Hashimoto’s and High Cholesterol

In today’s video by Martin Rutherford, we will be discussing the connection between Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and high cholesterol. It’s a topic that comes up frequently, as many people with high cholesterol also have this autoimmune condition. This video aims to explain the relationship between the two and provide valuable insights for those seeking to understand and manage their health. Remember, the information shared here is for educational purposes only, and it is always important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Hashimotos and High Cholesterol

Causes of High Cholesterol

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition characterized by the body’s inability to properly respond to insulin, a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. When you have insulin resistance, your cells don’t efficiently absorb glucose, leading to high blood sugar levels. This can ultimately lead to the development of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. One lesser-known consequence of insulin resistance is the impact it can have on cholesterol levels. Insulin resistance has been found to contribute to high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. It can also lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “good” cholesterol. Therefore, addressing insulin resistance is crucial in managing cholesterol levels.


Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. It is often a precursor to the development of diabetes if left untreated. People with pre-diabetes are at an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, which can subsequently impact cholesterol levels. Research has shown that pre-diabetes can lead to elevated LDL cholesterol levels and reduced HDL cholesterol levels. It is important to address pre-diabetes and make necessary lifestyle changes to prevent the progression to full-blown diabetes and manage cholesterol levels effectively.

Thyroid and Cholesterol

Relation between Hypothyroidism and High Cholesterol

Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland, which leads to a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones. This deficiency can impact various bodily functions, including metabolism and cholesterol regulation. Studies have shown a strong association between hypothyroidism and high cholesterol levels. When the thyroid gland is underactive, it affects the function of the liver, which is responsible for producing and clearing cholesterol from the body. As a result, cholesterol levels can increase, particularly the levels of LDL cholesterol. It is important for individuals with hypothyroidism to monitor their cholesterol levels regularly and take appropriate measures to manage them.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and High Cholesterol

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can also contribute to high cholesterol levels. The inflammation caused by the autoimmune response can impair the function of the thyroid gland, leading to decreased production of thyroid hormones. This, in turn, can impact the liver’s ability to clear cholesterol effectively, resulting in elevated cholesterol levels. It is essential for individuals with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis to address both the thyroid condition and high cholesterol to maintain optimal health.

Effects of Hypothyroidism on the Body

Vagus Nerve and its Role in Controlling Body Functions

The vagus nerve plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including digestion, heart rate, and liver function. In individuals with hypothyroidism, the thyroid hormone deficiency can affect the vagus nerve’s function, leading to disruptions in these body processes. This can result in slowed digestion, reduced gallbladder function, impaired pancreas function, and slower movement of the bowels. Additionally, the vagus nerve also controls liver function. When the vagus nerve is affected by hypothyroidism, it can lead to a slowdown in liver function, which can impact cholesterol metabolism and clearance.

Slowed Down Liver Function

The liver plays a vital role in the metabolism of cholesterol. It produces cholesterol and also removes excess cholesterol from the bloodstream. However, in individuals with hypothyroidism, the liver’s function may be slowed down due to the thyroid hormone deficiency. This can impair the liver’s ability to clear cholesterol effectively, leading to higher cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Additionally, a sluggish liver can also contribute to the development of fatty liver disease, another condition associated with high cholesterol.

Impact on Cholesterol Levels

The combination of impaired liver function and decreased clearance of cholesterol can lead to elevated cholesterol levels in individuals with hypothyroidism. The liver’s decreased ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream can result in higher levels of LDL cholesterol, which is considered unhealthy. Conversely, the reduced production and clearance of HDL cholesterol can lead to lower levels of HDL cholesterol, which is essential for heart health. This imbalance in cholesterol levels can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other complications associated with high cholesterol.

Types of Cholesterol

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. It plays a crucial role in removing excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and transporting it back to the liver for processing and elimination. HDL cholesterol helps protect against the development of heart disease by preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Maintaining healthy levels of HDL cholesterol is crucial for overall cardiovascular health.

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can increase the risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. LDL cholesterol is responsible for delivering cholesterol to various cells in the body. When there is an excessive amount of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, it can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol in the arterial walls, contributing to the development of plaque and narrowing of the arteries. It is important to keep LDL cholesterol levels within a healthy range to minimize the risk of cardiovascular complications.

Hashimotos and High Cholesterol

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

Normal Symptoms

In many cases, high cholesterol does not cause any noticeable symptoms. The condition is often referred to as a “silent” health issue because it can develop gradually without presenting any immediate warning signs. However, it is important to monitor cholesterol levels regularly, especially if there are risk factors such as family history, obesity, or certain medical conditions. High cholesterol can increase the risk of developing heart disease, so it is crucial to manage cholesterol levels to prevent long-term complications.

Symptoms Associated with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

In individuals with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and high cholesterol, symptoms related to an underactive thyroid, such as fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and depression, may also be present. These symptoms are a result of the thyroid hormone deficiency and the impact it has on various bodily functions. It is important to address both the thyroid condition and high cholesterol to alleviate these symptoms and maintain overall well-being.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Importance of Comprehensive Thyroid Testing

When evaluating high cholesterol levels in individuals, it is crucial to conduct comprehensive thyroid testing to identify any underlying thyroid conditions. This typically involves measuring thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, as well as free T4 and free T3 hormone levels. This comprehensive approach allows healthcare professionals to determine if hypothyroidism, specifically Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is contributing to the high cholesterol levels. By identifying the root cause, appropriate treatment strategies can be implemented to address both the thyroid condition and high cholesterol effectively.

Role of Medications

In some cases, medication may be necessary to manage high cholesterol levels. Statins are commonly prescribed to lower LDL cholesterol, while other medications can help increase HDL cholesterol levels or regulate lipid metabolism. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate medication based on individual needs and health conditions. Medication should always be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes to achieve optimal results.

Role of Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle modifications play a significant role in managing high cholesterol levels. Implementing a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management techniques, and proper sleep habits are essential in controlling cholesterol levels. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help promote healthy cholesterol levels. Regular physical activity can improve cholesterol profiles by increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing LDL cholesterol. Effective stress management strategies, such as mindfulness exercises or engaging in hobbies, can also contribute to better cholesterol levels. Additionally, ensuring an adequate amount of quality sleep each night is crucial for overall health and can positively impact cholesterol levels.

Management of Insulin Resistance

For individuals with high cholesterol due to insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, addressing these conditions is paramount in managing cholesterol levels effectively. Lifestyle changes, such as adopting a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity, can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce cholesterol levels. In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to manage blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses both insulin resistance and high cholesterol.

Hashimotos and High Cholesterol

Prevention and Lifestyle Tips

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

Adopting a healthy diet is crucial in preventing and managing high cholesterol levels. Focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, as well as cholesterol-rich foods. Incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, can help increase HDL cholesterol levels. Avoid processed foods and opt for homemade meals prepared with wholesome ingredients.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle and plays a significant role in managing cholesterol levels. Engaging in regular exercise can help increase HDL cholesterol levels while reducing LDL cholesterol. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. Additionally, incorporating strength training exercises can further improve cholesterol profiles. Find activities you enjoy to make exercise a sustainable part of your routine.

Stress Management

Chronic stress can negatively impact cholesterol levels and overall health. Find effective stress management techniques that work for you, such as engaging in relaxation exercises like yoga or meditation, spending time in nature, practicing deep breathing, or seeking support from loved ones. Taking time to unwind and prioritize self-care can help reduce stress levels and improve cholesterol profiles.

Proper Sleep Habits

Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal health, including cholesterol levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and establish a regular sleep schedule. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, minimize exposure to electronic devices before sleep, and ensure your sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to restful sleep. Prioritizing sleep can positively impact cholesterol levels and overall well-being.

Importance of Regular Check-ups

Monitoring Thyroid Function

Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional are essential for monitoring thyroid function in individuals with high cholesterol. This allows for the early detection and management of any thyroid imbalances that may be contributing to high cholesterol levels. Thyroid hormone levels should be regularly assessed to ensure optimal thyroid function and effective management of cholesterol levels.

Monitoring Cholesterol Levels

Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels is crucial for individuals with high cholesterol, particularly those with underlying thyroid conditions. This helps to assess the effectiveness of lifestyle changes, medication, and management strategies in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Routine cholesterol screenings allow healthcare professionals to make adjustments to treatment plans as needed and ensure overall cardiovascular health.

Hashimotos and High Cholesterol

Potential Complications

Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, leading to narrowing, blockages, and potential complications such as heart attacks or strokes. It is important to address and manage high cholesterol levels to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease and its associated complications.

Impact on Overall Health and Well-being

High cholesterol can have a negative impact on overall health and well-being. It can lead to feelings of fatigue, sluggishness, or discomfort. Additionally, the increased risk of cardiovascular disease can affect quality of life and overall longevity. By effectively managing cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes, medication (if necessary), and regular monitoring, individuals can improve both their physical and emotional well-being.


High cholesterol is a common health concern that can significantly impact overall health and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is important to understand the various causes of high cholesterol, including insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. By addressing these underlying factors, individuals can effectively manage their cholesterol levels and improve their overall health. Lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep, play a critical role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Regular check-ups and monitoring of both thyroid function and cholesterol levels are essential to ensure proper management and prevent potential complications. By taking proactive measures and working with healthcare professionals, individuals can effectively manage their cholesterol levels, reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, and maintain optimal health and well-being.

Hashimotos and High Cholesterol

You May Also Like