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High TSH Elderly Men Live Longer?

  1. Mortality in a complete 4-year follow up of 85-year-old residents of Leiden, classified by serum level of thyrotropin and thyroxine. - PubMed - NCBI

    In the 13% of elderly subjects in Leiden with abnormally high serum TSH levels, the mean annual mortality rate was significantly lower than the mortality rate in the 87% of the elderly patients with normal or low serum TSH. The significance is based on 95% confidence levels of the Poisson distribution. The rate in the group with high TSH levels had 16 deaths in 264 person-years of follow up (FU). The majority with normal or low TSH levels had 193 deaths in 1698 person-years of FU.

    [Thyroid function, activities of daily living and survival in extreme old age: the 'Leiden 85-plus Study']. - PubMed - NCBI
    At the age of 85, there was no relation between the serum levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) or free thyroxine (FT4) and limitations in the activities of daily living, the occurrence of depressive symptoms and cognitive deterioration. Neither was any relationship found during the period of follow-up. A higher TSH-level was associated with a lower mortality, even after correction for the differences in performance and health during the base measurement (mortality risk: 0.77 per SD-increase in TSH; 95% CI: 0.63-0.94). The mortality risk per SD-increase in FT4 was 1.16 (95% CI: 1.04-1.30).

    Hmmmmm...what gives?
  2. The study has been discussed before in other threads very recently.

    They found 67 people aged over 85 with high TSH, they found 491 aged over 85 with low-mid TSH. Then using formulas and blood tests derived that high TSH equals long lifespan. Maybe the study is true but I think the obvious answer is that having over 7 times the amount of over 85's with low-mid TSH seems like it is obvious this correlates with longer lifespan?
  3. I posted two studies and there are more. They all say that high TSH in the elderly leads to longer lifespan, it seems. You are implying some sort of survivorship bias. But actually, the high TSH people are living longer I think, pure and simple.
  4. The 2nd study you linked was just the thyroid blood tests from the first, wasn't it? The Leiden-85 one. I'm not too sure on this TSH thing as well though, but I'm not convinced by that study. I think I remember some studies on the functionalps website showing low TSH equalling longer lifespans, so it may come down to which studies you find more convincing.
  5. I disagree.

    Studies that only look at TSH and T4 are worthless at best. It's even worse if they don't exclude people who take drugs to treat "hyperthyroidism" and those who are treated with thyroxine (T4 monotherapy).

    Related threads:
    The Dangers Of Pure T4 (Synthroid) Treatment
    Papers Advocating T3/T4 Treatment


    When looking for the full text of one of the Leiden studies above I found this one:
    Thyroid Function Tests and Mortality in Aged Hospitalized Patients: A 7-Year Prospective Observational Study

    Their study design:
    I didn't really read it, just fast-forwarded to the results:

    THS, FT4, FT3_mortality in elderly hospitalized patients.GIF
    • Of the 32 patients with low TSH only 1 survived. --> Remember, we are talking of people who do not take thyroid meds. Since the TSH raises with age, and a TSH below 0.4 is rare even in young people, this result suggests that a low TSH in the elderly is a very strong marker of deadly illness.
    • Of the 404 patients only 27 (7%) had a high TSH. After 7 years 30% were still alive vs. 21% of the patients with normal TSH. --> No real difference between high and normal TSH.*
    • Of the patients with low, normal and high FT4, 23%, 20%, 22% respectively survived.--> FT4 was not predictive of survival.
    • Of the patients with low FT3 only 14% survived vs. 31% of the patients with normal FT3. --> FT3 was predictive of survival. **
    * Only 8 in the high TSH group survived. As a rule of the thumb: If 1 or 2 more/less makes a difference, then it's not statistically relevant. The population is too small to draw conclusions.
    ** Read their discussion on low T3 syndrome in acute illness.
  6. I don't doubt Dr. Peat's assertion that TSH is inflammatory. But these types of results still puzzle me.
  7. I don't give much credence to any modern studies considering nearly 100% are either bought and paid for
    and or the study premise and or the assumptions that go with the premise is flawed.

    However that being said if you consider TSH elevation as an adaptation, no different than any other adaptation for survival.
    And you consider that high metabolism is expensive AF.
    People who have downgraded metabolism (including TSH) are in an adaptive state and using fewer resources.
    The fact that some people will not achieve this adaptation and instead run out of resources and die is sensible.

    At the end of the day to attempt to make a binary conclusion like High TSH is good and increases lifespan
    vs Low TSH is good and increases lifespan is idiotic on its face. Its the kind of question a 4 year old would pose.
    Its simply poor logic, poor research which equates to a poor conclusion.

    the reason you can't make heads/tails of it is because its nonsensical from word 1.

    Instead of reading this drivel.... Eat some good food, relax with a cool person or two and don't bother trying to make sense where there's no sense to be made.
    That will increase life expectancy. #Guaranteed.
  8. There is evidence on Dr. Peat's side too.

    Serum Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Levels Are Associated with the Presence of Coronary Atherosclerosis in Healthy Postmenopausal Women
    It revealed that significant predictor of serum TSH was serum TG, and increasing age and TSH were found to have associations with an increased risk of coronary atherosclerosis in euthyroid postmenopausal women. Screening and assessing risks for CVD in healthy postmenopausal women would be helpful before atherosclerosis develops

    Higher TSH was associated with atherosclerosis.

    Background: The association between chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) and autoimmune thyroiditis (AT) is known, as well as major prevalence of antithyroid antibodies in the allergical subjects and other autoimmune diseases. We have evaluated the effects of l-thyroxine on clinical symptoms of CIU in AT patients suggesting the hypothesis of a new thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) role in immune system.

    Methods: In 20 female patients with CIU + AT, both hypothyroid and euthyroid, we have investigated the therapeutic effects of l-thyroxine dosed to suppress the TSH. Free-T3, Free-T4, TSH, antithyroperoxidase and antithyroglobulin antibodies, total immunoglobulin (Ig)E, Rheuma test and eritro-sedimentation rate were monitored during treatment. Results: In 16 patients a strong decrease of urticaria symptoms has happened after 12 weeks. The TPO Ab and HTG Ab clearly decreased in 14 patients. Furthermore, in two patients with rheumatoid arthritis and in two patients with pollen allergy a strong decrease of rheuma test titer and total IgE has happened.

    Conclusion: The reason of AT is associated to CIU and others allergical and autoimmune diseases is poorly known. The exclusive hormonal therapy reduces the symptoms of CIU and inflammatory response in many chronic diseases associated to AT. We suggest a stimulatory effect of TSH able to produce considerable changes of the immune response and immune tolerance in patients with AT causing target organs damage.The causal mechanism involves immune, nervous and endocrine system, sharing a common set of hormones, cytokines and receptors, in a unique totally integrated loop (the neuro–immuno–endocrine axis).

    Patients with bad hives got better when TSH was suppressed.
  9. You will find so called "research" on both sides of pretty much every single issue.
    Its why I generally don't look to "research" to reconcile my health questions.
    Same reason I don't look to religion to reconcile my spiritual questions.
    Both examples of ideologues fighting over turf.
  10. Dr. Peat looks at research. I look at research. It's insane not to look at research if you are a serious student of health.

    There are many good studies and I try to find them and figure things out. Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts.

  11. I did not say I don't look AT research, I said I don't look TO it to answer my questions. BIG difference.
    I said this because you said "these types of results still puzzle me."

    these types of results shouldn't puzzle you... contradictory conclusions in the modern scientific community
    are the overwhelming norm.