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High Triglycerides

Related Terms

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. High levels can add to build up of plaque and damage to blood vessels. High triglycerides are linked to health problems such as obesity and diabetes.

Healthy changes in diet and activity may help some people. Weight loss, if needed, may also help. These changes will also help overall health. Medicine called statins can also help to lower triglycerides.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

These supplements are likely to lower triglycerides:

  • Cinnamon is a spice.A1-A6
  • Fish oil comes from the tissues of oily fish.B1-B9
  • Lipoic acid is a compound found in the body that acts as an antioxidant to slow damage to cells.E1
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is a nutrient in the vitamin B complex.D1-D9
  • Whey protein comes from milk.E2

May Be Effective

Flaxseed comes from the flax plant. It may lower triglycerides.E3, E4

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Inulin C1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • Fish oil —High doses of fish oil may interfere with blood thinners. It can also affect blood glucose levels.
  • Niacin —High-dose niacin is associated with liver inflammation. Combining high-dose niacin and statins may cause a life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis. Do not use niacin with carbamazepine and primidone (antiseizure drugs).
  • Cinnamon —Avoid using the cassia type of cinnamon if you have liver or kidney disease. High doses of cinnamon oil may affect the central nervous system. Talk to your doctor if you are or think you are pregnant before using cinnamon oil or bark. Do not exceed recommended doses.
 

References

Cinnamon

A1. Khan A, Safdar M, et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26(12):3215-3218.

A2. Lu T, Sheng H, et al. Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutr Res. 2012;32(6):408-412.

A3. Vafa M, Mohammadi F, et al. Effects of cinnamon consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and body composition in type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Prev Med. 2012;3(8):531-536.

A4. Allen RW, Schwartzman E, et al. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Fam Med. 2013;11(5):452-459.

A5. Askari F, Rashidkhani B, et al. Cinnamon may have therapeutic benefits on lipid profile, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients. Nutr Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):143-148.

A6. Maierean SM, Serban MC, et al. The effects of cinnamon supplementation on blood lipid concentrations: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Lipidol. 2017 Nov - Dec;11(6):1393-1406.

Fish Oil

B1. Durrington PN, Bhatnagar D, et al. An omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrate administered for one year decreased triglycerides in simvastatin treated patients with coronary heart disease and persisting hypertriglyceridaemia. Heart. 2001;85(5):544-548.

B2. Schwellenbach LJ, Olson KL, et al. The triglyceride-lowering effects of a modest dose of docosahexaenoic acid alone versus in combination with low dose eicosapentaenoic acid in patients with coronary artery disease and elevated triglycerides. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006;25(6):480-485.

B3. Meyer BJ, Hammervold T, et al. Dose-dependent effects of docosahexaenoic acid supplementation on blood lipids in statin-treated hyperlipidaemic subjects. Lipids. 2007;42(2):109-115.

B4. Eslick GD, Howe PR, et al. Benefits of fish oil supplementation in hyperlipidemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol. 2009;136(1):4-16.

B5. Bays HE, McKenney J, et al. Effects of prescription omega-3-acid ethyl esters on non--high-density lipoprotein cholesterol when coadministered with escalating doses of atorvastatin. Mayo Clin Proc. 2010;85(2):122-128.

B6. Shearer GC, Pottala JV, et al. Effects of prescription niacin and omega-3 fatty acids on lipids and vascular function in metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. J Lipid Res. 2012 Nov;53(11):2429-2435.

B7. Maki KC, Yurko-Mauro K, et al. A new, microalgal DHA- and EPA-containing oil lowers triacylglycerols in adults with mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2014;91(4):141-148.

B8. Zhu W, Dong C, et al. Effects of fish oil on serum lipid profile in dialysis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Aug 8;13:127.

B9. Tatachar A, Pio M, et al. Over-the-counter fish oil use in a county hospital: Medication use evaluation and efficacy analysis. J Clin Lipidol. 2015;9(3):326-333.

Inulin

C1. Letexier D, Diraison F, et al. Addition of inulin to a moderately high-carbohydrate diet reduces hepatic lipogenesis and plasma triacylglycerol concentrations in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Mar;77(3):559-564.

Niacin

D1. Elam MB, Hunninghake DB, Davis KB, et al. Effect of niacin on lipid and lipoprotein levels and glycemic control in patients with diabetes and peripheral arterial disease: the ADMIT study: A randomized trial. Arterial Disease Multiple Intervention Trial. JAMA. 2000;284(10):1263-1270.

D2. Grundy SM, Vega GL, McGovern ME, et al. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of once-daily niacin for the treatment of dyslipidemia associated with type 2 diabetes: results of the assessment of diabetes control and evaluation of the efficacy of niaspan trial. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(14):1568-1576.

D3. Fazio S, Guyton JR, Polis AB, et al. Long-term safety and efficacy of triple combination ezetimibe/simvastatin plus extended-release niacin in patients with hyperlipidemia. Am J Cardiol. 2010;105(4):4878-494.

D4. Wi J, Kim JY, Park S, Kang SM, Jang Y, Chung N, Shim WH, Cho SY, Lee SH. Optimal pharmacologic approach to patients with hypertriglyceridemia and low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol: randomized comparison of fenofibrate 160 mg and niacin 1500 mg. Atherosclerosis. 2010 Nov;213(1):235-40.

D5. AIM-HIGH Investigators, Boden WE, Probstfield JL, et al. Niacin in patients with low HDL cholesterol levels receiving intensive statin therapy. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(24):2255-2267.

D6. Balasubramanyam A, Coraza I, Smith EO, Scott LW, Patel P, Iyer D, Taylor AA, Giordano TP, Sekhar RV, Clark P, Cuevas-Sanchez E, Kamble S, Ballantyne CM, Pownall HJ. Combination of niacin and fenofibrate with lifestyle changes improves dyslipidemia and hypoadiponectinemia in HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy: results of "heart positive," a randomized, controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jul;96(7):2236-47.

D7. AIM-HIGH Investigators, Boden WE, Probstfield JL, Anderson T, Chaitman BR, Desvignes-Nickens P, Koprowicz K, McBride R, Teo K, Weintraub W. Niacin in patients with low HDL cholesterol levels receiving intensive statin therapy. N Engl J Med. 2011 Dec 15;365(24):2255-67.

D8. Usman MH, Qamar A, Gadi R, Lilly S, Goel H, Hampson J, Mucksavage ML, Nathanson GA, Rader DJ, Dunbar RL. Extended-release niacin acutely suppresses postprandial triglyceridemia. Am J Med. 2012 Oct;125(10):1026-35.

D9. Shearer GC, Pottala JV, Hansen SN, Brandenburg V, Harris WS. Effects of prescription niacin and omega-3 fatty acids on lipids and vascular function in metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. J Lipid Res. 2012 Nov;53(11):2429-35.

Other Therapies

E1. Haghighatdoost F, Hariri M. Does alpha-lipoic acid affect lipid profile? A meta-analysis of and systematic review on randomized controlled trials. Eur J Pharmacol. 2019;847:1-10.

E2. Zhang JW, Tong X, et al. Effect of whey protein on blood lipid profiles: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016;70(8):879-885.

E3. Pan A, Yu D, et al. Meta-analysis of the effects of flaxseed interventions on blood lipids. AM J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(2):288-297.

E4. Torkan M, Entezari MH, et al. Effect of flaxseed on blood lipid level in hyperlipidemic patients. Rec Recent Clin Trials. 2015;10(1):61-67.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 11/16/2020