Triglycerides are lipids made by the body as a storage form for unused calories taken in through diet. These lipids are stored in the cells as fat until they are required as a source of energy through their breakdown. High levels of triglycerides, according to the American Heart Association, are associated with the development of atherosclerosis -- the hardening of the arteries, heart disease and stroke. Low triglyceride levels, while not common, deprive the body of energy and are an indication of an underlying pathology.
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How Much Is Low?
A low triglyceride level is considered less then 50mg/dl and less then 35mg/dl is considered severely low. A triglyceride blood test is the best way to figure out your level. The blood test is performed after an eight- to 12-hour period of fasting to give the most accurate results. It is important to know certain medications cause abnormal test results. Please discuss the medications you are taking with your health care professional before performing the blood test.
Hyperthyroidism, as described by the Mayo Clinic, is a condition in which your thyroid, a gland that controls metabolism through hormone release, is overactive. The increased metabolic state caused by hyperthyroidism requires an increased utilization of energy through the burning of stored triglycerides ultimately depleting your energy stores resulting in low triglyceride levels.
A low-fat diet will give you low triglycerides. If you are not obtaining fats, or excess calories in your diet through carbohydrates, your body does not have enough substrate to make triglycerides and store fat. Diet plans that limit the intake of foods containing fat lower your triglyceride levels.
Malabsorption is a general term used to refer to a variety of different medical conditions that prevent the body from obtaining vitamins, fats and nutrients when ingested through the gastrointestinal tract. Similar to a low-fat diet, the body does not receive required amounts of fat adequate to maintain a functional level of energy production.
Medications also cause low triglyceride levels. Certain medications, including those meant for lowering triglycerides, can cause your level to go too low. Ascorbic acid or vitamin C, Gemfibrozil or Lopid, a lipid lowering medication, and fish oil are just a few. Please discuss the medications and their impact on your triglyceride levels with you health care professional.