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Treatment of High Triglycerides

Having high blood levels of triglycerides increases your chances for a heart attack (1,2,3) and diabetes (4).

When you take in more food than you need, the extra calories are converted to triglycerides, whether they come from carbohydrates, fats or proteins. Those with high blood levels of triglycerides usually store most of their fat in their bellies rather than their hips and have low blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks. You raise blood levels of triglycerides most by eating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates such as bakery products. These foods lack omega-3 fatty acids. One way to lower triglycerides is to avoid refined carbohydrates and eat foods that are good sources of omega-3's.

Doctors have known for years that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils lower triglycerides, but whole grains, beans and seeds are also rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Bakery products and pastas made from flour have no omega-3 fatty acids because they are removed in the germ of a whole grain before grinding it into flour. You lower high triglycerides by restricting bakery products, pastas and sugary foods and eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, seeds and deep-water fish. See How Excess Calories Lead to Diabetes

1) J Jeppesen, HO Hein, P Suadicani, F Gyntelberg. Triglyceride concentration and ischemic heart disease: An eight-year follow-up in the Copenhagen Male Study.Circulation 97: 11 (MAR 24 1998):1029-1036.

2) M Miller.The epidemiology of triglyceride as a coronary artery disease risk factor.Clinical Cardiology, 1999, Vol 22, Iss 6, Suppl. 2, pp II1-II6.

3) SH Gianturco, WA Bradley.Pathophysiology of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in atherothrombosis: Cellular aspects.Clinical Cardiology, 1999, Vol 22, Iss 6, Suppl. 2, pp II7-II14.

4)A Georgopoulos.Postprandial triglyceride metabolism in diabetes mellitus.Clinical Cardiology, 1999, Vol 22, Iss 6, Suppl. 2, pp II28-II33.

5)WS Harris.Nonpharmacologic treatment of hypertriglyceridemia: Focus on fish oils.Clinical Cardiology, 1999, Vol 22, Iss 6, Suppl. 2, pp II40-II43.

Checked 12/2/14

May 29th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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