Triglycerides are energy-storage molecules and thus a common form of fat found in both food and the body, they chemically consist of three molecules of fatty acids combined with one molecule of alcohol glycerol. Triglycerides occur naturally in foods and are also synthesized by the liver from carbohydrates when calories eaten are not needed right away. They are stored in the body fat tissue and released under the control of hormones to meet energy needs in between meals.

Normal Levels of Triglycerides

Generally, 150 mg/dL or less of serum triglyceride is considered normal. A level between 150 and 199 mg/dL is borderline high. And a level of 200 mg/dL is high. Triglycerides rarely reach extremely high levels unless in people with inherited tendency for high levels

Health Benefits of Triglycerides

Triglycerides supply energy for the body. Triglycerides either meet immediate energy needs in muscles or stored as fat for future energy requirements They are also engaged in the transportation, from one place to another, of the fat in the blood. They are also the storage type of fat, since they are primarily derived from the fats manufactured by the body from excessive calorie intake, or from the fats eaten.

Causes for High Serum Triglycerides

There are many, common and uncommon, causes of high blood triglycerides, including high dietary intake, metabolic disease, drugs, or rare genetic events. Triglyceride levels usually increase as the body weight increases. Excess calories, especially from sugar and alcohol are one of the causes of high triglycerides. Alcohol increases the liver's production of triglycerides and reduces the amount of fat cleared from blood. High fat foods such as red meat and dairy products also increase serum triglycerides.

Certain drugs, such as birth control pills, steroids, and diuretics (water pills) can cause triglyceride levels to rise. Medical conditions, that are associated with high triglyceride levels, i.e., diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and liver disease, there is also a steady increases of triglycerides with age. High triglycerides level is also inherited.

Harmful Effects of High Levels of Triglycerides

Very high triglyceride levels are a risk factor for acute pancreatitis. This is a condition where the pancreas becomes severely inflamed. High levels are also considered as a risk factor for diabetes and heart diseases.

Dietary Methods of Lowering Triglycerides Levels

Switch from high-glycemic carbohydrates to high-fiber low-glycemic whole grains. Reduction of calories, saturated fats and trans-fats with an objective to reach and maintain optimum weight is advised. This should be coupled with at least a half hour a day of moderate heart activity exercise. Smoking and drinking should be avoided.  Heart healthy foods such as oily cold-water fish should be taken three or more times a week. This reduces triglycerides and cut down on heart and stroke risks by 44%.

According to research and the American Heart Association (AHA), the fish oil fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are found in salmon and other fatty fish, will decrease triglycerides. Omega 3 fish oil also reduces irregular heartbeat, blood clotting and hardening of the arteries, plus it can lower blood pressure. Niacin and some statins can be used as supplements in reducing triglyceride levels.

Fatty acid related links:
Daily intake of omega fatty acid DHA lowers diastolic blood pressure
Unsaturated fat: food high in polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat
Saturated fat: food high in saturated fat and total fat