Authored by: Eric Venn-Watson, MD
With the new year already under way, many of us will head to our general practitioners to get our annual physical exams. Part of that exam will likely include a lipid panel. A lipid panel blood test measures your cholesterol and also your triglyceride levels. If your triglycerides have been historically high, you can learn how to lower them, and lower your risk of certain associated health risks.
In this article we’ll discuss what triglycerides are, why they matter, and how you can lower them with certain diet and lifestyle adjustments. We’ll also consider how the use of a certain odd-chain saturated fatty acid may be the key in keeping your triglyceride levels within healthy range.
What Are Triglycerides?
You’ve just met with your doctor to discuss your lipid panel and you’re told your triglyceride levels are too high. That likely wasn’t the news you were expecting, and you probably feel a little lost. What are triglycerides? Why do they need to be lower?
Triglycerides are kind of like cholesterol, in that they’re a type of fat that is stored in your blood. Triglycerides are stored in your fat cells and later released as energy when your body needs it. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is stored in your blood that is not converted to energy.
Triglycerides come from the foods you eat, mostly carbohydrates. That may sound confusing since triglycerides are a type of fat, but the biggest source of triglycerides in your body comes from taking in too many carbohydrates.
When you eat an excess of carbohydrates (calories your body cannot burn away), your triglyceride levels increase. This is because your body turns those excess carbohydrates into fat which is later stored in your blood.
The foods most commonly associated with levels of high triglycerides are:
None of these foods are inherently bad on their own, but eating an excess of these foods can lead to higher triglyceride levels.
You’re at a higher risk of having high triglycerides if you are overweight, or if you have uncontrolled diabetes. That’s why maintaining a healthy weight and balanced diet are crucial for keeping your triglyceride levels under control.
Healthy Triglyceride Levels
What’s normal and what’s not? If you’ve been diagnosed with high triglycerides, you likely want to know what’s considered normal range.
Under 150 ml/dL
500 mg/dL or above
Why Do Triglyceride Levels Matter?
High triglycerides might not seem like a big deal -- just a number, right? It’s not quite that simple. High triglycerides are associated with a wide range of health problems. High triglycerides can cause hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which leads to a much higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
High triglyceride levels also lead to sudden pancreatitis, a condition that is particularly painful and can be life threatening.
High triglycerides are often a marker for underlying conditions like:
It goes without saying you want to avoid these negative health markers and lower your triglycerides. You can lower your triglycerides and improve your health by following a few simple lifestyle changes and incorporating healthy dietary fats into your diet. Here’s how.
5 Tips To Help Lower Triglycerides
When you get a high triglyceride diagnosis from your healthcare provider, you want to know how you can get back on track fast.
Here are five tips on how to lower triglycerides quickly, and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Not only will exercise improve your triglyceride levels, it can also help you manage cholesterol levels.
Want to learn more about how using fat to battle fat actually works? Read on!
C15:0 and Your Triglycerides
We know what you’re thinking: “I’m supposed to be lowering the amount of fat in my blood, so how can consuming fat help me?”
The first thing to know is that not all fats are bad. For instance, we know that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are beneficial and an essential part of our diet. Essential means our bodies need them to function healthfully, but they cannot and do not produce them. A good way to increase our omega-3 and omega-6 concentrations is to consume them in our diets.
Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid present in trace levels in butter and other whole dairy products. Unfortunately, because dietary guidelines recommend that we limit our intake of whole fat dairy products containing saturated fats, that means you likely aren’t getting much of it in your diet.
During the late 1970s, the U.S. government released dietary guidelines that told us that all fats, especially saturated fats, were bad. We listened, and since that time the consumption of foods like whole fat milk and butter have been on the decline. Research suggests we got it wrong.
In fact, studies support that C15:0, as a healthy odd-chain saturated fat, can support healthy triglyceride levels, giving you a better chance of keeping your lipid panels within normal range once and for all.
What exactly does C15:0 do in terms of keeping your triglycerides lower?
Science supports that C15:0 is a fatty acid that can promote our health and may help maintain healthy triglyceride levels. Adding a C15:0 supplement to your health stack can be an important part of obtaining a new level of health and wellness in the new year!
Along with changing your diet and exercise habits, cutting back on your alcohol consumption and lowering your sugar intake, C15:0 may help keep your triglyceride levels lower, which will make your doctor happy and keep you healthier.
To learn more about how C15:0 can support your health for the long-run, click here!
STEPHANIE VENN-WATSON, dvm, mph
Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson is a veterinary epidemiologist dedicated to improving both human and animal health. Before co-founding Seraphina Therapeutics and Epitracker, Inc,. she worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Venn-Watson has over 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is an inventor on 40+ patents. Her dedication to discovering natural compounds to improve global health has been featured in/on Forbes, NPR Science Friday, PBS, National Geographic, BBC, and more.
ERIC VENN-WATSON, MD
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson is a physician, US Navy veteran and serial entrepreneur. Prior to Seraphina Therapeutics, Eric founded multiple companies in therapeutics discovery, healthcare analytics, and medical device industries as well as working in leadership roles in several life science companies.