What About Triglycerides?


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Circulation recently published the American Heart Association Scientific Statement: Triglycerides and Cardiovascular Disease.  I’ve not read the full document, but here are a few tidbits I’ll share:

  • Triglycerides (TGs) are not direclty atherogenic; they are a biomarker for cardiovascular risk
  • Optimal fasting TGs are under 100 mg/dl (1.1 mmol/l)
  • Normal nonfasting TGs are under 200 mg/dl (2.3 mmol/l)
  • If levels are high, treatment focuses on intensive therapeutic lifestyle change
  • To reduce high TGs, diet modifications include reduction of “simple carbohydrates” like added sugars and fructose by replacing with unsaturated fats, implementing a Mediterranean-style diet, reduction of saturated fat and trans fat consumption, increased marine omega-3 fatty acid intake
  • To reduce high TGs in the setting of overweight and obesity, aim for loss of 5 or 10% of body weight
  • To reduce high TGs, do aerobic exercise at least twice weekly

From my quick scan, I didn’t see much effort to push drugs on people with triglycerides under 500 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/l).

Thanks to Circulation for making this available to the public at no charge.

Steve Parker, M.D.


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4 responses to “What About Triglycerides?

  1. Pingback: What About Triglycerides? | Low Carb Daily

  2. Mine are around 49 on a low-carb diet.

  3. My grandma has TAG levels of ~250 to 300 and hated the medicine the doc prescribed (she couldn’t remember what it was) due to side effects. She’s approaching 80 and lived a full life but stressed heavily about the meds. I told her, forget about it and that the added stress was probably worse than the TAG levels. There’s nothing to suggest that fibrates will dramatically extend life at her age for something as mild hypertriglyceridemia. I think fasting TAG is much ado about nothing (excepting people with familiar hypertriglyceridemia).

    I think more research needs to look at post prandial TAG levels, especially in the context of diabetes. I suspect that FFA dysmetabolism plays a big, big role in the broad reaching dangers of diabetes. Then again, it’s not like we have good drugs for it anyways….