What Are Triglycerides?

Scientifically, triglycerides are lipids or esters that are formed when three fatty acid molecules chemically combine with glycerol. The following equation should give a decent idea about the chemical properties of the reaction, but remember that the chemical composition of the fatty acids will vary.

What Are Triglycerides?

HOCH2CH(OH)CH2OH + RCO2H + R’CO2H + R”CO2H → RCO2CH2CH(O2CR’)CR” + 3H2O

Now, when people ask “what are triglycerides?” what they really want to know is how will triglycerides affect me? Simply put, triglyceride is a kind of fat which is stored for providing energy at a later time. They enter our body mainly through vegetable oils and animal fats, but the liver also produces it naturally from the food that we consume. As these lipids travel throughout the body via the plasma, the unused molecules accumulate in the body as fat. While it is recommended that everyone should intake at least a little bit of fatty food, it is also considered to be highly unsafe if the blood triglyceride level goes above the established medical safety standard. High triglyceride levels are associated mainly with heart diseases like arteriosclerosis, but they can even be responsible for other disorders and diseases like obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, pancreatitis etc. In a healthy quantity, triglycerides provide the body with 9 kcal/g energy, which is equivalent to or even more than twice of what carbohydrates and proteins provide. Triglycerides can be broken down into several other forms through chemical reactions in order to fulfill other bodily needs as well. It is for these reasons that triglycerides are considered to play a significant role in the functioning of the human body. In fact, it is due to their high energy content that intake should be restricted. Under normal circumstances, triglyceride is turned into fat only when the calories that it provides are more than what is needed by the body; therefore, the daily calorie intake should be close to what you burn daily in order to remain healthy and fit. However, there are many reasons as to why it might cross the healthy triglyceride levels, and at times the cause and the effect are one and the same as well. Diabetes, liver disease, kidney failure, medicines, obesity, hyperthyroidism and even medications can be responsible for elevated triglycerides.

Although there are not many high triglycerides symptoms, there is one prominent danger sign in most of the cases and that is obesity. Unless some other condition prevents it, someone with high blood triglyceride will become overweight. After all, what is triglycerides? It is just saturated fat and an excess amount of fat will make you obese over time, if left unchecked. Just as obesity is a direct sign of high triglyceride levels, it is also a sign of high LDL cholesterol as well and both of these are detrimental to the cardiac system specially. Unfortunately, high blood triglyceride level is also linked to a low count of HDL cholesterols, which is beneficial to the heart. Therefore it is recommended by medical professionals all over the world that everyone should maintain a proper weight through adequate dieting and exercising. Now that the basic idea about what are triglycerides has been established, those who are already overweight or obese should definitely go for a blood test to have their lipid profiles checked.