High Triglyceride Levels & Infection
Medical literature traditionally associates high triglyceride levels with obesity, overeating especially carbohydrates and fats, and lack of exercise. Taking certain common medications including steroids, beta-blockers and birth control pills are also associated with high triglycerides. More recent information from holistic health practitioners, AIDS researchers and periodontal health researchers, consider whether there is an association between high triglyceride levels and infection.
Triglycerides are the form of fats found in the bloodstream, also referred to as serum lipids. Triglycerides play a critical function in the daily operation of the human body, delivering energy in the form of fat to those portions of the body that require useful fuel. Triglyceride levels that are too high, however, are part of a medical condition called metabolic syndrome, which also includes high blood pressure, excessive abdominal fat and low HDL cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome is associated with high risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The Mayo Clinic and most other medical information sources associate high triglycerides primarily with lifestyle factors: Overeating, particularly fatty and high-sugar foods, lack of exercise and excessive use of alcohol contribute to high triglycerides and metabolic syndrome. A healthful diet, exercise and limiting alcohol intake reduce triglyceride levels in the bloodstream, and lower or eliminate the presence of metabolic syndrome.
The Whole Health Network reports that a clinical trial carried out by the Hygienic Food College of the National Medicinal Academy of Zhejiang Province, China, demonstrated significant improvement of blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels after one month’s treatment with a mushroom food that enhances non-specific immunity. The Whole Health Network reports that this is because high fat content in the blood is a symptom of systemic infection, as the body releases extra fats into the bloodstream to help fight infection and repair infection-caused damage.
A 2008 study by the Institute of Dentistry at the University of Oulu, Finland, assessed the records of more than 8,000 periodontal patients to determine whether there was an association between high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and periodontal disease. The study concluded that while there was no association between high blood lipid levels and periodontal disease among patients of normal weight, obese patients with high triglycerides could have a higher risk of periodontal infection. However, the researchers concluded that the high triglyceride or low HDL levels were likely not the cause of the periodontal disease in obese patients; rather, obesity and periodontal disease were likely the product of the same unhealthful causation factors.
High Triglycerides and HIV Infection
The Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange reports that persons with AIDS/HIV infection may have low levels of carnitine, a necessary amino acid that helps convert serum lipids to usable energy in cells. Carnitine deficiency can cause high triglyceride levels, as the triglycerides in the blood cannot be used efficiently. The Canadian researchers reported a small study indicating that treating HIV patients with carnitine supplements significantly lowered high triglyceride levels.