High cholestorol

I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid June 25th also verging on type 2 diabetes, at that time my cholestorol was 5.6. I have been taking 50 micromgs of Levothyroxine daily, have changed my diet and exercised more, at second blood test (results below) my Levothyroxine was increased to 75 micromgs, my blood glucose level had improved and doctor was happy (although I have made an appointment to see diabetic nurse again to continue trying to improve further). However my cholestral is now 6.4 and doctor has advised I may need to take statins if not improved at next blood test in November. I wonder how I can lower it myself? I have bought Benecol drinks which are supposed to be beneficial but can't understand why it has risen when I have been so careful with my diet and (although not fully medicated) my thyroid condition was being addressed. Originally serum TSH level 8.05 mU/L (now 5.56 mU/L). free T4 level 7.4 pmol/L (now 12.6 pmol/L). Has anyone got any advise?

28 Replies

  • Well over 80% of your cholesterol is produced in the body - because the body has a great need for it. The brain - and for all hormone formation and very importantly for the production of VitD. Statins will block the production and low D has repercussions for many chronic conditions.

    The food industry jumped on the cholesterol bandwagon and produced foods that are supposed to lower it - sorry but I do not buy that one - pardon the pun. In the old days the thyroid was treated when cholesterol was raised. Lowered metabolism also affects the movement of the cholesterol around the body.

    When you are optimally treated your cholesterol should go down. How is your Iron - Ferritin - Folate - B12 - VitD ? Have they been tested ? They need to be at the top of their ranges for the T4 to work well in the body and convert into the Active hormone T3. You may well have high Homocysteine and when you work on lowering that with all the B vitamins your cholesterol should follow.

    If you have all your cholesterol results - try dividing the HDl by the Total cholesterol and the result should be above 24%...or divide the Triglycerides by the HDL and ideally the result should be less than 2....


  • Triglycerides = 1.56, HDL = 0.99, total cholestorol = 6.4 which Ithink is 0.24 and 15.4%.

    There were no tests done on vitamins B12 or D or iron, etc or T3.

    Although 5.6 cholestorol at my first blood test was a little high I expected it to lower when I started the Levothyroxine and, although my dosage of that has been increased by 50% the TSH and T4 levels are within the normal range although TSH just within. I am puzzled.

  • Things look OK then... You have only been on treatment for a short time so it will take time and you need your dose to be optimal - so do not worry about it. More important to ensure your levels of B12 - Iron - Ferritin - Folate - VitD are at the top of their ranges. Also to find out what your FT3 is.... Having your Thyroid results in normal range does not mean it is normal for you. TSH needs to be around 1 or under and the TSH in the upper quarter of the range. There is no such thing as normal - in range maybe - and we are all so individual...

    Did you look at the link I gave you ? He is speaking at the Thyroid UK conference in Birmingham in October...

  • I too have high cholesterol which has been treated with statins for over 10 years (I am 50). I hope that once my thyroid treatment is at it's optimum that the cholesterol levels will reduce. I also have spondyloarthropathy and colitis. Before the arthritis was diagnosed, I tried to find the reason for the excruciating pain in my feet and wondered if it was caused by the statins so with my GP's agreement I stopped taking the statins and took cholesterol lowering drinks for three months. When I had the cholesterol tests again, my cholesterol was even higher than it had been before I ever started statins. So these drinks and foods designed to lower cholesterol certainly did not work for me. Of course, the statins weren't the cause of the pain but at least I tried with a process of elimination. Clemmie

  • Thanks Barrister, doesn't sound as though they will help then.

    I have read that some call underactive thyroid an autoimmune disease and wonder if this describes me, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 21 years ago, after several years on anti inflammatory tablets with only minor setbacks and after discussing it with my doctor I stopped taking the medication. I have not had ant relapses but at my last colonoscopy in 2005 was told I have diverticular disease, which again doesn't cause me many problems as long as I watch what I eat (usually flares up on holiday which is annoying). I have an intolerance to wheat which gives me terrible stomach pains. Will have to discuss cholestral with diabetic nurse.

  • Many people have an under-active thyroid because they have an autoimmune disorder. Percentages quoted vary but probably at least 80% of those who do not have an obvious reason such as being born without a thyroid or having their thyroid removed (e.g. for cancer) have autoimmune thyroid disease.

  • Thanks helvella, that's interesting. I didn't associate it with autoimmune disease, it's only when reading other peoples posts tha I became aware. Put the weight gain down to stopping smoking 7 years ago and just over the last couple of years tiring more easily (early nights but still tired when waking).

  • One of the very common stories is for people to get diagnosed hypothyroid after giving up smoking. There are many ideas as to why this might be - maybe smoking masks hypothyroidism?


  • I think when you give up any addiction it has an affect on your body/organs. I have read recently about stopping smoking and diagnosis as you mention.

  • I have a hypo friend who went on a very low carb diet and lost weight, fatty liver went away but her cholesterol went up. There seems to be a paradoxical thing that can happen. After she told me this, all freaked out, I did some reading and sure enough, it can happen. It's not permanent though.

    You changed your diet to control blood sugar. So this may account for it. Don't panic.

  • Yes these are all auto immune disorders and tend to follow each other around! I say I have a collection! But having said that, the statins haven't caused me any trouble and I will continue to take them as long as necessary. My high cholesterol wasn't discovered until I had a heart attack at the age of 38. Whether it is an effect of the hypothyroid I don't know as hypothyroid was only diagnosed in April/May this year although I've had symptoms for a long time. But try the Benecol, it may help you and if not then you have a decision to make. Good luck. Clemmie

  • By the way, I forgot to mention, I was told once that my high cholesterol was hereditary. Clemmie

  • 38, that's very young Barrister. I'm 66 but the thought of stroke/heart attack is still alarming. We are both pretty active, I go to Zumba and we like to get out walking/canoeing in the Lake District. My friend's mum had a stroke in her late 60s and was in a wheelchair for a long time until her death. Just hope I can get it under control, I did consider taking aspirin daily a couple of years ago but then read that if you stopped taking the aspirin the risk of a stroke increases so decided against it.

  • Low T3 has a huge effect on the heart. High Homocysteine is more indicative of stroke than cholesterol.

  • Itis - at the end of a word means inflammation - like colitis etc. - so giving up gluten would certainly help. I have Crohns so know a thing or two about guts having endured several surgical interventions for complications. Also VitD is anti-inflammatory and is steroidal pre-hormone - I take 10,000 IU's of D daily - and I live in Crete :-)

    If you have your anti-bodies tested it will confirm Hashimotos - Auto-immune Thyroiditis. As Rod says a huge % of sufferers have auto-immune issues. There is lots of information out there about gluten and auto-immunity - and am happy to provide the information.

  • My cholesterol was 7.7 at it's highest, despite a healthy diet and previously very low levels. My GP at the time didn't know the rise was due to hypothyroidism. My last cholesterol test it was 5.2 so I'm not going to lose sleep over that. The two things Levo did do for me was calm my thumping heart, and lowering cholesterol. I just get it checked once a year now. I would never take statins!

    It will be interesting what the levels will be now I take NDT and T3.

  • Yes Helcaster, after reading other posts regarding cholesterol and underactive thyroid I expected my cholesterol to reduce at my second set of blood tests. That's what puzzled me, it's the bad cholesterol that's gone up to 4.63.

  • I think the bad cholesterol is raised in hypothyroidism, I'm sure I read that recently. I managed to get my bad cholesterol down by eating more good fats such as salmon, avocados, almonds, seeds etc etc. It really made a difference. What made me laugh at the time was that gp didn't realise there are good fats, and she went in her cupboard and pulled out a chart from the British Heart Foundation and saw the foods I said were good fads on the chats, and said you're quite correct! In just a few months I got my good fats up by 10%. I eat oats every day too but accept you have to eat quite a lot of them!

  • I have tried eating salmon, I bought some mackerel too but I am not a great fish eater. I don't mind the salmon but really had to force the mackerel down. I enjoy fish pie, but husband doesn't like it so eat it rarely. Will look into Avocado (never had one). I don't eat a lot of meat either, chicken or beef occassionally. I have always kept away from nuts and seeds because when I stopped smoking the nurse at doctors told me to eat sesame seeds (or perhaps sunflower) that they helped with quitting, it resulted in bowel problems and I read on a diverticular disease website that you should avoid nuts and seeds, so have since then. What fun, eh?

  • There's a lot online re eating for a healthy heart. Diet of course is a small part. Can't believe you've never had an avocado! They're so good for your skin and great to help you have a clear out lol! I always have some around. I have diverticular disease and I hear what you're saying and I'm currently addicted to cashews, probably more for the salt, but I can honestly say they haven't caused a problem, I do chew them well though. I eat seeds not in huge quantities though. You just have to read up on this and eat what you can. Everything is such a pain isn't it!

  • Will certainly try the avocado, would be great if benefitted in the bathroom. Will have to look on line for serving suggestions. Thanks

  • The avocados are quite oily and do help lubracate things :-) I find mango and sweet potato help me a lot, both are very fibrous. You just have to drink a lot of water with it. I also take magnesium and 1,000mg of Vit C both have a mild laxative effect.

  • By the way doctor gave me a sheet with suggestions for weight loss/cholesterol lowering foods healthy/moderation/ avoid or eat rarely and apart from hard cheese and milky drinks (nightly horlicks which I have stopped) I never ate anything on the avoid side. I have lost 1st 5lb since diagnosis (helped by tablets as well as diet I suspect) I was 13st 4lb and am now 11st 13lb, I was just under 11st when I stopped smoking and just put the weight gain down to that. I did hope the weight loss would help cholesterol too.

  • Which tablets were you taking?

    Anyway, read my above comment. Don't panic. Once you stabilize your weight and your diet, the cholesterol should go down.

  • British Heart Foundation gave lots of great info on their website bhf.org.uk/plugins/Publicat...

    They also had a leaflet called Cut The Saturated Fat, which I can't find online, the one they show is a different one, maybe pop into one of their shops and ask for the leaflet, the print code is M4 04/11 (on the front is a plate with Penne pasta on it).

    Almond & beetroot are good for reducing cholesterol and if you do try avocado make sure it's ripe (soft and squidgy) not hard when you eat it.

    Good Luck,


  • His is an interesting article on how the body (liver) makes cholesterol if you aren't eating enough of it. Nothing to do with thyroid problems as such - but interesting from a dietary point of view. intensivedietarymanagement....

  • Thank you all for your advise.

  • Jukebox, why are you in such a state about your cholesterol??? It doesn't matter! I know your doctor thinks otherwise but he is wrong. Everybody is so wrong about cholesterol! They don't realise that they have all been conned by Big Pharma and Big Food who are laughing all the way to the bank!!!

    Your body needs cholesterol. Your brain needs it. You need it to make hormones. If it is too low, you are in danger of strokes and heart attack! And forget the red Herring about 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol, as far as your body is concerned, all cholesterol is good!

    A little reading for you:







    Don't be taken in by all these so-called cholesterol-lowering foods. Low fat is bad news and they replace the fat with all sorts of unsavoury things, just to make it paletable. Besides, 90% of your cholesterol is made in the liver and has nothing to do with what you eat.

    The worst thing you could do for your body is take statins. Apart from lowering the cholesterol that your body desperately needs, they will cause all sorts of side-effects, because the cholesterol is not the only thing they lower, they also lower your Co Q10 and magnesium, for example.

    Some more reading:



    And that is just the beginning. There is so much more out there. One wonders why doctors don't read it... No one doesn't. They don't read it because they don't want to know! Prescribing statins makes them lots of money. They don't care about you, they care about their pockets.

    So, forget the cholesterol, just enjoy the benefits. And remember, people with high cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol!!!

    Hugs, Grey

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