Question: Can you explain the relationship between cholesterol levels and the thyroid gland?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
An article in the June 22, 2012, issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reported on a study of 3,664 subjects who were given blood tests to determine if there was a relationship between thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and lipid levels.
Editor’s Note: Test Your Thyroid at Home. Dr. Brownstein Shows How.
The authors found a significant association between increasing TSH levels — within the normal reference range — and elevated triglyceride and total cholesterol levels. Compared with subjects in the lower part of the reference range (TSH 0.27 to 0.61 mIU/L), those within the higher TSH reference range (4.6 to 5.5 mIU/L) had a 320 percent increase in cholesterol levels.
The authors concluded, “Our study suggests the importance of controlling TSH in hypothyroid (thyroid-deficient) subjects.”
Most conventional doctors and nearly all endocrinologists order a TSH test to diagnose a thyroid problem. If the TSH test comes back within the reference range, the patient is told there is no thyroid issue.
This TSH reference range is much too large, and even small variations in the reference range have been shown to be correlated with hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroid disorders, and elevated lipid levels. Conventional doctors are too quick to put patients on lipid-lowering medications and not search for an underlying cause of high lipids.
Editor’s Note: What Your Tongue Says About Your Thyroid. See the Photo.
The relationship between thyroid disorders and elevated lipid levels has been known for nearly 100 years. If you have high cholesterol, a thorough investigation of the thyroid gland should be undertaken.