High Triglycerides, for some, could stop type 2 diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
cholesterol and diabetes

Could high triglycerides be a good thing for some people? A new study suggests the fatty acid seems to protect some from developing type 2 diabetes.


The new finding points to a previously unknown role of genetically inherited high triglycerides that scientists say protects people from diabetes rather than raising the chances they will develop the disease.

What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are fatty acids that circulate in the bloodstream and thought to raise our risk of heart disease, though how is not fully understood.

Your doctor checks your triglyceride level when he performs a cholesterol check. Your body takes unused calories and and stores them in triglyceride molecules that circulate freely and then stored in fat cells. Cholesterol and triglycerides are two different types of lipids or fatty acids. all of which are believed to contribute to metabolic syndrome a known risk for heart disease and diabetes.


Elevated levels of the fatty acid can be brought about by diet, smoking, obesity and other lifestyle practices such as being sedentary or drinking too much alcohol. But you can also have a high triglyceride level because it is in your genes.

High triglyceride gene associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk
The current study looked at diabetes protection that comes from high triglyceride levels that stem from genetic, but not lifestyle causes. For the study, researchers looked at genetic variants among 13,247 European and 3,238 AfricanAmerican participants from three prospective cohort studies. The study results showed gene variations associated with high triglyceride levels seem to have a protective effect against type 2 diabetes.

The researchers say more studies are needed to understand more about why genetically high triglyceride levels might protect people from type 2 diabetes.

Yann Klimentidis PhD, assistant professor Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health University of Arizona who led the study said the finding could be used to help prevent and treat diabetes.

Yann C. Klimentidis, Akshay Chougule, Amit Arora, Alexis C. FrazierWood, ChiuHsieh Hsu.
TriglycerideIncreasing Alleles Associated with Protection against Type2 Diabetes .
PLOS Genetics, 2015; 11 (5): e1005204 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005204