The Functional Medicine Approach To Hypothyroidism And Hashimoto’s Disease

While thyroid disease can occur in various forms, one of the most common is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the thyroid gland and diminishes its ability to create precious hormones—ones that impact every cell of the body. Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) in the US, with women at much higher risk, being 7 to 8 times more likely than men to get it. Because of its autoimmune component, people with Hashimoto’s are actually at a higher risk of developing other autoimmune diseases as well. The good news is that the right diet and lifestyle choices can work wonders when it comes to treating and healing the thyroid. In this episode, Dr. Hyman sits down with Dr. George Papaicolaou to discuss the Functional Medicine approach to diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. They also delve into common triggers of Hashimoto’s disease, and much more. George Papanicolaou is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and is Board Certified in Family Medicine from Abington Memorial Hospital. He is also an Institute for Functional Medicine Practitioner. Upon graduation from his residency he joined the Indian Health Service. He worked on the Navajo reservation for 4 years at the Chinle Comprehensive Medical Facility where he served as the Outpatient Department Coordinator. In 2000, he founded Cornerstone Family Practice in Rowley, MA. He practiced with a philosophy centered on personal relationships and treating the whole person, not just not the disease. He called that philosophy “Whole Life Wellness”. Over time as the healthcare system made it harder for patients to receive this kind of personal care Dr. Papanicolaou decided a change was needed. He began training in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine. In 2015, he established Cornerstone Personal Health – a practice dedicated entirely to Functional Medicine. Dr. Papanicolaou to join The UltraWellness Center in 2017. This episode is sponsored by Athletic Greens and Rupa Health. Athletic Greens is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners a full year supply of their Vitamin D3/K2 Liquid Formula free with your first purchase, plus 5 free travel packs. Just go to to take advantage of this great offer. Rupa Health is a place for Functional Medicine practitioners to access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, Great Plains, and more. You can check out a free live demo with a Q&A or create an account at In this conversation, Dr. Hyman and Dr. Papanicolaou discuss:
  • What is Hashimoto’s disease, and why is it commonly treated as a thyroid issue when it is really an autoimmune disease?
  • Autoimmune disease triggers, including gluten, heavy metals, stress, and more
  • The relationship between pregnancy and Hashimoto’s/thyroid dysfunction
  • Thyroid boosting and damaging foods
  • Thyroid testing
  • Symptoms of low thyroid function
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