Treating Hashimoto’s with a Functional Medicine Approach: In this article, I will share with you some insights, experiences, and opinions about how a functional medicine approach for treating Hashimoto´s ocould be of benefit for you.
“Matt is a professional, very accessible and flexible health coach who touches your heart. He showed me that it’s possible to gain a remarkable level of health and that we’re worth every effort to reach that goal. With many skillful advices, tips and tricks he just makes it a fun challenge to hack your health and life! Of course, I had some relapses: learning new habits is not easy. But once you have had a taste of the ‘New You’, you simply don’t want to go back. Now I am awake and productive again, have the energy to fully make use of my time. I can honestly say I won my life back, including some passions which I thought had left my life for good. I am very, very thankful!” – Johanneke van der Pol, Piano Teacher, Netherlands
Why Functional Medicine is Essential for You, Your Family and Society
Download MP3: Treating Hashimoto’s with a Functional Medicine Appraoch
Above is a short audio file that I recorded recently. I am sharing with you my motivation of why I have created this website.
After listening to this you will see how important it is that you are searching right now for solutions to overcome your current health challenge.
I’d like to honor you for your motivation, drive, and determination! Through doing this you are actually doing a great service to society.
I will do my utmost best to support you in every way on your journey to getting Hashimoto’s into remission. Thank you again for being here!
You only know how sick You were once you start to feel better!
Going through a treatment approach for Hashimoto’s, based on Functional Medicine principles, I realized that I had a chronic health issue my whole life long.
I understood that You never really know how bad you have been feeling until you experience a better state of health and a higher level of functioning.
This is the only reason why I am writing this – so that you don’t have to go through what I went through figuring all of this out while seeing doctors who had no clue this method exists!
My Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Functional Medicine Treatment Story
In July 2012 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I was shocked, scared and surprised all at the same time.
What I have learned from this journey is, that everything is possible. And this I learned especially: it is possible to get better… way better!
I hope my story inspires, motivates and guides you, in being able to live a life again of vibrant health.
And my deepest wish is, that this story moves you to take action. Because when you take action on a daily level you will get better.
What happens when You take responsibility for Your own Health again…
Here some proof for you…
The picture below is me during my worst days. I was highly inflamed and skinny to the bone.
During this time I was mostly at home, in bed, or binge-watching Netflix shows to distract myself from being very unwell.
I am sure you can relate!
And this is me today participating in life again… The lady to the right is my dear wife Tiffany. She was there for me during my worst times.
I managed to do this only by applying a highly personalized Lifestyle treatment program based on Functional Medicine principles.
So, I went from chronically sick to healthy, well and vibrant again. In a time period of over three years.
Mind you I live in Europe – no functional medicine docs are on the scene here yet… apart from a slowly growing movement in the UK.
Understanding Health will empower You to overcome Disease
A year before my Hashimoto´s diagnosis I decided to investigate and study functional medicine with the motivation to broaden my education in medicine.
I admired functional medicine for its clear clinical explanations about addressing the root problems of disease and using a personalized lifestyle medicine approach.
Functional medicine aims to support people in recovering their health mainly through lifestyle interventions, which address the root causes of disease.
Using Functional Diagnostic Markers will give You clarity on what to focus on
You see diagnostics is incredibly important. To treat Hashimoto’s successfully you need to check on your genetics, biochemistry and digestive health to start out.
During my clinical practice as a traditional Chinese medicine Practitioner and licensed acupuncturist, I often advised my patients to get specific blood work done too.
My goal was to check on their major inflammatory markers, vitamin D status, and some other basic biochemistry markers.
Covering these basic tests helped some of them tremendously in improving their overall health.
The results spoke for themselves and they were hooked on using objective data alongside their alternative treatment approach.
You must have Objective Diagnostic Data to make daily empowered choices
A friend of mine had relocated in 2011 from Australia to the US and had completed a lot of further clinical education in the area of blood chemistry analysis and functional medicine in California.
He advised me to get a full functional medicine based blood panel done with many lab markers that he learned about from Dr. Datis Kharrazian, a specialist on Hashimoto´s.
I enlisted a local GP to get the panel done with the justification of getting my yearly complete health checkup.
When it came back I was in for a big surprise. This is what I got…
My expectations and what was on the paper did not match up at all: Objective science was in my face.
I had a cholesterol reading of a 60-year-old, my TSH reading was through the roof with about over 9 and my thyroid antibodies were sky high (you can’t see them above).
How a Hashimoto’s Diagnosis can mess with Your Self Esteem
Receiving my diagnosis challenged me deeply to the core, psychologically, mentally and emotionally – I am sure you can relate.
Being chronically sick did not match up with my persona of being a healthy Healthcare Practitioner in the wellness industry.
Basically, it made me feel like a failure and a fraud in regards to living up to my role as a healthcare practitioner.
In fact, it was time for me to come out of denial, that I have not been feeling well, already for years!
I was overworked from building up my very own integrative Chinese medicine clinic in Canberra.
At times My daily lifestyle choices did not really match up with the recommendations I made to my own patients.
And, of course, it has been hugely stressful to pull off my own business in another country away from my family.
It’s not all just in Your Head…
I actually experienced psychological grief from missing my family in Europe, and there were some unexplainable ups and downs psychologically already for a while that I could not explain.
At this time, I mostly related these symptoms purely to my family relations, and because of it even did some family therapy.
When I started to look into the connected psychological symptoms related to Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroid all of a sudden I saw all these experiences in a different context.
It wasn’t all psychological – there were physiological processes at work on a deeper level! The lightbulb went on…
You need the right mindset to get Hashimoto’s into Remission
Today I am convinced that mindset has played a huge role in my own healing journey. Mindset is for me the inner game of healing Hashimoto’s.
Your mindset will determine if you are going the healing journey all the way to the end, or if you are giving up shortly before reaching the goal.
Needless to say, I got very motivated, being close to obsession to figure out why I had become so sick over time.
And – most importantly, how I could tackle this health challenge in the most skillful way.
I was not willing to lose my whole quality life due to an autoimmune disease.
No way. It just was not an option. Luckily while building up my business I learned how to direct my mind in a solution orientated way.
I had adopted the mindset of a lifelong learner: “You win or you learn”...
Why a Support Group will inspire, motivate and guide You
My love to my wife was another motivator and a source of strength to discover whatever I needed to find out so as to overcome my symptoms.
I decided to investigate different approaches to get myself better.
Following, I talked to medical practitioners in my family and close friendship circles. I went online and got in touch with many different medical specialists and read their material online.
Being a self-motivated learner I started to become educated on Hashimoto’s – which in fact made it more and more difficult to find a doctor that I was willing to work with me.
The only relationship I´d accept was a partnership based on sharing, learning, and trust…
You need to fire every Doctor that is not supportive of Your Vision
I proudly gathered all my research and took it to the GP, who had ordered the labs for me before and gave me my Hashimoto’s diagnosis.
With me, I had a stack of information from functional medicine docs, integrative medicine specialists and Ph.D. researchers.
The doctor was only interested though in the treatment that he had prescribed according to the differential diagnosis which he made.
No outer input from my side was accepted. Wtf?!?
No more testing was necessary according to the GP and that was the end of it. This was lazy medicine at it’s best…
I had hoped that he would be more open to what I had discovered but there was no sign of it. I was floored.
Without his help, I felt powerless at first…
But then I came up with a solution: I fired my GP on the spot, right there, and happily moved on…
When I went to the GP I wanted a partner to help me in my journey to recovery, but there was only an authority without any interest in a partnership.
Treating Hashimoto’s with a Functional Medicine approach: Your way forward
At this time I had already accepted my Hashimoto’s diagnosis and I realized that the diagnosis could potentially be a gift.
It could be an opportunity to get me deeper into the trenches of applying functional medicine principles in my own life.
Due to my dear friend in the US, I got exposed to his deeper level of functional medicine education.
He passed on further diagnostics skills that I needed to read my labs properly and he initially explained to me a more comprehensive approach to treating Hashimoto´s.
Basically, I was hooked. I knew this was my journey and path forward. Still, I needed a doctor to work on my team to help me succeed.
How the right Doctor will accelerate Your Healing exponentially
Luckily one connection came up through a close friend in regards to a GP who was interstate that had a very good reputation.
She was known for her effective gut healing approaches, heavy metal detoxification protocols and successfully treating hypothyroid patients.
I scheduled an appointment and went to her clinic a few weeks later. I felt hopeful and positive for the first time in a long time.
When I sat in front of her in the first consult her compassion and genuine care deeply touched me, and the tears came pouring down.
I knew that I was in good hands and so I opened up.
Teamwork will make Your Dream Work
My GP and I started to closely work together as a team so as to identify the antecedents, triggers, and mediators involved in creating my current state of disease.
There was a lot to cover and we went over my whole life.
Together we crafted to the best of our ability a treatment protocol that was covering many areas of the research that I had previously done.
It was true teamwork in which the GP and I, as the patient, genuinely worked together in unison.
Personally, it was the first experience of a true patient-centric care approach for me, which in fact, was a deep healing experience in itself.
It turned out, my own healing journey was to become an intense initiation into the world of functional medicine, biochemistry, and food as medicine.
I was about to embark on a journey in which I had to actively take the medicine I always had been inspired to prescribe.
I had to learn to walk my talk and become a healer leader.
Why you need a “Healer Leader” as a Doctor, Coach or Mentor
While studying and reading I realized that the most authentic doctors, healers, and scientists in the functional medicine space were the ones who went through their own healing journeys.
Because they lived this approach of medicine in their daily life, they spoke, wrote and taught from their own experience:
Their own path turned them into what I call “Healer Leaders”.
The gift of all healer leaders is that they have the capacity to authentically connect with empathy and thus inspire change, bring hope and change.
Self-empowered healer leaders are using the internet on a massive scale to contribute to a bigger vision of medicine in the 21st century.
On my own healing journey of Hashimoto´s, there were 3 Healer Leaders that inspired me a lot.
Dr. Mark Hyman and the Functional Medicine Revolution
First of all, I´d like to mention Dr. Mark Hyman MD who is the past president of the Functional Medicine Institute in the US.
Dr. Hyman used his own healing story of successfully applying functional medicine to expose more and more people to the healing power of this emerging disruptive medical technology.
His published books and research papers on brain health, thyroid dysfunction, and metabolic health gave me a thorough exposure to the most cutting-edge functional medicine approaches.
The “6 steps to Remission Report” draws a lot of inspiration from his work.
The creator of the Hacking Hashimoto´s Program Dr. Izabella Wentz
Dr. Izabella Wentz, from the ThyroidPharmacist.com, is another healer leader of whom I had the pleasure and honor of developing a friendship in Amsterdam, already back in 2012.
Izabella provided me with an abundance of actionable information, inspiration and motivation to do my own research and biohacking experiments on a more focused level.
Her book “Hashimoto´s: Finding the Root Cause” was a constant resource on my recovery journey.
Her leadership in regards to getting the right information to the right people has been a big inspiration for myself to find my own voice and give back to the public.
Methylation Cycle Science and Nutrigenomics with Dr. Amy Yasko
The third healer leader I´d like to mention is Dr. Amy Yasko. Dr. Yasko has been a healer leader in the area of nutrigenomics and methylation circle research.
After I identified that I had some genetic variants in my genome, that would complicate my Hashimoto’s treatment, her work provided me with clear action steps to continue.
Based on her work I started to execute a nutritional therapy personalized to my own genetic blueprint.
Methylation cycle science, detoxification, and nutrigenomics are some of the most exciting topics in the practice of functional medicine.
A lot of the science behind this is evolving at such a fast pace, that we will see huge breakthroughs in the next 10-20 years in the area of personalized medicine.
What it takes to uncover Your own Root Causes for Hashimoto’s
It took me 4 Years of concentrated effort to uncover and treat my own root causes for Hashimoto’s auto-immune disease.
I got really inspired to approach my own treatment based on this quote:
Hashimoto´s Thyroiditis is a disease condition that is influenced by many factors
Opposed to an allopathic approach to treating Hashimoto´s, the functional medicine approach is multifactorial.
When you start to look at the causative factors for your chronic disease you will understand that different body systems are contributing synergistically to disease.
So it is not just about the Thyroid Gland. It’s about the whole body working together as a system. Hence functional medicine is a systems medicine approach.
How You can decipher the Functional Medicine Matrix
Your body is an intricate body system, consisting of the following systems:
- Digestive and the assimilation system,
- methylation and thiol chemistry,
- the defense and repair system of the body including the inflammatory process,
- the communication system including hormone function,
- the biotransformation system covering detoxification
- and finally the mitochondrial cellular energy system.
Functional medicine treatment of Hashimoto’s will address all of these systems in a systematic fashion.
This is the very matrix out of which healthy cellular energy is formed in your body. It is your job to work out where to put the leverage on.
A skilled doctor and a functional medicine experienced coach can help you to find the area to focus on.
The 6 Major Root Causes for Your declining Thyroid Health
In my opinion, these 6 Root causes are the “big why” that explains a global thyroid disease epidemic.
The more energy you will put into removing these 6 root causes then better you will feel.
- Nutrient deficient Diets, industrial foods and a lack of self-nurturing skills
- Extreme hormone dysregulation due to inflammation, excess stress and toxin exposure
- High immune system stress due to undiagnosed bacterial, viral and fungal infections
- Chronically inflamed digestive systems leading to leaky and gut permeability
- Overburdened toxic livers due to external and internal toxins
- An overall breakdown of cellular energy and organ function due to the former 5 reasons
Here You can check out my own List of Imbalances that I worked on
After deeply investigating my own root causes over the last 4 years, here is a list of some of the imbalances that I was able to get experience with and gain an insight into.
All of these imbalances were a contributing part of a complex matrix of interactions in my body manifesting as the perfect storm, appearing as auto-immune Hashimoto´s Thyroid Disease.
In this sense Hashimoto’s does not really exist, it is just a set of many root causes coming together manifesting a disease picture.
- Gluten sensitivity
- Various food intolerances
- B12 Intrinsic factor deficiency
- Leaky Gut
Bacterial and Fungal Infections:
- Candida Albicans
- Heliobacter Pylori
- Athlete´s foot
- Dormant Streptococcus Aureus
- Chronic Sinusitis
- Low Testosterone
- Elevated Estrogen due to COMT SNP
- Adrenal Fatigue
- COMT SNP
- Insulin resistance
- Elevated cholesterol
- Elevated homocysteine
- Weak Methylation
- Dysfunctional Phase 1 and 2 detox pathways of the liver
- Glutathione deficiency due to methylation issues
- Fatty Liver
- Arsenic poisoning
- Elevated Mercury
- Elevated Lead
- Decreased estrogen detoxification due to COMT SNP
- Serotonin deficiency
- Dopamine deficiency
- GABA/Glutamate balance
Treating Hashimoto’s with a Functional Medicine approach in 6 Steps
- Following a nutrigenomic dietary approach, targeting optimised nutritional status
- Regulating pancreatic, adrenal, thyroid and sex hormones through lifestyle choices
- Overcoming infections through targeted therapy and immune balancing nutrition
- Healing leaky gut through the 4 R program: remove, replace, reinoculate and repair
- Inducing tissue detoxification via sulfation, methylation and glucuronidation pathways
- Supporting mitochondrial energy production through nutritional and lifestyle support
The core Functional Medicine Skills You will need in Daily Life
Through implementing my treatment regimen with critical analysis, discipline and focused attention, my approach of applying functional medicine was bringing results.
The former 6 steps involved learning about and implementing many different new skillsets.
In my own daily life, I started to master cooking and shopping, successfully researching the appropriate supplements for my situation and getting access to the right lab tests.
What you need to know as well is this: these 6 steps are not always being used in a linear fashion.
Of course, it makes sense to optimize your gut health before you detox the body.
As well, when you drop gluten in your daily nutrition, gut inflammation will go down, and sleeping and relaxing more will of course lower your stress hormones.
It´s all inter-related… and that’s a whole new way of medical thinking.
The work of Dr. Jeffrey Bland
A huge credit to my healing goes to the incredible pioneering work of Dr. Jeffrey Bland PhD, the founder of the Functional Medicine Institute.
Dr. Blands contribution to the practice of truly personalized lifestyle medicine through the via method Functional Medicine will disrupt how medicine will be practiced in the 21st century.
He is the mastermind behind a 21st-century medical revolution.
Dr. Bland is the grandfather of functional medicine upon whose shoulders many other medical giants are standing on today.
And again I´d like to mention again Dr. Mark Hyman here, Dr. Datis Kharrazian and Dr. Izabella Wentz.
All of them have deeply impacted the way I am looking at health and disease in the 21st century.
20th Century Medicine needs an update to truly help people suffering from Hashimoto’s
The common allopathic medical approach alone that only gives synthetic hormones in the case of Hashimoto´s Thyroiditis will not address deeper drivers underlying it.
It might even create the opportunity for other Autoimmune conditions to appear.
Thorough functional pathology testing, critical analysis, and a strategic personalized lifestyle medicine approach deep healing and disease progression prevention is possible.
A functional medicine resource on Hashimoto’s treatment
I want to give people hope that it is possible to manage this serious and debilitating condition. As well I created a page full of useful Hashimoto’s Patient Resources for you.
The link to a PDF at the end of this article will prove to be useful to anyone who would like to know more about functional medicine treatment for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
If you happen to get treated already for this condition just download the document and share it with your treating physician.