advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Triglycerides Too High?

In my mid-thirties, I found out that my triglycerides were extremely high. I began to exercise and to take fish oil and lowered them to normal.  What causes such high numbers when I never had high triglycerides previously?  Should I be doing anything else to control them?

A
Answer (Published 5/30/2007)

Triglycerides are the form in which fat moves through the bloodstream to your body's tissues. Whenever your LDL ("bad") cholesterol is measured, triglycerides are checked, too. Levels lower than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered normal and levels above 200 mg/dL are considered too high. However, those parameters may be changing in light of recent research on cardiovascular health. Desired normal levels may be as low as 100 mg/dl.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Heart Health - A healthful diet and lifestyle, along with prudent supplementation, can help prevent or lessen the risk of heart disease and related illnesses such as hypertension, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Learn more, and get your free, personalized nutritional supplement and vitamin recommendation today.

High triglyceride levels can be genetic, and may be related to obesity or untreated diabetes, but dietary influences are strong. Carbohydrates in the diet are the main factor affecting their levels in the blood, especially quick-digesting (high glycemic load) carbs. In many people, these foods elevate insulin levels, and insulin affects triglyceride synthesis and the storage of fat. High triglyceride levels usually accompany low HDL (good) cholesterol and often travel with tendencies toward high blood pressure and central (abdominal) obesity. These are the markers of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, very common disorders that increase risks of heart and adult-onset diabetes.

I recommend several lifestyle changes to help keep your serum triglyceride levels down in the desirable range. You will want to get regular exercise; lose weight if you're overweight; and cut back on alcohol, avoiding beer especially. (Even small amounts of alcohol can elevate triglyceride levels.) Also increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating salmon, sardines, black cod, and herring on a regular basis. Or take a good fish oil supplement, as you are doing, 1-2 grams a day.

The conventional medical recommendation for a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet to lower triglycerides and bring down cholesterol is dead wrong in my opinion. Instead you want to be on a low glycemic load diet, such as my anti-inflammatory diet. Familiarize yourself with the concept of glycemic load (http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm) and choose carbohydrate foods that rank low on that scale.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here