …prevention is early diagnosis of disease in the conventional world.
5:58: …you can prevent disease and if you do prevent disease, you won’t fall prey to the system that’s there to just torture you essentially, and keep you scared, and keep on treating you with medication and never making you better. Once they felt good, they didn’t get sick anymore. All the illness, the chronic illnesses that people have developed when they get old, is gone.
8:33: Once they felt good, they didn’t get sick anymore. All the illness, the chronic illnesses that people have developed when they get old, is gone.
9:13: Right, and so as we age, folks, we have a decline in our hormones, both males and females. Those hormones have a tremendous impact upon our health at the cellular level.
10:02: So the interesting thing is that they used to come in when they were going into menopause, but now they come in when they’re teenagers with acne, and PMS, and then after they have kids with weight gain and with the libido changes, and then as they get closer to menopause they start having hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, recurrent urinary tract infections, decreased libido, depression, mood swings. So all of these symptoms add up to hormone depletion rather than to a medical thing that needs to be seen by a subspecialist in neurology or endocrinology to actually take of them.
11:25: But the truth is that all hormones are related. They’re connected to each other, and the more of them you actually address, the better.
12:39: Frailty is really what kills people. If people are strong and they’re building muscles, and they can’t build muscles without hormones, and they can’t build muscle without having the energy to do it, so you need the thyroid and the adrenal support.
19:00: …we look at supplements from a standpoint of immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, hormone support, and energy production.
Stacey: Welcome to Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution. I’m Stacey Bandfield here with Dr. Steven Hotze, founder of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center, and if you haven’t already done so, you can always go to our podcast library. Check us out at HotzePodcast.com, that’s H-O-T-Z-Epodcast.com. We have a wonderful lady and physician, a real pioneer, a trailblazer, just like Dr. Hotze, Dr. Erika Schwartz. We’re going to find out about what she has done to help advance natural approaches to health. Dr. Hotze.
Dr. Hotze: Thanks so much, Stacey, and thank you each one of you for joining us here today. I believe that each one of you needs to have a physician and a staff of professionals who can coach you on the path to health and wellness naturally, so as you mature, you have energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life. Isn’t that what it’s about?
That’s what we want to have, and I’m so pleased today to have a longtime friend and ally of mine, Dr. Erika Schwartz, whose office is in New York City. Dr. Schwartz is a mover and shaker in natural approaches to health, particularly in the area of bioidentical hormone therapy, and she’s written numerous books. What was the first book you wrote that was the…
Dr. Schwartz: Oh my God, it was…thank you for having me on your show Dr. Hotze, it’s such a pleasure. My first book was called Natural Energy and the second one was The Hormone Solution, and that was actually number two on Amazon. That’s when I became the hormone expert.
Dr. Hotze: That’s exactly it…
Dr. Schwartz: That was in 2002.
Dr. Hotze: Right, and you’ve written several other books since then.
Dr. Schwartz: Yes, my favorite is Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You.
Dr. Hotze: Yes, I like that book, Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You, how to beat physician arrogance, corporate greed, and a broken system. Stacey, order that book for me. I didn’t even know that was out. I have to read that.
Stacey: Will do it.
Dr. Hotze: I love that, Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You.
Dr. Schwartz: Right.
Dr. Hotze: Which is…let me mention a little side note here. When I graduated from medical school back in 1976, long before you were born Erika, my father took me out and held a banquet for me at the Houston Club in downtown Houston on the night I graduated, July 30, 1976. Over dinner, he turned to me and he said, “Son.” I said, “Yes sir, Dad.” He said, “Son, don’t poison your patients like all the other doctors do. Do you understand me?”
It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t a recommendation. It wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command. “Do you understand me? Don’t poison your patients like all the other doctors do.” I just said, “Yes sir,” and of course 13 years later that kernel of truth had grown into an oak and we started the Hotze Health & Wellness Center here.
So when I see that book, it makes me reflect back on what my father told me. You wrote the book, Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You, and folks, Dr. Schwartz is the most amazing woman. Now she graduated from medical school there in New York at the SUNY, I’m sorry what does the SU stand for?
Dr. Schwartz: State University of New York.
Dr. Hotze: Right, New York, and she graduated there and got her MD, and went into emergency medicine for a long time. Then at some point in her life, she decided that she was going to open up a practice. Tell us, Erika, what led you into your practice and into natural approaches as opposed to conventional approaches to health.
Dr. Schwartz: Well, that’s a good question. So in the emergency room, you learn how to take care of people when they’re sick. So you know they’re sick and you know that when they need you, you should be there in the emergency situation. But there’s no continuum of care. You’re not going to see them again and I really am a social human being. I wanted to take care of my patients and have a relationship with them, and be part of their lives, and go to the family weddings, and funerals, and be part of it.
So I went into private practice. That’s why I left the trauma center. But then, when I went into private practice, I very quickly learned that what we were doing was really not helping anybody. We were just ping ponging people around from one test to another, from one blood test to another. If there’s nothing wrong on the test, then you can’t put a label on them and give them, what you call, labelitis.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Dr. Schwartz Then you just keep on doing it. So it dawned on me that there was something better I could do, which turns out to be preventing disease.
Dr. Hotze: When did you open up your practice there, in New York City?
Dr. Schwartz: When?
Dr. Hotze: When.
Dr. Schwartz: It was maybe 1998 and nobody even knew what prevention is because prevention is early diagnosis of disease in the conventional world.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Dr. Schwartz: It’s like having a mammogram and a pap smear, and a PSA, which basically just diagnosed disease, and the idea is to prevent disease. What can we do to prevent disease? The more I learned in the past 25 years, literally, is the fact that you can prevent disease and if you do prevent disease, you won’t fall prey to the system that’s there to just torture you essentially, and keep you scared, and keep on treating you with medication and never making you better.
Dr. Hotze: So you made the transition from emergency medicine to set up your wonderful practice, which I visited there in New York City. Set up your practice there. Tell us about the steps you took about starting to use bioidentical hormones. What brought that about? How did you learn about it?
Dr. Schwartz: Well, you wouldn’t learn it from medical school…
Dr. Hotze: Nope.
Dr. Schwartz: …from the medical training, you know that. What happened was that one of my patients came in and asked me to write a prescription for these hormones, and I recognized them because they were the hormones, they were trained…that are the female hormones, estradiol, progesterone, testosterone. But I had never heard of a prescription for them, and she said to me, “Write this prescription and just send it to California to this compounding pharmacy,” and I didn’t even know what a compounding pharmacy was. But because I love my patients and she looked pretty good, and I was total premenopausal, I was too young at the time, I said, “Sure, I’ll write it.” So I wrote the prescription and she did great.
A few years went by and then all of a sudden I started having symptoms and I started having hot flashes, and night sweats, and my period wasn’t right. So I remembered it and I called the pharmacy, and I said, “Listen, whatever you sent to that patient, I need that. Then send me all the research.” This was before everything was at your fingertips. I said, “Send me all your research so I know what was going on, what the research on it is.” I was amazed by the information that we had. So I started prescribing hormones, and then I wound up working with a compounding pharmacist in the area of New York, and I spent two years literally creating the combinations that would work. Then the rest is pretty much history because all my patients were doing great.
It changed pretty much my whole course because I could be about prevention. I could be about balancing women’s hormones initially and then the women brought me their men, and everybody’s hormones were balanced. Once they felt good, they didn’t get sick anymore. All the illness, the chronic illnesses that people have developed when they get old, is gone.
There’s no diabetes. There’s no hypertension. There’s no issues with sleep. There’s no issues with depression. All the issues that people have, we think are part of aging, are not part of aging. They’re part of our diet, are part of the lifestyle that we have been promoted to do, and then part of the medication that we’re treating our patients with. So our patients do great.
Dr. Hotze: Right, and so as we age, folks, we have a decline in our hormones, both males and females. Those hormones have a tremendous impact upon our health at the cellular level. They’re very important, particularly the female hormones and the male hormone are very, very important for cognitive function, just thinking right, and being right, and being in good moods. With science, they affect every cell in your body and they’re also very important in enabling you to properly utilize your thyroid hormones, which enable your cells to produce and use energy. So let me just ask you, tell us about the common complaints in the common age of a woman that comes to see you would have, Erika.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Dr. Schwartz: So the interesting thing is that they used to come in when they were going into menopause, but now they come in when they’re teenagers with acne, and PMS, and then after they have kids with weight gain and with the libido changes, and then as they get closer to menopause they start having hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, recurrent urinary tract infections, decreased libido, depression, mood swings. So all of these symptoms add up to hormone depletion rather than to a medical thing that needs to be seen by a subspecialist in neurology or endocrinology to actually take of them.
It turns out that once you balance their hormones, they’re fine. They feel great. They don’t get sick again. It’s amazing. So these symptoms are all symptoms of hormone imbalance. They’re not symptoms of some kind of strange disease.
Dr. Hotze: That’s exactly right. Tell us about the way you manage individuals with thyroid problems, low thyroid situations.
Dr. Schwartz: So when we first started…that’s actually a good question because when we first started, we thought we’d have the estrogen, progesterone, testosterone taken care of, we’re cool. But the truth is that all hormones are related. They’re connected to each other, and the more of them you actually address, the better. So we started taking care of thyroid, and the American Endocrine Society will tell you that you have to follow the TSH levels, which are useless and diagnose thyroid only by number instead of listening to the patient, who’s telling you they’re not sleeping well, they’re bloated, their eyebrow hair’s disappearing, their hair’s thinning, they feel horrible.
Then it turns out that if you listen to the patient, you start treating them with thyroid, and then the estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, they do well. They don’t get sick anymore. They sleep better. They lose the weight. They’re well balanced. Their mood is improved and their energy level goes up because as you know, you get older, it’s fatigue that really gets people into trouble. Once you treat them with the thyroid, then the fatigue disappears, and they can work out because as you get older, it’s about becoming frail.
Frailty is really what kills people. If people are strong and they’re building muscles, and they can’t build muscles without hormones, and they can’t build muscle without having the energy to do it, so you need the thyroid and the adrenal support. You put the pieces together and all you see is miraculous improvement and people don’t look old. They don’t feel old, and it’s amazing. It’s not such a miracle. It’s just common sense physiology.
Dr. Hotze: That excellent, and of course, we do that here at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center.
Dr. Schwartz: You certainly do.
Dr. Hotze: We treat with the natural bioidentical hormone therapy and natural thyroid replacement therapy. We’ve had problems. I don’t know if you’ve had problems there, but we’ve had problems getting the bioidentical desiccated thyroid. We had problems with that. We’re coming back off that, but that has been hard for our pharmacy to keep the proper thyroid preparation in stock.
As you know, most physicians use synthetic thyroid T4, which isn’t even the active thyroid hormone. Don’t use any thyroid hormone with T3 routine. While that would normalize a blood test and make and endocrinologist feel like he’s done well, the patients routinely don’t do well, simply supplemented on Synthroid, or Levothroid, of Levoxyl, the T4 preparations. They do much better, in our experience, when they take natural desiccated thyroid.
You know what? I think the reason is, Erika, I’ve been doing this, I’ve been using thyroid since 1992. Once we got in this, and I’m sure you experience that, it was a hard time getting the desiccated thyroid. We couldn’t get it for our…we were compounding it, and of course, Forest Labs, which made the desiccated thyroid, Armour thyroid, was bought out by Abbott Labs somewhere within the last four or five years.
Of course, they jacked the prices up and then it was hard to get. They control both sides of the market. They control the Forest Lab Armour Thyroid and they had the synthetic thyroid. Then they ended up selling it. The prices have gone up dramatically and it was hard to get for our compounding pharmacy.
We made Hotze Thyroid, which was desiccated thyroid. The reason we did that, Erika, is because there were tips that Forest would be shut down and we couldn’t get Armour Thyroid for our guests, our patients. It was just out. So I decided that we better compound our own here, and we did. Then it turns out, the second pharmaceutical company that bought Forest Labs shut down or made a deal with the people that make desiccated thyroid from Portland.
They bought all the product and had an agreement with them; they couldn’t sell to any compounding pharmacies. So for about a year and a half, we could not get desiccated thyroid. Now we can, but the prices have gone up dramatically. They went up from $225 a liter, which is 1 million milligrams, went all the way up to $6,700 per liter, which is a huge. I mean, it’s like it went up so dramatically. It was incredible.
Vitamins and Supplements
We used to buy it for pennies and now it costs dollars to buy it per tablet. But thyroid’s been a very important part of our practice here, and I know it’s been an important part of your practice. Now, I know that you do recommend vitamin and mineral supplementation, too, with your patients, as well. Tell us about that and what you see as a basic supplement program that most people should be on.
Dr. Schwartz: So we’ve been working with vitamin D, and I find that really humorous because now there was a couple of studies that came out with this COVID that low vitamin D…
Dr. Hotze: D helps.
Dr. Schwartz: So we’ve been working with vitamin D for over 20 years and our patients’ vitamin D levels have always been kept at the optimum level. We use probiotics, and we use zinc, and we use selenium, and we use omega-3, and we have our own formulation for hormone support. We’ve been working with lactoferrin, which we call, our label’s called defense, which is an immune booster. Our patients are doing great and the thing is that their immune system is optimized.
The thing is that the supplements are very important and I understand the conventional medical word that we come from, things that are supplemented are not okay because a supplement affects everything, and you need a drug, which affects one thing. But that’s not true because a drug affects everything and it’s called side effects.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Dr. Schwartz: The problem is supplements affect everything because you’re supposed to affect everything. So we’re doing really well with our supplements and the patients love it. They feel their immunity is great. Their hormone balance is great. We have data, these supplements, vitamin C, and we’re also talking about…I was on a panel with the guy who heads Sloan Kettering, and he said, “Well, we don’t believe in supplements.” I said, “Well, what about vitamin C?” He said, “Well, vitamin C, I don’t know.” So I said, “Well, Linus Pauling got a Nobel Prize for vitamin C,” and he lived well into his 90s and he’s doing great.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Dr. Schwartz: He was like, “Whatever.” Then I said, “Well, what about vitamin D,” and he said, “Vitamin D, it’s overplayed.” Well, the truth is now we’re coming out with data that it’s not overplayed. The supplements are not overplayed. The supplements actually protect us. So your supplements are amazing too and all you have to do is really give people the supplements that they will benefit and we look at supplements from a standpoint of immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, hormone support, and energy production. So those are really what we’re focusing on, and they’re doing great. I’ve been taking them for 20 years.
Dr. Hotze: Well let me tell you what. You’ve got more energy and you look fabulous. I just always love to be with you because you’re out there on the…you’ve been out on the forefront for years and really challenged conventional thinking in so many physicians. You were well-respected long before you went into this, and now when you went into natural approaches to health, I’m sure it turned a lot of heads in New York State and in New York City. They go, “What is Erika doing now?”
Dr. Schwartz: New York is a little backwards, as we know, when it comes to anything that is new, or anything that may change the status quo, or anything that may question the status quo. Then when you’re coming out with good results, that becomes really confusing to them.
Dr. Hotze: Well I want to congratulate you for coming up with your treatment regimen, treating people with…
Dr. Schwartz: Thank you.
Dr. Hotze: …good, healthy eating plan. Now have you begun to recommend or do you use the Keto eating plan at all for any of your patients?
Dr. Schwartz: Some of our patients like Keto and some of our patients like the intermittent fasting. I think it’s an individualized thing. I think people should try it and if it works for them, by all means, they should stay with it. If it doesn’t work for them, there’s so many variables and so many various things we can use, that there’s plenty of room. I just don’t think people should follow fads and stay with one fad.
I think that now with everybody being locked up in New York, as you know, we’re still locked up there. Everybody’s gaining weight and everybody’s unhappy because all we’re eating is sugar, and as we know, sugar is the worst thing that we could be eating. But we’ve got to cut people some slack and get them back on track, and alkalinize their bodies.
So what I’ve been really doing a lot with our patients now is alkalinizing their bodies because we don’t want acidity, and sugar as you know, and alcohol, will increase acidity. So we want to bring down the acidity, giving them room to get better mentally as we get out of this insane lockdown. So we’re teaching people to use baking soda with water three or four times a day to alkalinize their bodies. It’s helping with the inflammation.
Dr. Hotze: That’s tremendous. So Dr. Erika Schwartz uses the same program we use here, and that’s healthy eating lifestyle, a replenishment of your hormones, both male and female hormones when indicated, and use of thyroid hormones, and vitamin and mineral supplementation. Of course, she recommends a good exercise program, which everybody should do. We know about that, and good night’s sleep. Her patients do extremely well.
I want to thank you, Erika, for the example that you’ve set to me and to so many doctors that you’ve trained around the country and the challenge you really make to conventional doctors about the treatment they use and how they could really be using something much safer, the program that you use and I use, which is a natural approach to health. Our goal, remember, and Dr. Schwartz’s goal is, with every one of our patients, every one of our guests, we want them to obtain and maintain health and wellness naturally. We want them to have energy, vitality and enthusiasm for life, and if you don’t feel that way and you’re anywhere near Dr. Schwartz, I want to encourage you to get in touch with her and the name of your center, Dr. Schwartz, how can they get in touch with you?
Dr. Schwartz: Well it’s called Evolved Science, and we have an Instagram handle which is eshealth. We have, ESHealth is the website, and ask us how we can help you. We are more than happy to help people. We’re doing a lot of remote stuff because right now, we can’t go in there. We do IVs, so patients are still coming in for the IVs. But the rest of it is everything we’re doing is really remote and it’s really easy to figure out what’s going on. We look at each other like we’re looking at each other now and then we figure out what we can do and improve their lives, and stop the fear, and make them feel better.
Dr. Hotze: Now Erika, where can we buy your books? By the way, Erika is spelled E-R-I-K-A, that’s Erika is the first name, Schwartz, S-C-H-W-A-R-T-Z, Dr. Erika Schwartz in New York City. You can Google her but what’s your website?
Dr. Schwartz: ESHealth.
Dr. Hotze: E as in Erika, S as in Schwartz, Health, ESHealth.com. Can they purchase the books online or should they go to Amazon?
Dr. Schwartz: Amazon, they can go to Amazon. They can get it from Amazon. They can probably get them from our website, but they’re all on Amazon.
Dr. Hotze: So I would highly encourage you to get a couple of Dr. Schwartz’s books. She has been a tremendous influence, not only on me but literally of thousands of doctors around the country, and I thank you, and congratulate you, Erika, on your outstanding work.
Stacey: Yes, congratulations.
Dr. Schwartz: Well no, thank you. Listen, if it weren’t for you Dr. Hotze, I don’t know how far I would’ve gone because you’ve been an inspiration to me and I think of you as just a friend, a mentor, an amazing trailblazing person who is there to help improve life for everyone. You certainly lead the wellness revolution.
Dr. Hotze: Well, you’re kind in your comments.
Dr. Schwartz: It’s the truth. I can’t believe you’re blushing, is that it? You’re the best, you kidding? It’s amazing to count you as a friend is pretty impressive, pretty impressive. It’s true, we certainly have one. It doesn’t matter how long it takes between times we talk to each other.
Dr. Hotze: I know.
Stacey: That’s true.
Dr. Schwartz: We’re still on the same page.
Dr. Hotze: Exactly.
Stacey: That’s absolutely right, and for those of you out there who want to get on that page, that want to learn more about natural approaches to health…
Dr. Schwartz: Please.
Stacey: …you could also try to reach Dr. Hotze at our office at 281-698-8698. We can answer your questions, any question you have, again 281-698-8698. Thank you for joining us here today on Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution.