Wichita Functional Medicine Specialist Explains Autoimmune Diseases

Thyroid Health

Your thyroid has many important functions in addition to metabolism. It is also responsible for controlling heart, muscle, digestive function, brain development and bone maintenance. Thyroid hormones are in constant circulation and are regulated by a special thyroid-brain feedback loop (hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid). 

Thyroid Imbalances

A healthy thyroid gland produces the exact amount of thyroid hormones needed to keep all these important functions in your body balanced, including your metabolism.
There are many reasons why your thyroid may become damaged which can bring on symptoms of sluggishness and weight gain just to name two.
Common imbalances or conditions fall into two categories. With one the thyroid gland produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) causing you to use up nutrients and calories too quickly. The second is when the thyroid doesn’t produce sufficient hormone (hypothyroidism), resulting in your body slowing down and not converting energy well, causing weight gain and fatigue.


Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include extreme or quick weight loss, nervousness and excess sweating, infrequent periods, eye issues, skin issues, muscle weakness, and a fast heart rate. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight, sluggishness, heavier periods, brain fog, dry skin and hair, sensitivity to cold, slower heart rate, fatigue, memory issues, and dry skin and hair.

What causes thyroid imbalances or disease?

There are many things that can compromise thyroid health. Nutritional causes, environmental toxins, pregnancy, and genetic factors can all play a role in thyroid disease, causing an array of symptoms. Genetic factors can impact your thyroid, such as with Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that can be triggered by stressors, gut issues or even infections.
Apart from more serious autoimmune thyroid condition, women can develop thyroiditis after childbirth, this is also referred to as postpartum thyroiditis.
Nutrition also impacts your thyroid function. A diet high in sugar, junk foods, inflammatory foods (gluten and poor quality fats), regular alcohol consumption can disrupt thyroid health. Deficiencies in important thyroid nutrients, like iodine, selenium, and zinc can also be to blame.

The Conventional Approach To Treating Thyroid Issues

Worldwide, over 200 million people have some type of thyroid disease and this number continues to rise. While everyone is susceptible, women are 7 times more likely to have issues with thyroid imbalances.
The traditional approach to thyroid health is not preventative. While testing for thyroid health is done using a blood test, this is only part of the equation when it comes to protecting your thyroid. In hypothyroidism, hormone replacement may be needed. However, replacing hormones is a delicate balance.

In addition, traditional approaches may not always test or look at the other factors that cause thyroid imbalances such as heavy metals and gut issues, which may be the underlying cause.

The Functional Medicine Approach To Thyroid Health

What we’ve realized, through current medical studies and advanced medical testing, is that environmental toxins and gut health greatly impact thyroid health. If hormone replacement is needed, we look at bio-identical hormone replacement. This adapts well in the body and can be tested with blood work to ensure appropriate dosage.

Environmental toxins and toxins in our food are incredibly harmful for your thyroid, and they have greatly increased over the past three years. Heavy metals, which have made their way into our food and seafood, can damage delicate gland tissues and cause your thyroid to malfunction. One problematic heavy metal, mercury, that was extracted from the earth during the industrial age to produce felt and mirrors, is now in high quantities in our oceans. Mercury is also found in high quantities in fish, especially large fish like tuna who eat smaller fish, and accumulate it in their tissues. Regular consumption of these foods (more than once monthly) can cause heavy metal build-up in your body.

Gluten is an inflammatory protein molecule that can be found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. This can inflame thyroid tissues, especially if you have a gluten sensitivity or genetic markers for gluten sensitivity. More than 18 million Americans are currently suffering from some form of gluten sensitivity and many people remain undiagnosed.

We are exposed to many man-made chemicals (so-called xenobiotics) today – present in medications, beauty products, and cleaning supplies. There are byproducts of industrialization like pesticides from farming, PCPs, plastics, synthetic perfumes, lignin, and more. Xenoestrogens are man-made estrogen-like compounds that are especially harmful for your hormone and thyroid health. They were created to make plastic like plastic wrap, water bottles, food containers. While this is great for the practicalities of food storage, it’s awful for your hormone health as these containers with “fake estrogen” leech into our food and get into our bodies.

These toxins accumulate inside your body, getting stuck in your tissues, ultimately triggering serious disorders that affect hormone balance, digestion, joint health, and proper liver function.

That’s why it is important to follow a functional medicine approach to identify what factors that can compromise your thyroid health. Together, we can create a customized plan to address all the issues that are causing thyroid issues.

Take The First Step On Your

Journey With Me

Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make a decision to become a patient. We are happy to answer any questions you have to determine if Wichita Health and Hormone Clinic is right for you.

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