Lillian Wilson

The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism by Kenneth Blanchard

This book offers a new perspective on hypothyroidism, challenging conventional treatments and focusing on symptoms over lab numbers.

The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism

The book has gotten 3.77 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

“...a strong addition to health and wellness collections, especially for those dealing with their own thyroid issues.” 
– Library Bookwatch

Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones, affects up to 5% of the general population, with a further estimated 5% being undiagnosed. Despite its significant prevalence, treatment options for this disorder have often remained stagnant, leaving many patients struggling with unresolved symptoms and misdiagnoses.

In this context, ‘The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism’ by Kenneth R. Blanchard, PhD, M.D., presents a groundbreaking perspective on managing this complex condition. In this review, we will delve into how Dr. Blanchard’s book addresses the issue of hypothyroidism and explore its fresh insights, evidence-based strategies, and patient-centred approach that have the potential to transform the lives of millions affected by this condition.

Author’s background

Kenneth R. Blanchard, PhD, M.D., is a certified endocrinologist by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Kenneth Blanchard (r)

Until 2000, he worked in general internal medicine but now focuses on thyroid disease and menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Since 1976, he has been serving in private practice in Newton, Massachusetts.

What is the book about?

‘The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism’ breaks new ground by challenging conventional teachings and proposing a more efficient method for treating hypothyroidism. Despite its significant impact on millions of people, treatment options for this disorder have remained stagnant and overlooked for a considerable period. As an experienced endocrinologist, Dr. Blanchard draws on his success in treating over 1,000 hypothyroidism patients to offer fresh insights that can lead to symptom reduction and improved overall well-being.

In this comprehensive work, Dr. Blanchard sheds light on the issue of misdiagnosis in hypothyroidism and highlights the problems arising from misguided treatment approaches. He covers crucial subjects, including the effects of hypothyroidism on pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, and fertility, as well as the intriguing link between fibromyalgia and thyroid disorder. Moreover, the book provides a deeper understanding of how hypothyroidism impacts weight management and sleep quality.

Table of contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright
  • Epigraph
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Why?
  • Chapter 2 Observations
  • Chapter 3 The TSH Myth
  • Chapter 4 The Incidence of Hypothyroidism
  • Chapter 5 T3 or Not T3 … That is the Question
  • Chapter 6 The T2 Question
  • Chapter 7 T4 Depletion
  • Chapter 8 The PMS-Thyroid Connection
  • Chapter 9 Thyroid and Pregnancy
  • Chapter 10 Thyroid and Depression
  • Chapter 11 Cardiac Manifestations of Hypothyroidism
  • Chapter 12 The Hypothyroidism-Fibromyalgia Connection
  • Chapter 13 Susceptibility to Motion Sickness and Hypothyroidism
  • Chapter 14 Effect of Timing of Thyroid Dosage on Weight and Sleep
  • Chapter 15 Patients’ Adjustments
  • Chapter 16 Compounding
  • Chapter 17 Transdermal Thyroid
  • Chapter 18 How to Do It
  • Chapter 19 Future Trials
  • Chapter 20 The T4:T3 Ratio
  • Chapter 21 Conclusion
  • About the Author

Key takeaways from the book

1There is a connection between thyroid issues and premenstrual syndrome

In the book ‘The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism’, the author highlights the connection between thyroid issues and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), challenging the common belief that they are unrelated. Initially, a small trial showed promising results when using thyroid hormone to treat severe PMS symptoms, but problems arose due to incorrect dosing. Larger studies later confirmed that PMS and hypothyroidism have little or no significant link.

However, the author argues that PMS is fundamentally linked to thyroid problems, possibly affecting the production of ovarian progesterone. The book introduces a personalised approach to managing thyroid issues using a combination of T4 and T3 hormones, which has shown significant improvement in PMS symptoms for many patients.

While some suggest using antidepressant drugs like Prozac for PMS, the author questions the influence of drug companies on study outcomes. Instead, he advocates for thyroid treatment, which he claims to work effectively in addressing PMS symptoms.

2Maintaining a healthy thyroid is crucial for a successful pregnancy

In the book, the crucial role of thyroid health during pregnancy stands out as a key focus. Untreated hypothyroidism has been linked to infertility, miscarriage, and premature delivery. The author advocates for managing thyroid health in pregnant women, especially during fall and winter.

Empirical treatment with low doses of T4 even in euthyroid pregnancies has shown promising results in reducing miscarriage and prematurity rates. However, due to medicolegal concerns, this approach may not become standard practice.

3Hypothyroidism and depression are related

The book highlights the significant connection between hypothyroidism and depression, a relationship often underestimated in standard medical practices. Many depressed patients may have underlying hypothyroidism, even if their TSH levels appear within the normal range. The author advocates trying thyroid treatment alone in patients with a clinical picture of hypothyroidism and significant depression before crossing over to antidepressant medications.

The use of Prozac (fluoxetine) may artificially suppress TSH levels, leading to a misdiagnosis of hyperthyroidism. The author suggests checking thyroid tests after a period on Prozac to identify its effect on thyroid hormones.

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • Backed by scientific explanations, making it accessible and understandable even to non-medical readers.

  • Challenges conventional medical practice by prioritising patient symptoms over lab numbers.

  • Provides a comprehensive understanding of thyroid treatment beyond traditional T4 therapy, emphasising the importance of T3 in thyroid hormone balance.

  • Presents real-life success stories, showing that Dr. Blanchard’s method has helped individuals reclaim their health and quality of life.


  • The book does not address the auto-immune aspect of hypothyroidism, which is crucial for many sufferers, particularly those with Hashimoto’s.

  • The repetitive nature of some chapters makes them difficult to read and may leave some readers feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled.

Best quotes from ‘The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism’

“…in fact, the runs of rapid heartbeat often cease upon thyroid treatment.”
“If a patient comes to me with a good clinical picture of hypothyroidism with a significant component of depression, my policy is to try them on thyroid alone. Once the antidepressant bridge is crossed, the clinical picture is muddied, so that it is difficult or impossible to decide which component of treatment is causing the good or bad things that are happening.”
“An observation that has always intrigued me is that I have never seen a case of postpartum depression in any woman that I have ever managed thyroid-wise during a pregnancy.”

Final takeaway

Dr. Kenneth R. Blanchard’s book, ‘The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism,’ is a groundbreaking resource that challenges conventional medical practices in treating hypothyroidism. Dr. Blanchard offers fresh insights that prioritise patient symptoms over lab numbers and presents a more efficient method of managing thyroid health.

This book is a must-read for both medical practitioners seeking new perspectives and thyroid patients looking for effective treatment options beyond conventional approaches.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘The Functional Approach to Hypothyroidism’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback and Kindle, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.

Healthypedia FAQ

Yes, the book presents real-life success stories of individuals who have experienced an improvement in their health and quality of life through the author's thyroid treatment approach. their health and well-being.

No, the book mainly addresses thyroid hormone replacement therapy with pharmaceuticals and does not explore alternative treatment options.

Yes, the book emphasises the importance of T3 in thyroid hormone balance beyond traditional T4 therapy.

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