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Can You Treat Hypothyroidism “Naturally”?

Whether it’s possible to manage, recover from, or eliminate a hypothyroidism condition naturally…

There are two ways to consider this question. 1: Can you manage your hypothyroidism naturally? (Possibly) 2. Can you recover/eliminate your hypothyroidism condition naturally? (Yes!) Watch the video to learn more.

Video Transcript

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Somebody asked me recently: can you treat hypothyroidism naturally? 

It’s a great question, and I think first we have to clarify a couple of things. 

I wasn’t sure what this person meant by “treat.” Do they mean to manage their thyroid condition with some type of natural product, or are they trying to recover or eliminate the hypothyroidism to begin with? Can you naturally recover from a hypothyroid condition? 

And I would say the answer to both of these is “potentially yes.” 

(01:00)

So if the goal of this person is to try and “manage” their thyroid physiology or their hypothyroid condition, their labs, some of their signs and symptoms, are there natural products that you could use that don’t require a prescription to try and manage hypothyroidism?

I would say there are. There are definitely glandular products that are out on the market that might help you manage a condition. There’s some controversy surrounding them, but this is where kind of things started initially with glandular products. 

So could you manage hypothyroidism with a more natural product? The answer would be, yes, you possibly could.

For example, if your hypothyroidism was caused by iodine deficiency and you just put more iodine in the system and that was the only issue, then you could probably manage or correct your condition. 

(1:45)

The other way to ask this is, can you recover or eliminate a thyroid condition with natural methods? 

Well, I think that’s really the focus of what we do in functional medicine, is to try and help somebody by changing their diet, their lifestyle, reduce the stressors, the triggers that initiated the hypothyroid condition to begin with. 

You might need some medication through that process, but what I often see is that people are overmedicated. Once we start working with them to improve the causes, the triggers, the load that triggered this whole kind of hypothyroid process to begin with, they need less and less medication. 

Sometimes, people end up not needing medication at all. If they needed medication previously, maybe they needed 88 micrograms of T4 – over time, that dose continues to go down and down.

What does that tell us? That tells us that the thyroid gland is actually starting to recover, starting to generate and produce more thyroid hormone!

So yes, a thyroid gland can recover given enough time and by addressing the thing that caused the thyroiditis, or the thyroid damage, to begin with.

(02:58):

If you’re trying to recover or eliminate the condition, then what you have to do is consider what is driving your “load”? What’s driving your hypothyroid condition? 

In allopathic medicine, many times we think, “What’s the condition? Hypothyroidism. OK, here’s the treatment for the condition.” That’s not what functional medicine does, and that’s not what helps somebody actually recover from a condition. 

What we should be doing in functional medicine is saying, why is the body behaving and acting like this and what’s causing it? And if we can reduce or eliminate the thing that’s causing the body to respond in a certain way, that’s how we help somebody heal and recover. 

(04:02)
Many times it has to do with diet, it has to do with lifestyle, it has to do with emotional trauma, or physical fitness (too much, too little).

And those are the things Dr. Kelly and I talk about in the Thyroid Debacle book. All the things in the third part of the book are all the things to work on, all the lifestyle factors, and what we call “Fitness Factors” that either cause us to be healthy or cause us to be ill.

Okay, so what’s the thing? What’s the load? You have to identify it. You have to reduce or eliminate, then you have to support the recovery of the tissues. 

The big difference many times between what an allopathic physician is doing and what we should be doing in functional medicine is the allopathic physician isn’t trying to identify what caused it. They’re just saying, “Hey, this is the condition and this is where we’re going to treat and manage.”

In functional medicine, we figure out and address the “why.” And that’s why many times we’re able to have our patients actually recover versus just managing a condition. 

(5:00)

Fourth thing is, what are you willing to change? 

If you want to get well, if want to be healthier than you are today, you can’t keep doing the same things today, tomorrow, or the next day, that got you into this situation to begin with. 

You have to be willing to change something. Something about your diet, something about your lifestyle, something about your sleep habits and patterns, something about your breathing, something about your environment. Something is going on that created who you are today, and so something’s got to change. 

Many times people will come in and we’ll talk about diet. They’ll say, “I eat a clean diet, I do everything, it has to be something that I don’t have any responsibility for.” 

And maybe it is, but many times what they’re doing, even though it seems healthy, isn’t appropriate for them at that moment. 

Even for me, when I found out I had Hashimoto’s, I was exercising, but I was exercising A LOT. And then I wasn’t sleeping well or breathing well, and that was resulting in this chronic stress response, which led to the development of Hashimoto’s. 

The only way to start to get healthy to get into repair was to change some of these habits and behaviors that I thought were healthy, but really weren’t.

Need 1-1 help with your thyroid? Schedule a free discovery call with me here.

(6:15)

And then the last thing is, what type of help are you open to? 

If you want to restore your health, thyroid function, and physiology, and you’re going to a General Practitioner, you’re asking them to do something they’re not trained to do.

They’re going to tell you your thyroid gland can’t recover. You just take medication. That’s the way it is. There’s nothing we can do except manage the condition.

So you have to make sure that, depending on what your goal is, you’re asking the right professional to help you.

If you want to recover and eliminate your condition and you’re willing to change things in your diet and your lifestyle and you want to dig to figure out what’s causing your condition, then you’re probably looking along the lines of a functional medicine practitioner, somebody who practices that style of medicine. 

(But just because somebody hangs a shingle that says “functional medicine” doesn’t mean they actually practice what I would consider the philosophy of functional medicine.)

Allopathic medicine’s goal is to manage or treat conditions with surgery or medication, and that works for a lot of people – but functional medicine shouldn’t be managing conditions and treating symptoms with lots and lots of supplements for the rest of your life. 

(7:45)

Functional medicine, at its core, should be looking at chemistry, looking at labs, looking at signs and symptoms, looking at your health history and timeline saying, “alright, what are the likely causes of the excessive load that caused the body to be behaving the way it is? And how do I reduce that load, eliminate some of those things, and support recovery?”

Yes, that means we may use some supplementation strategies, but if you need 20 or 30 or 40 supplements for the rest of your life, then I don’t think you really have a functional medicine approach. 

Supplementation should be a supplement to a healthy diet, lifestyle, habits, behaviors, etc. They should be used short-term to support certain stressors or weaknesses at certain points in time. Some have been shown to be beneficial for us as we age, but if you’re taking more than 4, 5, or 6 supplements from a maintenance standpoint, you’re probably missing something…

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Hi, I’m Dr. Eric Balcavage, owner and founder of Rejuvagen. If you’re struggling with health issues or have questions, let’s chat. You can schedule a 15-minute call with me to get started.