How to Lower Triglycerides with 3 Proven Nutrients

Want to know how to lower triglycerides? These dietary nutrients almost always work effectively to lower triglycerides naturally… and they have solid scientific backing.

how to lower triglycerides

Studies show that low dietary fiber is associated with high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

© Keith Bell |

Learning how to lower triglyceride levels is important if you have high triglycerides. A number of ways are available to do that, but you almost always should begin by using three of the most-researched natural therapies.

High cholesterol has received most of the attention from heart health experts for years. Recently, however, scientists have discovered that having high triglycerides is a much more significant indicator of cardiovascular disease than is total cholesterol. In fact, having high triglycerides can triple your risk of heart disease and stroke even if you have low cholesterol levels.[1]

What Are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood that are actually needed for good health. They are important because they provide the body with energy. But when triglyceride levels become too high, the body begins to store them as fat and the risk of heart disease increases. And you need to learn how to lower your triglycerides.

A simple blood test will determine your triglyceride level and here are the triglyceride ranges (units of measurement are in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)):

  • Normal is less than 150.
  • Borderline-high is 150 to 199.
  • High is 200 to 499.
  • Extremely high is 500 or higher.

How to Lower Triglycerides Naturally

If you’re wondering how to reduce triglycerides naturally, first try eating your way to better heart health! A health, triglyceride diet should include a combination of foods with specific nutrients, including those that are rich in antioxidants, like cranberries. And until you learn how to lower triglycerides below 150 mg/dL, you may also want to augment your diet with nutritional supplements that provide therapeutic levels of these same nutrients. Drinking tea is another beneficial habit for reducing triglycerides.

1. Omega-3 fatty acids. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce triglycerides in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).[2] Sardines, salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts are excellent food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, most people do not eat enough of these foods to get the amount of omega-3s needed to reduce triglyceride levels. Therefore, supplementation is beneficial. Your fish oil supplements should provide 1000 mg of the combined omega-3′s  DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) daily in order to achieve the recommended cardioprotective dosage.

2. Fiber. Studies show that low dietary fiber is common in a high triglyceride diet.[3,4] So if that is a reflection of your cholesterol score, increased fiber intake is a must. The current recommendation for fiber is about 25 to 30 grams daily. Unfortunately, the average American eats about 10 to 12 grams of fiber each day. (No wonder we’re sick!) Good sources of fiber include beans, oatmeal, apples, bananas, pears, greens, and sweet potatoes. 

Fiber can also be consumed in supplements but you should be careful to purchase supplements that do not contain laxatives or stimulants as these can be harmful. Good sources of fiber include inulin and psyllium. Inulin is a prebiotic that can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. Psyllium is a natural source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. For either of these products, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions and take the supplements with plenty of water.

3. Niacin. Niacin—vitamin B3—not only reduces triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, but also increases HDL (“good”) levels. Niacin works in the liver by affecting the production of blood fats. It is so well researched and the evidence for using it to treat high cholesterol is so strong that it has become an accepted mainstream treatment and thus is recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program[5], which is managed by the National Institutes of Health and its National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute division.

Foods that contain niacin include chicken, tuna, beef, turkey, halibut, and salmon. As a supplement, most patients get the benefits they desire at a daily dosage between 250 mg to 2000 mg (2 grams). Since taking niacin can cause flushing, you should start off taking a small dose at around 250 mg per day and increase the dosage as tolerated. Observe your flushing reaction. Most of the time the flushing reaction will subside altogether or else be greatly reduced after one to two weeks of taking the supplement. Others can ramp up fairly quickly.

Be aware that stomach distress, itching, and headache are occasionally experienced by niacin users. If you have liver disease, ulcers (presently or in the past), or gout, you will especially want to work with your doctor in using niacin therapy.

Do you have any experience with how to lower triglycerides? What do you think is the best strategy for how to lower triglycerides? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

[1]  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86: 943-49.

[2] Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2006 Dec; Vol. 25, No. 6, 480-485.

[3] JAMA. 1996; 275:447–51.

[4] Mayo Clinic

[5] Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Nov;21 Suppl 2:5-6.

[6] PLoS One. 2012; 7(7): e41735.

Originally published in 2012 and updated.

  • Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts
    and I will be waiting for your next write ups thanks once

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  • Carlene

    I started taking 2mg daily, then more like 1-1.5. LDL went down, but so did hdl. Triglycerides went WAY up. I’m confused by this.

  • Carlene

    Sorry I forgot to mention it was flush free niacin, and not niacinamide.

  • Uhn S.

    Hi Carlene,

    Most studies indicate that only regular niacin (the kind that causes flushing) has sizable beneficial effects on lipids. I would switch to plain niacin (not flush free and not niacinamide). Also, most studies show that you need very high doses of fish oil to have a sizable beneficial effect on triglycerides. Typically, two pills a day is not enough. Aim for 3000 mg per day of EPA and DHA combined.

    Dr. Kathleen Jade

  • Uhn S.

    In the article above, it recommends aiming for 1000 mg of EPA and DHA combined per day for protection from cardiovascular disease. However, studies show that to significantly lower triglycerides, a dose of about 3000 mg per day EPA and DHA is effective.

    Dr. Kathleen Jade

  • Daniel W.

    How are “healthy” levels of triglycerides established? anything akin to serum cholesterol? arbitrary numbers set to sell medications? what research has been done and repeated that shows certain levels are healthy? I’m totally skeptical of recommended numbers unless I see large numbers of repeatable statistics.
    Thanks for your efforts.

  • Susan N.

    Thanks for the clarification on the amounts of Omega 3’s, niacin and fiber. I know that I have to increase these all just a little more to see some results. I look forward to my next check up to see what happens.

  • Larry M.

    Are you aware that your item doesn’t print correctly? Item headings number 1 and 3 (and some accompanying text) are swallowed somewhere, and do not appear on a printed version. If you have a way to print the entire text, I’d like to do so.

  • Sandy F.

    I am very sick, have “stroke” like symtoms. Head feels in fog, disoriented, fell to right recently. Have been told by dr’s, my triglycerides 425, my thyroid TSH was 30, could the Thyroid “30” TSH cause me to be “swimming” in my head, extreme fatigue, all-over ill?. Thank you. I’ve started back on my synthyroid.

  • Sandy, your TSH is very high. Before I got started on Synthroid, I had the same symptoms also there were times I would get angry because of the confusion. If it makes you feel any better, my numbers peaked at 90. Give it about 4-6 weeks and you will feel like a new person, then stay on it.

  • Madan M.

    My Present Triglyceride level is 295mg/dL.
    What food supplement can reduce the Triglyceride level ?

  • Izhar A.

    My Present Triglyceride level is 212mg/dL.
    What food supplement can reduce the Triglyceride level ?

  • bumadene s.

    the info that you have on reducing triglycerides is way off base.I have been using these natural foods for a long period of time and I cant see any HELP. WHY?

  • Been told by a number of doctors that it seems like Niacin simply does not help in raising HDL or lowering triglycerides. Is this article updated, or are my doctors not updated?

  • Pierluigi

    Hi everyone,
    Here is a small miracle I have just experienced! I have battled high cholesterol all my adolt life. Ten years ago I used Lipitor for a while and then decided to stop. Two months ago my cholesterol was 255, thryglicerites 277 and 116.
    I then started drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning with a small drop of organic and a processed apple cider vinegar. After only four weeks my cholesterol has gone down to 226, tryglicerides are 111 and glucose is 106.

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