Thyroid UK

TSH levels and Cholesterol

Hi, 4 months ago, after feeling progressively more unwell over some time, I had a my thyroid tested. My TSH was 127, which I was told was extremely high. I have been on increasing doses of Levothyroxine ever since and have just gone up to 125mg.

In my last blood tests a couple of days ago my TSH was down to 25, but my cholesterol was at a crazy level - 10.9 despite the fact that I eat very healthily in general. I should note this test was done as part of my thyroid checks, and I didn't fast. I have another fasting test on Monday.

I guess I am wondering if this cholesterol is likely to be related to my thyroid function. In relative terms my TSH is now low given what it was, and I feel totally different to how I did a few months back. However in absolute terms it's still pretty high I suppose. Could this still be a factor in my cholesterol being so high?

Any thoughts would be very welcome

8 Replies

Elevated cholesterol is one of the 'trade marks' of hypothyroidism and usually settles back when you are adequately medicated. However, having said that I personally would not take Statins, there is nothing wrong with 'high' cholesterol despite the media hype. Cholesterol is needed to make hormones and it is used to make vitamin D when exposed to the sun.


In years gone by (several decades ago) if a high cholesterol level was found in a patient they would be treated for hypothyroidism. The two often go together.

Your doctor is bound to want to put you onto statins. Avoid them like the plague. I looked at the patient information leaflet for Atorvastatin (one of the commonly prescribed statins).

If you read it you'll see that the manufacturers say :

The following are reasons why Atorvastatin may not be suitable for you:


if you have an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)

I looked at the patient information leaflet for another common statin - Simvastatin and found similar warnings :

A TSH of 25 is still far too high. For good health it needs to be around 1. As your level of thyroid meds goes up your TSH will come down, and eventually, you might see your cholesterol level go down too.

If your doctor is very insistent about statins, ask him how much longer you can expect to live if you take a statin. He almost certainly won't know. But read this and you will :

Also, if you want to know how much your risk of dying is altered with different levels of cholesterol, read this page and pay particular attention to the graphs :

Good luck. :)


Wish I could double click your LIKE button :-)


Thanks, Marz :D


While we on the subject of cholesterol, the action of statins is to block the production of cholesterol made in the liver. Also all sex hormones are made from cholesterol and 95% of the part of the brain involved in Alzheimer's is made from cholesterol - makes you wonder!! Information passed on to me by a friend who knows my interest in anything thyroid or medical so cannot give you a link - sorry.


My TSH was high as well. My cholesterol was really high as well. I think it go's hand and hand. I guess I should have had it rechecked at this point now that my TSH is below 1. But I would do anything to avoid the meds for cholesterol. Sounds like you need to get your TSH down and get more level maybe don't worry about the cholesterol right now. All the best to you xo Susita

1 like

My cholesterol is out of the normal range as well. My thyroid levels have been up and down the last few months. My endo didn't suggest any meds for cholesterol as she said it goes hand in hand with my disorder and that it runs in my family. I'm also very active and eat fairly healthy so no matter what I try my cholesterol doesn't budge. I'm just glad dr hasn't put me on meds, and wants to give it time so we can manage it.


Thanks everyone for the replies. I am keen to avoid Statins - and am also aware of the controversy around what high cholesterol implies - though to be honest I'd err on the side of caution given that the general medical consensus still seems to be that it's better not to have very high cholesterol.

I am a very healthy eater, and before my thyroid went wrong exercised a lot, so I can only think it is probably thyroid related. It's reassuring to hear others have had similar symptoms.


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