How to Lower Triglycerides with 3 Proven Nutrients

Wondering how to lower triglycerides levels? The nutrients discussed here—per solid scientific backing—can work effectively to lower triglycerides naturally.

how to lower triglycerides

How to lower triglycerides? Start by making sure your diet has enough omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts and flax seeds are great sources) along with fiber and niacin.

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If you’ve discovered that you have high triglycerides, it’s important to learn how to lower your levels. How to lower triglycerides? A number of ways are available, but you almost always should begin by using three of the most-researched natural therapies: omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and niacin, each of which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

First, a word on triglycerides in general. 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]

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how to lower triglycerides chart

This illustration shows the standards for normal vs. high triglycerides levels.

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 your body with energy. But when triglyceride levels become too high, your body begins to store them as fat—and the risk of heart disease increases. So the first step is to learn how to lower triglycerides.

A simple blood test will determine your triglyceride level. Here are the triglyceride ranges, with units of measurements given 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.

Diet Advice: How to Lower Triglycerides Naturally

So how can you lower triglycerides naturally? First, try eating your way to better heart health.

A healthy 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.

Most important, make sure the following trio of key nutrients are in your diet.

how to lower triglycerides

How to lower triglycerides naturally? Get your omega-3 fatty acids; salmon is a top source.

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 a key strategy for how to lower triglycerides. 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 cardio-protective dosage.

Keep such fruits as apples, pears, and bananas in your diet to get enough fiber—and to lower triglycerides naturally.

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 in lowering your triglycerides. 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. (See also our post “Why Is Fiber Important? Lower Cholesterol, Prevent Disease, and Live Longer by Eating More Fiber.“)

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.

how to lower triglycerides

You’ll find niacin in such food sources as turkey and chicken, not to mention tuna, salmon, and halibut.

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. As such, it’s 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.

Share Your Experience

Do you have any experience with how to lower triglyceride levels? What do you think is the best strategy for how to reduce triglyceride levels? 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, this post is regularly updated.

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Comments
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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.

  • Nagaraju

    Sir,26/5/17 to test the Triglycerides_789mg/dl. No treetment after same lab 8/6/17 triglycerides level_230mg/dl Report is currently sir
    Triglycerides every day which mg/dl up and down sir

  • I am testing a new supplement with a patient with extremely high Triglycerides with Oliveleaf extract in a very high concentration, its patent by the manufacturer. She came down by over 40% i n 6 months. This product will be on the market next year.

  • If Niacin is too inconvenient bcs of the flush, try Niacinamide. Nut dont try the NO FLUSH Niacin from Life Extension, my patients experienced deep depression attack with that product.

  • Mitsu M.

    My Triglycerides is 668 abn . What to do !!I’m not overweight . I don’t wnt to take any medicine because I get depressed too quickly .

  • Jill D.

    I have normal, healthy lipid profile.
    Began taking Advocare MNS and Thermoplus 5 months ago.
    Before and after labs – Tricglycerides from 113 to 36; VLDL from 23 to 7; LDL from 105 to 91; HDL from 42 to 67.
    Advocare (www.advocare.com – then search for a distributor or buy direct; best deal is to become a preferred customer) makes no health cure claims, nor do I for them; this is my personal experience and results.
    The Omega-3, Fiber and Niacin are all abundant in these supplements.

  • Rosemarie

    My triglycerides have been high since the onset of Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. My doc pulled me off statin drugs & had me using fish oil but it was not until she switched me to flaxseed oil that the numbers significantly dropped from 219 to 160. It’s still above normal but have only used the flaxseed oil for 2 months. My local natural vitamin store sells it refrigerated in some pretty decent flavors. I take it every evening before bed.

  • Mary G.

    I have used alpha lipoic acid and lowered my tri levels from 277 to 170 in about 3 months. I try to eat healthy too. I like fish and salads, but still have treats occasional cookie and piece of cake. I use walnut oil vinaigrette on salads as walnut oil is beneficial too.

  • Vijay M.

    Since health concerns are commerce driven sector, a lot of confusing views appear in media some of which could be misleading. Understanding the underlying causes and other pre-existing health parameters in an individual need a customized protocol for management. It is, therefore, important to make a significant change in choice of food & taste by beginning with a low carb diet while avoiding fried food altogether and switching on to veg & fruits (rich in Vit. C) and a natural bio competitor such as walnuts & flaxseed (freshly ground & boiled instead of oil) and sea food (steamed) & boiled eggs (occasionally) with lots of garlic, ginger, capsicum, black pepper with folate rich vegetable and home made yogurt (slightly sour) beside Tomato soup with cinnamon regularly along with moderate exercise (walking as per capacity) gradually switching to non-wheat cereals. Concluding, a single set of supplement can’t take of every one with the given condition.

  • Matt P.

    Very good article. I have something to add to these recommendations. I have been on supplemental IODINE (Lugol’s 5% drops) for the last 2 years to help stabilize my heart rhythm from AFIB. It is working for this….no longer in AFIB. But I was amazed at what happened as a big BONUS. I did not change any of my other supplements and diet during these two years. In 2015 my triglycerides were at 271. After one year on inorganic iodine, my triglycerides were at 140, almost cut in half. I just had my blood checked as part of my physical, and as of July 2018, after 2 years on Iodine (25 mg./day), my triglycerides were at an astounding 94. WOW! Do your research on the internet and you will see that IODINE indeed DRAMATICALLY drops triglycerides. And it also greatly improved my HDL and CHOL/HDLC ratio. Interesting to note, but my total cholesterol stayed slightly under 200 for the entire period.

  • Karen T.

    What about the impact of saturated fat on triglyceride levels?

  • Vijay K.

    I found out today my Tri levels were 616. I’m 29, have been exercising for years. They say it’s genetic. I was taking lion manes mushroom, lovaso, CoQ10, Acetyl L Carnatine, eating clean for the most part. Recently started eating much more steak and potatoes and some sugars- Especially from grapes, Strawberries, blueberries. My Tri levels were 467 back in April of 2018, now in October 2018- 616. I have a family and am very concerned… any suggestions anyone? I really appreciate all the input on here!!

  • It seems added sugars raise the triglycerides the most. Please cut added sugars, in case you take, and see if that helps. Also, anything that can be converted to sugar such as carbs. Please limit them.

  • Be careful of the Niacin if you are diabetic because it will increase your blood sugar level which can be detrimental whether you are Type 1 or Type II.

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