Thyroid and Autoimmune Disease

Thyroid and Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune disease is the loss of the integrity of the immune system, which causes the destruction of different tissues and organ systems in the body. It is as though you are “allergic to yourself”.

Patterns that contribute to hypothyroidism

Because functional medicine is based on an in-depth knowledge of human physiology and how various systems in the body work together, we also look at a blood test for patterns instead of just looking at individual markers. By doing this, we see how these different systems influence one another to cause a constellation of symptoms.

For instance, instead of just looking at a single lab value, we may evaluate immune, hormonal, blood sugar, or stress imbalances that may be causing hypothyroid symptoms, or fertility issues. Of course, there are many other factors that you may not be aware of to be contributing to your low thyroid.


Functional medicine can identify Hashimoto’s, or autoimmune hypothyroidism

Because we look at a more complete picture, a blood test for functional medicine also includes more markers that standard blood tests. For instance, we know Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland, is responsible for 90 percent of hypothyroid cases in the United States. Therefore, we also test thyroid antibodies to screen for autoimmunity along with other thyroid markers for more information.

A blood test for a functional medicine approach can also help us know what other tests may be necessary, such as a gastrointestinal panel or further testing for anemia.


Principles of functional medicine for hypothyroidism

Once the factors contributing to hypothyroid symptoms have been identified, the functional medicine practitioner uses a variety of science-backed, non-pharmaceutical approaches to restore health. These include:

  • Adjustments to the diet—a gluten-free diet is essential for people with Hashimoto’s
  • Lifestyle changes (regular meals, proper sleep hygiene, physical activity, and stress reduction)
  • The use of botanicals or nutritional compounds to improve physiological function
  • Other natural medicine therapeutics customized to each person

Yet, there is so much more to Hashimoto’s treatment.

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