High TSH? Why functional medicine is important for Hashimoto’s low thyroid function
Do you have high TSH and have you noticed the term “functional medicine” popping up more? Functional medicine is different from regular medicine in that it looks for root causes instead of just addressing symptoms. This is important to know when managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, which may be the reason your TSH is high. By managing root causes of Hashimoto’s low thyroid function, you can improve your energy, sleep, vitality, mood, and even libido. Seeking functional medicine help for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism can also improve your brain health, digestive issues, and hormone balance. It may also bring your TSH levels closer to normal. This is because everything in the body works together.
Root causes: Address the engine, not the engine light when you have high TSH
If your car's engine light comes on, do you find a way to turn off or remove the engine light, or do you investigate what's wrong with the engine? The same goes for functional medicine
and Hashimoto's hypothyroidism when you have high TSH. Functional medicine is not about giving you a drug to get rid of a symptom, or removing part of the body that is causing problems (although drugs and surgery should always be used if necessary). Instead, it's about investigating why you have that symptom and working on that instead. For example, suppose five different people have the same symptom, whether it is depression, fatigue, digestive problems, or persistent skin rashes. Each of those five people can have the same symptom for five very different reasons. An overgrowth of gut bacteria may cause depression in one, while a gluten intolerance
causes it in another. With Hashimoto’s low thyroid function and high TSH, it is important to look at the underlying causes that led to the triggering of autoimmune thyroid disease and address those.
Learn why you have high TSH and Hashimoto's low thyroid function
Until you understand why you developed high TSH and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, chasing after symptoms with drugs or therapies can keep bringing you to dead ends. Functional medicine relies on peer-reviewed studies to help us understand how the body works and where breakdowns occur. We use lab tests, questionnaires, in-office exams, and a discussion about your case history help us learn the root cause of your high TSH and Hashimoto’s low thyroid function.
Five common functional medicine root causes
Although there can be different causes for the same symptom, we see commonalities. Some of them are:
- Autoimmunity (when the immune system attacks and destroys body tissue). In most people, hypothyroidism is caused by thyroid autoimmunity, called Hashimoto's. This makes TSH high.
- Food intolerances, especially to gluten and dairy
- Low blood sugar
- High blood sugar (insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes)
- Intestinal bacterial, yeast overgrowths, and leaky gut
Addressing these factors can help you manage your Hashimoto’s low thyroid function and help alleviate not only your thyroid symptoms, but also other symptoms, as well as bring down your TSH.
The human body is a complex, interrelated web
The body is a highly complex web in which all systems and parts are related. The thyroid — or any other system in the body — does not function independently of the rest of the body. For instance, if autoimmune disease is destroying the thyroid gland, causing high TSH, it’s not just the thyroid you address, but also the immune system. If the gallbladder is acting up, addressing a gluten intolerance and chronic inflammation can sometimes prevent gallbladder surgery. Ask my office how functional medicine can help you manage your Hashimoto’s low thyroid function and other chronic health problems.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto's Low Thyroid Disease
, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact
About Dr. Josh Redd — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto's Low Thyroid Disease
, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center
with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto's disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto's, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here