HYPERTHYROIDISM | A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE APPROACH

If you have hyperthyroidism this photo might be something you can relate to. When I had hyperthyroidism I felt more stressed than I had ever experienced. I felt like I had 10 cups of coffee in me all day long.

Yes, you read that right: I had hyperthyroidism

I had just turned 52 and noticed my heart was beating faster than normal. My hair had been thinning out and I thought my clothes felt a little loose. As it got worse the sense of anxiety and stress became overwhelming. It was like my engine was running full blast with my foot on the break. I finally went ahead and ran some blood tests. Later that week I got an “alert” from Labcorp that one of my tests was extremely high! I was stunned to see that my thyroid was running full blast. For 52 years of my life my thyroid had run perfectly, but now it was going berserk. I have never been so thankful for my Functional Medicine education! Through testing I was able to find and fix my hyperthyroidism.

The Standard Medical Treatment Stinks

The only thing the traditional medical approach can do for hyperthyroidism is to kill the thyroid (radioactive iodine or surgical removal) and put patients on thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of their lives. I was not interested any of that, thank you very much. How ’bout you?

Time to practice what I’d been preaching

So WHY did my perfectly good thyroid go crazy? What changed? This is what functional medicine is all about. More often than not we find the answer to this question in one or a combination of these three:

  1. Toxins
  2. Infections
  3. Nutrient deficiency

Toxins can cause hyperthyroidism

The first thing I wanted to know is, was I iodine deficient or toxic with fluoride or bromine. You see iodine is the fuel that the thyroid runs on. When the thyroid doesn’t have enough iodine it doesn’t work right. Often iodine deficiency causes hypothyroidism. Fluoride and bromine are chemically close to iodine, so when the the body doesn’t have enough iodine it tries to replace the needed iodine with bromine or fluoride. That works about as well as trying to run your gasoline powered car on diesel fuel.

Well low and behold not only was I deficient in iodine, but I was five times over the “normal” level of fluoride. Holy hyperthyroidism! How did that happen?? I’ll tell you a little later, because I’m not done telling you why my thyroid was freaking out.

Often in patients with thyroid problems, I also find toxic metals like Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Cadmium and Mercury. With my new thyroid problem, I wanted to be sure there weren’t any toxic metals in my system. I had identified another toxin (lead) years ago and had done therapy to remove it. Heavy metals like lead are stored in the bone, and completely removing them from the body is a slow process. I found that my lead levels were indeed still a little high.

The other big toxin category that I find hurting all hormone systems is chemical toxins like phthalates. Pesticides, herbicides (Roundup), cleaning agents, and chemicals that come from plastics are all common toxins that interfere with hormones, including thyroid hormones.

Infections can cause hyperthyroidism

Infections, especially in the intestinal tract, are a source for all kinds or problems. Gut infections contribute to creating an environment of dysfunction. Infections deplete the body of needed nutrients, weaken the immune system, create inflammation, damage the gut and disrupt the important balance of healthy bacteria in the body. Any one of these adverse effects of infections is going to contribute to triggering hyperthyroidism.

My testing uncovered a klebsiella pneumoniae infection, which was causing a lot of inflammation and weakening my immune system.

Food Sensitivities do not help

Food sensitives are different than allergies. When the immune system treats a food like it’s an infection we call that a sensitivity. If you’re eating foods you’re sensitive to on a daily basis, it weakens your immune system and creates more inflammation. According to my test I was sensitive to many foods I was eating often, including rice, egg yolk, soy and black pepper.

Nutrient deficiency can cause hyperthyroidism

As I mentioned earlier iodine is a super important nutrient for the thyroid. Other important nutrients for proper thyroid function are coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, zinc, copper, selenium, iron and vitamins A, D, B2, B3, B6, K and C.

Fatty acid balance is very important for controlling inflammation in the body. We can test for EPA, DHA, DPA, Arachidonic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Omega-6 and Omega-3. The key here is balance. If there is an imbalance the body will be pro-inflammation, making everything worse.

My testing revealed that my zinc, EPA, DPA and DHA levels were very low.

Testing is so important here. It would not be helpful to start taking all these supplements in an attempt to fix hyperthyroidism. More of a nutrient is not better unless it’s needed. Nutrient toxicity is actually a real issue. For example, I had a patient suffering from selenium toxicity. She started taking it because she read that it was important for her thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism is a sign that something is wrong. Testing is needed to find out what is wrong. Only then can the proper treatment plan be made to help.

Where did my fluoride toxicity come from?

I had not used toothpaste with fluoride for years. Our drinking water filters remove fluoride. Turns out that black, green and white teas are high in fluoride, and I had been drinking three quarts of iced tea a day for years. Even “organic” black, green and white teas are contaminated with fluoride. This is because tea plants absorb potential toxins and heavy metals to a greater concentration than is in the soil surrounding them. Well, that’s what it was–my tea!

Other beverages high in fluoride are fruit juices, wine and some sodas. You can see how your beverages compare on this USDA chart.

Happy ending!

Well once I knew what went wrong I put together my treatment plan. As you might guess I stopped my tea consumption. Here are the highlights:

  • Detox Fluoride and Lead
  • Treat klebsiella pneumoniae infection
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Corrected diet

After about two weeks I began to feel better, though fixing the kinds of things I had wrong was going to take a few months. After one month of the treatment I ran blood work to see what my thyroid numbers were, and they had improved! How cool was that! I didn’t need to kill my thyroid.

My thyroid had not been working right because of the various problems in my body. Once I corrected those problems, my thyroid began to function properly. Crazy! Who would have thought such a thing was possible? 🙂

I would love to help you or someone you love if they are dealing with a hyperthyroid problem. Working with me is easy!