(NaturalNews) An estimated 98 million American adults have high cholesterol or total blood cholesterol values of 200 mg/dL or higher. Your doctor may be following the clarion call, insisting you take a statin drug to lower these levels. Both you and your doctor may not be aware that hypothyroidism, according to the National Cholesterol Education Program, is a common secondary cause, after diet, associated with high cholesterol.
The Mayo Clinic concurs with medical experts that, "hypothyroidism may also be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, primarily because high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol - the "bad" cholesterol - can occur in people with an underactive thyroid. It is not unusual when low thyroid function is addressed, cholesterol will often return to normal levels."
Hypothyroidism is a condition where too little thyroid hormone is in the bloodstream, and yet of the more than 13 million Americans who have a thyroid disorder, nearly half have been undiagnosed.
"The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body's metabolism. If the thyroid gland produces too little hormone, metabolism can slow, having a direct impact on the body's ability to clear cholesterol from the bloodstream. As a result, the risk of cholesterol being deposited in the arteries, especially around the heart, is increased, thereby increasing the risk for heart disease." Even if your thyroid is under active, and not true hypothyroidism, there can be an increase in total cholesterol levels, in addition to an impairment of your heart's ability to pump efficiently. Hypothyroidism can also lead to an enlarged heart and heart failure.
Tests from the University of Texas-Southwest Medical School, Dallas, TX underscore a clear correlation between hypothyroidism and hypercholesterolemia, (high blood cholesterol.) Ninety percent of patients with overt hypothyroidism have increased cholesterol and/or triglycerides. Once hypothyroidism is treated with a thyroid hormone replacement, and the TSH level is restored to normal, the majority of patients show an estimated 20 to 30 percent reduction in cholesterol levels.
While research shows thyroid stimulating hormones have a positive relationship on cholesterol, the effects of subclinical hypothyroidism on cardiovascular disease are nonetheless under debate. However, most current data suggest that even modest thyroid-stimulating hormone elevations result in improved lipid profiles. Even with adequate treatment of a thyroid condition, there may still be other reasons for your cholesterol to remain above normal, such as diet and genetic factors.
- Meet with your doctor and request a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood test, along with T4, T3, Free T4 and Free T3 tests.
- At most labs in the U.S., the normal range is from around .3 to 3 as of early 2003. If the TSH level is at the higher end of the range, or above the range, your doctor may determine that you are hypothyroid (underactive thyroid.) If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, here are some natural supplements to improve your thyroid health.
Iodine -- You can increase your iodine intake through diet and kelp supplementation. Kelp is rich in iodine. Foods that contain iodine are yogurt, eggs, fish and other seafood, radish, parsley, potatoes, oatmeal and bananas.
Selenium -- Many people diagnosed with hypothyroidism were found to be selenium deficient. Selenium deficiency can reduce the activity of the thyroid hormones.
Tyrosine -- Tyrosine is an amino acid needed by the body to manufacture thyroid hormones from iodine.
Thyroid Glandular -- Thyroid glandular supplements are usually sold through your practitioner.
Bladderwrack -- Bladderwrack is a seaweed that is a rich source of iodine that is thought to stimulate the thyroid gland increasing metabolism.
If you have high cholesterol, have your doctor check your thyroid before taking drugs.
Milionis HJ, Tambaki AP, Kanioglou CN, Elisaf MS, Tselepis AD, Tsatsoulis A. Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.
About the author
Deanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education. website: yourhealthcoachdee.com Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist. Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.