Things You Should Know If You Have a Thyroid Condition

We see Thyroid patients nearly every day. Conventional doctors tell some that their symptoms are just a ‘normal’ part of their thyroid condition, while others are assured that medication will easily manage their problems, yet they still don’t feel their best.

While medication can be beneficial for regulating thyroid levels, there’s much more beneath the surface that’s often overlooked. We’ve guided numerous patients to reclaim their health and vitality by diving deep into the root causes using a functional medicine approach.

If you’re living with a thyroid condition, there are some crucial things that conventional medicine may not always communicate:

Most Thyroid Conditions Are Autoimmune Related

The thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, produces thyroid hormones that regulate metabolic function and energy levels. These hormones influence weight, heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and more. Thyroid dysfunction can lead to problems like fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, depression, and anxiety. What’s often missed is that the majority of thyroid diseases are autoimmune. In autoimmune thyroid conditions, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid, causing inflammation and damage, leading to Hashimoto’s or Grave’s Disease. Treating the root cause, such as supporting the immune system, is vital for full recovery.

Most Traditional Doctors Don’t Order a Full Thyroid Panel

Many traditional providers rely on only two thyroid markers – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and T4 – to assess thyroid function. However, these markers don’t provide the whole picture, especially regarding how the body uses thyroid hormones and whether an autoimmune reaction occurs. A complete thyroid panel includes TSH, free T4, free T3 (the active thyroid hormone), thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, and thyroglobulin (TG) antibodies. Functional medicine practitioners consider optimal ranges and can detect imbalances that standard testing might miss.

Multiple Medication Options

Treating thyroid conditions involves various medication options. Levothyroxine (Synthroid) is commonly prescribed for hypothyroidism, but alternatives like Armour and NP liothyronine (Cytomel) exist. In hyperthyroid cases (often due to Grave’s disease), PTU and Tapazole block thyroid hormone production. It’s essential to know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and exploring different medications may lead to better results, especially for those who struggle with hormone conversion.

Nutrients Make a Difference

Nutrients are essential for thyroid health and can help address deficiencies. While endocrinologists typically don’t test for nutrient deficiencies, dietary changes and supplementation can be beneficial. Nutrients like selenium, zinc, iron, omega-3s, and various vitamins (A, D, E) are crucial in maintaining a healthy thyroid. 

Toxins May Also Be Playing a Role

Thyroid function can be negatively affected by common toxins found in everyday items, our environment, and our food. Mercury, for instance, can damage the thyroid and disrupt hormone production, and it can be found in some fish, dental fillings, and water supplies. Pesticides and herbicides have been linked to causing thyroid issues. Identifying these toxins is crucial for optimal thyroid health, as they can cause symptoms like fatigue, weight fluctuations, cognitive decline, and more. Knowing about toxin exposure allows for developing a plan to detoxify the body and mitigate potential risks.

The Functional Medicine Approach

Understanding the complexities of thyroid conditions is essential for patients seeking the best care and optimal health. While conventional medicine offers valuable insights, a functional medicine approach can often unveil hidden aspects of thyroid issues and lead to more effective treatment strategies. Recognizing that many thyroid problems are autoimmune-related underscores the importance of addressing the immune system alongside thyroid support.

A thorough understanding of thyroid conditions, paired with a functional medicine approach that considers the root causes and individualized treatments, can offer a pathway to improved thyroid health and overall well-being. If you’re dealing with thyroid issues, we encourage you to contact Compass Human Performance in Nashville, TN, for personalized care and support. 

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