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TSH & The Big “A”

Post Published: 06 January 2011
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Category: Guest Bloggers, TSH and Alzehimer's Disease
This post currently has 8 responses. Leave a comment

Do you know the feeling of hitting, say, your mid-thirties and memory starts to sputter? Your once-impeccable memory now sucks or your lousy memory is worse?

We have a horrible joke in my family that it’s the big “A” settling in – Alzheimer’s Disease.

What’s thyroid got to do with it? Turns out, a lot… TSH that’s either too high or too low correlates with diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, not in men. Women in the Framingham Study had double the risk of Alzheimer’s if their TSH was other than 1.0-2.1.

Personally, I was not surprised to find a high TSH to be associated with dementia, but a little disappointed about what I consider to be a rather good TSH, namely 0.4-1.0. While I don’t know the mechanism, I would speculate that it may relate to the increased bone turnover at lower TSH levels – perhaps all those heavy metals most of us are exposed to from the environment are getting liberalized and muck with our brains, setting the stage for the big “A.”

Other contributing factors to developing the Alzheimer’s? Insulin resistance, ApoE4 genotype, low estradiol, high cortisol and low testosterone. So let’s keep those hormones in the moderate range – not too high, not too low. My great-grandmother told me that 40 years ago: It just makes good sense.

Written by, Dr. Sarah Gottfried

Gottfried Center

for Integrative Medicine

Sara Gottfried, MD

300 Lakeside Dr, Suite 202

Oakland, CA 94612

510.893.3907

www.GottfriedCenter.com

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8 Responses to “TSH & The Big “A””

  1. Amanda says:

    Yikes! and Thanks… It does makes sense.

    Amanda

  2. Mary says:

    Its documented that people with Graves have a 30 percent more dementia than “normal” people. I know I feel and think better on a proper dose that keeps my TSH below 1. In school I struggled until I took RAI and then was on the honor roll. My brain would nt work right. Yes there’s always something else with this disease. Never ending. Mary

  3. Karen says:

    This is scary. Those of us on a suppressive dose of thyroid meds because of having had thyroid cancer should be told this-I guess we have reason to worry about the memory problems many of us have after the thyroidectomy and treatment.

  4. lori says:

    Oy!!! If women had double the risk of Alzheimer’s when their TSH was other than 1.0-2.1, what does this mean for us that do better with a TSH in the 0.4-1.0 range, like myself? Is the Framingham study the first study of this kind? Because of my experience, I’m not surprised of this finding either, but it is interesting that it did not hold true for men as well. One other question, what does “increased bone turnover” mean? Is this a concern as relates to bone mineral density?

    Thank you for this interesting info.

  5. Thank you for writing this, Dr. G! I had absolutely no idea that there was any correlation between TSH and Alzheimer’s. I like your theory regarding increased bone turnover…makes sense to me.

    Thanks for sharing this great info!

    Joanna

  6. Dear Thyroid says:

    Okay, now that I’m sufficiently terrified, I’m also incredibly grateful, Dr. G. I want to start doing more research to learn more about this. Knowledge is power, even the knowledge that, speaking for myself, I might be too afraid to share.

    Thank you for writing this sobering and necessary article.

    xo

  7. Lolly says:

    Certainly does make sense now what was that I just said.

  8. Thanks for your great comments, y’all. “Bone turnover” means how much of the bone tissue is pulled up from storage to supply your cells – becomes increased when we are all over 35 years of age, and if TSH is low (how low? we need more clarity on this).

    Framingham results are confusing to me too as I also feel far better with a TSH of 0.3-1.0. However, it’s an “observational” study – not as high quality as a randomized trial. That means it suggest important associations but not causality. In other words, we don’t really know if that mid-range TSH of 1.0-2.1 actually prevented Alzheimers. We need a trial. Problem with a trial is that I don’t want to sign up for that TSH, do you?

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