Blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol are simple examinations that we make every year. There has been a dramatic increase of prevalence of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Among the factors that increase cardiovascular risk are high triglycerides and cholesterol, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. But what exactly are triglycerides and how can we reduce them naturally?
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of fatty acids (fat). The excess energy we consume daily from food turns into triglycerides, which are lipid esters linked to lipoproteins. Triglycerides are the energy store of cells, especially of adipocytes. They are also used to produce new cells and hormones.
In case body needs energy, then triglycerides are released into the bloodstream by hormones. Normally triglycerides levels range below 150mg / dl. However, their concentration may increase leading to hypertriglyceridaemia.
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, triglyceride classification is categorized:
|Slightly high values||150-199 mg/dl|
|High values||200-250 mg/dl|
|Very high values||>500 mg/dl|
What does it cause elevated triglycerides?
We previously believed that triglycerides are not such an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, such as LDL cholesterol. However, over the last decades this belief has changed. Increased serum triglycerides contribute to atherosclerotic plaque formation and in combination with “good” HDL and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, they determine total cardiovascular risk. Very high triglyceride levels also increase the risk of acute pancreatitis.
Causes of increased triglycerides
Increased triglycerides may be the result of many different factors. The main reasons are
- increased consumption of carbohydrates and sweets
- reduced physical activity
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- overconsumption of alcohol
- certain medicines (β-blockers, contraceptives, diuretics, steroid medicines)
Treatment of hyperglyceridemia
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, help significantly reduce serum triglycerides and cholesterol, exert anti-inflammatory action and help regulate blood pressure. In particular, they reduce blood triglycerides up to 30% and exert cardioprotective properties. The daily recommended dose in cases of hypertriglyceridemia is > 1000mg of omega 3 fatty acids per day.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin or otherwise nicotinic acid may also help in the treatment of hyperlipidemia and hypertriglyceridemia. In particular, it has been shown that supplementation with niacin helps reduce serum triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and lipoproteins about 30-50%. It does not have side effects, and it can be combined with common medications for lowering cholesterol, such as statins. It is usually given to people who have very high triglyceride levels (> 500 md / dl).
Alpha lipoic acid is an acid that helps reduce serum triglycerides by affecting certain genes in the liver. It was found that reduces triglyceride production as well as TGL oxidation. It may be given either alone or in combination with other common anti-lipidemic treatments.
Guggul is a substance derived from Mukul Myrrh (Commiphore mukul), a small plant of India that has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic medicine. It is used alone or in combination with red rice yeast. Guggulsterones were found to effectively reduce LDL cholesterol and serum triglycerides levels, while also found to protect vessels from atherosclerosis and oxidative lesions.
Diet and lifestyle
However, in addition to supplements, both diet and lifestyle play a very important role in reducing serum triglycerides. In summary, we should:
- reduce intake of calories
- reduce intake of carbohydrates and mainly simple sugars
- reduce intake of saturated fat
- increase fiber consumption
- increase exercise and physical activity
- reduce alcohol consumption
In Vita4you you can find a wide variety of dietary supplements to treat high triglycerides.