We have long been warned the cholesterol in eggs raises heart disease risk, however new research shows that is actually not the case in people with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes as long as you are eating a healthy diet. They also do not hinder weight loss. These results, along with previous research, demonstrate we need to put to rest the untrue stance on cholesterol dangers. If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid and do not have an egg intolerance (as some people with autoimmune thyroid disease do), you can enjoy eggs as part of a healthy diet.
The study explained part of a healthy diet was one that replaced saturated fats with monounsaturated fats like olive and avocado oil. When eating that way, having eggs in the diet showed no problems with cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
Scientists followed two groups for 12 months: a group that ate 12 eggs a week and a group that ate fewer than two eggs per week. Neither group showed an increase in heart disease risk markers and both groups were able to lose the same amount of weight.
Egg yolks have many important vitamins and nutrients. For those with Hashimoto’s low thyroid who aren’t immune reactive to them, they are a great addition to your diet.
Avoid eggs if you are immune reactive and have autoimmune Hashimoto’s low thyroid
It’s important to know that if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid eggs may still be off limits if you have an immune reaction to them. You can find out through testing from Cyrex Labs, which offers a variety of panels that test for reactivity to eggs.
Why we need cholesterol when managing autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Cholesterol is not bad; we need healthy fats as part of a strategy to manage autoimmune Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
Cholesterol is in every one of our cells, and is used to make vitamin D, cell membranes, and bile acids to digest fats.
We also need cholesterol to digest fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are crucial to immune and brain function — important considerations for Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
Cholesterol is an important building block for adrenal hormones and the sex hormones, such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
The brain is mostly made up of fat from the fats we consume in our diets. These fats determine the structure and function of our neurons, provide insulation for nerve cells, support production of brain chemicals, and help maintain good communication between neurons.
“Good” vs. “bad” cholesterol explained
What is the difference between “good” HDL and “bad” LDL? They both are lipoproteins, that is small packages of fat and protein that transport cholesterol.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL). The “good” cholesterol. HDL prevents arterial plaque.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The “bad” cholesterol. LDL forms plaque that narrows and stiffens arteries in atherosclerosis.
Triglycerides. Elevated levels are linked to heart disease and diabetes. Levels rise from smoking, being sedentary, excessive drinking, obesity, and a diet high in sugars and grains.
Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a). High levels of this marker are a very strong risk for heart disease.
When considering test results, your doctor will pay attention to:
- HDL levels vs. LDL levels
- Triglyceride levels
- The ratio between triglycerides to HDL
- The ratio between total cholesterol and HDL
- The size of the particles
There are small and large particles of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Large particles are largely harmless while small, dense particles are more dangerous because they can stick to arterial walls, causing inflammation, plaque, and damage.
More important is knowing your ratio between HDL and LDL and particle size.
Many doctors believe your total non-HDL cholesterol level may be more useful than your cholesterol ratio as it contains all the “bad” cholesterol. It is figured by subtracting your HDL from your total cholesterol.
Either option is a better risk predictor than total cholesterol or simply LDL.
Some people have a genetic tendency toward extremely high cholesterol and may need medication to manage it.
Contact my office to learn more about functional medicine strategies to support healthy cholesterol, test your heart disease risk, test for egg reactivity, and to manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.