What comes to mind when you hear the words “high cholesterol?” Unfortunately, as Americans, we are all too familiar with high cholesterol. In fact, it’s estimated that 71 million Americans have high cholesterol; the majority of which have likely been told that it’s due to diet or that they need cholesterol-lowering drugs. Considering that more than 72 million Americans are obese, it comes as no surprise that diet contributes to high cholesterol and triglycerides. But you may be surprised to learn that in addition to an unhealthy diet, the cause for your high cholesterol could be linked to hypothyroidism.
Adequate levels of thyroid hormone, especially the active form of the thyroid hormone, T3, are essential for the metabolism of cholesterol. In order for your body to remove excess cholesterol, the liver must be functioning optimally. Your liver converts the extra cholesterol into bile, which then leaves the body through elimination. Thyroid hormone plays an integral role in liver function. Increased levels of thyroid hormone increase the number of LDL cholesterol receptors on the liver cells. This allows these cells to remove excess LDL cholesterol from the plasma. If adequate amounts of thyroid hormone are not supplied, the liver’s ability to remove cholesterol out of the plasma is compromised.
This is why high cholesterol and high triglycerides are often listed as a symptom of low thyroid. In our practice, we find that elevated cholesterol is lowered naturally to healthy levels with the addition of thyroid hormone. It’s important to note that this is with the addition of desiccated thyroid as opposed to synthetic thyroid pharmaceuticals such as Synthroid or Levoxyl. Desiccated thyroid preparations contain both the inactive and active form of thyroid hormones, T4 and T3 respectively. Pharmaceuticals such as Synthroid unfortunately rely on the body’s ability to adequately convert T4 to T3. For many, this conversion process is impaired, thus the amount of active thyroid hormone available to their cells is limited. For this reason, our practice utilizes and recommends desiccated thyroid preparations.
With all this in mind, it is important to know that cholesterol is essential for life! It is important in brain health and is critical for stabilizing the membranes of each cell in your body. Cholesterol is essential for the synthesis of testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen as well as your adrenal hormones. And it must be said that the cause of high cholesterol is not because of a low level of foreign chemicals in your body such as Lipitor or Crestor. Considering the importance of cholesterol to the body, the debilitating effects of statin drugs should come as no surprise. Using unnatural means to stop the body’s normal biological processes is only beneficial for Big Pharma’s bottom line.
One in every three American adults has high cholesterol. If your cholesterol levels are high, in addition to the common symptoms of hypothyroidism, then hypothyroidism may very well be the culprit. Instead of relying on a statin drug to lower a lab value, consider going beyond the paperwork. Work with your body’s natural cholesterol metabolism by addressing the source of your high cholesterol and symptoms. Healthy cholesterol levels are one of the many benefits of a healthy thyroid.