High cholesterol & blood pressure, will T3 help? - Thyroid UK

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High cholesterol & blood pressure, will T3 help?

joboise profile image

My Dr is totally opposed to the idea of test for T3 and reverse T3 etc so I am on my own with this and I don't want to make a mistake.

I have been taking T3 since Saturday after my battle with the Doctor last week. She was horrified by my high blood pressure (170/90 and high cholesterol) I can't remember the exact figures for that but all my lipids, good and bad were high. I was also experiencing severe dizziness and she was fearful that I would have a stroke or a TIA.

I didn't take the prescribed beta blockers or the statins, having read that statins are really bad for hypo patients.

My T3 tablets are 25 mcg and I have been taking half of one in the mornings, I am still tired but seem to be able to carry on for a bit longer than usual. This isn't a vague statement, I either used to be awake or not, there wasn't much in between and my days ended mid afternoon. I feel slightly light headed. My fasting blood sugar levels are normal.

I am on 75 mcg of levothyrox and my Dr is adamant that she will not increase that because my TSH/T4 are 'normal' (TSH was just over 1). The T3 was prescribed in a bit of a hissy fit because I wouldn't listen to anything else she said until she agreed.

Based on your experiences, will T3 help reduce my cholesterol and blood pressure as part of a general return to health?

35 Replies

Hello Joboise, 18 months ago I was on 75mg of levo and feeling awfull. My cholesterol at that time was 7.4. I am now on 125mcg of levo and my cholesterol has come down to 6.2. I am still having problems so expect I either need more levo or some T3 added in and I am confident that my cholesterol will fall even more.

Not sure about blood pressure though, but I know someone with more experience will be along soon to help you out on this.


.....there is so much information out there about the link between the health of the thyroid being connected to heart health. In fact there is a book on Amazon called 'The Thyroid and Heart Failure '- you can read the pages of your choice and it would seem from the little I have read that T3 is the magic ingredient. It's is an expensive medical book but interesting.

Before the dreaded TSH test, raised cholesterol also included a diagnosis of UAT. There is so much evidence now indicating that we so NEED cholesterol in our bodies. It is naturally occurring and there for a reason. Our brains are made up of lots of cholesterol and we need it to metabolise UVB rays in the skin into the amazing steroidal pre-hormone VITD. So pumping the millions of people with statins could be just one of the reasons why there is increased dementia and a world deficiency of VitD.

Blood pressure - either high or low is one of the many symptoms of thyroid problems. Am sure your T3 medication will help in many ways. Did you reduce your T4 when you started the T3 ? T3 is 4 times the strength of T4. Also remember any bloodtests in the future will have a different meaning and only the FT3 will be significant.

Wishing you well.........Marz x

ging profile image
ging in reply to Marz

Hear hear - my thoughts EXACTLY!! Ging

EmJB profile image
EmJB in reply to Marz

That is really interesting as I've been on 75mcgm thyroxine for years, my latest TSH test was 2.62 so my GP thinks that is within normal range. My blood pressure was 140/90 and total cholesterol 5.8 so I was just told to control it with "diet" first before they put me on medication. Last year I tried to persuade the nurse taking blood to ask for a T3 test too but I don't think she had heard of it and put down T4 instead. I didn't realise the blood pressure and cholesterol could be connected to the thyroid as well as the fatigue and lack of concentration and motivation. I used to love to read but now I find it hard to, I'm not sure if it is my eyes not focussing properly or brain fog. I'm now wondering if this is connected to my thyroid too?

Marz profile image
Marz in reply to EmJB

...probably ! Controlling cholesterol with diet just may be a myth - another excuse for the food industry to peddle specialist expensive foodstuffs which are not always good for you. They are as bad as BIG Pharma in my estimation - but then I am a Grumpy Old Lady !! The body produces over 80% of the cholesterol in the body - because it is NEEDED. Even the Adrenals need cholesterol for other hormones to evolve efficiently. Now where did I read that ?

In my non-medical opinion your TSH is still too high and I think you will feel better if it is 1 or under. Without the FT3 reading in your blood test how can anyone know if the T4 is converting into T3. Your FT4 needs to be well up in the range and the FT3 near the TOP ! Many people have conversion problems so read up everything you can and explain why you want the FT3 test done. Methinks it could be to do with costs ? Another thing that amazes me is that so many labs in the UK will not test for anti-bodies if the TSH is in range - which is ridiculous when you read that Auto-immune Thyroid issues are the MOST common condition throughout the world.

Am glad I live in Crete where you can decide what you want testing. Have two young guests in the studio at the moment and they popped down to the next village early this morning to have B12 and VitD tested among other things. They haven't stopped talking about the efficiency and why can't they have these small, modern and efficient units runs by happy helpful staff in the UK..... Their results will be through early next week ....all printed out to keep. OK it's private but oh so affordable. They were more than happy to pay and would be in the UK as well - who wouldn't ?

One should not have to beg for tests that actually do aid a PROPER diagnosis and treatment plan.

Hope you eventually have what you want - keep us informed !

langdocienne profile image
langdocienne in reply to Marz

Hi Marz, just come back from Crete stayed with my best friend, going back in 2 weeks with one of my girls, thank God I found that they have T3 there, cheap at half the price, 1euro 16 cents.

Do you know that one of the head endos in Newcastle, told my doc, that he never ever prescribes T3, even knowing that I am not converting. How can we understand such ignorance and arrogance. Maybe it's because there is no money to be made, as you say Big Pharma probably makes loads on T4, and all of the other meds like Statins that keep people sick, and in need of even more meds.

My Mum had dementia, but it was very aggressive, I put it down to the Statins and extra calcium that she had to have, according to them. If I had known then, what I know now, she would probably still be alive. She actually died of an aneuryism, from the statins.

Going low cal and low fat, is the worst thing in the world for proper health, I totally agree, but if you listen to the dieticians giving advice to people, it's a recipe for death!!!

Going back for 2 weeks to Crete with one of my girls for another 2 weeks, will stock up on T3 again. Not waiting around for the Docs to help me, the Lord helps those who help themselves!!! Never a truer word.

Marz profile image
Marz in reply to langdocienne

Whereabouts in Crete are you staying ?

langdocienne profile image
langdocienne in reply to Marz

I stay in a village called Chorafakia, about 12kms from Chania in Akrotiri, fantastic place, beaches, not too touristy with English drunken teens lol.

Marz profile image
Marz in reply to langdocienne

Yep know where you are ! I am across Souda Bay in Vamos - the Apokoronas.

Our beaches are better of course !! :-)

langdocienne profile image
langdocienne in reply to Marz

Don't know Souda Bay, but passed it a few times on the way to Iraklio to get the plane, but this time driving to leeds flying to Chania, easier in the end.

jackiehyland profile image
jackiehyland in reply to Marz

I'm on 200of levothyroxine, but I dropped a 100 and am taking 25 of t3,which I bought in greece last year havnt told. My doctor as he may refuse to treat me anymore also couldn't cope with Statins they have gone in the bin !!! I'm worried that I havnt got the adjustment right but my palpitations have stopped but still a bit shaken after Dr overdosed me on on levothyroxine by putting them up to 225 thought I was dying so I had to wait six weeks to come down off them after having another blood test my cholesterol had shot through the roof and I got a rollicking as he said my cholesterol was a disgrace !! I think he thinks I have every meal at McDonald's my only crime is having half a sugar in my tea,I eat veg five times a week and I'm not a pig iv told him it's the levothyroxine he won't have it !! So I'm hoping when I have my bloods done again they have come down although don't seem to be losing the weight ?? Also does anyone know if the tsh test will show up a lot different with taking t3 as I don't want him to know as you may aswel be taking heroine as far as there concerned !!!

Marz profile image
Marz in reply to jackiehyland

Why don't you have your own testing done through Thyroid UK - that way you can have the FT3 tested. If low then that could point as to why your cholesterol is raised. Low Thyroid = Lowered metabolism = Lowered liver function. Cholesterol needs to move out of the liver and is slowed down when we are Hypo.


There are other companies too ....

I do not think the Levo causes raised cholesterol - but an under-treated thyroid can :-)

MonicaMArata profile image
MonicaMArata in reply to Marz

Hi Marz, please explain the proportion between T3 and T4. Do you mean that the T3 has to be 4 times higher that the T4 medication? Or you are talking about the rates of T3 and T4 on a lab blood test?

Sorry if I am asking a non smart question (english is not my first language). I am trying to help my mom who is on Levo drug 100mg and I think she needs the T3 and T4 treatment but EQUIVALENT or close to the 100mg that she takes. I am trying to understand all this. Thank you very much!

Marz profile image
Marz in reply to MonicaMArata

You really need to see the results with ranges to be sure she needs T3 added. Results for both T3 & T4 need to be in the upper part of the range. I would start a new post with your question.

MonicaMArata profile image
MonicaMArata in reply to Marz

Thank you. So, she needs the T3 and T4 test. Should she have RT3 or other? TSH is not relevant?. She has been in high blood pressure medication and now they are saying she needs cholesteron medication. she won't take it and I am happy with that, but worried about the state of her Carotids. They came out being with plaque and lipids (or something like that). I will wait for your new post. Thanks.

My mom is in Brazil and I am in the US ..wondering were to by T3 for her and guessing dosage because of what I have read about improving cholesterol and/or high blood pressure adding T3.

Thanks again

Hi If the thyroid is not controlled enough, that could be the reason for high cholesterol and high BP. The bP is that ho readings or GP`s? Do you take your own 3 times a day, more reliable with a good arm ( not wrist)machine than at the GP`s, If still seems high, then ask for a 24 hour monitor before treatment for it. Statins, I have been on them for years and they have never effected either my thyroid or blood tests. If in the end you do need them , better than having a cardiac arrest. Too early though to know that yet.

I am assuming you started with having blood tests through the site, so that you now have tSH, T4 and Free T3 with ranges. Post them ,if you like be sure to have the ranges.If taking T3, it is vital to have them before starting this treatment and after 6 weeks to check, the levels.usually T4 should be in top third of range and FT3 near the top.

If self treating , it is cheaper to have armour or Erfa which contains both , and has less side effects. What ever you take, potent drugs, essential to have the correct blood tests. Have you tried showing the GP all 3 tests? or if no good a different GP?You also need the other tests to be sure they are not influencing your thyroid. Minimum of Vit D ( if low corrected calcium before treatment) , Diabetes, B12 + foliates and feritin/iron, both these need to be quite high in range.. The T3 does make the TSH go down , which is why some GP`s will not treat with it. Endo`s mostly love it!

The GP should do these tests.. if you still do not feel well and cannot get the right treatment, ask to see an Endo, your cholce after careful research, not the GP`s.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,


in case you do not know, to reply to a certain post, click on "Reply to this" under that post

joboise profile image
joboise in reply to Jackie


I'm in rural France where GP's are in short supply, my lovely Dr moved and the alternative is the one who ignored my symptoms for years until I was too ill for him to ignore. My new Dr & I get on well socially, but she is stuck on TSH/T4 and a bit entrenched at the moment, as far as I can see I'm going to have to get well on my own and then explain why!

Jackie profile image
Jackie in reply to joboise

Hi tricky, I know the same problem as here in France with Docs, although some of them are very good.If she would at least do the blood tests it would help. Someone on the site buys a cheap T3 ( non allergic ) from France. If you want to know ,you will need to put a separate question on the Forum. Normally T3 is very expensive.

Best wishes,


Ps , I am told it is even worse n the USA!!

jackiehyland profile image
jackiehyland in reply to Jackie

I'm going to get them all checked but even if the evidence is there in black and white doctor still won't give t3 under any circumstances there rigid in there belief of levothyroxine, even if you go to an endocrinologist expert they still refute their findings they must think we're getting these results from a witch doctor or an old sage that lives on top of a mountain !!! You just can't win !!

Stourie profile image
Stourie in reply to joboise

I know I shouldn't say this but why don't you raise your t4 yourself by either 25 a day or every second day and see how you feel. If there is an improvement in how you feel go and get bloods done then tell your dr what you have done and say that you are going to run out of tablets early and could she give you a prescription. She cannot leave you with none.

Jo xx

Stourie profile image
Stourie in reply to joboise

I meant to say that my blood pressure was a wee bit higher than yours but it went back to normal with enough meds.

Jo xx

Thyroidmeg profile image
Thyroidmeg in reply to Stourie

Hi I've got high blood pressure but the nurse won't accept it's thyroid related because my tsh is normal. My cholesterol was low but I'm very overweight since my tt. I'm reluctant to take bp medication if thyroid medication could help me what changes did you make ? I'm so fed up being cold and tired wish I'd never had the total thyroidectomy I was a different person then

Stourie profile image
Stourie in reply to Thyroidmeg

Hi when I was diagnosed 7 years ago my cholesterol was 14.85 and my blood pressure was around 190/ 120 . My tsh was over 100. I was started on levo 50mcg and it was raised 6 weeks to 75 then 6 weeks later to 100 and my cholesterol went down to 4.6 and blood pressure just corrected itself. Apart from taking the levo I did nothing else.

If doctors struggle with the thyroid, how on earth can a nurse know enough about it.

Are you on any t3, as I have read on this site that a lot of tt's need some t3 in the mix.

What is your tsh? because it should be around 1 or under. Some people are ok around 2. Being in range isn't enough. I just wish I could help you more.

Jo xx

Thyroidmeg profile image
Thyroidmeg in reply to Stourie

Thanks for replying :)

My tsh is about 1 she said my cholesterol low. The thing is I get really stressed before any dr appt so that can't help my bp. Maybe the anxiety is part of this illness. I just feel like an old wreck I'm 40 and feel

Like I've aged so much since my tt.

Thyroid nurse said she knows I'm

Converting perfectly well when I queried her about getting t3. She didn't feel the need to test.

Stourie profile image
Stourie in reply to Thyroidmeg

How can the nurse know that you are converting without doing bloods for t4 and t3 absolutely impossible. Needs a blood test. You must get a copy of your bloods and post them on here and you will get some good advice. I would make an appointment with your dr (forget the nurse except for taking blood) and get copies of all your bloods with the reference ranges. Best wishes

Jo xx

For most people, treating the thyroid is the answer to high cholesterol. I can vouch for that personally and may others have the same experience. I had a cholesterol level of 4.7 when I was taking 150mcg of Levo. When my doctor reduced the Levo to 100, my cholesterol rose to 9.7 in the space of 8 weeks and I started having TIAs.

Never once did he connect the high cholesterol or the TIAs with the reduction. He blamed my diet first of all, which os a Mediterranean diet because my husband is Spanish and we both love the Spanish. His cholesterol was 4.2. Not the diet then!

The next suggestion was that it was Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. My Nan had strokes, it must be inherited. True, she DID have strokes, but only after she was 80, not 60!

Thus I agreed, since the doctor had convinced me that there was no alternative, to take Statins. About two weeks later I started having pain in my legs when I tried to walk. During the period of a year, I deteriorated so much that I had to use my husband's stair lift to get upstairs. We went on holiday and I spent most of the time either sitting down or in bed. I was getting weaker and weaker. I was convinced it was the lack of thyroxine so I was taking extra a couple of days a week to try to over come it. The statins were changed, maily because my cholesterol was not really coming down below 8. Eventually the doctor hit upon Simvastatin! Miracle! within a month my cholesterol was down to 4.8 - nearly as low as when I was on 150 Levo! But I was bedridden! Then I felt so ill I went to the doctor, the pain and the weakness were unbearable, and I felt ill all the time.

I told the doctor how I felt, and that I thought I needed more thyroxine. (True, but that really WAS another issue) He immediately said, No, It's the Statins. Stop taking them immediately! Muttering something which I could not properly understand, but I now know was 'rhabdomyolysis'. Not that I HAD it but that I was 'close to'.

I am slowly increasing my thyroxine now, I am nearly back to 150 (137.5 right now) but when I had my last blood test I was on 125 and my cholesterol was already down to 8 from 10, its highest point.

Sadly the thyroxine reduction for 7 years has taken its toll and my heart is now damaged. Hopefully it can recover slowly. Of course, the doctor does seem to think for one second that the heart could have been damaged by thyroxine starvation.

He could have saved me a lot of misery and himself a lot of money if he had left my thyroxine dosage alone. And once I am feeling well again (slowly getting there) he will hear it from me.

He wrong to make a diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolaemia without doing a DNA test, since that is the way to know if that IS the case. (I have heard of several people who have been told it is 'genetic' without any test being done.) He should have been aware of the dangers of Statins for a person who has hypothyroidism. And he should have listened to his patient.

I am not telling you or anyone else that they should or should not take statins, simply giving my own personal experience, which is fairly common.

Take care, Joboise. I do hope you get well. Marie XXXXX

marram profile image
marram in reply to marram

Forgot to mention - True, my Nan DID have strokes. But then again, she had untreated hypothyroidism....

Thankyou to everyone for all the replies, it is exactly what I was hoping for and has given me the confidence to continue with the T3 and supplements. I really don't want to take statins, or any of the other things that were prescribed, I do believe that my body will heal itself when my hypo is managed properly.

I have been taking my T3 since Saturday and until today I have felt quite wired and foggy, but last night I slept really well and woke up feeling much much brighter. I have been taking B12 & selenium supplements and also had a small snack last night (yoghourt) before going to bed as recommended for adrenal fatigue.

I have looked on French thyroid forums, people seem to be in the same predicament and excellent though the French health service is reputed to be, it is quite formulaic, so requests for anything other than Levo are met with derision. I haven't found any endocrinologists who specialise in thyroid problems yet.

I have bought the book "Hope for Hashimotos" by Alexander Haskell and am finding that really useful.

I am collecting all the research together that I have found and when my health/BP etc are good I will 'confess' that I never took the statins, beta blockers and anti depressants and explain why in detail! Maybe it will help someone else.

Hi all I have problem with blood pressure 148/100 (discovered at nhs health check)so doc put me on lisinopril 5mg levothyroxine just put up to 150 have also got osteoarthiritis in my knee.When I asked about T3 nurse just pulled a face dont think you are supposed to ask questions! My cholesterol 5.3 In january my TSH was around 8 Due for another bloodtest in July so much confusing info out there.

Hi, I also live in France and have fallen out with my doc who refused to give me more than 25mg of levo. So now I am self treating with Dr Peatfields book and Armour with slow but improving results. I also have high blood pressure and cholesterol. I am prescribed blood pressure meds and Crestor but have just stopped the crestor in favour of cider vinegar after reading that this can help with cholesterol and also my sugar levels were creeping up and after reports about statins and diabetes link I was concerned. Family history of heart disease, thyroid problems both high and low and diabetes. Cider vinegar may be worth a look at, hope that helps , Julie

Hi, I went to my doc again yesterday after yrs of taken 150mcg levo, still with bad symptoms now to date , explaining this to the doc was just rediculious , they said oh your blood test are all saying your within the normal range taken 150 mcg, I asked about t3 and she looked at me in horror and shunned it off, she took more bloods yesterday and said she was going to get my hemoghlobin checked, I'm sick of it all really, they really don't give a dam how I struggle on a daily basis . Not a happy bunny today. :(

i get madly high bp when i take levo, so high i had to stop work for a few weeks, no matter what bp meds i took nothing would bring it down.

then i discovered Dr S and armour thyroid, after stopping levo and starting armour my bp dropped in 3 weeks to well below normal and i had to stop taking all but a very small amount of bp meds.

at one point the local hospital stopped me taking armour but after 3 weeks my bp was so high my gp said start again, 3 weeks later it was back down again.........

so for me it is armour that makes the diffrence

Thyroidmeg profile image
Thyroidmeg in reply to ritz

Maybe I should ask

My doctor to take me off levo rather than putting my on blood pressure meds?

ritz profile image
ritz in reply to Thyroidmeg

well i cant say what will work for you - but i can explain the effect or rather NON effect levo had on me which you might want to discuss with your dr:

levo did not work for me because i did not absorb it at all well from my blood into tissue (blood tests said i was fine but i still had all the hypo symptoms) - so it did not cure one of the biggest, for me, symptoms of being hypothyroid, which was that i became very stiff - muscles tendons joints every thing and of course that stiffness included blood vessels and hart muscles. this stiffening of blood vessels and hart muscles is what caused my high blood pressure.

so it was actual a symptom of being hyop that was not "cured" by levo, not strictly a side effect of levo itself. just the levothyroxine being completely ineffectual - for me.

my bp went down to below normal when i changed to NDT - armour, because i can absorb it, possibly because it is natural/real - not a synthetic product......but who knows? .

i used to take t3 as well but when i was on that alone my bp again went up - until i re started the armour thyroid so i now take only armour.

i was ok, bp normal, on armour until i had to start taking 2 anti cancer drugs: a side effect of both these drugs is - guess what ! - stiffness!........so my bp has again shot up :(

when i was first diagnosed as hypothyroid and put on levo - and my bp started to go up my gp tried me on all sorts of bp drugs, none had any effect at all - except an ACE inhibitor called lisinopril.

ace inhibitors work by softening and smoothing blood vessels - so they slightly counteract the stiffness symptoms. i am back on another ace inhibitor now and again they are working and my bp is going down. when i stop taking the anti cancer drugs i will probably be able to stop taking the ace inhibitors.

i would talk to your gp about taking an ace inhibitor, maybe it will work for you too and also NDT, possibly armour if the levo does not relive the hypo symptoms.

i dont think just stopping the levo is a good idea because your high bp is lightly to be a symptom of you being hypo so either add in an ace inhibitor or change from levo to a NDT

Go to hypothyroidmom.com It has a wealth of information. Your doctor is not up to date, at all! T4 is the inactive form of thyroid and TSH is an outdated and basically useless test that doesn'tt tell you if there is thyroid is actually working well. Free T3 and Reverse T3 are the tests that tell you what's actually happening with thyroid in your cells!

Good for you for advocating on your own behalf. The way patients are treated is appalling!

T3 is necessary for your thyroid to function properly and from what I've read can help with cholesterol and get you feeling good again! T4 needs to convert to T3 and if you don't have enough stomach acid or have a methylation SNP, you may not be converting it properly. Take your temperature every morning before getting out of bed. Follow the Wilson protocol?

Did you know that for decades, when a patient presented with high cholesterol, the first thing that was looked at was the thyroid?

Wishing you the best. I'm on the same odyssey but just found a DO who is willing to let me be a participant in my health, so I am telling him all I know and what I think I need. No hissy fit.

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