A Functional Medicine Approach to Thyroid Imbalances 


May, 2022

Are you suffering in silence?

Tired of feeling “sick & tired”?

Frustrated with non answers from your docs, saying “everything is fine” or “it’s just stress”…?

Symptoms are your body’s way of communication. ACKNOWLEDGE and LISTEN to them. You know your body best & just bc these are common, they’re NOT NORMAL.

The Thyroid: What is it, and why does it matter?

Did you know every cell in the body has a receptor site for thyroid hormone? Your thyroid affects ALL of your body’s systems!

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It releases specific hormones that travel through the body and regulate vital functions. Thyroid hormones help regulate breathing, heart rate, metabolism, menstrual cycles, body temperature, blood pressure, and even your mood.

Image of a woman exercising at home on a yoga mat

Hypothyroidism is more common than Hyper, and women are 5-8x more likely to have it than men!

Hypothyroidism Symptoms:

Overall Fatigue & low energy

Muscle and joint pain

Feeling bloated & puffy (chronic inflammation)

Digestive issues: constipation, food sensitivities

Weight gain

Dry skin, thinning hair, brittle or weak nails

Decreased/low blood pressure & heart rate

Missing or irregular periods/menstrual cycles

Low sex hormone levels & Low Libido


Low body temperature, feeling cold

Brain fog, lack of cognitive clarity, trouble concentrating

Feeling apathetic, depressed moods, lack of motivation or “zest for life”


Hyperthyroidism Symptoms:

Unexplained Weight loss

Racing pulse, heart palpitations, Elevated heart rate

Increased body temp, feeling hot, excessive sweating

Digestive issues

Anxiety, irritability & mood swings

Goiter (enlarged thyroid glands)


Muscle tremors

Irregular or missing periods

How Does the Thyroid Work?

Step 1:The Hypothalamus in the brain signals the Pituitary gland to release TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) to Thyroid.

Step 2: The release of TSH stimulates the Thyroid gland itself to create T4 & T3 hormones.

Step 3: T4 hormone is inactive and has to be converted to T3. T3 is the ACTIVE hormone that is utilized by your cells for Thyroid functioning.

There is a feedback loop between the brain and the thyroid. When the body and the cells sense that the active T3 hormone is low, the hypothalamus and pituitary naturally respond and release more TSH (thus so the thyroid can create T4, then T3) and bring the body back into homeostasis.

So having an ELEVATED TSH number shows an UNDER-active thyroid.

However, your thyroid function is WAY more than just your TSH.

The thyroid is pretty complex! In functional medicine we look at how your entire thyroid feedback loop is working & find where the disconnect is coming from.

Main Takeaways:

TSH technically measures the output of the brain, not the thyroid

A TSH lab number does not show how the Thyroid is actually fully functioning

An elevated TSH can detect hypothyroidism, while a very low TSH can predict hyperthyroidism

The thyroid utilizes TSH to create T4 and T3 hormones

T3 is the active thyroid hormone that the body’s cells use


Interested in using functional medicine to help treat your thyroid imbalance? Contact our practice to set up a consult!