Using Functional Medicine to treat Thyroid Disease
Thyroid hormone is needed by the whole body for energy production and metabolism and thyroid levels contribute to the balance of the other hormones in the body. Untreated thyroid problems can lead to fatigue, mental health issues, adrenal and sex hormone dysfunction, weight gain and the associated risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Early identification of thyroid malfunction or antibodies towards the thyroid gland may give us an opportunity to prevent the need for eventual Thyroid hormone replacement. For patients with inadequate thyroid function, functional medicine helps to optimise hormone levels with a holistic treatment plan including diet, nutritional support, stress reduction and appropriate hormonal replacement therapy where needed.
Given its importance, we offer full thyroid screening to all of our patients, to ensure we are not missing an opportunity to restore health and function to this vital organ. Although you may have had previous NHS thyroid levels and been told they are ‘normal’, our aim is for optimal health and our new patient screen includes:
- Total and Free Thyroxine (T4)
- Triiodothyronine (Free T3)
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Reverse T3
- Anti-Thyroglobulin and Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies
This panel allows us to identify patients with early thyroid autoimmune disease (who may not yet be symptomatic), and to identify and treat the cause of many cases of fatigue and other health problems. We are seeing increasing numbers of patients who have problems with thyroid hormone metabolism. These may not be identified by the standard NHS screening panels. Our tests enable us to identify patients who are not able to process Thyroxine (the standard replacement hormone), normally.
Functional Medicine looks to treat the causes of thyroid disease by:
- Checking and supporting important nutrients for the production and proper onward metabolism of thyroid hormones.
- Looking for, and removing, triggers to thyroid autoimmune disease. These can be foods, toxins, stress and changes in the microbiome (bacteria living in the gut).
- Optimising general health and wellbeing to reduce inflammation, chronic infections and stress. These factors may cause symptoms of hypothyroidism by stimulating the production of ‘Reverse T3’ (an inactive Thyroid hormone which can block normal Thyroid hormone activity).
Signs you may have Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) include:
- Feeling cold, intolerance to extremes of temperature or cold hands and feet
- Weight gain which is resistant to diet or exercise.
- Period changes (in women), or unexplained infertility
- Low mood, depression and irritability
- Cognitive disturbance with ‘brain fog’ and memory loss
- Fatigue, muscle injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Swelling in the tissue of the neck may become apparent as a ‘goitre’
- Blood cholesterol levels may rise
Those with Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), may experience:
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Hunger and sugar cravings
- Anxiety and sometimes severe mental health disturbances
- The antibodies associated with Grave’s disease (a particular kind of hypothyroidism), may also cause eye damage and puffiness behind the eyes.
If any of these issues affect you, we would be delighted to offer you screening and Functional Medicine support. Book a Consultation with Dr Davies today.