Is functional medicine a better approach for hypothyroidism?

Dr. Karishma Shaikh
Dr. Karishma ShaikhJanuary 11, 2022

Are you looking to shift to functional medicine for the treatment of low thyroid? Are you relying only on medications to cure your Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

If so, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we will explore medicines for hypothyroidism, thyroid treatment, and the role of functional medicine in the treatment of low thyroid. Functional Medicine for Thyroid

Let’s dive in.

What is Functional Medicine?

Let’s start with what functional medicine is.

Functional medicine is a holistic treatment method that focuses on the root cause of the disease, not just the symptoms.

To put it simply, functional medicine addresses the "why" behind a particular disease.

How is functional medicine different from conventional medicine in the treatment of low thyroid?

When you visit a doctor for thyroid treatment, you might be prescribed medications after checking your TSH levels. These medications will supplement the thyroid hormones in place of deficit hormones. But are they really enough? Join Thyroid Community/

What if there is a problem in the conversion of T4 into T3? What if hypothyroidism develops due to an autoimmune condition?

That’s where functional medicine proves to be a better approach for hypothyroidism. The functional medicine approach to hypothyroidism focuses on root causes rather than just suppressing the symptoms.

You may be required to run a few functional medical tests apart from TSH and T4 tests to know the exact root cause.

Possible root causes of hypothyroidism:

Let's see the potential root causes of hypothyroidism.

Nutrient deficiencies:

Can you drive a vehicle without fuel? Your body needs essential nutrients like iodine, selenium, iron, and zinc to produce thyroid hormones.

Iodine, selenium, and proteinProduction of thyroxine- T4
Selenium, iron, zinc, and Vitamin AConversion of T4 into its active form - T3.

An imbalance in these nutrients can hamper the production and conversion of thyroid hormones.

There can be two possible reasons why this is happening.

  1. You are not including foods rich in these nutrients in your diet.
  2. Your body is not absorbing the nutrients correctly.

Chronic stress:

Normally, your body goes into fight mode when you deal with stress. If this crisis persists for a long time then it might reflect in the entire system.

Cortisol, also known as the “ stress hormone” might interfere with the production of thyroxine. Stress can also result in low metabolism and can impact the conversion of T4 into T3.

Not only that, but stress also increases the amount of reverse T3 ( rT3) in your body. So you might think, what is the problem with rT3?

Reverse T3 is an inactive form of T3 hormone and when increased, it can even block the usage of the active T3 hormone.

Leaky gut:

Leaky gut is a condition that often coexists with thyroid problems. Let's see how it causes hypothyroidism.

When your intestinal walls become loose and damaged, undigested food enters the bloodstream. It's like allowing a robber to enter your house unknowingly.

This may happen due to some allergic foods like gluten and similar proteins, and dairy products. Leaky gut can result in inflammation and can develop autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Exposure to toxins:

Exposure to toxins and heavy metals like chlorine, bromine, mercury, and lead can act as a cause of hypothyroidism. Sometimes plastics also could lead to hypothyroidism.

Here is a list of day-to-day toxins and chemicals harming your thyroid health:

  • Heavy metals like lead found in gasoline and paint, mercury in seafood, and aluminum used in cookware, deodorant, and antacids can increase the risk of hypothyroidism.
  • Herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides used to kill pests in plants can reduce the absorption of iodine.
  • Fluoride used in water to prevent cavities might disrupt thyroid function.
  • Exposure to PFCs products like fabrics, cookware, and containers can alter thyroid hormone levels.


Autoimmunity is a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks your body cells and tissues. In this case, it attacks the thyroid gland and enzymes.

If you are experiencing an autoimmune disease, you're more likely to develop another one.


The root cause of your thyroid disease is unique to you. It depends upon your disease, medical history, drug use, and so much more.

Functional medicine treatment protocol for hypothyroidism:

We've seen the possible root causes of hypothyroidism. Only after knowing the root cause, your treatment can begin. Now let's move on to understand how functional medicine treats hypothyroidism.


Medicines for hypothyroidism is not the only treatment for low thyroid, it's just a part of the whole treatment.

According to your blood reports and personal investigation, your functional medicine doctor would prescribe medicines for hypothyroidism.


Diet plays a major role in the treatment of hypothyroidism. At Jeevam health, we recommend going gluten-free and dairy-free for a minimum of 3 months.

Here are some other pointers that would help you:

  • Add fruits, vegetables, greens, and nuts.
  • Include cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower in moderate amounts.
  • Don't even bring processed foods, canned drinks, and fast foods to your home.

You can also check out this Indian diet plan for hypothyroidism.

Exercises to empower yourself:

You can try beginner-friendly exercises like walking, swimming, and cycling to improve your metabolism. Also, exercise can help you to manage your stress and energy levels. Try to exercise for 30 minutes every day.

If you are wondering how to start exercising - Check out this guide.

Stress reduction:

Managing your stress levels is also a part of the functional medicine treatment for hypothyroidism. Meditation, breathing techniques, and journaling can help you to cope with stress.

It can be difficult for you to decide on a diet plan, exercise routine, and stress management techniques by yourself. Get the help of a functional medicine doctor for the treatment of hypothyroidism.

Final words:

If you are depending only on medicines for hypothyroidism then it’s time to change your treatment plan. Though there is no problem, you don’t have to take medicines forever to balance your thyroid hormone levels.

Also, there is no point in taking medications if you are not addressing the "WHY" behind your Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

You need to work on the triggering factor behind your autoimmune condition. There's no solution for this in traditional medicine.

But, functional medicine cures the root cause of your autoimmunity by focusing on medications, anti-inflammatory diet, sleep, stress, meditation, and exercises.

So, choose a holistic approach like Jeevam health functional medicine wisely to reverse your hypothyroidism. We’re here to help you heal from your thyroid disease.

Looking for a holistic approach to cure the root cause of your thyroid disease? Join Jeevam health to start your personalized treatment.

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