By: Dr. Jin Sung – October, 2012
According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, more than 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction, half of who go undiagnosed by conventional medicine. Of the detected cases of hypothyroidism, 90 percent are due to an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s disease, in which the immune system attacks and destroys thyroid gland tissue.
Thyroid replacement hormones ignore what caused the thyroid to become depressed in the first place. For example, irregular immune function, poor blood sugar metabolism, gut infections, adrenal problems, and hormonal imbalances can all significantly depress thyroid function. While prescription thyroid hormones might bring serum thyroid levels into a normal range, they do not address what caused the thyroid to falter in the first place.
The drugs may make some people feel better, but for many others the relief is short-lived, if it occurs at all, even when they have normal blood test results.
In the case of Hashimoto’s, taking thyroid medication has no effect on the autoimmune disease that destroys the thyroid gland. The first step is to dampen the immune response and slow its attack on the thyroid gland. When the immune system flares up, it destroys thyroid tissue and releases a flood of metabolism-stimulating thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, which causes a racing, pounding heart and anxiety. When the attack slows, the compromised thyroid gland returns the body to the hypothyroid state of fatigue and depression. Also, studies show that eating gluten triggers and exacerbates the condition.
The functional and conservative management of thyroid care often begins with balancing the blood sugar. A gut-repair regimen, which includes eliminating foods that repeatedly fire up the immune system, is also typically necessary. In some cases more extensive testing to search out parasitic or bacterial infection is required. Many people also suffer from some degree of adrenal stress, which must be addressed and chiropractors are known to do this very well with diet, nutritional and stress management procedures.
A functional approach to thyroid care: A synopsis
The following is brief outline on the functional approach to thyroid care and does not replace the many hours of education, study, and experience required to address thyroid dysfunction.
• Assess symptoms and run comprehensive blood chemistry laboratories including thyroid panel using functional ranges to identify the pattern of thyroid dysfunction.
• Assess whether the thyroid condition is autoimmune by positive antibody markers in blood chemistry or other means of immune testing. If positive, identify, using lab testing and symptoms, whether the autoimmune imbalance is driven by an active antigen or a dysregulated immune system. Modulating the immune system using functional means with nutritional compounds formulated for this response, and, if necessary, address the active antigen and provide TH-1, TH-2, or TH-3 support as needed with nutrition and lifestyle management.
• Assess whether blood sugar imbalances, i.e. hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, or diabetes are an issue and address through functional means: diet, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle management. Adrenal function and cortisol levels are a part of this evaluation.
• Assess whether gastrointestinal infections and/or dysfunction are an issue and address through diet, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle management. Lab testing may be necessary.
• Assess whether hormones are imbalanced by symptoms and lab testing and support through diet, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle management.
• Assess whether neurotransmitter imbalances are an issue and address through diet, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle management.
• Re-evaluation of thyroid markers made on an on-going basis during active care of the patient and involvement with the patient’s primary care provider who can monitor any medication is often necessary.
• The risks in functional medicine management of thyroid conditions are minimal because diet regimens are employed, natural nutritional compounds are recommended, exercise protocols are advised, and lifestyle management issues are addressed. Almost every chronic disease is lifestyle driven and the reversal of it must be made to repeal the chronicity of the health condition.
Dr. Jin Sung is a chiropractic physician who offers a unique, drug-free, and effective approach to the management of chronic health conditions. He utilizes Brain Based Therapy and Functional Medicine approaches to achieve excellent results with his patients. Call 978 688 6999 or visit www.DrJinSung.com
Please consult with your physician before starting any dietary or nutritional regiment. The information provided is not meant to replace proper medical care.