Central Kentucky Cardiology

Lowering Triglycerides

How to Lower Triglycerides

Lowering triglycerides is an important part of reducing your risk of developing heart disease. High levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream are a precursor to coronary blockage, and as such you should learn how to lower your triglycerides to avoid serious heart problems.

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a scientific term for fatty deposits stored in your body. Following is a brief explanation of how they are formed:

Your body transforms the carbohydrates you eat into glucose to be used for energy by your cells. Once the cells have what they need, the excess glucose is sent back to your liver and converted to glycogen. Glycogen can then be stored in your muscles. (Bodybuilders can eat more carbs and be able to store them since their muscles are larger than those of an average person.)

Once you've reached your capacity of glycogen, excess glycogen is sent back to your liver again, where it becomes triglycerides, which are stored as fat. Your body has endless storage space for this fat, as we all know.

Now some of these triglycerides are not stored as fat, but remain in your blood stream, which is where the problem lies. Excess levels of triglycerides thicken your blood, making it sludgy, which increases the possibility of clotting and blockage which could eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. This is why it is so important to keep your triglyceride levels as low as possible.

How do you keep triglyceride levels down?

Many doctors focus too much on cholesterol, and not enough on triglycerides. However if you have high cholesterol AND high triglycerides, your chances of developing heart disease go up exponentially. As such, both indicators must be paid attention to.

As we mentioned above, triglyceride levels are directly influenced by what you eat. Anything that increases blood glucose will potentially increase triglycerides, so you should lower your intake of anything that is converted to glucose in the body.

The most important step to take is to lower your carbohydrate intake. All of the most popular diets today - Atkins, South Beach, Zone, etc. are all based on a low carbohydrate diet, because it is an increase in carbs that triggers the conversion of glucose to triglycerides (fats). The low carbohydrate diet is being recommended by more and more doctors and nutritionists as science is proving the carbohydrate fat relationship outlined above.

Excess sugar should also be avoided, as it is converted to glucose and in turn triglycerides much the same way as carbohydrates are.

Many of the healthy heart diet tips we discuss can help you reduce both triglyceride and cholesterol levels, so you should browse this section as well.

Are there specific nutrients for lowering triglycerides?

Many of the nutrients for lowering cholesterol naturally will help with triglyceride levels as well.

According to a publication by P.K. Reissell's group at Harvard in 1966, it was clearly established that Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin C, combined with a low carbohydrate diet, can dramatically reduce your triglyceride levels. Omega 3 fatty acids can help with cholesterol as well.

Take a look at some more specific nutrients for lowering triglycerides to the right.

If triglycerides are essentially fat, shouldn't you avoid fat in your diet too?

In a word, NO! Natural animal fats found in eggs and butter are actually necessary - your body needs dietary fats to perform many functions. You should however avoid the bad kinds of fat - transfats and hydrogenated oils found in margarine, processed and refined foods and fast food. These transfats are chemically altered substances, and as such your body does not know how to handle them properly. They are foreign to the body and therefore dangerous to your health.

So, in summary, following a no-fat diet is dangerous. Your body needs good fat in certain quantities each and every day. What you want to avoid is the bad fats, the trans and hydrogenated fats and oils which are artificially processed to make foods last longer. (That's why that fast food burger that's been sitting there for weeks tastes fresh!)

Lowering Triglycerides - Get your triglyceride levels checked

Make sure you get your triglyceride levels checked as part of your next blood test. Whether or not your triglyceride levels are high, you should do your part to keep levels down, following the tips on this page.

The normal level of triglycerides in your blood should be up to 199mg/dL. This is the level of triglycerides in the average healthy person.

The optimal level of triglycerides in your blood would be under 100mg/dL.

A triglyceride test along with the three other blood tests we discuss on this site will indicate whether or not you are at risk of developing heart disease.

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