Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood that your body needs to produce energy.
However, about 30% of Americans have hypertriglyceridemia — a condition where you have too many triglycerides in your bloodstream[*].
High blood triglyceride levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and heart disease[*].
High triglycerides may also be a sign of metabolic syndrome, a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and excess body weight[*]. Metabolic syndrome puts you at an increased risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
If you have high triglycerides, there’s a lot you can do to bring them back into a healthy range.
This article covers 7 ways to lower your triglycerides, as well as vitamins and supplements that lower triglyceride levels.
A standard cholesterol blood test also measures your levels of triglycerides. According to the American Heart Association, these are the ranges for blood triglycerides[*]:
- Normal is less than 150.
- Borderline-high is 150 to 199.
- High is 200 to 499.
- Very high is 500 or higher.
If you have high triglycerides, these lifestyle changes can help bring them back into a normal range.
1. Cut Out Sugar
Cutting out sugar and refined carbs is one of the best ways to lower your triglyceride levels.
Fructose — the type of sugar found in fruit juice and high-fructose corn syrup — is especially bad for your triglyceride levels. Your liver doesn’t metabolize it the same way it metabolizes sucrose (table sugar)[*].
Fortunately, several studies have found that switching to a low-carb diet rapidly decreases triglyceride levels[*][*][*][*]. And even if you don’t go low-carb, it’s a good idea to decrease your simple sugar intake.
2. Eliminate or Reduce Alcohol
Drinking can also raise your triglycerides.
Alcohol stops your liver from making lipoprotein lipase — an enzyme that breaks down triglycerides[*]. As a result, drinking increases your blood triglycerides.
Cutting down on alcohol consumption is a good way to get your blood markers back into a normal range.
3. Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats found in salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish.
Overweight men and women who ate salmon twice a week saw a significant decrease in blood triglycerides[*].
Another study found that eating fatty fish twice a week reduced risk of heart disease by 36%[*].
Try adding a couple of servings of fish to your weekly meal plan. Good choices include:
If you don’t like fish, you can take a fish oil or cod liver oil supplement[*].
You can also get omega-3s from grass-fed red meat and grass-fed, full-fat dairy, although they aren’t as concentrated as the omega-3s in seafood.
4. Eat Your Veggies
Vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber, various micronutrients, and anti-inflammatory compounds, all of which may work together to lower your triglycerides[*].
People who added more veggies to their diet saw a significant decrease in their blood triglycerides, even when they didn’t lose weight[*].
Prioritize fiber-rich greens like:
- Brussels sprouts
- String beans
5. Lose Weight
When you eat more calories than you need, your body turns the extra calories into triglycerides and stores them as body fat. Being overweight is a major risk factor for high triglycerides[*].
Weight loss, on the other hand, is an excellent way to lower your triglycerides. People with high triglycerides and metabolic syndrome saw a significant drop in triglyceride levels after losing weight[*].
Their insulin, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and inflammation levels all decreased as well.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, a ketogenic diet may help.
Physical activity of any kind is great for your heart health.
But to decrease your triglyceride levels, you may want to prioritize certain types of exercise.
A recent study compared several different kinds of workouts and how each one affected participants’ heart disease risk. Exercises included running, weightlifting, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and other common workouts.
While all the workouts improved participants’ health, three exercises were the best at lowering triglycerides[*]:
- Higher-repetition strength training (10-12+ reps per set)
- Long-distance cardio
In addition to lifestyle changes, there are several supplements that can help lower your triglycerides.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin is a B vitamin that decreases triglyceride synthesis and helps your body break down triglycerides faster[*].
People who take niacin show a consistent decrease in triglyceride levels, and many doctors suggest taking niacin alongside prescription heart medications, like statins[*].
Note: a common side effect of niacin is flushed, tingling skin. It’s harmless, but you can avoid it by taking no-flush niacin.
You can find niacin online, or in most pharmacies and health food stores.
Recommended dose: 500mg
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, the popular cooking spice.
People who took curcumin capsules daily for 4 weeks showed a moderate decrease in blood triglycerides[*]. Curcumin is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Make sure you find a curcumin supplement that includes black pepper extract (piperine). It increases the absorption of curcumin by more than 2000%[*].
Recommended dose: 400mg or more
If you don’t like eating fish, you can get your triglyceride-lowering omega-3s from a fish oil supplement.
Several studies have found that fish oil lowers triglyceride levels[*].
Recommended dose: 1000mg or more
High triglycerides are a major risk factor for heart disease.
Supplements and lifestyle changes like exercise, weight loss, eating less sugar, and cutting out alcohol can help you get your triglyceride levels back into the normal range.
With a few changes to your daily routine, you can lower your triglycerides and improve your health.