When people think of the thyroid, they usually think of things like metabolism, weight, energy, mood, etc., but how many of us consider cholesterol? Interestingly enough, there is a significant correlation between this gland and your cholesterol levels. Read on to learn more.
The thyroid is such a powerful gland in the neck. As with most things in the body, the thyroid gets its marching orders from a gland in the brain called the pituitary (we’ll skip the hypothalamus for this discussion). When the pituitary senses there are not enough thyroid hormones being produced, it sends out its chemical messengers (thyroid-stimulating hormones or TSH) to tell the thyroid to crank out more T3 and T4 (the two main hormones produced by the thyroid gland).
These hormones have key responsibilities in:
- Body temperature
- Brain function
- Heart function
- Liver function
- And many other functions, including regulating the breakdown and elimination of lipids (like cholesterol) in your body.
Cholesterol is a part of every cell membrane in your body, making up about 20-25% of your brain. Our body requires cholesterol for some pretty important hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol, among others.
What does that have to do with my thyroid?
As stated above, the thyroid is a key player in the breakdown of cholesterol and the elimination of fat from your body. When it is not producing the needed amount of thyroid hormones (called hypothyroidism) it cannot remove enough LDL cholesterol from your system, therefore increasing your LDL levels.
People with overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can have the opposite experience and trigger low levels of cholesterol in the body (less common, but possible).
Testing is Key
Have you been told you have “high cholesterol”? If so, you definitely need more information. If your doctor tells you your cholesterol is high and does not go into detail about HDL, LDL, VLDL, and triglycerides AND does not request thyroid testing, find another doctor. You can also be your own health advocate. Here is an incredible test panel that provides so much information and can help you get to the root cause of your concern. Natural Heart Doctor coaches will review any of our tests with you and come up with a protocol.
Just remember, cholesterol is not the devil it’s made out to be. Big Pharma makes an incredible amount of money creating this “Boogie Man” using fear-based propaganda.