According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), roughly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, and over half of this population is unaware of their condition. Your thyroid is a small gland in your neck that manufactures hormones to regulate your metabolism.
When your thyroid produces too much hormone (i.e. is overactive), it is called Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism may include irritability, anxiety, fatigue, bulging eyes, soft nails, increased appetite, sweating, muscle weakness, sleeping problems, a fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, diarrhea, enlargement of the thyroid and weight loss. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the US is called Grave’s Disease, which is an autoimmune condition.
When it produces too little hormone (i.e. is underactive), it is called Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is characterized by poor ability to tolerate cold, fatigue, constipation, depression, brain fog, hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails, infertility and weight gain. The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune condition.
Once all issues that require urgent medical attention are ruled out, such as infection, malignancy, or autoimmune disorder, functional medicine can be vital to finding out the root cause of an overactive or underactive thyroid. A comprehensive thyroid panel provides more information than the standard evaluation of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) alone and can help determine if an autoimmune condition is involved.
Additional testing and evaluation of medical history provide other data to determine the underlying root cause. Common underlying root causes of thyroid issues include:
- Chronic stress
- Leaky gut syndrome or poor gut function (floral imbalance, chronic inflammation)
- Poor nutrition (especially deficiencies in omega 3’s, B vitamins, iodine, and selenium)
- Toxic exposure and/or poor detoxification (overuse of medications, mold, chemical exposure, heavy metals)
- Chronic infections (abnormal gut bacteria, parasites, viral)
- Hormone imbalance (thyroid, adrenal, sex hormones)
Thyroid Hormone Testing- Blood
- Unbound levels of T4 and T3, which reflect the bioactive portion of thyroid hormone. This hormone assessment can identify not only overt hyper-and hypothyroidism, but subtle sub-clinical manifestations of thyroid dysfunction.
- Reverse T3, levels of which can increase when peripheral conversion to T4 to active T3 is impaired. Peripheral thyroid imbalances may arise from nutrient shortages, heavy metal exposure, adrenal stress, enzyme deficiencies, and other chronic illness.
- Thyroid antibody levels, which help gauge autoimmune response and may reflect metabolic irregularities and hypothyroidism even when TSH and T4 levels appear normal. Thyroid antibody levels may rise in response to trauma, dysbiosis, inflammation (including thyroiditis) or progressive thyroid degeneration.
We recommend dietary changes such as limiting goitrogenic foods, increase foods high in iodine, ensure adequate selenium intake as well and eat more of a Paleo focused diet.
Our lifestyle coach will support the patient with behavior modification techniques alongside stress reduction.
Supplementation is focused on lab results and may include restoring optimal levels of iodine and selenium, Vitamin D, Glutathione, Zinc and herbal treatments
Symptoms of Thyroid Imbalance
often have cold extremities
require excessive rest
unintentional weight gain
difficulty losing weight
Increased heart rate or palpitations
Unintentional weight loss
often feel warm
tremor in hands
excessive bowel movements