In this episode, Dr. Agolli and Dr. Burdette continue the discussion on your metabolic engine, also known as your thyroid.
Functional medicine practitioners typically assess thyroid health by ordering TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T31. These tests assess hormone levels in the blood and can be obtained via a blood draw or blood spot analysis2. I found a study published by Rupa Health which explains that by checking functional reference ranges, you can quickly get an idea of whether problems are arising in the production of thyroid hormone, the conversion of thyroid hormone, or a combination of both1.
Reverse T3 (rT3) is a metabolically inactive form of thyroid hormone, which is generated from T4 via the type 3 5′-deiodinase enzyme1. According to Dr. Rose, “Reverse T3 (rT3) is the metabolically inactive form of T3. Reverse T3 contains the same number of iodine molecules [as T3] but attached to different areas.”2 Reverse T3 is created by the body as a way to manage and control how much thyroid hormone your body can use at any given time3.
Functional medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease1. It is a form of alternative medicine that encompasses a number of unproven and disproven methods and treatments2. The Institute for Functional Medicine defines functional medicine as a way to determine how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual3.
Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of a condition rather than just treating the symptoms. In the case of thyroid conditions, a functional medicine practitioner would work to identify any underlying imbalances or triggers that may be contributing to thyroid dysfunction.
The first step in treating thyroid disorders using a functional medicine approach is to identify the condition’s root causes. This may involve comprehensive testing to assess factors such as nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, gut health, hormone imbalances, and exposure to toxins. Once the underlying root causes have been identified, the next step is to address these causes through personalized treatment plans that may include dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, targeted supplementation, and other interventions.
The goal of this approach is to support ongoing thyroid function and restore balance to the body. It differs from the conventional medical approach, which focuses on symptom management through medication.