Slightly Low Thyroid Linked to Fatal Heart Disease in Women
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
A stunning thyroid study in the Archives of Internal Medicine1shows that women whose TSH scores were in the high end of the normal range were at a 69 percent increased risk for cardiovascular death.
A similar trend in men was also present, but not statistically significant. The range for TSH scores is typically 0.50 to 3.5 mIU/L. Women in the lower end of this range had no increased heart disease risk. As the number increased the risk went up. Women in the middle of this range (1.5 – 2.4) had a 41 percent increased risk, while women in the higher end of the normal range (2.5 – 3.5) had a 69 percent increased risk.
TSH is the signal that comes from your subconscious brain (pituitary gland) telling your thyroid to get going. Scores in the normal range mean that the thyroid is responding to the TSH “phone call,” just not very well. This means doctors will not see these types of TSH scores as a thyroid problem that needs medication – but they are reflective of a metabolic problem that clearly increases the risk of death from heart disease.
What are women to do? Get their thyroids working better. TSH scores come down naturally when the rest of the body works more efficiently. Weight management is one key to the issue, as extra body fat clogs metabolism and forces TSH up. However, stress is another important issue—whether a person is overweight or not. Providing key nutrients that help activate T4 to its biologically active form of T3 is a key to solving this issue, as well as protecting your liver and thyroid gland from free radical damage.
Selenium is an essential nutrient that supports the health of the thyroid gland and assists the conversion of T4 to T3. Manganese and gugulipid help protect the liver and also support the conversion of T4 to T3. Coenzyme B vitamins and ashwagandha are helpful stress-busters.
The take-home message of this very important study is that you can maximize longevity by doing what you can to keep thyroid-related metabolism running efficiently. A thyroid that is struggling, for whatever reason, even if it isn’t “medically in trouble,” is still a sign to take action to preserve your health and well-being. A simple TSH test can tell you where you stand on this risk issue. Also, pay attention to signs of sluggish thyroid such as low afternoon energy, low body temperature, poor mood, lack of coordination, and difficulty losing weight.
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