Skip to content


Exhausted, no energy, poor sleep, irregular periods, depressed or just not feeling well? You could be suffering from hypothyroidism. Read on to learn more.

This page will offer an in-depth look at the symptoms of hypothyroidism, the diagnosis and how our comprehensive Functional Medicine approach can help you improve your thyroid health. We are committed to understanding the root causes of hypothyroidism and providing personalized, effective solutions for optimal thyroid health and well-being.

According to studies 10-20% of adults may have hypothyroidism and up to 50% of people with hypothyroidism go un-diagnosed. Often, they are treated for their symptoms separately without an accurate diagnosis.

Box with stats about HT:

  • Hypothyroidism affects millions of people worldwide.
  • Hypothyroidism affects approximately 5% of the U.S. population aged 12 years and older (NHANES III).
  • Women are 5-8 times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: This autoimmune disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, affecting an estimated 5-10% of the general population. A significantly higher percentage among people that seek medical care.

Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of hypothyroidism worldwide. WHO estimates that 2 billion are at risk of iodine deficiency with the most severe consequences in pregnant women and young children.

2-3% of pregnant women have hypothyroidism. Thyroid health is essential for a healthy pregnancy and the development of the growing baby.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Most cells and tissue in the body are affected by thyroid hormones which also explains why symptoms can be present from nearly all parts of your body. The thyroid hormone works by attaching to a receptor on the nucleus of the cells. However, cells without a cell nucleus, such as platelets and red blood cells, do not have thyroid receptors and do not respond to thyroid hormones.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Persistent tiredness and a lack of energy, even after sleeping
  • Weight gain: Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight can be a sign of hypothyroidism. However, it’s fully possible to be lean and still suffer from hypothyroidism.
  • Cold intolerance or difficulty staying warm.
  • Constipation
  • Dry, rough, and itchy skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Thinning hair or hair loss, particularly on the scalp, is a common symptom of hypothyroidism.
  • Thinning of the outer (lateral) part of the eyebrows
  • Muscle weakness, pain and aches, stiffness, or tenderness.
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Menstrual irregularities with heavy, irregular, or more frequent periods.
  • Depression and mood swings.
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating and memory problems
  • Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels increasing the risk of heart disease
  • Puffy face: Facial swelling, particularly around the eyes
  • Slow heart rate (bradycardia).
  • Voice changes, such as hoarseness or a weak voice

Causes of Hypothyroidism

There are multiple causes of hypothyroidism and diagnosis requires a detailed understanding of thyroid health. Hypothyroidism can be due to reduced production, decreased conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to (thyroid hormone) or reduced cellular sensitivity to T3.

For a more comprehensive understanding we suggest you check out our Dr Mazhar Hussain’s video on causes of hypothyroidism. It’s a long video, but it’s worth it J

XXX LINK to video XXX

Autoimmune Disease:

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. It develops as the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland and starts destroying it. Keep in mind that the process may start long before your any changes in TSH, T3 or T4. You can have perfectly normal hormone levels and while the thyroid gland is being destroyed.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Many macro- and micronutrients are required for thyroid health, please see the video mentioned for more details. However, some important nutrients are:

Iodine is an essential nutrient for the production of thyroid hormones. An iodine deficiency can result in hypothyroidism. The World Health Organization estimates that 2 billion people worldwide are at risk of iodine deficiency.

Selenium: Selenium is necessary for the conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 to its active form, T3. A deficiency in selenium can contribute to hypothyroidism. Often, supplementation with selenium can reduce anti-TPO and anti-TG antibodies and reduce the destruction of the gland.

  • Zinc is required for thyroid production, conversion of T4 to T3 and cellular sensitivity to T3
  • Vitamin A and D: Important for thyroid hormone production and cellular sensitivity.
  • B vitamins: multiple b-vitamins are required for production of thyroid hormones
  • Iron, magnesium, manganese, tyrosine, vitamin C, vitamin E and other micronutrients are required for thyroid health.

Environmental Factors

Certain environmental toxins, such as heavy metals or endocrine disruptors, can interfere with thyroid hormone production and contribute to hypothyroidism. These include, but are not limited to cadmium, lead, mercury, fluoride and bromide.


Hypothyroidism can also be drug-induced. Some medications, such as lithium or amiodarone, can interfere with thyroid function.

Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism

Your medical history, signs and symptoms can indicate that you may be suffering from hypothyroidism. However, laboratory testing is required to establish a proper diagnosis.

Unfortunately, in conventional medicine we are taught to use TSH as a screen tool and in some cases add total T4 and total T3. However, this is completely in-adequate to assess your thyroid health. As mentioned above, you may have a serious ongoing autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland, even if the hormone levels are perfectly normal.

For a minimum screening assessment of your thyroid health state, we recommend:

  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  • FT4
  • FT3
  • Anti-TPO
  • Anti-TG

Often that will give us a good indication of your thyroid health, but further testing may be required and may include:

  • RT3
  • Total T3
  • Total T4
  • Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG)
  • Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin (TSI)

The above tests will us a good understanding of your thyroid health status. However, if you are found to be hypothyroid (or hyperthyroid), then more testing would normally be required to reveal the cause of your hypothyroidism. Knowing that your car is not starting or that is roof is leaking is not the enough. You need to dig deeper to understand why the roof is leaving or the car will not start.

Testing for non-nutritional causes:

  • Celiac Disease
  • Milk allergy
  • Leaky Gut
  • Occupational or environmental exposure
  • Lack of exercise

Testing for nutritional causes:

Production of T4

  • Iron, protein, iodine, selenium and zinc
  • Vit C, D, B2, B3, B6, B12

Conversion of T4 to T3

  • Selenium, Zinc, iron, vit D, manganese

Cellular Sensitivity to T3

  • Vitamin A, D and E
  • Zinc and Selenium

Knowing that you are hypothyroid is just scratching the surface, not really a diagnosis of the cause.

Treatment for Hypothyroidism

There is a great difference in the conventional and the Functional Medicine approach to all chronic diseases, including thyroid health conditions.

Conventional medicine

From a conventional medicine perspective, the diagnosis and investigations usually stop once the thyroid disorder has been established and hormone replacement treatment is started without further detailed investigations.

Levothyroxine, T4 is the most commonly prescribed medicine for hypothyroidism.

Some individuals may benefit from natural thyroid hormone preparations, such as desiccated thyroid extract (DTE), which contains both T4 and T3.

Functional Medicine approach to hypothyroidism

As you may have figured from the above, the Functional Medicine approach is completely different. We want to understand the root causes of chronic disease. Often, through the more detailed investigations, we are able to identify various factors that may affect your thyroid health, such as nutritional deficiencies, stress, toxins, liver or kidney dysfunction, immune dysfunction, lifestyle factors amongst other contributors.

Naturally, the treatment is then directed towards those root causes of thyroid dysfunction.

Nutritional Support

A diet with more whole foods, rich in nutrients and avoiding potential triggers of inflammation, can help improve thyroid function.

Naturally, a healthy diet is a cornerstone of good health. However, often you will need supplements at least in the beginning to speed up the recovery from nutritional deficiencies.

As your diet improves, we may be able to reduce supplements.

Stress Management

Stress management techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, can support thyroid and adrenal health. Reducing stress can improve production of thyroid hormones and reduce the conversion of T4 to rT3 (which is an in-active of thyroid hormones).

Improved sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for overall hormonal balance and thyroid health. Prioritizing restorative sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene can help support thyroid function.

Addressing Autoimmunity

In cases of autoimmune thyroid disease, addressing underlying immune system dysregulation is critical for long-term thyroid health. This may include dietary and lifestyle modifications, as well as targeted supplements and medications.

How DMH Functional Medicine Can Help?

At DMH Functional Medicine, we take a comprehensive approach to addressing hypothyroidism that focuses on your unique needs and health concerns. With our more comprehensive approach to your condition, we are often able to identify the cause(s) of your hypothyroidism. The treatment is directed towards your specific situation and needs.

Ongoing Support

Apart from the diagnosis and treatment mentioned above, we can offer ongoing support and monitor your progresses. The continuous support, helps you stay accountable and motivated throughout your journey to improve thyroid health.

At DMH Functional Medicine, we are committed to help you achieve optimal thyroid function and improve your overall health and well-being. By addressing the root causes of hypothyroidism and providing personalized, evidence-based solutions, we empower you to take control of your health and enjoy a more vibrant and fulfilling life.

Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive Functional Medicine approach to hypothyroidism and to schedule your consultation.