Some people reading my blog are interested in how to lower their triglycerides. First I would like to explain exactly what triglycerides are and what they do; then we can discuss how to have optimal levels of triglycerides in the blood.
Triglycerides are the form in which most fats exist in our bodies, as well as in the foods we eat. They consist of 3 fatty acid chains connected to a glycerol molecule. We need a certain amount of fats in our bodies for proper nerve function, skin health, digestive health, menstrual health, and for many other functions.
What is measured in the blood is how many triglycerides are being transported in your blood at that given moment. Their levels are often reported as part of a cholesterol panel. Too high a level of triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) can be a marker of cardiovascular risk.
High triglyceride levels are also point to diabetic problems. High levels of triglycerides can show sugar imbalances over a length of time. if your levels are high, it may mean you have had numerous occurrences of blood sugar regulation problems. This, along with Hemoglobin A1c, show long-term issues with blood sugar.
Doing things to keep triglyceride levels from becoming too high will both lower your cardiovascular risk, and give you better sugar control to help stave off diabetes, or to manage it better. There are numerous factors that can increase triglyceride levels, and avoiding these factors would be a good idea to help lower triglycerides: alcohol consumption, sugar and simple carbohydrate consumption, excess weight gain, trans-fats, and hydrogenated oils.
There are also numerous things that can help lower levels. Replacing sugars and simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates such as nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains like amaranth, buckwheat, barely, brown rice, etc are major ways to have healthy triglyceride levels. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels by losing weight and having protein at all meals (especially cold water fish) will greatly help triglyceride levels. Also, cook with oils that can withstand higher temperatures such as olive and coconut oils.
Some supplements that help lower triglycerides are: fish oils, vitamin-E, Niacin, Carnitine and Fructooligosaccharides (FOSs). Which of these supplements, and how much of each, to take is very dependent on each individual person's health status. Talk to your ND about which ones may best help you.