What is VLDL cholesterol? Can it be harmful?
Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol is produced in the liver and released into the bloodstream to supply body tissues with a type of fat (triglycerides).
There are several types of cholesterol, each made up of lipoproteins and fats. Each type of lipoprotein contains a mixture of cholesterol, protein and triglycerides, but in varying amounts. About half of a VLDL particle is made up of triglycerides.
High levels of VLDL cholesterol have been associated with the development of plaque deposits on artery walls, which narrow the passage and restrict blood flow.
There's no simple, direct way to measure VLDL cholesterol, which is why it's normally not mentioned during a routine cholesterol screening. VLDL cholesterol is usually estimated as a percentage of your triglyceride value. An elevated VLDL cholesterol level is more than 30 milligrams per deciliter (0.77 millimole/liter).
The best way to lower your VLDL cholesterol is to lower your triglycerides. Losing weight and exercising regularly are key, and you might also want to avoid sugary food and alcohol in particular. Medications also can help.
Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
July 10, 2020
From Mayo Clinic to your inbox
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Our Housecall e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest health information.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more Expert Answers
- McPherson RA, et al., eds. Lipids and dyslipoproteinemia. In: Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 23, 2018.
- VLDL cholesterol. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/vldl/tab/glance. Accessed April 23, 2018.
- Rosenson RS, et al. Hypertriglyceridemia. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 23, 2018.