Triglycerides are the main form of fat (or lipid) found in the body. They are produced from the digestion and breakdown of fats in foods, as well as from the breakdown of other energy sources, such as carbohydrates. Triglycerides can be used as an immediate energy source or be stored for later use.
Optimal triglyceride levels in the blood depend on the age of an individual. Levels below 150 mg/dL are considered desirable for adults. Triglyceride levels between 150-199 mg/dL are borderline high, while levels above 200 mg/dL are considered unhealthy. Elevated triglycerides are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypothyroidism. Diet, lifestyle, specific drugs (e.g. corticosteroids), and genetic variation can influence triglyceride levels.