Triglycerides (TGs) are the main components of body fat in animals and humans. Composed of the combined esters of three fatty acids and glycerol they are critical sources of energy for metabolic processes (containing more than double the caloric energy of carbohydrates).
TGs are either directly ingested from dietary sources or synthesized in the liver from carbohydrate molecules. Large TG molecules are then packaged into very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles or are added to chylomicrons that are efficiently broken down to release free fatty acids necessary to metabolic processes. TG remnants of these activities are then cleared by the liver.
Any breakdown of this process or overwhelming fat and carbohydrate intake that prodcues inadequate TG clearance results in hypertriglyceridemia.
The short slide show above summarizes the mechanisms underlying elevated TGs and the role of omega-3 fatty acids in their treatment.
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