How Do Functional Medicine Doctors Approach Thyroid Disorders?
Thyroid disorders can be either Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, low-functioning thyroid, or Grave’s disease. The treatments for these autoimmune and non-autoimmune thyroid disorders are approached very differently in functional medicine. There are numerous micronutrient deficiencies that influence how the thyroid functions. Specifically, when looking at thyroid hormones, functional medicine doctors consider the Free T4 and Free T3; the 4 and the 3 are the number of iodine molecules in those hormones.
Free T3 is the active form of the thyroid hormone in the body. A certified functional medicine practitioner will look at the amount of iodine you have in your body that makes those hormones. Functional medicine doctors look at iron, B vitamins, vitamin A, selenium, and zinc. They also look at things that can cause the thyroid gland not to function, such as toxins and heavy metals.
When certified functional medicine practitioners optimize your nutrients and micronutrients, your thyroid will often begin to function normally. Additionally, if you have an autoimmune thyroid disease, they will remove certain things from the diet—such as gluten and casein—the autoimmune markers and antibodies to the thyroid will decrease and may even be as good as zero.
Another issue with thyroid diseases is that many times, people have a virus that triggered the thyroid disease. Also, antibodies can rise for approximately seven years before the illness will ever manifest itself with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Looking at those antibodies even in children is imperative. A young child who comes in that was constipated shouldn’t just do a thyroid stimulating hormone or a TSH in a Free T4. The functional medicine pediatrician should also do an entire thyroid panel, including thyroid autoantibodies. The process should be repeated if necessary to be sure that the numbers are valid. If the child was developing a thyroid disorder such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the functional medicine pediatrician should have a sit-down with the patient’s parents and discuss applying changes to the child’s lifestyle and food plan so that the child could be healthy.
It is a wonderful thing to diagnose these kinds of disorders very early on in life before the child develops huge levels of autoantibodies, ends up on thyroid medication, and be treated allopathically.
Consult with a qualified functional medicine pediatrician or certified functional medicine practitioner today!