If your triglycerides are high, there are many steps you can take to normalize your levels. Many people are on the wrong diet and experience good improvements once they make some basic changes. Read on to learn how you can change your diet, lifestyle, and supplements regime to lower your triglycerides naturally.
How to Lower Triglycerides with Diet
1) Eat More Protein & Unsaturated Fats
Compared to a high-carbohydrate diet, diets rich in protein and unsaturated fat diet reduced triglycerides by about 10 mg/dL in a study on 164 people with high blood pressure .
Diets high in monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil and avocados, decreased triglyceride levels better than a high-carbohydrate diet over 7-weeks in 85 people with an increased risk of heart disease. An olive-oil-rich diet decreased the buildup of triglycerides in the liver [2, 3].
A diet high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3s decreased triglyceride levels in 17 men with moderately increased triglycerides .
2) Increase Your Omega-3 Intake
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood triglyceride via 3 mechanisms:
- Increasing the breakdown of fatty acids
- Inhibiting enzymes that produce triglycerides in the liver
- Triggering lipoprotein lipase activity, which burns fats [9, 10]
In 60 patients with metabolic syndrome, a 16-week omega-3 fatty acid supplementation decreased blood triglycerides by 22% compared to the placebo group. Omega-3 fatty acids together with niacin were even more effective, reducing blood triglycerides by 42% compared to the placebo group .
3) Add Fenugreek to Your Meals or Tea
4) Don’t Avoid Foods with Phytic Acid
Supplements & Lifestyle to Lower Triglycerides
5) Vitamin C
Niacin reduces triglycerides and VLDL by blocking DGAT2, a key enzyme in triglyceride production in the liver. In a meta-analysis of nearly 5,000 people, niacin reduced blood triglycerides by 20% [18, 19].
In another meta-analysis of over 400 people with high fat levels, niacin decreased the blood levels of triglycerides; the effect was more pronounced in women. It offered similar benefits to 223 adults with high cholesterol [20, 21].
In a study of 942 patients with abnormal fat levels, adding niacin to standard treatment (ezetimibe/simvastatin) decreased blood triglycerides over one year. In combination with statins over 3 years, niacin decreased blood triglycerides in over 3,000 people with heart disease [22, 23]
In a 16-week study on 60 people with metabolic syndrome, niacin reduced blood triglycerides by 30% compared to the placebo group .
In a 24-week study on 191 HIV+ patients, the combination of niacin and fenofibrate reduced triglycerides by 52%, compared to the usual treatment .
Niacin, gemfibrozil, and insulin decreased the blood triglycerides of a 53-year old diabetic, obese, and hypertriglyceridemic man .
8) Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Synbiotics
Galactooligosaccharides (a type of prebiotic) lowered triglycerides in 45 overweight adults in one study .
However, a Lactobacillus fermentum did not alter triglyceride levels in a study of 46 adults with high cholesterol. In another study of 32 adults with high cholesterol, a synbiotic product (a mixture of prebiotics and probiotics) containing L. gasseri and inulin decreased total blood triglyceride levels better than placebo [28, 29].
The probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium longum decreased blood triglycerides in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet. However, yogurt with Bifidobacterium didn’t have an effect on triglycerides in 32 adults with high cholesterol .
9) Get More Exercise
Cardio exercise before a high-fat meal reduced blood triglycerides in 38 overweight adolescents, 15 people with metabolic syndrome, and 9 obese men. Exercise lowered blood triglycerides in another study of 19 trained and untrained men [35, 36, 37, 38].
Plus, a single brisk walking session decreased blood triglycerides by 30% in 11 healthy women .
Animal studies voice the benefits of exercise. Blood triglycerides were lower in diabetic rats who exercised compared to healthy rats who did not. According to some studies, just thirty minutes of cardio can effectively lower triglyceride levels [40, 41].
Foods to Avoid with High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
10) Avoid Carbs
- Pastry, bread, white flour
- White rice
- Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn
- Sweets and any sweetened food items, such as sauces and dressings
- Fruits, in large amounts
11) Stay Away from Sugary Drinks
Reducing sugar-sweetened drinks can lower blood triglycerides. Substituting water for sugar-sweetened drinks reduced triglyceride levels in a study on 240 obese Mexican women .
If lifestyle and dietary changes don’t help, or if your triglyceride levels are very high, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your levels.
Fibrates trigger lipoprotein lipase activity and inhibit triglyceride production in the liver .
In a meta-analysis (16,802 subjects), fibrates lowered blood triglycerides by 36% .
Gemfibrozil decreased triglycerides by 31% compared to the placebo group, in 2,531 men with coronary heart disease .
In a study of 3,090 heart patients, bezafibrate was safe and effective in decreasing triglycerides by 21% compared to placebo .
A combination of niacin and fenofibrate effectively reduced triglycerides by 52% in 191 HIV+ patients, compared to the usual care .
Gemfibrozil was more effective than simvastatin in lowering triglycerides in a study of 96 type 2 diabetics .
In a case study of a 53-year old diabetic, obese man with abnormal fat levels, gemfibrozil together with niacin and insulin reduced his blood triglyceride levels .
In 82 patients with a fat disorder (lipodystrophy), metreleptin (a synthetic version of leptin) significantly reduced blood triglycerides .
Statins, ezetimibe, PCSK9 inhibitors, lomitapide, and mipomersen are drugs used to lower cholesterol, but they also reduce blood triglyceride levels .
Insulin injections decreased blood triglycerides in case studies of pancreatitis caused by high triglyceride levels. Insulin infusion decreased blood triglycerides by 22% in 7 healthy men. However, many people with diabetes cannot use insulin properly [59, 60, 61].
In a 53-year old obese and diabetic man, injection of insulin (along with niacin and gemfibrozil) reduced his increased blood triglycerides .
- 4 Causes of High Triglycerides + Normal Levels
- Why Are Your Triglycerides Low? Link to LDL & HDL Levels
Irregular Triglyceride Levels?
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The first step you can take to lower your triglyceride levels is to switch carbohydrates in your diet for healthy sources of protein and fat. Increase your intake of olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids and avoid sugary drinks at all costs. Consider adding fenugreek to your meals or making tea with fenugreek seeds.
Supplements that may help include niacin, vitamin C, ashwagandha, and synbiotic mixtures (prebiotics with probiotics). You should also look to get regular exercise–even taking short walks can be beneficial.
If lifestyle and dietary changes didn’t have a large enough impact on your triglycerides, your doctor may prescribe medication to normalize your levels.