Cause & Effect – Thyroid and Cholesterol – Your Health Detective

Did you Know?…

  • Your thyroid gland affects your cholesterol levels. An underactive thyroid can cause elevations in your low-density lipoprotein – LDL  or “bad” cholesterol.
  • An overactive thyroid can lead to a sharp drop in your triglycerides, a type of fat in your bloodstream.
    Either condition, if left untreated, puts you at risk for disorders of the heart…click here to continue reading…

The thyroid gland, located in the neck, is small in size but huge in its job tasks. It is responsible for producing hormones that affect nearly all tissues in the body. The thyroid can develop a variety of problems, from inflammation to cancer. Remember, conditions of the thyroid can cause the production of too much hormone, known as hyperthyroidism, or too little hormone, known as hypothyroidism. The production of thyroid hormone and level of cholesterol in the body share an inverse relationship, meaning that as thyroid hormone levels drop, cholesterol
levels rise.  

Hypothyroidism and Cholesterol Levels

Hypothyroidism can occur due to surgical removal of the thyroid, radiation treatments in the neck area, inflammation of the thyroid or an autoimmune disease that allows the cells in the immune system to attack and destroy the thyroid cells. The decrease in thyroid hormone causes a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, inflammation, dry skin, depression, sleep disorders, anxiety/panic, and constipation. Thyroid hormone also regulates the expression of a protein known as sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 involved in the uptake of LDL cholesterol.

Hypothyroidism often causes weight gain. Excess weight leads, in turn, to a rise in your cholesterol levels.

Hyperthyroid and Triglycerides

Hyperthyroidism means your thyroid produces too much. Symptoms include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, sweating and irritability. Your thyroid helps control your metabolism. An overactive thyroid puts your metabolism in overdrive, and you burn up fat, including triglycerides in your bloodstream. Although low cholesterol protects you against heart attacks, an overactive thyroid can cause different heart problems, including congestive heart failure and rhythm disorders.

   The Production and “Trek” of Cholesterol

The liver produces approximately 75 percent of the total amount of cholesterol, a type of fat. In order for cholesterol to travel through the blood to get to cells that need it for hormone production or as a structural support, it must bind to a specialized type of protein known as a lipoprotein. The liver produces several types of lipoprotein that differ in their concentration of protein and amount of cholesterol they can carry. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) binds the majority of the protein in the body and carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) picks up cholesterol from the blood vessels and tissues and carries it back to the liver, where it gets broken down and excreted with the bodily waste.

Cholesterol in the Liver  

The liver not only produces cholesterol, it also uses cholesterol to make bile acid – a substance
that is secreted into the small intestine that aids in the digestion of dietary fats – to make bile acids, specialized LDL receptors in the liver bind to and uptake LDL cholesterol. A decrease in thyroid hormone inhibits the expression of the sterol regulatory element-binding protein, which decreases the number of LDL receptors, leaving LDL cholesterol in the blood. When the liver cannot remove LDL cholesterol from the blood, LDL cholesterol levels rise and can lead to high blood cholesterol.

Too much cholesterol in the blood vessels allow it to accumulate along the walls of the blood vessels, contributing to the formation of plaque – a sticky substance consisting of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other cellular waste. Plaque causes the blood vessel to thicken and become hard and eventually blocks the flow of blood, a process known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis leads to heart disease – the leading cause of death in the United States. To lower your riskfor heart disease, doctors recommend keeping your total blood cholesterol, which include both LDL and HDL, at less than 200 mg/dL and your LDL cholesterol level less than 100 mg/dL.

Non-synthetic Thyroid Support Options  

Patients with hypothyroidism have non-synthetic options such as a homeopathic called Wholistic
Thyroid Balance
– containing all three types of biological natural iodine to support thyroid health. It is a proprietary blend available only through the Health Matter Store at

If your conventional blood testing shows your thyroid levels are, “within normal range”
yet you exhibit symptoms of a thyroid disorder, consider reading the book, Your Symptoms are NOT in Your Head, Hips or Expanding Waistline, they’re in YOUR THYROID. Click here to purchase the
eBook or paper version – an easy-to-read step-by-step guide for $9.95 (eBook), $9.95 plus s/h for paper version.

Selected References

Journal of Biological Chemistry: Thyroid Hormone Regulation and Cholesterol
Metabolism; Shin and Osborne; 2008

American Heart Association:
Cardiovascular Disease Statistics

Colorado States University:
Secretion of Bile and the Role of Bile Acids in Digestion; November 2001

National Heart Lung and
Blood Institute: High Blood Cholesterol; September 2008

American Thyroid
Association: Hypothyroidism; 2005

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