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Triglycerides in Blood
Triglycerides are fats that your body uses as a normal, natural part of maintaining its energy stores. How do triglycerides get into your blood system, and what do triglyceride levels mean?
Triglycerides as whole units come from what you ingest. When you eat fatty foods, that fat is triglycerides. Those molecules go into your small intestine. Your small intestine breaks them into fatty acids to get them through the membranes. They then recombine into a triglyceride unit called a chylomicron to go out into the blood stream. These chylomicrons can be directly used by some cells for energy, or get handed over to fat cells for storage. The fat cells convert them into triglyceride format for that storage.
When doctors do blood tests for your actual "normal" triglyceride blood levels, they make sure you fast for twelve hours. This ensures that all of these chylomicrons from eating food clear your system. The doctor wants to make sure they test your base level of triglycerides in your blood - not an artificial, elevated level from something you just ate.
There's a separate process for sugars you ingest which your body then needs to store as fat. When the sugars are converted into fat in the liver, they get put into VLDLs which are separate little "carriers". These move the body-created fats along to the fat cells for storage.
Either way, when your body stores the energy you eat energy in fat cells, it does so in the form of triglycerides. I cover this in Fat Storage and Triglycerices. Every human body needs at least some fat in those cells to maintain daily functioning. Those triglycerides also do not impact your blood levels. The triglycerides are safely tucked away in their fat cell "balloons" for future use.
When those fat cells get emptied for use, first the triglycerides are broken up into fatty acids for use. It's the fatty acid components which are released. So this process doesn't involve triglycerides in the blood.
So why, after a proper fast, would the blood still have a dense number of triglycerides in it? Why wouldn't those triglycerides have been properly tucked away in fat cells?
Researchers are finding that people who have an issue with the LPL enzyme aren't able to efficiently process triglycerides. So the triglycerides linger in the blood, potentially causing trouble.
Other reasons a body would have trouble processing triglycerides include smoking, alcohol consumption, being obese, and eating too much food for the body to process quickly.
It's important to note here that having triglycerides, in many cases, has nothing to do with eating fats. Your body makes triglycerides out of anything it needs to store for energy. If you ate an entire bag of cookies, all of that sugar would then be stored away as triglycerides in your fat cells. If you were having LPL, smoking, or other issues, that could then cause the high triglycerides in your blood.
Be sure to read about Reducing Triglycerides in your Blood
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