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Low Thyroid and Plaque

Posted Dec 02 2008 1:13pm
Having now tested the thyroid status of several hundred patients over the last few months, I have come to appreciate:

1) That thyroid dysfunction is rampant, affecting at least 25% of everyone I see.
2) It is an enormously effective means to reduce cardiovascular risk.


I'm not talking about flagrant low thyroid dysfunction, the sort that triggers weight gain of 30 lbs, gallons of water retention, baggy eyes, sleeping 14 hours a day. I'm talking about the opposite extreme: the earliest, subtle, and often asymptomatic degrees of thyroid dysfunction that raises LDL cholesterol, lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a), a huge effect!), and adds to coronary plaque growth.

Correcting the subtle levels of low thyroid:

1) Makes LDL reduction much easier

2) Facilitates weight loss

3) Reduces Lp(a)--best with a inclusion of the T3 fraction of thyroid hormone.

Recall that, 100 years ago, the heart implications of low thyroid weren't appreciated until autopsy, when the unfortunate victim would be found to have coronary arteries packed solid with atherosclerotic plaque. It takes years of low thyroid function to do this. I advise you to not wait until you get to this point or anywhere near it.

I find it fascinating that many of the most potent strategies we are now employing in the Track Your Plaque process are hormonal: thyroid hormones, T3 and T4; vitamin D (the hormone cholecalciferol); testosterone; progesterone; DHEA, pregnenolone. Omega-3 fatty acids, while not hormones themselves, exert many of their beneficial effects via the eicosanoid hormone pathway. Elimination of wheat and cornstarch exert their benefits via a reduction in the hormone insulin's wide fluctuations.

We haven't yet had sufficient time to gauge an effect on coronary plaque and heart scan scores. In other words, will perfect thyroid function increase our success rate in stopping or reversing coronary plaque? I don't know for sure, but I predict that it will. In fact, I believe that we are filling a large "hole" in the program by adding this new aspect.
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