High cholesterol and low TSH: Hi all Had a... - Thyroid UK

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High cholesterol and low TSH


Hi all

Had a call from my GP surgery tonight saying my GP needs to see me PDQ regarding my recent blood tests. My TSH was 0.35 (they don't do T3 & T4 levels). My choleterol is 7.2 but has been for the last 12 months + and my Vitamin D is 60. I guess my GP will want to start me on statins but not too keen on that as I believe my high cholesterol is due to undertreated hypothyrodism not heart problems. I have really bad symptoms at the moment, excessive tiredness, fatigue, lack of motivation etc etc.

I have requested a private referral to a well known doctor in Birmingham !

Any thoughts on the above wld be much appreciated xx

16 Replies

Anyone with thyroid disfunction should NOT take statins they inhibit the production of coenzyme Q10 which is vital for the conversion of T4 to T3.

marram in reply to Glynisrose

Well said, Glynisrose.

My personal experience is that the Statins had an even worse effect than having an underactive thyroid. They crippled me and it's taken nearly two years to recover from taking Simvastatin. (The doctor gave me simvastatin because when he reduced my thyroxine from 150 to 100, my cholesterol shot up from 4.7 to 9.7!)

Even though your TSH is low does not mean that your T3 is right. It could be 'normal' but not normal for you. It needs to be in the upper half of normal at least for you to be well. If it is not, that would explain the slightly high cholesterol.

But since it is not cholesterol itself, but inflammation, which is the culprit in cardiovascular disease, and cholesterol is essential for many body processes to function including the making of vitamin D, that is another argument against taking statins, Even LDL which is painted as the 'bad boy', has a function:


I have put a link to the article about LDL but the entire website is VERY informative.

The evidence is in line with my experience of what happened when I took Statins. I was constantly ill with colds and chest infections and I could hardly walk at all. Never mind, my cholesterol went down to 4.8 - nearly as low as it was before he reduced my levothyroxine!

Vitamin D is made in the body from cholesterol...

Vitamin D levels tend to fall over winter and at the same time cholesterol levels go up. Last summer was rubbish and it's been a long winter this year - I'm looking out the window at yet more rain! Coincidence? I don't think so.

Although its not the whole story, the lack of sun could be at least partly to blame.

Hi Are you being treated for hypothyroidism because a TSH of 0.35 suggests hyper not hypo.

Do let us all know how you go on at the GPs.

Hidden in reply to greenginger

Only if that's in someone not being treated - If the Original Poster is on replacement therapy, then I would suggest for many hypothyroid people, that TSH is just about *beginning* to get it right. It is not suppressed, merely low. It's this sort of mistaken "Old Doctors tale" they cling to that keeps so many patients under-treated. TSH is a minor indicator of how things are *at best*, and now what is needed is T3 and T4 levels in addition to assessing clinical signs and symptoms to see exactly what the OP is really like!

Even the very restricted NHS blood testing offered in my area would result in T3 and T4 levels being measured if TSH was in that low end of the range, but if they still won't do them, then reluctantly I would be considering paying for them.

As others have mentioned, Statins can be real bad news, and are not something I would be rushing to take, and once the hypothyroidism is under true control, then if levels remain so high (especially if there is a history of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia) I would be looking at other less invasive and dangerous means of lowering cholesterol first... there are MANY methods of improving it without the severe side effects that statins bring. Google is very much your friend in that respect.

If you do end up on statins, then there are supplements I would most definitely think about taking to reduce them many problems they bring - again something to research first.

greenginger in reply to Hidden

Yes I am aware of that which is why I was asking if she was being treated or not. Which is why I also suggested that she get her T4 and T3 tested.

Plus I still think that there is a fine line between being low and supressed.

marram in reply to greenginger

It's true that suppressed TSH could certainly paint a possible picture of over-treatment, but Dr Toft does say in his book 'Understanding Thyroid Disorders' on page 88 that some people actually need their TSH to be suppressed before they are feeling well, and in that case it would not be a problem so long as the T3 is 'unequivocally normal'.

So you are absolutely spot-on, greenginger, that the T3 should be tested. However, I suspect that the NHS will at very best test the T4 and not the T3. It may have to be a private testing job.

My doctor was panicking because my TSH was 0.01 and then noticed that the T4 was not very high, the lab had cleverly decided to do the T4 because of the low TSH but not the T3!

Within the week I sent blood to BH and the results came back:

TSH 0.07 (0.27-4.2)

FT4 24.6 (12.0-22.0)

FT3 4.5 (3.1-6.8)

This shows I am NOT over-medicated, although the doctor thinks I am. My T3 in not even in the middle of the range. It confirms what you say, that the T3 is very important.

HMH 65, for your own peace of mind, I suggest you ask the doc to test the T3 or get it done privately.

Hidden in reply to greenginger

I don't think so at all.

There is a fine line between over and under-TREATED, but TSH is the least relevant measure of that.

Even this British authored paper:


illustrates that "low" (meaning down to a TSH of 0.04) does not produce problems. It describes suppressed as =0.03 mU/l, although plenty of other sources confirm that in the absence of hyper symptoms and where T3 levels remain at the low end of the range, it might still mean there is not enough!

HMH65 in reply to Hidden


At the moment I am on Thyroxine 100mcg but my whole body feels like a lump of lead. I am so tired it beggars belief !!!!!!!


Higher cholesterol is a symptom of Hypo and should come down with optimum meds.

A link



Glenys in reply to shaws

Try telling my GP this! She has referred me to a LIpid Clinic, as I refuse to "do" statins again, now I know my low T4 (for at least 14 years it has been right at the low end of rand 11.5/12) is responsible for my high cholesterol (same amount of time, if not more - been up between 7.1 and 8.3).

Has anyone had a visit to a lipid clinic? Would tehey know about the T4 connection?


shawsAdministrator in reply to Glenys

This is a professional article. Your GP needs to do more reading.


Hypothyroidism is the second leading cause of high cholesterol, after diet. When TH levels drop, the liver no longer functions properly and produces excess cholesterol, fatty acids, and triglycerides, which increase the risk of heart disease. High cholesterol may also contribute to the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Hypothyroid patients may develop yellowed skin due to carotenoid (Vitamin A precursors) deposits in the skin when the liver no longer can store enough. Vitamin A usage and synthesis drops as thyroid hormone levels drop.


Once you are on a good dose of thyroid gland medications, you cholesterol should reduce.If not, then refer you elsewhere.

....our brains need cholesterol along with good fats. Lowering Cholesterol and giving animal fat a bad name could well be the cause of the increase in Dementia and Alzhiemers ......

We also produce cholesterol in our bodies - about 86% - so eating foods that will lower it is nonsense and just lining the pockets of the food industry..

Hidden in reply to Marz

Totally agree... high cholesterol is a measure of metabolism problems, in other words a failure of the body using it as intended or dumping it; of course with the exception of those with Familial Hypercholesterolaemia which is a different issue.

Marz in reply to Hidden

...thanks for acknowledging......

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