The Connection Between Hypothyroidism and High Cholesterol

The Connection Between Hypothyroidism and High Cholesterol (It’s More Common Than you Think)

Do you have high cholesterol?

Are you blaming your diet?

Not so fast…

Low thyroid is a COMMON cause of high cholesterol and it may explain your cholesterol issues. 

Before you run and jump on a statin or another cholesterol medication make sure that you rule out your thyroid as the primary CAUSE of your high cholesterol. 

This may not be obvious to you as a patient but it should be incredibly obvious to your doctor. 

The connection between low thyroid and high cholesterol is so strong that high cholesterol should automatically cause your doctor to screen for low thyroid. 

But I have one question for you:

Did your doctor actually do this? Or did they just assume your high cholesterol was “normal” and tried to put you on a prescription medication to treat it?

You’d be surprised at how many people have THIS experience instead of the screening for low thyroid as I described above. 

But this situation gets even more complicated:

High cholesterol is often an EARLY warning sign of low thyroid but your doctor may miss it if they are hyper-focused only on the TSH

We will talk more about that below. 

In this article you will learn:

  • More about the connection between high cholesterol and low thyroid and why it is so common
  • Why high cholesterol is a warning sign of low thyroid or early thyroid problems
  • What to do if you have high cholesterol AND you are already taking thyroid medication
  • How to effectively test for thyroid problems using MORE than just the TSH test
  • Why your doctor may miss this important connection

Let’s jump in…


Foods to Avoid if you Have Thyroid Problems:

I’ve found that these 10 foods cause the most problems for thyroid patients. Learn which foods you should avoid if you have thyroid disease of any type.


The Complete List of Thyroid Lab tests:

The list includes optimal ranges, normal ranges, and the complete list of tests you need to diagnose and manage thyroid disease correctly!


High Cholesterol by itself is a warning sign of hypothyroidism

Your thyroid gland is one of the primary controllers of cholesterol in your body. 

What does this mean?

When there is a problem in your thyroid gland it will manifest as a problem in your cholesterol level. 

The bigger the problem in your thyroid the bigger the change in your cholesterol. 

The thyroid hormone, specifically the most powerful thyroid hormone T3, regulates an enzyme known as HMG-CoA reductase (1). 

This is the SAME enzyme that medications like statins (and Lipitor), interfere with. 

But thyroid hormone doesn’t just stop there. 

It also regulates HDL metabolism, LPL, VLDL, and triglyceride metabolism. 

You don’t have to know the specifics but you should know that changes in your thyroid can dramatically impact your cholesterol at many levels. 

Several studies (2) have shown that an abnormal TSH, even at the upper level of what is considered “normal”, increases the risk that you will have high cholesterol. 

What does this mean for you?

If you have high cholesterol the FIRST thing that you should look at is your thyroid level as the primary CAUSE of that problem. 

Does it mean that your thyroid is always the cause of high cholesterol levels?

Not necessarily, but you can’t just assume that it isn’t. 

Every patient with high cholesterol should undergo screening for low thyroid the CORRECT way (more on that below). 

If your doctor hasn’t done that, and you are currently taking medication for high cholesterol, you should go back immediately and get tested. 

I have found that high cholesterol is often the FIRST warning sign of low thyroid. 

It’s even more sensitive than standard tests that doctors use to diagnose thyroid problems such as TSH. 

For this reason, if you have high cholesterol and want to rule out your thyroid as the cause, you need to get a complete thyroid lab panel. 

Do you have Persistently High Cholesterol even on thyroid medication?

I’ll never forget this important lesson that I learned while in residency:

One old-school but very smart attending physician told me that unexplained high cholesterol is almost always a sign of early hypothyroidism and is best treated by thyroid medications like NDT.

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom in the thyroid community but it’s something that has served me well. 

Let me explain what she meant: 

Medications, such as NDT, are often MUCH better at controlling cholesterol levels compared to levothyroxine even though almost EVERY doctor puts patients with low thyroid function on levothyroxine. 

We even have studies showing that this is the case (3)!

Take this study, for instance, which showed that thyroid patients taking levothyroxine did NOT have normal cholesterol levels even though they had a normal TSH. 

The TSH is the test that most doctors use to determine whether or not you are taking ‘enough’ thyroid medication. 

What can we infer from these results?

Well, for starters, using levothyroxine is probably not sufficient to help MOST thyroid patients feel better and to improve their thyroid function by itself. 

join 80000 thyroid patients

If it were then we would see the cholesterol levels normalize as they started taking their medication. 

If this doesn’t happen then we can only assume that their thyroid was not adequately treated by whatever therapy they were using. 

This study just proves what my attending told me long ago:

Armour thyroid is better than levothyroxine at improving cholesterol levels and treating thyroid patients. 

Only she didn’t need a medical study to prove that this was the case.

She was an old-school doctor and she just learned from treating hundreds and probably thousands of patients throughout her career. 

So what can you take from this if you are a thyroid patient who is taking thyroid medication like levothyroxine but still has high cholesterol?

That you are on the wrong type of thyroid medication

It’s most likely NOT that your body has a statin deficiency but that your body NEEDS more thyroid hormone. 

You can get more thyroid hormone by either taking a new thyroid medication such as Armour thyroid or by increasing your dose of thyroid medication (whatever you are taking). 

What to do if you can’t normalize your cholesterol even on thyroid medication

It may not be possible to completely normalize your cholesterol levels just by adjusting your thyroid medication alone. 

There are many factors that play a role in your cholesterol level and a big one of those factors comes from your lifestyle, your diet, your activity level, and so on. 

If you are serious about improving your cholesterol then you should do these things in addition to altering your thyroid medication: 

  • Eliminate processed sugars from your diet – Processed sugars spike insulin levels which causes insulin resistance and obesity! Eliminate foods that are high in sugars as soon as possible. 
  • Eliminate inflammatory foods – Inflammatory foods can cause problems in your intestinal tract and lead to inflammation which can worsen cholesterol levels. You can test yourself for food sensitivities or you can just avoid certain foods like gluten, dairy, and soy which cause problems for many thyroid patients. 
  • Avoid consuming inflammatory fats and industrial seed oils – Inflammatory oils like canola oil, safflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and so on can cause inflammation and damage your cells. Instead of using these fats use healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, butter from grass-fed cows, and coconut oil. 
  • Take fish oil (or consume more omega-3 fatty acids) – Supplements such as fish oil are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements tip the balance in favor of omega 3 from omega 6, reduce inflammation, and improve cholesterol levels. 
  • Make sure you are doing the right types of exercisesThe right type of exercise can go a long way to helping you improve muscle mass and reduce inflammation! The key here is using the right type and if you are trying to lower your cholesterol you want to focus on high-intensity exercises for short periods of time. 5-10 minutes of high-intensity exercises 3-5x per week are great for your mind and body. 

Why your doctor may miss this connection

You would probably like to think that your doctor is the best and that they are infallible but you’d be wrong on both accounts (most likely). 

Why is it that doctors miss this important connection between low thyroid and high cholesterol?

Well, there are a couple of reasons:

#1. They are trained to only test for the TSH.

The first big problem is how doctors diagnose thyroid conditions. 

All doctors are trained to look only at the TSH test as a means to determine whether your thyroid is working or not. 

If the TSH test is normal then you are said to have a normal thyroid. 

There’s one big problem with this:

Focusing only on the TSH means you will miss plenty of patients who actually have thyroid problems but have a normal TSH. 

Important patients who fall into this group are those women who have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (which is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland). 

You can read more about why the TSH fails to diagnose many cases of low thyroid patients here

#2. They have become desensitized to high cholesterol because “everyone” has it.

Another big reason is just the fact that almost everyone nowadays has high cholesterol. 

If you go back in time 20 or 30 years ago, high cholesterol wasn’t nearly as common as it is now. 

But with obesity rates skyrocketing, with hormone imbalances running rampant (including thyroid dysfunction), and insulin resistance rates soaring, it’s uncommon to find someone with NORMAL cholesterol. 

Unsurprisingly, this leads many doctors to automatically assume that high cholesterol in any patient is probably from a poor diet (insulin resistance) or from obesity (metabolic syndrome) without ever testing or giving thought to the thyroid. 

This is a safe assumption for MOST people but if your doctor uses the mindset then they may miss a TON of patients who have high cholesterol from a low thyroid. 

#3. Most doctors are about 10-20 years behind the times when it comes to the latest medical research.

Sadly, this is a topic that I wish more patients were aware of. 

It’s become increasingly apparent that most doctors are at LEAST 10-20 years behind the times (4) when it comes to new scientific research. 

You would like to think that your doctor is pulling all-nighters after a long day of work reading the latest and greatest research about everything in the healthcare field. 

But you’d be wrong…

Most doctors only read medical studies that are given to them by pharmaceutical companies and even that is becoming rarer and rarer. 

It’s not all their fault, though, as doctors are faced with an insurmountable amount of new research that comes out on a daily basis as well. It’s impossible to read it all. 

The result is that most doctors are at least 17 years behind the times when it comes to new treatments and therapies. 

Testing for thyroid problems

So how can you ensure that your high cholesterol isn’t from your thyroid?

It starts with testing. 

It is possible to rule out your thyroid as the cause of high cholesterol provided your doctor orders the right tests. 

Just looking at the TSH is not sufficient to say if your thyroid is working or not. 

When you go to your doctor to check your thyroid make sure you ask for these tests

  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – Your TSH should be less than 2.5. 
  • Free T3 – Look for a free T3 that is in the top 50% of the reference range provided (a low normal does not mean that you are free and clear)
  • Free T4 – Look for a free T4 that is in the top 50% of the reference range provided (a low normal is still a problem)
  • TPO antibodies – The presence of these antibodies may mean that you have an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Thyroglobulin antibodies – The presence of these antibodies may mean that you have an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

It is particularly important that you ask your doctor to order all of these tests but pay close attention to your TPO antibodies and your thyroid peroxidase antibodies. 

If either of these tests is positive then it may mean (and it likely does) that you have an autoimmune thyroid disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. 

Women with this autoimmune condition often have normal other thyroid lab tests and the only sign of this condition is the elevated antibodies. 

It’s also possible for women with this condition to have thyroid problems even though their thyroid lab tests look “normal”. 

These tests apply to both people who are taking thyroid medication and to those who are not. 

Final Thoughts

The bottom line?

You should be aware that your cholesterol levels and your thyroid function are closely linked. 

The connection goes like this:

Low thyroid function leads to HIGH cholesterol. 

High thyroid function leads to LOW cholesterol. 

If you have been tested for cholesterol and you find that your cholesterol levels are high the VERY next thing you should do is get a complete thyroid lab panel and make sure that your thyroid is functioning at an optimal level. 

Using thyroid medication is often enough to normalize or fix your cholesterol level for most people. 

Do NOT take a statin or another cholesterol medication until you have ruled out your thyroid as the cause of your high cholesterol. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Do you have high cholesterol?

Are you 100% sure that your high cholesterol is NOT from your thyroid?

Do you have high cholesterol AND a low thyroid? Do you think these conditions are related to your body?

If you do have high cholesterol, have you had your thyroid tested the RIGHT way using the complete thyroid lab panel listed above?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

Scientific References





high cholesterol? it's probably your thyroid

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About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 80,000+ people have used them over the last 7 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do.

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52 thoughts on “The Connection Between Hypothyroidism and High Cholesterol (It’s More Common Than you Think)”

  1. My cholesterol is back in range. I take t3 t4 combination. Natural medicine for 11 years. My dad lost his fight with cholesterol 28 years ago. I don’t think they completely evaluated his thyroid. Thanks for the optimal lab values. My too antibodies were 315. It took 10 years with medicine and labs for the top antibodies to go down to 47. Which is still positive. I feel so much better.

      • Hi Dr Childs,
        Just got my results. LDL is high at 110, Insulin 2.6, A1C 4.8, TSH 1.74, free t4 1.2, total t3 114, REVERSE t3 24!!!!
        Never been on thyroid meds- every doc for past 20 years says it’s fine but my cholesterol is always high. I can’t lose weight and have no health issues. I am only 45 years old.

  2. I’ve been on Levothyroxine for 7 years and my tsh is still typically about 2.3 and my cholesterol is high even with statins. My doctor refuses to prescribe NDT because she says you don’t get accurate blood work readings while taking it. I love her because she has listened to me and did vitamin d and b12 tests after telling her I was exhausted all of the time. They were both in the tank and by taking oral vitamin d and twice monthly b12 injections, I have a bit more energy. I hate that I may have to leave her but I need a doctor that will take my thyroid more seriously and the fact my cholesterol is still high and I can’t lose weight no matter what I do.

  3. Well I’m treated with nature throid and found out yesterday my cholesterol is high. I’m assuming this constitutes a re check on my thyroid?

  4. I have very high cholesterol and LDL. Low bone mass. Chol Ratio if good. For many years My thyroid tsh has always been low normal or low and my t3 also low normal or low. T4 in lower range of normal. PCP wants me on thyroid meds. Endo says No because I don’t have thyroid disease. Who do you listen to?

  5. Hi
    i have had Hashimotos since I was 26 years old , I am now 59. My cholesterol has always been elevated and my specialists have always prompted me to take a stain , in which I have refused. In my latest bloods my TSH was 18.17 and my t4 18.4 ( I am in Australia so you may need to convert), my cholesterol is 9.6. I’m a Clinical Nutritionist, I am not over weight, no other medical conditions, I eat a very health diet. My doctors response was to put me on statins and raise my Thyroxine meds from 100mcg daily to 200mcg daily. I have to insist on t3 or rt3 to be tested. do I just need TS sups to help with this? I already take D3 and fish oil daily

  6. I seriously believe my thyroid is not functioning correctly (January TSH was 2.56 while taking antidepressants – was feeling great – and in August they were 3.27 after going off those meds & feeling hypothyroid). My dr only ran TSH in January and only did most of the T3 and T4 in August after I asked her specifically to test those. They came back “normal”, but I find it hard to believe I’m “normal” when my RT3 is at a 10 (low normal range is 9.2), free T4 is .95, and LDL sits at 164 with total cholesterol at 248 (down from 254 in January). I refuse to take simvistatin because I just feel in my gut that it won’t be the answer. I’m increasing Exercise and it’s hard when I have more days where I have an afternoon energy crash and three young kids. I’ll figure this out and thank you so much for your info! I need to pass it on to my dr so maybe she will believe me and stop trying to do the accept norm for drugs that only masks the true issues and solves nothing beyond adding more side effects that I don’t want or need!

  7. Doctor, I have had Hashimoto’s for 30 years. During that time I’ve been treated with Synthroid or Levothyroxine. My latest tests are TSH0.067 (low because I’ve been told I have Secondary Hypothyroidism), Free T3 4.81 (just under the range mid point) and Free T4 20.46 (which is in the upper half of the range). My Cholesterol levels have always been elevated and is clearly due to my thyroid because my diet is excellent. My average lipids over the last 4 years are Cholesterol 241, Triglycerides 140, HDL 46 and LDL 166. I consider my cholesterol and LDL as high and would like to reduce them but just the traditional medication doesn’t seem to work. I’ve been told that the fixed ratio of T4 to T3 in NDT would either have me undermedicated in T4 or overmedicated in T3. How do I lower my lipid results and get them in the proper range as I do not want to take statins? Thank you

  8. WOW!!! This video is amazing!! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I was on 100mg of levothyroxine but dr lowered it to 88mg. I just received my results from a blood test and my cholesterol is still high and it went up! I am not obese, I eat a low carb diet and walk or exercise at least 4 times a week! I was hysterical in my car crying thinking that I wasn’t doing enough, this is all my fault or as my sister said “my once a week taco cheat meal is my problem!”
    Thank you, thank you for pointing out what my doctor doesn’t when he gives me side eye that I am lying about eating healthy. I know know I need to book an appt with a specialist . I also have Multiple sclerosis so sometimes its difficult for me to tell if MS or hypothyroidism is causing my ailments.

  9. I have had Hashimotos at least 25 years I have been on tirosint for several years, I have been on armor, nature throid and every combination of the others, but I feel my best on tirosint and have been on doses from 88 to 125. my last doctor moved and I have seen my new doctor for a year now she listens and she recommends supplements rather than a prescription. However this time my cholesterol is 332 triglycerides 127mg HDL 67mg LDL 240 vld 25 which is a big jump from 9 months ago. I can’t remember ever having it in range My dr. now wants a tc stating with my thyroid in range for over one year now it would be wise because I have heart palps, sweats and all the signs that I always contribute to my thyroid. She does tsh 3.89 FT3- 3.01 Ft4-1.81 the others were in range as well except TPOb high at 127 Cholesterol runs high in my family along with auto immune disease (Lupus). I am leery on getting the CT, which we have waited on until now. my cardiac indicator marker is sow risk. I am at a loss and discouraged. Thank you for all you do, Joy

  10. To Elizabeth’s comment-I have MS and no thyroid and it is hard to tell. I started losing the ability to walk because my Synthroid level stopped working for me and I had thought it was MS but it was hypothyroid induce myopathy. The first endo refused to raise the med so I went to another who did raise it and I was able to walk more. He raise it a little more and I’m just starting to see muscle being re strengthened. I thank this website so much.

    • Hi Allison
      I am from South Africa. Please tell me what meds you are on, as i also get very bad muscle pains and find it hard to walk sometimes.

  11. I have high cholesterol and high “HDL” so I assumed that the good cholesterol kept the “LDL” in check? I am on a natural thyroid supplement. I don’t go to Drs anymore and I go by how I feel, which is fine. PS The Dr’s in my area are really bad with thyroid issues.
    Great article.

    • Hi Deborah,

      In general, and in the right setting, a high HDL is felt to be a protective measure against cardiovascular disease.

  12. Wow I just got my blood work and my cholesterol went from 165 in May 2020 to 201 in 1/19/21, my bad cholesterol went from 74 to 109, thank you so much I was beating my brain. I have been trying to be real good, especially since I have hashimotos. My endo back in 2017 but me on statins but when I went to my new dr in 2018 I stop taking the statins because I read it was not good and my cholesterol was not high. Now that I am thinner and I am gluten free, less than 30 carbs a day no added sugars. This past year I switched from nature thyroid to T4 and T3 SR compound and still working very slowing on finding the right combination. As my doctor feels I had to tweak it slowly 5 mcg T4 and 5 T3 SR, I don’t agree and my Tpo is at 5 and my reverse T3 is 14 just below 15. I asked her to just increase my T3 SR and not the T4 she did and my Tsh did go down from 5.22 to 3.95, but my cholesterol good and bad are now out of wack. This came in just in time because of see her tomorrow and it adds more fuel to my reasoning that I need more T3 because my body does not convert T4 Well for many reasons you mentioned in your other video on conversion and reverse T3. She will tell me to take my statin but I will tell her when my TSH is 2.5 or less, and my T4, T3 are at the 50% optimal level she can retest me. If it’s still high then I’ll take it. I know my numbers are not right yet and I need more T3 but o have to go at her pace because she does not want me to me overdosed on T 3 but with these numbers I think she should know that’s a fat chance. My T4 0.9 my T3 is 3.0 still not there, I will tell her more T 3 tomorrow thank you very much I can’t tell how happy I am I got this video right now!

  13. 35 years ago I gad severe minstrel bleeding gyn thought I should have dnc during procedure I had severe heart problems. Was kept in hospital till they felt it was back to normal. For 6 months had sweats went from 125 lbs to 95 lbs. A new doctor suggested to have thyroid testing done. I was hyper thyroid and was sent to have radiation cpctail st a teaching hospital. Now tsh wasnt routeen so when tests still were high they gave me propathyrosil to kill thyroid more. Developed lumps and I went back to teaching hospital in Chicago cz I didnt trust drs. At teaching hospital the endocrinoligist felt so bad for ne and said I will have u better in a month. Did a tsh and ai was extremely low. He called interns in and yelled this is what happens if your not listing to your patients. I was well and wventually put on point .1 synthroid. He said only synthroid and wanted me on the high side of thyroid. He died a couple of years ago and doctors have been changing doses. Now in 1 year 1.5 to .81. Feel awful. I have very high cholesterol. I am at wits end and live in S.C. if tou have any hospitals or endrocine drs. You can suggestions. Thank God for all your info. I read all i publish.

  14. Im on Synthroid and im wondering why I did so terrible when I was on NDT? I took only 1/4 grain but still struggled with heart palpitations, poor sleep and hair loss. Im much better in synthroid. Why is this?

  15. I had a thyroidectomy in 2016 (cancer) and developed psoriatic arthritis shortly after my surgery and I also developed abnormally high cholesterol and according to my Endocrinologist my thyroid levels are “great”.

    I did eventually take cholesterol lowering medications (lipator and pravastatin) both destroyed my already painful joints and the most recent one was Zetia which was and absolute nightmare after 30 day I was passing blood in my urine but didn’t really think it was Zetia (it would come and go) I forgot to take it 3 days in a row and did not notice any blood at all until I remembered to take it on the 4th day(severe back pains and blood in urine).

    I refuse to take anymore cholesterol lowering drugs but I can’t get the endo to up my thyroid meds either… Im doomed I guess so frustrating.

  16. I have been on several medications for Thyroid. Had Thyroid Cancer almost 8 years ago.- NO THYROID .. Been on Levo, then on Armour (most doctors wouldn’t treat me because they didn’t believe in Armour)
    So I’m currently on Tirosint, the current APRN has me on T3 as well but lowered my T3 from 15 mcg to 10 because my TSH was suppressed but way too low. TSH came up some but then my FT3 & FT4 are low (not Optimal) on the lower end. But she ALWAYS focus’ on the TSH and not sure why when I don’t have a Thyroid. Gaining weight, High Cholesterol and these doctors think I’m crazy. Feeling defeated. Any suggestions? I live in a rural area so not easy to find a doctor who will listen or treat properly.

  17. I am 65 y/o female, weigh 118 lbs, healthy diet, have normal tsh, low t3 and t4 and very high LDL300, trig 93 and HDL 125. Also have nodules on my thyroid(FNB determined non cancer). Argued with my doc about taking a statin and finally gave in. Have endo appt scheduled for March 2021-any advice how to approach my
    endocrinology doc?

  18. Hi,
    Can you recommend a pediatric endocrinologist or doctor specializing in thyroid disorders in Atlanta for my 6 year old? I’ve tried both Children’s Hospital (CHOA) and an integrative health specialist and now she is on a gluten and dairy free diet but the doctors are not looking at her thyroid.

  19. WoW! I had no clue, “until Now”, there was a link to hypothyroid and high cholesterol! Thank you thank you thank you for education us! I’m scheduled to get mine checked next month.

  20. Dr Childs,
    Thank you for this very interesting article. I too had no idea that high cholesterol was linked to a hypothyroid condition. I’ve been on a statin for years now for high cholesterol and just recently insisted my doctor order a full panel thyroid test after noticing symptoms such as hair loss, brain fog, depression etc.. I sensed something was wrong so did my own research. Sure enough my TPO & Thyroglobulin antibody levels were very high. I am self managing now with thyroid supplements and have noticed a significant drop in these antibody levels with my last 2 labs results. I will be doing another Thyroid and Lipid panel test again soon which will be very telling that I am on the road to Hashimotos’ remission. I am not on any thyroid medication and wondering if I need to be if my next TPO results are even lower. Also can I stop my statin medication as I have an active lifestyle and healthy diet which is now gluten and dairy free for the most part. Thank you for your very helpful information!

  21. I have Hashi and taking an NDT. I’ve taken several different ones and now using NP. However, I think it is not working as well as Armour or NatureThroid. My cholesterol has always been a bit high but HDL was high so most drs were willing to let it go. Then several months after switching to NP, my cholesterol numbers went up by 100 points! I eat well, exercise and at a good weight. Heart disease etc. run in my family and I have been told my condition is hereditary. Hmm not so fast I guess. I am trying the sublingual method for my thyroid meds and will revisit the cholesterol connection after changing my thyroid meds. Thanks for the info – I seemed to be as informed or more so than my drs – some are more tolerant of my research than others.

    • Hi Jaye,

      Happy to help! It’s definitely worth playing around with your thyroid medication before you jump on statins or other cholesterol lowering medications.

  22. Your lab test results included a chart with patterns that had both free T3 and free T4 in the same column, assuming both act the same; both low or both high. What about one that is lower and one being higher? Certainly there has to be more patterns. For example, my results show:
    TSH: 1.4
    T3: 2.7
    T4: 1.6
    APOAb: 18
    These results do not fit into the pattern you show in your chart. You also state a + test for TPOab is 0.0. Are you saying any measurable amount is + for Hashimotos?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Mike,

      There are hundreds of patterns so it’s not possible to include them all here! I just put the most common. If your antibodies are flagging as high then there’s a very high chance you have Hashimoto’s (though not 100%).

  23. I am having a horrible time losing weight!
    I just got my TSH test result at 0.219
    T4 Free at 0.83
    I have been liothyronone 12.5 mg daily for over a year and gaining weight.
    Could you please advise what products you offer would help please?
    I am desperate!
    Gail Larson

  24. I feel like I’m forever battling doctors. I dread getting a new doctor and I’m sure you can guess why.
    I was diagnosed with Hashimotos at University Hospital in 1976. Diagnoses was involved (since it’s a teaching hospital) and involved several lab tests a scan and uptake plus all the interns taking turns feeling my neck, checking my reflexes et. al. while they spoke among themselves saying things like “classic” etc. Everyone wanted a turn feeling my neck. So good, I know my diagnoses was thorough. I was put on synthroid and responded very well. In fact, my whole world changed. It was all bluebirds and daisies. One day I was tired, gaining weight, losing hair and suddenly I felt alive! This went well for a long time until my own circumstances changed and I had a new doctor. A few doctors and many years later, I found a new primary I liked and the tsh roller coaster went off the rails. Every month she checked my tsh and lower my levo until I was on such a low dose I could hardly function. It’s been the TSH roller coaster ever since until I finally took matters into my own hands about ten years ago. Now I’m the master of a good boolean search online and I found a renowned thyroid advocate. That was the first time I heard about cytomel. I checked her list of endo’s in my region and started over. I was now seeing an Endo who upped my levo and stated me on cytomel and my life was all roses again. At this point, I would not let my pcp treat my thyroid. I’ve been doing well ever since. Well until about ten months ago when he retired. I expected his associate would maintain my dose but not so. He cut it in half (to every other day). I begged him not to do that.
    Now back to my pcp (who is also treating me with B12 injections -something else that is comorbid with hashimotos) – I am always battling him about statins. High cholesterol runs in my family on my mothers side. The thyroid disorder also runs in her family. Okay back to my refusal to take statins. My sisters all have high cholesterol and we all have a statin intolerance. In fact, one sister ended up in heat failure in icu. Another sister has had visits to the ER over statin reactions. So it is with my nephew. Oh -and did I say her mother died of hyperlipodemia? Oh and my mom and her mom and her sister all had hypothyroid…
    So here I am at the end of my rope.
    On my last visit to my pcp, I asked him to check my TSH and holy smokes! It was off the charts high! In fact, I don’t remember it ever being that high but I wasn’t surprised given that my “new” endo cut my levo in half. My ft3’s and 4’s seem within normal range but I might double check. Anyhow, I’m refusing to take statins due to a family history of intolerance and near death but it’s an ongoing battle. The whole thyroid thing has been an ongoing battle over the years…. so what now?

    • Hi Linda,

      I should start by saying that what you are experiencing is not your fault and is really a manifestation of how the conventional world has failed thyroid patients. That’s not my opinion either, it’s based on thousands of other thyroid patients who all experience the same thing as you:

      How do you feel better? You have to get out of the same system as every single doctor you see in that system will look at you in the exact same way. You can do this by using this resource to help you find the types of doctors that can actually help you:

      You can also use my website as a free resource (videos, podcasts, etc.) to learn more about the thyroid and how you can help yourself feel better. Spend time learning more about your condition, and what type of things you can do on your own, and never rely solely on your doctor to help you feel better.

  25. Thanks for responding
    I finally figured out that not all Endocrinologists are alike.
    It took years to find a good one and he had me on an optimal dose of synthroid with cytomel. I felt wonderful! Recently, I was symptomatic again so I scheduled an appointment with the clinic. I knew I probably needed an increase in my synthroid. Well – he’s retired and I got one of the other doctors in the Endo clinic. I was shocked when he cut my synthroid dose in half to the lowest it has ever been! I told him I can’t be on a dose that low but what can I say? My new prescription was for the low dose so I entered into the hellish world of setbacks.
    Two months ago when I saw my pcp who I adore. I asked him to check my TSH (and ft3, ft4…etc.) Now I never trusted my pcp to check my thyroid before but I’m glad I did. My TSH was out of sight high! I was shocked because it has never been this high! He increased my synthroid to the highest dose I ever had. – Two months later and I’m feeling great! So this is what normal feels like.

    • Hi Linda,

      Glad you found one that is willing to work with you! I would say there are definitely some good endos out there who are willing to try new things but the majority are not really interested in doing much beyond testing the TSH and prescribing levothyroxine.

  26. The cholesterol-thyroid connection in this article seems reversed in me. My cholesterol was normal until AFTER I took levo. Then and only then my cholesterol shot up. (I’m 80 and had normal cholesterol until I took levo.)

    So what’s going on behind the scenes? How do I proceed with this seeming contradiction from your article?

    Important background notes. After being tested inadequately (just TSH) I was declared hypothyroid. But now I read the symptoms of hypo vs hyper and symptom-wise I’m hyper, not a single doubt, won’t waste your time on each symptom. Believe me it’s obvious.

    So of course I stopped taking levo (5 weeks ago). When I see my new doc in 6 weeks will of course strongly request the full panel of tests. Also test to hopefully show my cholesterol has returned to it’s pre-levo level.

    Thank you for your time and expertise!

    • Hi Candace,

      That’s because you’re assuming that your doctor dosed your thyroid medication appropriately which is rarely ever the case. If your doctor didn’t solve your thyroid low thyroid function problem with medication, or if he made it worse which happens as well, then your cholesterol level wouldn’t improve or it could potentially get worse. In addition, there are many different causes of high cholesterol outside of thyroid dysfunction.

      The connection between low thyroid function and high cholesterol is not really disputed so your personal experience doesn’t invalidate known physiology, you just need to find an explanation for why it occurred that way in your body which is most likely from the reason I mentioned above.

  27. Hello,
    I’m 62 years of age, I have been on the” fence” levels with my thyroid for the past 4 years right around the 4.0 mark. I’ve also been fighting a high LDL around 200mg for the last 3 years. Just got my blood work done the other day and the results are that my TSH is 5.120 my T4 is .89, my cholesterol levels are at VLDL 59, LDL 182, HDL 52.
    I had changed my diet last year, high veg, fruits, protein, no bread or baked goods, cut back on sugar, I use only olive or avocado oil. I ride my bike 8 miles 3 times a week and do a yoga stretching, weights program, 3 x’s per week. My Dr. wants to put me on simvastatin 10mg 3 times a week, then recheck my levels both cholesterol and thyroid in 6months. If the thyroid is still high put me on med for that.
    Everything I’ve re-searched so far, states that a high thyroid level could make my cholesterol go up, But I’ve also read that a 5.0 level thyroid is normal for my age. I have not noticed any symptoms of having a thyroid problem all of these problems started when my period stopped at the age of 58, even the symptoms of menopause have not been bad,.
    My Question is .. Should I try a thyroid med first to control and help lower my cholesterol? or should i try the cholesterol med first then see if that helps lower my thyroid levels? To be honest i do not want to take either but its been a battle to lower those numbers. I even tried the herbal route, it brought it down some, but not enough. Thank you,

    • Hi Adelle,

      You’d really only want to try a thyroid medication if you know you have a thyroid problem. If you do then you would definitely want to take that route first. The problem with cholesterol medications is not that they don’t lower your cholesterol (they do), but it will be hard to figure out if treating other conditions will impact your cholesterol while you are on one. The effects of the cholesterol-lowering medication will mask the effects of other therapies, including thyroid medication.

  28. I have hashimotos and just found out I have high ldl cholesterol
    I was just wondering if diet and exercise will even help at this point or is it a losing battle?? My tsh us in normal range also so I am confused
    Why my cholesterol is so high.

    • Hi Leah,

      Diet and exercise always help and should never be neglected. Your cholesterol may be high because of your thyroid or other factors may be contributing as well.

  29. So I’m concerned about my cholesterol. They want to put me on statins but I’ve got my doctor to wait as I have shared your info on it may be ones
    Thyroid. I just had them drawn and each time over last 3 draws my cholesterol keeps going up and up. I’m overweight but eat only 2 x a day and eat pretty well. Very little junk food or processed foods. My cholesterol is highest ever 291 fasting 12 hrs. Last draw 4 months ago was in 258 and one before that in 230 ….I’m taking 90 of NP thyroid and I take it when I go to bed!!!! I’m starting to be worried…. How should I proceed? In general, I mean… TSH is .43 Total T3 3.9 rest of test has not arrived yet.


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