In living organisms, they primarily carry out structural and energy functions: they are the main component of the cell membrane, while the body’s energy reserves are preserved in fat cells.
Along with carbohydrates and proteins, fats are one of the main components of nutrition. Fats of vegetable origin are called oils (oils are also called some animal fats, for example, butter and ghee). Vegetable oils tend to have a liquid consistency at room temperature. Exceptions are tropical plant oils (palm, coconut, cocoa, etc.). Fats of animal origin, by contrast, are usually in a frozen phase at room temperature. The exceptions are fish oil, beef fat from the legs (for example, when boiling jelly), etc.
The composition of natural fats
The composition of fats was determined by the French scientists M. Chevrel and M. Berthelot. In 1811, M. Chevrel found that when a mixture of fat and water is heated in an alkaline medium, glycerin and carboxylic acids (stearic and oleic) are formed. In 1854, chemist M. Berthelot performed the reverse reaction and first synthesized fat by heating a mixture of glycerol and carboxylic acids.
The composition of fats meets the general formula where R¹, R² and R³ are radicals (of the same or different) fatty acids.
Natural fats contain three acid radicals with an unbranched structure and, as a rule, an even number of carbon atoms (the content of "odd" acid radicals in fats is usually less than 0.1%).
Natural fats most often contain the following fatty acids: Saturated:
Some natural fats include residues of both saturated and unsaturated carboxylic acids.
The composition of natural fats
|Triglycerides||Residues of acids,% by weight|
|Mutton fat (solid)||38||30||35||3||9|
|Beef tallow (solid)||31||26||40||2||2|
|Pork fat (solid)||27||14||45||5||5|
|Fats in the human body||25||8||46||10||-|
What are triglycerides?
As you know, triglycerides are the most important source of energy for cells, they are derived from glycerol. Intake of triglycerides in the human body occurs with food, then they are synthesized in adipose tissue, then the liver and in the intestine. What level of triglycerides in the blood of a person depends on age. For the diagnosis of atherosclerosis, as well as many other diseases, use the analysis of triglycerides. Plant seeds, liver and adipose tissue contain triglycerides, which are an essential part of human food.
Until recently, it was believed that if your triglyceride level ranges from 1.7 to 2.26 mmol / l, you may not be afraid of early cardiovascular diseases. But recent research by scientists from a medical center in the US, Maryland, suggests that even with 1.13 mmol / l of triglycerides in the blood there is a risk of developing atherosclerosis of the vessels and myocardial infarction. In assessing the situation, another important indicator should be taken into account - the ratio of cholesterol.
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. They are normally present in the blood of any person, but in order for us to be healthy as long as possible, the ratio between types of cholesterol must be correct. Nutritionists often subdivide cholesterol into “bad” and “good”, this sounds simpler, and the essence of the problem is conveyed absolutely for sure: there must be very little bad cholesterol and many good ones. If the condition is met, then even at a triglyceride level of about 2.26 mmol / l, the risk of developing dangerous cardiovascular diseases is not great.
A large-scale scientific study recently conducted by Finnish scientists proves that people over fifty years old who have an incorrect balance of cholesterols and triglycerides in the blood over 2.3 mmol / l are four times more likely to have a myocardial infarction than those who have such a problem. does not have.
The bad thing is that the lack of "good" cholesterol almost always entails an increase in the content of triglycerides. How to protect your health?
What are triglycerides in the blood?
Triglycerides are lipid structures that circulate in the blood as part of lipoprotein complexes.
In free, non-protein-bound (liporothein) complex forms, triglyceride compounds in the blood are not detected.
The main part of the triglyceride structures enters the human body with food. Triglycerides can also be synthesized by the liver and adipose tissues, as well as cells of the intestinal epithelium.
Of all the lipid structures, triglycerides are the most important energy sources and substrates used to synthesize the membranes of many cells in the body.
In this regard, an adequate level of triglycerides in the blood is important for the full functioning of many tissue and organ structures.
The accumulation of these substances occurs in fat cells. If necessary, triglycerides are cleaved in fat cells by hydrolysis to glycerols and FA (fatty acids) and their further entry into the blood in a complex with lipoprotein complexes.
Reference indicators of triglycerides in the blood are determined by the age and sex of the patient.
High triglycerides are accompanied by a high risk of increased blood viscosity, thrombosis and microthrombosis, atherosclerotic plaques in the vascular walls, reduction of vascular elasticity, development of blood flow disorders in the brain, myocardial pathologies of ischemic genesis, inflammatory pathologies of the pancreas, pancreatic pancreatus). .
A low level of triglycerides is accompanied by a high risk of disturbed energy metabolism in cells, the synthesis of hormones and biologically active substances, the formation of membranes in cells, etc.
It should also be noted that triglyceride structures can also act as a backup source of substrate for the synthesis of glucose (when the main glucose substrate is depleted, glycogen). With a sufficient level of glucose in the blood, its part can be transformed into triglycerides. Due to this, there is a decrease in blood glucose levels under insulin control and the creation of its reserves in adipose tissue.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides (abbr. TG) or triacylglycerides (abbr. TAG) are complex compounds (esters) of glycerol (triatomic alcohol) and fatty acids (also, as a rule, three - hence the prefix "THREE"). They are priority “capacity” for accumulation, important for the body, fatty acids, and also one of the most important - energy sources for a person (representing an alternative / “safe” version of glucose, that is, when its reserves are depleted).
Triglycerides (fats) are very important for our health (possessing a multitude of vital / necessary properties), but in excess of quantities they are harmful! Increasing the risks of developing heart / vascular diseases, atherosclerosis, pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, fatty liver and hypertension. However, not less alarming is considered and - their reduced level, pointing to other problems with our health (about this - just below in this article).
Triglycerides - Macro Photography
One of the main reasons for the increased level of triglycerides in the blood is a large number of unspent calories (the so-called "energy" units), which our body stores as TG (as an "energy" reserve for the future). Thus, if you eat too much high-calorie / fatty foods and lead a little / mobile lifestyle, this will necessarily lead to an increase in the number of "extra" (unclaimed) triglycerides!
Triacylglycerides are transported in the blood, being part of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) or chylomicrons (CM). The main function of the latter is the transfer of dietary (ie, food) triglycerides / exogenous fats (supplied to us with food) from the small intestine (where they are absorbed) into the bloodstream (through the lymphatic vessels). However, a much larger amount of TH, nevertheless, comes to us not from food, but is synthesized in the liver (these are endogenous fats), from where they, in the protein membrane of VLDL, “leave” to the cells along the highways of the circulatory system.
Why do TG indicators matter to doctors?
For physicians, serum triglycerides (TG) is an indicator of fat (lipid) metabolism, which is extremely necessary (most often) for the diagnosis of hypertriglyceridemia and other disorders of fat metabolism (lipid metabolism / dyslipoproteinemia). As well as risk assessment of coronary heart disease (CHD), atherosclerosis (in particular, atherosclerotic lesions of the coronary vessels or brain vessels).
Plus, doctors use the determination of triglyceride levels to accurately classify hyperlipoproteinemia (i.e., for pheno-lipoprotein typing) and, accordingly, to prescribe adequate treatment (for each pheno / type separately). As well as in the diagnosis of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and pancreatitis. For example, an increased TG content — above 11.2 mmol / l — directly indicates to attending specialists the increased risks of complications of acute pancreatitis.
As a rule, the detection of triglycerides in the blood (using lipidogram) is carried out simultaneously with the determination - and other (no less important) indicators of lipid metabolism: total cholesterol (cholesterol), LDL (low density lipoprotein / "bad" cholesterol) and HDL (lipoprotein high density / “good” cholesterol). Perhaps you have a question: why is one of them good and the other bad? Immediately answer - available for perception.
Conventionally, the "bad" is called - LDL (LDL) cholesterol due to the fact that its excess levels contribute to the formation of cholesterol / atherosclerotic plaques (inside the walls of blood vessels). Which narrow the gaps, impede the normal blood flow, or may altogether - (with time and without treatment) block them, which is fraught with a stroke or a heart attack. That is why HDL (HDL) cholesterol is considered “good” - because it takes the excess of the first “rogue-brother”, and “transports” them back to the liver (for processing and removal from the body).
Blood Norm Triglycerides (in mmol / L and mg / dL)
Reference values (i.e., blood triglycerides in adults) range from 0.5 to 2.2 mmol / L (55 to 195 mg / dl by the standards of the United States, Germany, Israel, and France). You can familiarize yourself with other values and, accordingly, risk groups in the table below (based on data from the Mayo Clinic / "Mayo Clinic"). And a little lower, after detailed tables (for men and women by age), you will learn about what high and low levels of triglycerides indicate (for both men and women, sometimes separately).
|(MMOL / L)||(MG / DL)||What does mean?||Causes of deviations|
|below 0.3||less than 26.5||/ very low level /||depletion of the body after |
long hunger strike or
at high risk of ischemic
stroke / cerebral infarction
in the elderly
|0.3 – 0.49||26.5 – 43.7||/ low level /||unhealthy diets |
some types of developing
|0.5 – 1.0||44.3 – 88.5||/ border lowered (acceptable) level /|
|1.1 – 1.7||97.4 – 150.5||/ normal level (for adults of non-retirement age) /|
|1.8 – 2.2||159.0 – 194.7||/ border elevated (acceptable) level /|
|2.3 – 5.6||203.5 – 495.6||/ high level /||high probability of development |
heart / vascular diseases
type II diabetes, acute
pancreatitis, and "obesity"
|from 5.7 and up||from 500 and more||/ very high level /||increased risks of dangerous |
complications of acute pancreatitis
Prevention of triglycerides (TG) norm
“Forewarned is forearmed!” Or “Beware of misfortunes while they are gone” - ancient ancestors teach us Therefore, instead of in the future “heroically” solving problems with excessively high levels of triglycerides (or low), would it not be better to protect yourself with proper prevention right away? Similarly, it is not particularly wise: to step on the same rake twice. That is, having healed from diseases, again to return to the “old ruts”, provoking their repeated development.
Prevention of normal levels: a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition. Moderate exercise + control calories, weight and waist.
So, how can you protect yourself from the negative effects of "normalized" triglycerides in the blood? How to keep your health strong for many years? So positive and vitality!
- Do not get carried away with alcoholic beverages (especially beer and wine)!
- Limit in your diet the number of sweet and flour products (and "store" and completely eliminate). Instead of "sugary" cakes and cakes - love with all your heart: fresh (sour) fruits, berries (in priority: strawberries and blueberries), as well as little / fatty yogurts (from proven producers).
- Eat precisely - sour fruits, i.e. not saturated with fructose (for example, do NOT eat a lot of grapes, bananas, melons and peaches). "Lean" on green apples, tangerines and oranges. If you really want sweet fruit - in an amount not more than 100 grams. per day.
- Take it as a rule (especially if you are already over 50): 2 times a week eat fatty sea fish. That will not only save you from high triglycerides, but also reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by at least 30%!
- Actively develop your own culinary skills, using - not only proven products (without harmful "store" additives to increase shelf life), but also healthy "tools" for their preparation. Those. An “oven”, a grill steamer (with a grate) or a frying pan (with ANTI / hot plate).
- For cooking homemade dishes or salad dressings, buy only the best vegetable oils. Health is the most expensive! Ideal - olive oil. Exclude - margarine, lard and butter. Beware of products (in particular, "store"), containing - palm oil!
- Significantly reduce the consumption of meat products such as smoked sausages, bacon, bacon, as well as sausages or wieners with a high content of pork meat. After all, it’s not for nothing that God considers pork to be “unclean”. The best option - doctor sausage! No wonder she is so named !?
- Properly balance in your daily menu - the amount of protein. Alternating, recommended by doctors, the amount of animal protein - with vegetable (legumes / beans, soy and tofu).
- Try to eat plenty of vegetables (plus whole grains of flour products), thereby providing the body with a sufficient amount of CELLULAR. Just drink plenty of water (clean / room temperature).
Who needs to be tested for triglycerides in the blood?
The analysis of triglycerides in the blood and complex lipidogram is recommended for all patients over 25 years old to undergo once every five years (according to indications, the analysis is performed more often).
Regular triglyceride control is indicated for:
- disorders of purine metabolism,
- inflammatory pathologies of the pancreas,
- myocardial infarction,
- disorders of cerebral circulation,
- hereditary diseases associated with metabolic disorders,
- diabetes mellitus
- metabolic syndrome,
- atherosclerotic vascular lesions,
- arterial hypertension,
- angina pectoris,
- ischemic pathologies of the heart,
At least once a year, this analysis should be performed on patients with high risks of developing cardiovascular pathologies. This group includes:
- abusing tobacco and alcohol products,
- neglecting physical exertion
- abusing junk food (fast food, fatty and fried foods, soda, sweets, etc.),
- with burdened family history (the presence of cardiovascular diseases in relatives),
- often suffering from stress, lack of sleep, overwork,
- with diabetes (especially with decompensated course of the disease),
- with pathologies of the heart and blood vessels.
Also, lipid parameters are evaluated during lipid-lowering therapy to control the quality and effectiveness of treatment.
How is a blood test for triglycerides?
The analysis is performed strictly on an empty stomach. Before collecting the material is allowed to drink only non-carbonated water. Other beverages or foods may affect the results of the study.
It must also be remembered that many drugs can significantly affect the level of triglycerides in the blood.
Triglycerides are elevated in the blood of patients taking beta-blocking, catecholamine, corticosteroid, cyclosporine, diazepam, diuretic, estrogen, interferon, retinol or miconazole drugs.
A decrease in the level of triglycerides in the blood can be observed in persons taking ascorbic acid, aminosalicylic acid ®, asparaginase ®, clofibrate ®, heparin ®, fish oil, prazosin preparations.
The rate of triglycerides in the blood of women and men
|Age of patient||Indicators in |
mole per liter
|Under ten years old||M 0.340 - 1.130|
|W 0.40 - 1.240|
|Ten to fifteen years||M 0.360 - 1.410|
|About fifteen to twenty years||M 0,420 - 1,670|
|W 0.440 - 1.40|
|Twenty to Twenty-Five||M 0.50 - 2.270|
|W 0.410 - 1.480|
|Twenty-five to thirty years||M 0.520 - 2.810|
|W 0.420 - 1.630|
|Thirty to thirty-five||M 0,560 - 3,010|
|W 0.440 - 1.70|
|Thirty-five to forty years||M 0.610 - 3.620|
|W 0.450 - 1.990|
|Forty to forty-five||M 0.620 - 3.610|
|W 0.510 - 2.160|
|Forty-five to fifty years||M 0.650 - 3.70|
|W 0.520 - 2.420|
|Fifty to fifty-five||M 0.650 - 3.610|
|W 0.590 - 2.630|
|Fifty-five to sixty years||M 0.650 - 3.230|
|W 0.620 -2.960|
|Sixty to sixty five||M 0.650 - 3.290|
|W 0.630 - 2.70|
|From sixty five years old||M 0.620-2.940|
|W 0.680 - 2.710|
It should be noted that the rate of triglycerides in the blood of women after 50 years increases and approaches the "male norm" due to the onset of menopause and changes in hormonal levels.
The degree of increase of triglycerides
The average normal indicator of triglyceride structures in the analyzes is a level less than 1.7. Values below this level correspond to minimal cardiovascular risks (SSR).
When interpreting elevated values, it is necessary to consider the degree of deviation of indicators from the norm.
A level from 1.7 to 2.2 is considered a boundary indicator corresponding to the average SSR.
High levels of SSR correspond to blood triglyceride levels from 2.3 to 5.6.
An increase in rates above 5.6 is considered an extremely high level of risk for the development of severe metabolic disorders, heart, vascular and pancreatic lesions.
Causes of increased triglycerides in the blood
Increased test scores may be due to:
- familial hyperlipidemia and hypertriglyceridemia,
- cardiac pathologies of ischemic genesis,
- the appearance of atherosclerotic deposits in the vascular walls,
- hypertensive conditions
- inflammatory pathologies of the myocardium,
- severe circulatory disorders in the GM (brain),
- metabolic disorders
- being overweight
- endocrine disorders (DM),
- acute and chronic inflammatory pancreatic pathologies,
- a decrease in thyroid hormone levels (thyroid gland),
- tobacco abuse,
- kidney disease, accompanied by excessive protein loss,
- different glycogenosis
- impaired purine metabolism,
- low physical activity
- nervous exhaustion and frequent stress, etc.
A decrease in values may be due to:
- an increase in thyroid hormone levels
- following a strict diet
- violation of the intestinal absorption of micro and macro,
- chronic obstructive pulmonary pathologies,
- intestinal lymphangiectasia, etc.
How to reduce triglycerides in the blood?
Treatment of elevated triglycerides should be administered exclusively by a specialist after carrying out a comprehensive survey, assessing the degree of SSR and the reasons for changes in test results.
All medications are prescribed individually by a cardiologist.
Diet with elevated triglycerides in the blood is a mandatory and often the main method of treatment. It is necessary to understand that without correction of nutrition and normalization of the level of physical activity, other methods of treatment will be absolutely ineffectual.
Proper nutrition with high triglycerides limits the consumption of foods rich in easily digestible carbohydrates, fatty, spicy, fried foods, as well as flour, sweets, baking, etc.
It excludes alcohol and smoking.
It is recommended to increase the drinking regime, the use of vegetable and low-fat dairy food. Meat and fish dishes should be lean, boiled or stewed.
The use of vitamin C, zinc, omega-3 ®, and fish oil preparations is also effective.
What is dangerous about high triglycerides?
If the level of triglycerides in the blood is too high, they can cause the formation of cholesterol plaques on the walls of the arteries. Scientists are not sure how or why triglycerides cause plaque formation, but they know that people with high levels of triglycerides often have high levels of LDL. When cholesterol builds up in the arteries, the artery walls may harden or their lumen may narrow, which is called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Women with high levels of triglycerides are at particular risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Scientists believe that high levels of triglycerides can also indicate other conditions that increase the risk of these diseases, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome (4).
According to Mayo Clinicextremely high triglyceride levels can lead to acute pancreatitis. It can also be a sign of type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease and liver disease, or rare genetic conditions that are associated with metabolism.
It is noted that more research is needed to ensure that high triglyceride levels are an independent risk of heart and other diseases (5). These diseases have other risk factors, such as high cholesterol, so the role of triglycerides is still being determined.
Some examples have shown that triglycerides can be an independent risk factor for disease. In addition, a 2007 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, it was found that young men with the highest triglyceride levels are four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than patients of the same age with the lowest triglyceride levels (6).
Causes of abnormally high triglyceride levels
High levels of triglycerides in the blood in medicine is known as hypertriglyceridemia. Diseases that can lead to an increase in triglyceride levels include:
- Poorly controlled diabetes,
- Kidney disease
- Liver diseases, including cirrhosis,
- Genetic disorders of lipid metabolism.
Risk factors for high triglycerides also include:
- Age - the older you get, the higher the TG level.
- Body weight - overweight increases the risk of high TG levels.
- Physical activity - a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of high levels of TG.
Hypertriglyceridemia can also occur while taking certain medications, for example, birth control pills, estrogens, beta-blockers and immunosuppressants. (7)
Triglyceride level measurement
To know the level of triglycerides is quite easy. Your doctor can determine them with a simple blood test. They are usually measured whenever your doctor performs a blood test called a lipid profile that measures your total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides. American Heart Association recommends that anyone over the age of 20 check the lipid profile at least every 4-6 years. If your levels are elevated, you may need to be tested more often.
When triglyceride levels remain high after meals, this is normal. For this reason, doctors recommend waiting 12 hours after eating or drinking to check triglyceride levels. Other factors that may affect triglyceride level test results include blood alcohol levels, menstrual cycle, recent exercise, and time of day.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These fatty acids found in fish oil are an important part of any good diet. In high doses, they can help reduce triglyceride levels. Scientists theorize that the ability of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation may be related to its ability to reduce triglycerides (11).
Since high doses of fish oil can add a large amount of calories, interfere with blood clotting and cause nausea and diarrhea, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids is indicated only for people with triglyceride levels above 500 mg / dl (5.7 mmol / l). Here are some prescription fish oil names:
- Epanova (Epanova)
Fish oil does not lower cholesterol.
You can find out more about what omega-3 fatty acids are, what role they play in the body, what are useful and where they are contained, omega-3 fatty acids: what it is, their role, food sources.
These drugs are derived from fibrin acid. They are usually prescribed to people with very high triglycerides — more than 500 mg / dL (5.7 mmol / L). They also lower LDL cholesterol levels, albeit somewhat less than triglyceride levels (12). When they are used primarily to lower cholesterol, they are usually taken in combination with statins. The mechanism by which fibrates reduce triglyceride levels is unknown, although scientists hypothesize that it involves regulating the release of triglycerides in the liver by lipoproteins.