The Women's Journal

Functional Medicine: Could It Be My Thyroid?

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By D
r. Cynthia Crosser  

Are you tired or losing hair? Is your skin very dry? Are you gaining weight or having difficulty losing weight or concentrating? While all the signs and symptoms can be attributed to a variety of causal factors, many times it is a reflection of thyroid imbalance. Many of our basic physiological functions such as our metabolic rate are connected to thyroid imbalance. Thyroid hormones impact receptors on every cell of our body. When these disorders are not addressed in the early stages, we see a loss of function and quality of life and progression to other diseases such as fibromyalgia.

The thyroid is often times the number one site for autoimmune attack with Hashimoto’s being the most common autoimmune disorder in the US. The body begins to produce antibodies against its own thyroid. This decline of the gland over time reduces quality of life and we see decline in mental function, metabolic rate, and gastric function to name just a few. When this occurs the well-orchestrated feedback loops of the endocrine system become disorganized and lose normal regulation. We start to see increases in blood lipids and digestive issues like constipation. It may be wise to ascertain where the breakdown is happening vs. jumping right to a statin with its side effects, especially if it is only slightly over the upper limits.

Environmental disruptors play a significant role as they compete with iodine uptake by the thyroid. Pesticides, plastics, mercury and nitrates in processed foods are just a few among many. Hormones such as estrogens, cortisol produced during stress, and testosterone have an impact on the conversion rates of thyroid hormones. Deficiencies of minerals such as selenium and iodine will affect conversion rates of T4. We may see cross-reactions with medications such as antidepressants, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, diabetic medications, antihypertensive medications and cholesterol-lowering medications; all in widespread use.

As a clinician, a thorough review of systems with my patients is necessary to not only investigate the steps involved in thyroid hormone synthesis with appropriate diagnostic testing of serum thyroid marker(s), but also immune triggers that may be involved. These could include Lyme disease, hepatitis, Epstein Barr virus to name a few. A review of potential chemical triggers, foods, and pathogens is part of the process. Healthy liver and gut functions are part of the process, as well as a healthy liver is necessary for conversion of T4. And a healthy gut lining is important for absorption of nutrients critical for thyroid health such as Vitamin D, iron, and Vitamin A. This is a closely regulated system of production of hormones initiated in the brain, conversion of hormones by the liver and movement into the cells for use as a free hormone.

This detailed assessment of each patient will move us closer to determining which of a potential of 24 patterns is at work for each individual. This level of detail can take some time, but the benefits are far reaching. If you are wrestling with a thyroid imbalance, it may be time to decide where to begin to balance your physiology before your health unravels. You decide . . . For more information call 302-994-1010 or contact us at


“Dr Crosser has knowledge, background, experience and sincere passion for her work, coupled with a true commitment to help her patients. In my opinion, it is not comparable to any medical professional I have worked with throughout a very serious medical journey the last several years. I had the pleasure of beginning treatment with her a few months ago and can truly say that her ability to recognize, diagnose and understand some of the serious challenges I am facing are quite remarkable. I am in the early diagnostic stages with her of what I know is a long journey ahead back to a state of full wellness. However, I can comment sincerely on what capable and committed hands I know I am in and what a partnership we have in tackling the issues I am facing. I am truly blessed to have met her.”   ~Cynthia E.


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