The thyroid gland is the body’s heater. That’s why when it is deficient, the person experiences coldness and sluggishness; and when it is excessive, the person experiences heat and excitability symptoms like heart palpitations. By far, the most common imbalance with the thyroid is deficiency, and of those the most common reason for deficiency is autoimmune (also called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis). Autoimmune conditions are insidious conditions wherein your body is attacking its own tissues, as in rheumatoid arthritis the body is attacking its own joints and connective tissue, in multiple sclerosis the body is attacking its own nervous system, and in Hashimoto’s, the body is attacking its own thyroid. With regard to the understanding of autoimmune conditions, the similarities between pharmaceutical medicine and natural medicine end here.
While there is some general agreement about how to diagnose autoimmune conditions, there are some stark differences with how to treat them. The biggest difference, with regard to autoimmune thyroid in particular, is that whether or not the thyroid dysfunction is autoimmune or not, pharmaceutical medicine treats it the same. Natural medicine on the other hand is interested in uncovering the reason why the person’s immune system decided to attack the thyroid gland. Clinical experience and the research literature indicate that there are a variety of reasons why the body may develop an autoimmune reaction, from allergies to nutrient deficiencies like vitamin D and environmental toxicities to hormone imbalances. The point is, five different people all diagnosed with the same autoimmune thyroid condition might require five different treatments, but pharmaceutical medicine treats them all the same.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recognizes the month of January as Thyroid Awareness Month. The purpose of this article is not to give you therapeutic recommendations for your thyroid, but to make you aware that there is more than one way to approach the thyroid. I recommend having your blood chemistry thyroid panel analyzed if it has been longer than a year. Keep in mind that a good thyroid panel is more than just TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). There should also be an assessment of T4, T3, and thyroid antibodies.