Low Thyroid Function (or hypothyroidism as it is known), links to high cholesterol levels. Hypothyroidism is a common metabolic disorder in the general population. Surveys show a 4.6% prevalence of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) in the general population (USA). 9.5% of the Colorado Prevalence Study participants had high levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). A naturopath looks at the optimal range being between 1-2 (TSH). Thyroid failure is more common in women with the prevalence rising with age. Hypothyroid patients have increased levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Hypothyroidism is seen as a common cause of secondary dyslipidaemia (high cholesterol levels).
Research shows that hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) can put you at a greater risk for high blood cholesterol, which can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Keeping your thyroid in balance helps to keep your cholesterol in check.
How Low Thyroid function impacts Cholesterol Increase
Decreased thyroid function is accompanied by reduced activity of the enzyme involved in making cholesterol, triglycerides (TG) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels which are increased in patients with hypothyroidism (due to lowered activity). Decreased LDL-receptor activity results in decreased clearance of LDL. This decrease in LPL activity is found in hypothyroidism, decreasing the clearance of triglyceride rich lipoproteins.
Why T3 is important?
Just remember thyroid hormones enhance the release of the enzyme involved in the first step of cholesterol synthesis and regulate cholesterol clearance. Too little thyroid hormones mean there is not enough cholesterol clearance and a build up of bad cholesterol (LDL) occurs. It is particularly important for T3, being the active thyroid hormone, as it upregulates and controls the LDL receptor gene activation. Low thyroid hormone may cause greater intestinal cholesterol absorption. The net effect is hyperlipidaemia (increased or high cholesterol levels).
A team of scientists at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, examined data of 9,420 patients enrolled in the in the Rotterdam Study for nearly 9 years, looking at their levels of TSH, free thyroxine (fT4) and risk of heart disease or cerebrovascular disease. What they discovered is that as fT4 increases, the risk of developing heart disease is doubled, and there is an 87% greater risk of suffering from an atherosclerosis-related event such as heart attack or stroke.
Abnormal Levels of Cholesterol
The higher abnormal cholesterol levels of both LDL and HDL have been linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease as cholesterol builds up on the arterial wall. Elevated levels of plasma cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels, are mainly responsible for hypercholesterolemia, which can also lead to other diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
Basella alba, known as remayung, belongs to the family of Basellaceae and is a wild vegetable that was used for human health in ancient times. The leaves and stems of B. alba are used as an analgesic, antifungal, and antiulcer activities. This herb has been studied for its cholesterol lowering properties along with Bergamot. Further studies are still required.
Yes, this is all very complex, so what does it actually mean?
Your Thyroid Function
Maintaining proper thyroid function is crucial particularly in women as they age. Post-menopausal are particularly at high cardiovascular risk. This has been well documented however it is known your thyroid could definitely be playing a part.
How do you improve Low Thyroid Function links Lower Cholesterol levels?
- Maximise thyroid function through minimizing impacts from chemicals in the environment (chlorine and fluoride in particular) and reducing heavy metal exposure. You may need to be tested.
- Support your body and make sure you have the thyroid function co-factors – Selenium, Iodine (checked first) and B-Vitamins) for optimal daily thyroid function.
- If stressed, your thyroid will be affected. They come together! Fix your stress through gentle exercise and ensure good sleep.
- Check your hormone levels. It’s important to know what is occurring not stabbing in the dark.
- Fix your gut function. Optimal gut function is needed for proper absorption of all nutrients.
- If you want to check if you have the APOE gene risk factor. Ensure your MTHFR is optimal through a whole body approach.
- There are several phytochemicals (from plants) that have been studied over the years with promising effects.
See a qualified Naturopath Karen Green for your specific needs. Contact Karen on 0400836254 or firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter @greeninghealth, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GainingHealthNaturally Read more on thyroid health here
Baskaran, G., Salvamani, S., Ahmad, S.A., Shaharuddin, N.A., Pattiram, P.D. & Shukor, M.Y. (2015), HMG-CoA reductase inhibitory activity and phytocomponent investigation of Basella alba leaf extract as a treatment for hypercholesterolemia, Vol.9, Pages 509—517, DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S75056
Lutz, J., Bano, A., & Pearce, E. (2019). Hypothyroid and Cholesterol: Too Little Thyroid Hormone, Too Much Cholesterol, Endocrineweb, https://www.endocrineweb.com/news/thyroid-diseases/59757-hypothyroid-cholesterol-too-little-thyroid-hormone-too-much-cholesterol
Rizos, C., Elisaf, M., and Liberopoulos, E. (2011). Effects of Thyroid Dysfunction on Lipid Profile, The Open Cardiovascular Medicine Journal, Vol.5, p. 76-84,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3109527/pdf/TOCMJ-5-76.pdf