Low Triglycerides Levels – What Is Causing Triglycerides to Be Low?
What are triglycerides? Well, they are fats that are broken down from digested foods that the body can use for energy. Excess amounts are typically stored within the body for use later. They are necessary for many physiological processes, but high triglycerides can lead to long term health complications and lower levels (those under 150 md/dL) are typically considered healthy. Oddly enough, sometimes low triglycerides can actually signal a health concern that needs to be evaluated by a medical professional, although this is not common.
Cholesterol and triglycerides are found in everybody. Cholesterol is used by the body to produce some hormones, build cell membranes and produce vitamin D. Triglycerides are useful as an energy source. Together they form a picture of overall health, and it is not uncommon for both bad cholesterol and triglycerides to be high at the same time in some individuals. While an increased amount of these found within the body is well known to play a role in cardiovascular illness later in life, there are some uncommon cases where having too little can also be problematic. There are several conditions, for instance, that can cause low triglycerides that may contribute to physical symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism can contribute to having lower than acceptable levels of triglycerides. This condition is characterized by the thyroid gland over producing hormones which can lead to sudden weight loss, an increase in appetite, sweating, menstrual changes, fatigue, sleep problems and many other symptoms. A blood test is needed to determine whether or not hyperthyroidism is present and treating the condition may possibly have a positive impact on low triglycerides levels if this is the source of the problem.
Another condition that may cause triglycerides to be much lower than normal is poor malabsorption syndrome. People with this condition have a problem with the ways that their bodies absorb nutrients from food. Medical issues related to the body’s inability to properly absorb fats can also lead to triglyceride levels that are very low. Evaluation from a medical provider is required to determine if an absorption issue within the body is responsible for lower triglycerides levels.
Sometimes the issue is simply a result of a diet that is actually too lacking in fat. Just as a diet that is very high in fat can lead to elevated triglycerides, the complete absence of fat can lead to a reduction in these levels. A low fat diet is good, but a diet that is too low in fat can be problematic in some ways. The body does need some fat to function and carry out various processes and it should be healthfully incorporated into every diet in some manner to keep the body healthy. Unfortunately, a super low fat diet can also play a role in developing low triglycerides in the form of some eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, where the body is regularly robbed of nutrients as well as more susceptible to a very wide range of other serious health complications.
A triglycerides test known as a lipid panel is often used to determine whether or not these blood fats are at healthy levels. If the results are very low, it is likely that a health care provider may not consider there to be a problem. This is why the lipid panel is only part of the evaluation process. It is important that in conjunction with the testing that any symptoms that are present are expressed to the doctor. This will help him or her decide if low triglycerides levels are healthy or signaling other health conditions. If eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia are present, or an extreme low fat diet is being adhered to, this is also information that a doctor must have in order to determine whether or not lower levels of the blood fats are normal and healthy. Each person is different, and therefore the more information a health care provider has, the better his or her ability will be to properly evaluate the results of a triglycerides test.
Unlike having high triglycerides (which is quite common) having them be too low is much rarer. In many cases, low levels of triglyceride can be perfectly healthy and normal. But, when they get to be too low, it may be a sign of other health conditions being present or, potentially dangerous dietary practices. It is very important that a full and complete health history be presented to a physician at the time that triglycerides levels are evaluated to avoid missing possibly serious or long term health complications.